Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Food of My Soul

I was trawling through video clips so that I could update my Vernacular Video Bar, and struck (for me) gold. Today I have placed two pieces for your enjoyment - one because it is technical picking as I like it (though not hard to do if you know what you are doing), and because the other made me cry (in a nice way).

This is hard on the heels of a journey that I have made this morning where, as ever, I was plugged into my iPod. 

I reflected this morning that I could live without many things physical or temporal - but not music. I can no more live without music than I can live without air, and the starvation of either makes for a poor day, I find.

The video at the top of this post is of Mark Knopfler, the only man alive who by his creativity can make me weep because I find his skill overwhelming and beautiful. His music, to me, is stunning. It is music that soars like a feather on a spring breeze, just before crashing into me like a freight-train. It is effective, lyrical, hard yet soft, winsome when needs be and technically about as good as you will find. This video is of a song that is dripping with pathos anyway, and with an orchestra, is a perfect moment. The fact is, that Mr Knopfler is a man who makes the notes that he doesn't play sound stunning too. 

In general terms, music reaches us where we wish to be reached. I played a wide array of snippets of music last night at the service I lead in the Week of Prayer for Christian unity - including Maria Callas, Metallica, Eric Clapton, a kids' nursery rhyme, Alien Ant Farm and the odd Wesleyan hymn - partly to illustrate that we are all different, but to comment that despite their differences, all of that music was on my one iPod. In its breadth I am best served by music as there are Faure days as their are Chris Rea days. Unity, I said, wasn't about being the same, but about being united in our variety.

The thing with music is that we choose what we like. We don't waste a moment of our time listening to music we dislike, so it fast becomes the purest expression of ourselves. I am not sure that much else works like that so easily and so purely in our lives. Our musical tastes have their seasons too, and it fair to say that I haven't listened to Hitman Howie Tee for a few years (though I used to listen to little else when I was a sprog).

I pity the poor soul that has to arrange my funeral. I can't even do it (an exercise I have tried to do so that Mrs Acular is spared). Music in death is as evocative as music in life, and the effort to sum me up in hymnody and song will be a rocky one. Put another way, if you want to get a real idea of who this blogger really is, listen to these videos and others as they appear - for they do a far better job than I could. 


  1. Thanks for the chance to listen to two types of music (and artists) I would never normally choose.
    The Mark Knopfler failed to touch me at all, perhaps because I couldn't understand a single word, and the music seemed to my untutored ear to be a tad schmaltsy! Sorry to have failed the test!
    Brian May's type of music is not to my taste, but he is a brilliant exponent of that style.
    Interesting. More, some time please.

  2. "...we choose what we like. We don't waste a moment of our time listening to music we dislike..."

    Have to disagree somewhat with your premise here, I'm afraid. I find that often if I persevere with soemthing that is not immediately appealing to me, it grows on me and I can at least begin to understand it better. I have always had fairly wide-ranging tastes in music, so I'm one of those people it is rather hard to pin down.

    Thanks for sharing your tastes with us, though. I like Mark Knopfler (though agree with Ray about the inaudibility of some of his singing). Reminds me of Wishbone Ash.

  3. Simmy, I can't disagree with you, but neither do I think that the two things are incompatible. In the grand scheme of things, we tend towards what we like and avoid what we don't - eg Ray is unlikely to buy a Metallica album! I am, of course, speaking in the general sense!

    Ray, respect to you for even giving my taste of music a shot!

  4. I'm a big Mark Knopfler fan. I also loved his brother David's album Release back in the early 80s, for different reasons. (It was kind of schmaltzy and I was nursing a broken heart.)



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