Friday, November 16, 2007

... is it ok...?

one of my favourite cds from years past (about a dozen or so) was by artist max sharam, called a million year girl. it had a few hits and was nominated for a bucketload of arias. i just liked the songs and the more i listened to it the more the songs got into my head. no surprises there, of course - if you spend time filling your head with something or other, some part of that something is bound to lodge in there.

thing is, the music didn't lodge like a sesame seed or a piece of spinach or that coppery-cellulosey bit in the popcorn that gets between your teeth and gums that you spend hours worrying out with toothpicks and tongue. it kind of dissolved into my brain, rising unbidden like an athena when i least expect it. there are a few albums and songs that do that for me... not heaps, not really, but there are a few.

i remember seeing advertising for max sharam's one-woman show in sydney last year or the year before and doing a bit of googlesearch found some reviews and articles about them. she played the melbourne international comedy festival, many gigs around australia, a ten-year-reunion gig for the album in '04, and the gig i saw her perform at at wollongong uni in 1995 (i think). (i caught a very late train home to my place in penshurst and was terrified i was going to be beaten up by a bunch of drunk guys who got on the train at thirroul and got off at sutherland...

a million year girl is a nostalgic touchstone for me. i don't listen to the album very often now but when i do, i feel pulled bodily into the past, into the feelings and emotions attached to the years i was living when i was listening to the album. merril bainbridge's album the garden, fiona apple's tidal, the doug anthony all-stars' icon and henry rollins' the boxed life all form a part of that internal soundtrack from then, glued together by canasta, Bible study, youth group, poetry and loneliness.

i suppose it's not a good thing to go back to the thing that causes you pain - but we're all human beings here, i guess, and hurting ourselves seems to be part of the package, whether we like it or not - but i believe that's a big part of what makes nostalgia bittersweet: that it's not just bitter...
and what im trying to say isn't really new...
it's just the things that happen to me
when im reminded of you
like when i hear your name
or see a place that you've been
or see a picture of your grin
or pass a house that you've been in
one time or another
it sets off something in me
i just can't explain
i don't often go looking for it - usually something will set it off and there i'll be, standing in 2007 but reliving ten years earlier, or twenty (if it's the pet shop boys), or twenty-five (if it's the smell of wattle)...

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