Softly, deftly music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it secretly possess you,
Open up your mind,
Let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness that you know you cannot fight,
The darkness of the music of the night.
So often I feel that life and living is simply a run. It’s a run from the time you’re expelled from a womb to the time when you decay and die. To get from A to Z you have to run, whether you choose to run towards death or away from it. The irony is that I am as bad at running as I am at life. Somewhere, sometime before my brain and heart broke, I couldn’t keep up with life’s pace and I slowed down, then stopped altogether. Now, whether a hurdle tripped me up or I wasn’t fit enough or I ultimately decided I would not run, I got left behind. Life, the living and all that encompasses left me behind. Others who fall and fail and struggle through life, who cannot keep pace with the run of life, are tugged along by the other runners in the race, those who knew them, loved them – who would miss them – and saw them fall. Nobody saw me fall. Nobody looked back at me lying in their wake. Nobody realised I was no longer in the race. Someone had already won and I had already come last in that instant. Now, I’m up and I am walking. I am walking but nothing I, or anyone else, can do now will lessen the distance between myself and those ahead of me who might have knelt down and given succour. So, when humankind forgets you are part of it and is complicit in your survival or lack of it, to whom or what do you turn so that you can keep walking towards death and find an end to the journey? What is it that keeps you company on your long, dark, solitary odyssey that your life is to you with a broken brain and a broken heart? The caress and possession of your mind, heart and body by music, the sweetest and darkest music that lets the burning in your muscles dwindle and is the balm to the crushing weight of the world’s dismissal and apathy of you on your shoulders. Music is the door from this world where Pippa trudges to Calvary alone, no longer able to run with life, to the sacred world where Lucrezia and Cordelia sing with angels and thrive away from the great race in the night no longer “dark and full of terrors”.
- I realise at this point that I am referring to a lot of media excepting music, but they’re all expanded upon in other posts on this blog or media files elsewhere
- Me, Myself and Cordelia: https://labellaborgia.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/me-myself-and-cordelia/7
- Brothers & Sisters: https://labellaborgia.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/brothers-sisters-3/
- The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R’hllor
My extended metaphor aside, I want to write about music today, seeing as I’ve been crying (inexplicably, I might add!) through three episodes from season 2 of Glee! It was nothing in the show particularly that elicited such a visceral response from me but it’s a show that, despite being cliched, unbearably American and full of unrealistic teen drama (even from the adults), is about music and the joys of music healing people and bringing them together with other people, who would have left them behind or never known them and made a difference in their lives. Can you see how this fits in with my metaphor dragged out above? Just in case I’ve been too cryptic, I’ll spell it out: it’s a show about people falling, failing and fumbling their way through life but more than that, it’s a TV show about others picking you up and being aware that you matter, especially in the episodes aired in the aftermath of Cory Monteith’s tragic passing.
Anyway, back to music!
The first tunes I remember and the first moments of insurmountable joy I experienced during a melody were those of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s composition. I used to adore musicals and Kid’s Week in London was the highlight of my year. Now, I find them just adaptations of better works and overly sentimental romances, but Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s works still hit a resounding note with me, despite the fact that I listen to them less and less. Just to give you a rundown, of all his musicals, I have seen (though, even where I haven’t seen the show, I know of the songs, e.g. I have never seen Song and Dance but I have sung Tell Me On a Sunday):
- Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968)
- NB. also my first exposure to Donny Osmond, whom I love also!
- Jesus Christ Superstar (1970)
- At Chigwell School, this was one of the shows and I played trumpet in the orchestra
- Evita (1976)
- Cats (1981)
- The Phantom of the Opera (1986)
- I believe, other than the Joel Schumacher film, I have seen the show in London’s West End over ten times
- Whistle Down the Wind (1996)
- Bombay Dreams (2002)
- Love Never Dies (2010)
- NB. I saw this twice and the original ending (SPOILERS!) was that Christine dies and Gustave resides with his natural father, the Phantom, after losing his mother and I LOVED THAT! Then, after a cast change and alteration to the musical, I saw it again and the ending was changed so that Raoul returns after leaving his wife and “son” and the Phantom lets Gustave return to the father he knew rather than stay with the father he knew no and I HATED IT
I have also seen all of the BBC 1 talent show-auditions for Andrew Lloyd-Webber productions and adored them, but I’m getting sidetracked by a delineation of the history of my fanatical following of Lloyd-Webber. I’ll get back to proper writing now!
For my third form prom, I sang The Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera and for the reason that it speaks of how music brings a lonely, scarred, incomplete man love, a vocation and a life, I have never found another song to replace it in my heart. Those lyrics that opened this article are words I long to sing and love to recall when nothing but music for a while (kudos to any music lovers who get that reference!) can soothe my achy, breaky heart. (I am on fire with these references!).
The lyrics of the entire song are about transcending out of this banal and brutal world to one where fantasies can come to life and you can be who you are, not who you appear to be. That is my life, through television, through film, through whatever I can find. My need is to leave Pippa behind and become someone else who can feel love and give love in a world that is not going to find pitchforks and cages with which to punish me for being ugly, for being evil, for being a monster. For, that is what you become when you fall and the run of life leaves you behind because no one living, who runs away from death and towards life itself, remembered to look for you or reach for your hand to save you, who are forced to begin the long march to death. You become a monster and a beast with no salvation other than that you search and yearn for beyond this life and away from this earth that has forsaken you.