The music goes round my head

Do you think it’s just me? Have I asked this before? It can’t be. Not really. Not in a world of some seven billion people, although not all of them have access to popular music like I do. I wonder if it happens in tribal cultures though, in some other form. Or, perhaps, did it happen in medieval times, but the songs that got stuck in peoples heads were Gregorian chants?

I’m talking, of course, those songs that get stuck in your head on high repeat. The ones you hear when you sit down quietly and there’s no music playing. The ones you find yourself singing for no reason while doing the dishes. I know that’s common; people all over the place talk about the song stuck in their head. It’s just that…

The song in my head the other day was one I hadn’t heard or thought of in about ten years, and it stayed there for days, which is why I started wondering whether it could be trying to tell me something. You don’t often have songs without some kind of reason, some line in the lyric prompted by something happening, or you heard it in a shop or something. This bothered me, this song, not just because it came from nowhere, and not just because I couldn’t work it out. The song was “I Am The Mob” by Welsh band Catatonia. “I put horses heads in people’s beds/because I am the mob”. Yeah. Umm…right.

Sometimes I have words, too. Just words. Is that common? Lugubrious. Obsequious. Saskatchewan. I just like words, okay? I like the way their letters bounce. But that – if you don’t already – might make you think I’m a little weird. And it’s not what I’m talking about.

The thing is, the thing I’m talking about is, when the songs that get stuck in your head turn out to have some subliminal personal meaning, or a message. I know, I know, it sounds kind of weird. It’s just that as I’ve got older I’ve learned to listen more to the things around me. Maybe you’ll say I listen too much – or maybe you’ll agree. I don’t know. You tell me.

There was the time, for instance, that I had it on my heart to do something a bit radical to bless a friend, and I had to tell her. Doing the thing didn’t bother me at all, but the idea of telling her scared me, so I put it off. The feeling in me didn’t let up though, that need to step out, be bold and brave, and say “hey, this is what I want to do to help you”. In the end I nearly chickened out, and I would have if it weren’t for the stupid clock-radio waking me up early one morning playing Duran Duran: “Please please tell me now/Is there something I should know?” I did it.

Okay, that was the actual radio, a little bit different. But there was a time, some years before, when a similar thing happened. Different friend, same fear of stepping out. That time the song in my head (that I eventually listened to) was “I Was Made For Loving You” by Kiss.

Yes, I believe sometimes the Holy Spirit can speak to people through Kiss songs. Do you have a problem with that?

But…I am the mob. Not really a fan of horses heads in peoples beds -or any kind of dismembered body part, actually. and I’m feeling pretty good about life; not planning any kind of Mafia-related career change, revenge or dismemberment. I’m happy, I’m in a good place. I’m just singing about horses heads in peoples beds for no reason.

There’s always a reason. I believe that.

There’s. Always. A. Reason. Goldfish in tank

It was these guys. More than ten years after I last heard it, my subconscious mind is concerned that our fish tank is underneath a light that, over the last week or so, is being left on all night. I was worried that it was bad for them, that my goldfish wouldn’t be able to sleep.

I know this now because I eventually googled the lyrics to I Am The Mob:

“That Luca Brasi ah he sleeps with the fishes…”

Ah. I am amazed, yet again, at the incredible amount of junk my brain stores.

We left another light on instead, so the fish could sleep.

How about you? Have you ever had songs or words or phrases that go round your head that turn out to have some kind of meaning or relevance? Do you ever, like me, wonder if your memory needs a complete spring-clean sometimes?





Something that I used to know

Apparently, I know everything. Apparently. According to my kids.

Well, I used to, anyway. Back when I was young my scope of knowledge was so incredibly vast that I knew-because-I-knew that getting to the end, to knowing truly Everything, was not so far away.

I’ve learned a lot since then. A. Lot. And I’ve had three children, which, one would presume, would qualify me now into Knowing-Even-More-Than-Everything, except for the slightly odd fact that the exact opposite has happened.

I am NOT forgetting things. Well, I’m not forgetting the important things, like pi and the Battle of Hastings and the words to all the Duran Duran songs (I can’t honestly say I’m not forgetting trivial things, like we-need-bread-and-milk, or oh-darling-are-you-taking-the-car-to-work-today?), but as I’ve pushed my head deeper and higher up through the ceiling of adulthood I’ve realised that outside the nursery walls of childhood are a billion other, different nursery walls (all painted differently, and some not painted at all), and above my small head are other, still-taller-than-mine heads, and beyond them are histories and dreams that stretch beyond my own space, and beyond that the face of a God who sees it all. In short, and because I am old enough to remember when Hogan’s Heroes was on TV (okay, the reruns at least), I can honestly say “I know NUTTINK!”

My kids, on the other hand, especially the smallest one, know everything. Well, almost everything. They know that there’s a small amount of things in life that they don’t know, such as what’s-that-man’s-name-in-that-car-next-to-ours? and what-does-the-Easter-bunny-do-in-October? but they presume that one day they too will know everything, like I do. Apparently.

Here’s the thing though, the thing I now know: the more that I talk to my much-older-and-extremely-wiser friends, the more I learn from them, and the more they tell me that they don’t think they know much at all. It’s a Mork-from-Ork (because I’m old enough to remember when Mork and Mindy was on TV…or at least the reruns) scenario, or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we are born old and knowing everything, and we die young, knowing nothing at all.

Here’s one thing I DO know, though: I will keep learning, and keep learning, until I can say as much as my extremely-wisest friends: that truly, I know so little it isn’t funny. It seems to be the best way.

The Me That I See

This is me.

Well, it’s a painting of me from about a hundred years before I was born, which probably makes me over a hundred years old, and if you click on my Gravatar picture you’ll see just how well I’ve aged, and why I should now be a candidate for one of those Facebook side-bar advertisements, see-this-130-year-old-woman-who-looks-like-a-regular-person…

The reason it is me is because it hangs in our bathroom, and because most of the pictures on our walls are family pictures, for my kids the connection is obvious. And yes, it looks like me. I’ve been fielding questions about this picture since my eldest was old enough to talk:

Mummy why are you wearing a table cloth in that picture? What did you pick up? Where is the pearl now, do we still have it? Why did you wear shoes on the beach? Did the sand get on your feet through the gaps?

For a long time I patiently tried to explain that it’s not me, that it’s a painting of a lady who looks like me, and that we just liked the picture so we hung it in our bathroom. The older two kids get it by now, but the youngest…he’s a different sort all together.

My three-year-old believes exactly what he wants to believe, and woe betide anyone who tries to dissuade him. He doesn’t listen, and he keeps asking until he gets the answers he wants. I’ve given up trying to tell him the truth in some cases, and in regards to the picture I tell him what he wants to hear. I wore a tablecloth that day because I couldn’t find my bathers and I didn’t want to get sunburned. Yes, the sand was hot so I kept my sandals on, and I didn’t mind too much if it stuck to my feet. And yes, I kept the pearl, and it’s the same pearl that’s on a necklace in my jewelry box.

It’s easier. And shorter. He’ll learn one day, I hope.

It makes me wonder though, how much stuff in life have I filtered through my own perceptions? What have I believed because it was what I wanted to believe? What have I disregarded because I’d already made up my mind? We all do it, but It’s still a scary thought. Sometimes we need to sift through the evidence and the memories and open our minds to what may be a different kind of truth, one vastly different to what we’ve understood before. It’s a brave place to be.

My son came in to my study just now with his toy singing chicken and asked me who gave it to him. I told him the truth, we bought it at Ross (a little historic town) in January. He tells me “I like Ross. He’s my friend!”

Great, son. I’m glad Ross is your friend. Maybe we’ll take him with us next time I wear my tablecloth to the beach.