I have a signed copy of this album on vinyl, that I bought really cheaply at a second-hand music store in Camberwell. I have absolutely no idea whether or not the signatures are authentic. [image via maniadb]
All I’ve got here is books and music,
I used to have exercise, but I outgrew it.
- Eskimo Joe, “Smoke”
Back in 2004, I used the above lyrics as my screen-name on MSN Messenger. I “analysed” them in my LiveJournal, and wrote them out (amongst others) in my school diary. At the time of its release, Eskimo Joe’s A Song is a City was one of my absolute favourite albums – and judging by its ARIA chart performance (it reached #2 on the album chart!), I wasn’t alone. The first single, “From the Sea”, plagued radio airwaves; it even made it into the top three in that year’s Triple J Hottest 100. After ripping it to my iPod (which was quite the investment at the time!), I played A Song is a City on repeat for months. The record accompanied me on trams and trains and planes – it even came with me on exchange to France. So many memories I have from that year are set to the soundtrack of Eskimo Joe.
There has been evidence of a strong link between music and emotion for a very long time. In fact, one of the first mentions of the use of music therapy was in a paper written sometime between the years 872 and 950 (according to Wikipedia, that is). So when I saw the themes that Alex had set out for this month’s blog carnival, I was immediately able to identify my “answer” for week one: something that makes me happy. If I had to immediately think of one thing to make me happy – one thing that I couldn’t possibly survive without – that thing would be music.
This semester at uni, I’m taking a class where almost two hours a week are spent singing. You don’t need to be able to sing well; there are no auditions. We’re encouraged to make “glorious mistakes”. And I bloody well love it. For those two hours, I’m in a room full of (let’s face it, slightly nerdy) people who just want to sing songs from musical theatre. As someone who hasn’t really done much choral performance (0r any other ensemble work) since high school, this class is quite a novelty. To some it may seem like a waste of time, but for me it’s therapeutic.
On Friday night I underwent another form of musical therapy: I travelled back in time.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of A Song is a City‘s release, Kav Temperley performed the album in full, acoustically, at the Northcote Social Club. Through stories of jam rooms, songwriting sessions, and plagiarisms, Kav took the audience on a journey through the record’s conception and creation. Meanwhile, I traversed through my own memories, singing along with the crowd. It was late and I was tired, but I was happy. Because music – whether I’m making it, listening to it, singing along, or dancing – is what makes me happy…
…and that is the slightly rushed ending to what could have been a much better-written blog post. I guess I’ll try harder next week.
This post was written as a part of the Adventures in TV-Land Blog Carnival, where a whole heap of blogs publish vaguely themed posts throughout the month of August. If you’d like to learn more, and maybe take part, you can read all about it right here.
Alex’s post for week one can be found here. At the bottom, she’s linked to everybody else’s carnival posts for this week.
If, for whatever reason, you’re interested in reading more about my weird love/hate relationship with the band Eskimo Joe, I once covered it in quite some detail on this very blog.