I Love Music More Than I Love You — A love letter to music from a misanthrope

James Garside
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1Cta66_0YETVZ6M00 Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Where is this relationship going?

Every love relationship that I’ve ever had has been outlived by the love of the music that I was introduced to through them.

Sometimes I feel like the only reason I got into relationships was so that I could go through their music collections and dig out the really good stuff.

Whether it’s Nick Drake, Hole, Skinny Puppy, Pavement, Type O Negative, PJ Harvey, Ben Harper, or Madrugada. I’m grateful to the lovers who got me into this great music — but I’m glad I’m no longer in a relationship with them.

Who says love is always a good thing? Anything that makes you appreciate the music of Chris de Burgh has got to be morally suspect.

It’s also sad when you play someone you love a piece of music that’s important to you and they don’t like it — especially since you know this means you now have to cut this person out of your life.

I once stopped talking to friend who, when presented with a CD, said: “Can’t you just give it to me as a Spotify playlist?”

If I ever make you a music compilation mix CD and you don’t listen to it then you’re dead to me.

Dead.

Music is everything

The weekend starts here. What are your plans? Mine include drinking, writing, comedy, and listening to music in the bath.

Today I’m mostly just listening to music and crying. You?

Anything that makes you cry is evil and wrong except for really good music.

Music is about the only thing left with the power to move me.

Music has literally all of the feels.

Listening to music whilst drinking red wine is a sure-fire way to make me cry. *Drinks red wine and listens to music*

What music do you love?

I love everything from ABBA to Zappa — except I don’t like ABBA and I think Zappa’s overrated. Or, you know, vice versa.

When asked what music they were into a friend once said: “Anything metal or electronic or I can dance to or someone would kill themselves to — I’m really not that picky with music.”

I love my friends. And most of my friends love music. Which is one of the reasons I love them.

I don’t care what music you love. All I care is that you love music.

That’s my usual response — I don’t care what music so long as you are capable of loving some music.

Who are your people?

There are people who say:

I don’t listen to music.
I don’t drink tea.
I don’t read books.
I don’t like cats.
I don’t like The Princess Bride.

These are not my people.

You’ve got to love animals, music or tea

In my limited experience the warmest people tend to love cats, music and tea. People who love none of those things are evil soulless demons and not to be trusted.

But, for example, a coffee drinker who loves cats is usually ok.

Just because someone has terrible taste in music it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily a demon — but it’s a pretty good indicator.

If you don’t love animals, music, or tea then there’s something wrong with your soul.

I understand and accept that not everyone likes tea — but dislike animals or music and you’re dead to me. We’re not even the same species.

If you love animals and music — but don’t like tea — then you’re probably not an evil soulless demon; just a little misguided.

Music is like tea for your ears. Or cats for your memory. Or something squishy for your soul.

I find it hard to reconcile the fact that bad people can have good taste in music.

Or, more accurately, I find it impossible to believe that someone with good taste in music is a bad person — that’s pretty much all you need to know about me.

Why should the Devil have all the good music?

We’re wired for sound — even bloody Cliff Richard knew that — if you don’t like music then you don’t have a soul.

But why should the Devil have all the good music? Asked Cliff Richard. Thus answering his own question.

I once listened to my fair share of Christian Rock just to see what all the fuss was about. It was a little less than good. I’m looking at you, Stryper.

Cliff Richard is Christian. Christian music is fine if you’re in Church. But give me the Devil’s music over that any day of the week.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not dissing Christianity. My mum is Christian. That never stopped her from listening to my Fields of the Nephilim albums whilst doing her ironing.

It’s just that Hell has better music and cooler people. M’lud.

When I fly I usually listen to AC/DC’s Highway to Hell during take off so that if we die in a crash there’s no confusion about where I belong. The party, and the best music, is downstairs.

Tell artists what they mean to you whilst they’re still alive

I declare today ‘National Tell Your Favourite Musician What Their Music Means To You Whilst They’re Still Alive Day.’

When Lou Reed died, and there was suddenly an outpouring of love for him on social media, Kristin Hersh gently reminded people that they should try to tell people what they mean to us whilst they’re still alive.

I told her that I loved her (creatively) and that her music saved my life. I also spent about a month listening to Lou Reed day and night and bawling my heart out.

The important thing is that their music made us care.

Vinyl is just for hipsters

Lossless audio is better than vinyl. I know that vinyl sounds better in optimum conditions but it’s not worth the time, expense or inconvenience.

Music is life. You should have it everywhere with you at all times. Not just sat at home with your expensive equipment. I will die on this hill.

That said, give me a stack of vinyl and a decent setup and I’ll just not leave the house. That works for me too.

Music is a broad church

Music is a broad church. Caffeine is a broad church. Literature is a broad church.

People should be more forgiving of others who don’t belong to the same fandoms as them.

Except for Harry Potter. Don’t even get me started on that one. Harry Potter fans send me death threats. I hate Harry Potter.

Don’t hate someone for loving the wrong music.

That’s so silly. Who bullies someone for liking a band? Unless they don’t like the same music as I do in which case f*ck ’em. Just kidding.

You don’t have to love the same music as each other. That you both love music is enough.

The right song

Sometimes a song comes to you at the right time. You’ll never hear it in quite the same way again but in the moment it speaks to you like nothing else.

This is the music that stays with us.

I’m in love with these songs but also a little terrified because of when in life I heard them.

Music is to memory what DNA is to genes.

This is your brain on music

It seems that my brain doesn’t work without music — this explains SO MUCH.

Whenever I feel depressed or my head doesn’t work, and I wonder what’s missing from my life, the answer’s always music.

My brain can barely function without music. I lapse into near catatonic depressions without it. I mean this quite literally and seriously.

I also hear music playing in my head 24/7, often as a comment or message, with some songs playing on a loop for days.

Once I got the song ‘I Wan’na Be Like You’ from The Jungle Book stuck in my head for about a month. I had to sing it at the top of my lungs and jump around the room like a monkey to get it to stop.

When I truly need help I play every album by The Stooges back to back — it’s like music therapy but with GOOD music.

Listening to music doesn’t make me feel good. Listening to music makes me feel. Full stop. Which is good.

I secretly played my friend’s cat punk music — which it loved

My friend’s cat used to sit on my laptop whenever I tried to write, play music it didn’t like, or didn’t pay enough attention to them.

My friend’s cat loved me but when I stayed at her house on a morning it would studiously ignore me until I got my laptop out to write. Then it would sit on the laptop and demand that I pet it.

I learnt to play punk music on my laptop for the cat. It would then sit on the chair arm and listen attentively. No other music would do.

So I secretly used to play my friend’s cat punk music on a regular basis. I never told my friend. It was our little secret.

What’s your taste in music?

My taste in books, music and films is eclectic but I know what I like and don’t have time for stuff that I don’t.

My music taste’s so eclectic there’s stuff here I don’t even recognise — as though my clones are listening to random stuff whilst I’m asleep.

Goth, Rock, Metal, Industrial, Punk, Folk, Blues, Rap, Hip-hop, Breakbeat, Bluegrass, Country, J-Rock, K-Pop, Gypsy Punk, Sci-fi Surf.

You know. Music.

Some of my music taste is so obscure that even Russian bittorrent sites don’t have anything by them. Sorry, wrong meeting.

Piracy is not the problem

If it wasn’t for piracy the music industry wouldn’t exist. Back in the day they were the biggest pirates of all. This isn’t just angry posturing it’s historical fact. *rant over*

It’s perfectly ok to download pirated digital copies of books so long as you read them, music so long as you listen to it, and films so long as you watch them.

It isn’t legal but it is ok. Sharing is caring.

We live in an adversarial consumer society. As Terence McKenna once said: “Culture is not your friend.”

Steal digital copies of every book, movie and piece of music that you can. Use them. Learn from them. Make your own. Let others steal from you. Remix culture. Just don’t try to pass off someone else’s work as your own.

No artists were harmed by the making of more art.

Turn it up

That’s what you’re supposed to do with good music, right? “This should be played at high volume. Preferably in a residential area.”

Play your music loud. The louder the better. That way I can hear it through the walls and tell if you’ve got anything decent.

Given half a chance I’d secretly camp out in front of your CD collection whislt you were asleep. I’m sorry, what? Who said that?

My cure for a bad mood is to listen to angry music at obnoxious volumes or else to just rip someone’s head off. As effective today as when I was 12.

When I was a kid, I used to sleep to death metal!

Turn it down

I’m contemplating murdering the person who woke me up with their loud music but I’m afraid that when I kick down their door I’ll find it’s my younger self like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

The only thing that makes me think this won’t happen is their shit taste in music.

I don’t sing and I don’t dance — when it comes to parties and nightclubs I’m the reason that corners were invented.

I don’t do karaoke: I love music but can only do it justice by promising to never sing and burying my vocal cords in the back garden.

Is it really so wrong that I just want to spend all day listening to music and drinking tea?

Young people? Stop fiddling with your knobs!

When I look at modern art I feel bad for you. When I see modern TV I weep for humanity. When I listen to modern music I pray for armageddon.

Mostly I just get confused by modern technology.

Today I got confused as to why I couldn’t turn down the music that was playing on my laptop. I was pressing the button to adjust the brightness on my monitor. How are you today?

Even the law can’t keep up with music technology. In 2016 the UK Government said: “It’s now legal to ‘rip’ or make copies of your music CDs for personal use.” Young people in unison replied: “What’s a CD?”

I once watched a millennial’s YouTube video about digital minimalism where they recommended deleting bank statements, music, photos, and scanned copies of paperwork where they already got rid of the paper copy. I wanted to yell at them and send them to their room.

They thought that owning music was old hat as you could always use Spotify.

And as for streaming? Go stand on the naughty step! Why would I pay to stream music at low quality that I already own?

If you ever get bored put your music on shuffle so that it plays random songs. Pretend that the lyrics are messages from your demon / angel / god / goddess of choice. You’re welcome.

Music is for listening to. Anything else is a distraction.

Music is my cure for insomnia

I think I found a cure for my insomnia: I played music so low I could barely hear it and slept most of the night.

I’m talking about playing music so low you can barely hear it. I think it just gave my brain something to do until I fell asleep.

The music was stuff I already knew: varied, complex, but played so quiet it’s close to ‘white noise.’

Voices and new music sounds too distracting, white noise itself is too boring, whereas music I already know played low is just right.

My ‘play music so it’s barely audible’ cure for insomnia really works — but if it’s too loud then I end up waking up to listen to what’s playing.

When in doubt, just listen to Coldplay. Those guys are so boring they will put you into a coma.

What skeletons do you have in your closet?

Trigger Warning: My music library contains some scarily bad musical skeletons that may cause nostalgia if you were born in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.

If you were born in the naughties then it’s way past your bedtime.

I once got so drunk I woke up on a dance floor in a night club in North Wales dancing to ABBA’s Dancing Queen — true story.

The first bit of vinyl I bought was ‘We All Stand Together’ by Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus.

I once played the ‘Stutter Rap (No Sleep til Bedtime)’ by Morris Minor and the Majors as filler in a DJ set at a rock club because I’d run out of records to play.

I know all the words to Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme because I bought the single.

“When you stand for what you believe in, and find the strength to do what’s right, that’s Turtle Power.”

Nobody said that I was perfect.

Music and writing

Q: How do you keep going?!
A: *drinks tea and listens to music*

My secret weapons when writing are an iPod full of music, a head full of books, and a bucketful of tea.

My muse prefers music and no sleep to sleep and no music. Apparently.

Listening to music and drinking tea until the sun comes up is one of my core competencies.

Music contains story DNA — you don’t need to plan, you just need to listen.

I make music mixes for my characters and soundtracks for my stories.

In unrelated news I wish I could get paid for making music compilations.

Music gets you through the day

Whenever I’ve worked in a straight job, office, or any other sort of place where you have to act all professional I’ve always tried to sneakily say things in meetings that are cultural references to things that I like — such as music, films or magick — without getting caught. They never realised.

This is a genuine conversation I had at work once:

Man: Do you like Pink?
Me: The colour?
Man: No, Pink. MUSIC?!!
Me: Pink Floyd?
(He stopped talking to me)

I’ve been awake since 4am listening to music — I’m bored now — WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! *jumps up and down on the bed*

It’s gonna be one of those sit up until the early hours listening to music days — I can feel it.

By ‘one of those days’ I mean any given day from Monday to Sunday.

Music is life.

How much music do you really need?

I won’t whore myself for money — but I’ll gladly do it for books, music, movies, and tea.

According to iTunes if I listened to my entire music library 24/7 it would take me over a year.

There comes a time in your life when you can truly be said to have ‘enough’ music, literature and films… Not today.

I’m old — I’ve more music, literature and films in my collection than hours of life left in which to enjoy them. So almost enough.

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NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author and travel writer.

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