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May 27, 2006 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Musical Revelations

Having agreed to kick this section of your music pages off, I am sitting in front of my computer, stumped. Chris and I have agreed that to qualify as a musical revelation, the event in question (or album, gig, conversation) has to be of a paradigm-shifting quality. It has to have fundamentally changed the way you listened to, appreciated, or defined music, or indeed defined yourself. The thing that has me stuck is that these kind of intense moments happen to me, in myriad small ways, all the time. I’m the girl who chokes up at Weetbix ads. The new Placebo video made me cry and I don’t even like Placebo. Give me a few drinks, and I will tell you how the first album I ever bought (The Cranberries To The Faithful Departed) is still the greatest album in the world. Ask me again ten minutes later, and I’ll tell you that it’s actually The Libertines’ Up The Bracket. I am afraid that the following account is just one of many episodes I could have picked. Not because I’m the kind of fabulous person to whom fabulous things happen daily, but rather because I am emotionally scatty.

When I was seventeen or so, to cut a convoluted story short, I walked into a bar in Prague with two Americans I had met ten minutes before (both to become flatmates and friends). It was packed, and in the corner this Scottish man was sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar playing ‘Waterloo Sunset.’ I didn’t know who The Kinks were, and I’d never heard of Ray Davies. To be honest, up until then, as far as I was concerned music started in 1976 when the Ramones released their debut, and I considered myself pretty alternative to own such an old album. Yet here I was standing in the middle of a bar with a beer someone had handed me, and a cigarette, and my fey little punk mind was irreparably blown apart by that song. That a voice and a quiet guitar could hold sway over an entire room was not something I’d ever considered or experienced before. Music as I knew it was loud, fast and immature- if you had a point to make, volume and ‘incendiary’ lyrics were the only ways to get it across. And now I was on tip toe, holding my breath with maybe one hundred other people, the singer barely whispering, knowing that he had us all until the song was finished. The next day I went out and bought the Kinks’ singles collection for the equivalent of fifty cents, and sat open-mouthed listening to a song about a transvestite written by a bunch of tucked down boys in suits. When you’ve spent your life looking for subversive, emotionally engaging, anti-commercial music within just one arena, it’s something of an epiphany when you discover the existence of everything else. I still dearly love my punk music, but that impromptu gig has since expanded my adoration to include the whispered revolutions as well. It follows, of course, that anyone who has had a similar experience, a vastly different experience, or just thinks they can do a much better job than I have is welcome to submit their own ‘musical revelations’ to .


About the Author ()

BORN WITH a cigarette in one hand and The Trial in other, Bea meant to go on as she started. Music wasn’t her first love, but her first love ended in a fight over rightful ownership of a Velvet Underground LP and the kitchen knife, so she chose the kinder option and stuck with it. In her spare time she enjoys casting aspersions, skulking, and making sweeping statements. She never checks her facts: figures it’s a way to live a little, to have arguments with people, then meet them. She’s currently writing a collection of short stories inspired by Schopenhauer’s manifesto of suffering and the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. When it gets published, she’s pretty sure that boy will want to hold her hand.

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