The stillness still that doesn't end

Today was inbetweeny day. Somehow this day between Gerard's and my birthday has become more invested with meaning than the days either side. So far I have had one text, three emails and a number of verbal "happy inbetweeny day" good wishes from G. I quite like it. Not that we do anything particularly special. It's more what we don't do. Today we suspended Monday housework, letting the house slide further into feral decline. We'd been planned to play through the whole collection of REM which G has been uploading from CDs, records and tapes onto the computer. He's also wired the music systems so that the jukebox effect can be heard from the study, lounge, kitchen and sunroom speakers, all from the one source. Which means that the only potential dissenting sound system is the one in the shed.

So why REM? Well when we first met, there didn't appear to be all that much music that we both liked. It may well have been one of the reasons that things didn't take off when we very first met, three years before we remet. Sure we both liked Dylan, Nirvana and Lucinda Williams. But in our local tastes, I liked electronica and he liked rock. Like water and oil. But we both loved REM, from way back.  I probably jumped on the REM bandwagon later than G, when the song Losing my Religion was a big hit. But I went back and bought previous records and then subsequent CDs.

So REM has been on my personal soundtrack since the mid eighties. Listening today, I've remembered an old friend playing Near Wild Heaven on his guitar. Looking beautiful.
And I always thought that it would make me smarter
But it's only made me harder
My heart thrown open wide
In this near wild heaven
Not near enough.

Two weeks later, the same song playing in my Honda Civic as I drove to Lake Mountain for some skiing, seeing the mountain ash in the mist, looking for the first patch of snow and feeling the thrill of that crush but knowing that it wasn't near enough. Several years later his sister became my best friend and everything became simpler and way more complicated as often happens when you're in your twenties.

Hearing Everybody Hurts from Automatic for the People, which is actually not one of my favourites, I'm transported to a certain summer in far north Queensland after my retrenchment from the evil tobacco company owned life insurance company where I had worked designing clerical workflows and writing procedure manuals.
Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along.
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
if you feel like letting go, (hold on)
when you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on.

The company where I had started as a temp and stayed for six long years, where I set a wastepaper bin on fire emtying my ashtray and disabled a keyboard with a blender full of mango daquiri during a christmas eve morning tea.  Odd moments of fun but just so not the sort of company you'd want your efforts to help prosper. Bittersweet freedom.
New Adventures in Hifi and my crush on a geeky and awkward man who must have known, because I was quite obvious. And we went on dates for chrissake, which was almost unheard of in my circle. I always assumed that he thought that I was way too trashy to be more than friends.
I never thought of this as funny
It speaks another world to me
I want to be your Easter bunny
I want to be your Christmas tree


And last but not least, Paul old old friend. I went to see REM in the early nineties with him and another friend, Dale, and my sister Betty and her partner at the time. It was at the Myer Music bowl under the stars. Perfect. I wish I could have gone in 2005 but they were playing the day before I was due to give birth. As it was, Grace was another week away. You are the Everything from Green (which G thinks is lightweight but I think is one of their best) always reminds me of being in the backseat of Pauls' old brown station wagon, driving out to Kuranga nursery while him and Dale bickered in the front. Being there being far better than any possible alternative.
Here's a scene
You're in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
and feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn't end

My parents separating and feeling nostalgic for my childhood in an angry sort of way. Watching Dale order vegetarian from Hungry Jacks. That song also has one of my all time favourite lines,
Late spring and you're drifting off to sleep
With your teeth in your mouth


So the day has just sort of crept along with a sound track of memory and reflection infusing everything. I've had a sore lower back for a couple of days now and today spent several sessions in shivasana (the pose of the corpse) followed by pose of the child, a chest drag, the cobra and some other stretches that might help.Trying to fend off a visit to the pilates/physio/dance therapist who fixed my back four years ago. She made me stand in front of a mirror in my undies next to her (she's tiny) so she could assess where my body was crooked. It worked but I'm not keen if I can avoid it. So I've been stretching.  Hearing the words and music, looking at the ceiling and out the window in Graces room from different angles. The same soundtrack but different as I give Grace her dinner. Gerard asking me whether we've had enough yet. But I haven't, I'm still playing through the list as I type.

2 comments:

  1. I drove around the US to the soundtrack of Automatic For The People, so it is an evocative album for me, too.
    The song, Vittoria (?) always reminds me of a desert road, when all of a sudden, Hey Presto! The Grand Canyon! That was a wonderful moment.
    Oh, to be free enough to drive and drive and drive.

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  2. There is a photo on my flickr page (which was one of a series I took for a post for Shula), which I titled Losing my Religion. No one's ever commented on it, or queried why I called it that. One day someone will find it and ask.
    Midnight Oil's beds are burning album transports me instantly back to 19 years ago, hurtling through the Outback with Mr Soup in our beaten up old Triumph, exploring and learning to be together.
    Happy birthday for yesterday ...

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