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.
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.
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