I am going to write this with Puff the Magic Dragon on repeat.  I shall ramble on about all the things it’s making me think of.

I was very disappointed when it came out that Puff the Magic Dragon might have been written about drugs.  No, it’s about a very cute dragon who lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist.  Ahh, it’s so sweet.  I can picture a smiling baby dragon flying around and bouncing around on a quiet, sandy beach.

I was once on an overnight train from somewhere north of the Arctic Circle in Norway to Oslo.  I woke as it got light and looked out of the train window.  It was one of the most beautiful and magical things I’ve ever seen – sadly no Puff – and it probably wasn’t even that amazing but we were going along tracks next to a fjord.  I remember there being a really jagged low-level coastline, the sea was quite calm, there were mountains and the sky was a glorious sunrise stained colour.  It was beautiful and one of those magic moments in life when you feel you’ve been rewarded with something stunning that no one else has seen.

I am on my second listen of Puff and I am being reminded that it’s a sad story.  I think it’s about growing up.  I wonder what Peter Pan is like to read now.  I don’t know if I particularly liked it or not and I know I never wanted to be an eternal child but sometimes I feel it’s only children who can get away with living in a magical world where everyday things are exciting.

This reminds me of a picture that someone posted on Facebook and which I then “shared”.  There is an ordinary-looking man walking along a pavement with a nondescript wall next to him.  There is a pigeon flying above him.  However, the shadow of the man is actually a heroic-looking knight battling with a dragon, which is the shadow of the pigeon.  There is a caption: “My life is so much more interesting inside my head”.  That really struck a chord with me as I have superhero type tendencies in terms of how I see things!  It really does make mundane things more interesting.  But every now and then I wonder if there are many other people who also do this.  I am sure there are!

I might be tiring slightly of this song.  A friend mentioned she was watching Princess Bride the other week.  That is one of my favourite films.  However, the book is so much better and there are so many more things that happen in the book.  Interestingly I think, William Goldman also wrote Marathon Man (a book of a genre that doesn’t interest me but which was recommended to me and which is one of the best books I’ve ever read) and the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  It’s definitely about time I either re-read Princess Bride or at least watched the film version.

I feel all fairy taily now, but sadly I don’t think I’ll be listening to Puff the Magic Dragon again for a while, it’s not the best song to have on repeat five or six times!  Tom Waits now!


{19/07/2012}   Clubbing

In my rose-tinted heyday I went clubbing most Saturday nights and on a fair few Tuesdays and Thursdays while at university (student club nights with ludicrously cheap alcohol!).  Despite having had some fantastic nights out, it was at some point during the rose-tinted years that I realised I didn’t usually enjoy clubbing, it was just something you kind of did, a rite of passage if you like.  Now, seeing people going into or leaving clubs (the stuff of early morning airport runs!), I am reminded that I would have nothing to wear that wouldn’t make me lamby mutton or frump, I hate dance music and being out past midnight renders me defective for at least the duration of the following day.  Plus, I struggle with the price of drinks and am prone to disapproving looks at scantily clad girls.

I read an article recently about Ibiza and how it’s transformed (-ing?) from lager and alcopops to vintage champagne and classy cocktails.  That’s all fine.  Then I read a list of celebrities and millionaires who now partied in Ibiza and a load of them were older than me.  I am in danger of sounding like a fuddy duddy but for me clubbing was something I did up to my mid-20s before I realised I was no longer interested in a potential snog in an alleyway, getting staggery, slurred drunk, having your bum fondled and feeling rough the next day as you try to piece together what exactly happened the night before.  Or maybe I just went to the wrong clubs?!  I still drink and go out, I just prefer to go out places where I can chat to friends and have a decent meal rather than a belated, “Ooops, I didn’t have dinner.  Kebabs, anyone?”

Apparently, it costs about £55 to get into one of Ibiza’s posh clubs.  To get my money’s worth, I would feel a need to get there at opening time and leave at closing time.  To stay awake, I would need to keep up vigorous dancing for most of the night, which I am too unfit to do, and I would consequently dehydrate and end up drinking too much, feeling dreadful as a result.  I would then get alcohol-induced moroseness at all the rich, beautiful people dancing lithely without having broken out into a sweat, make-up intact.  At some point, I would probably piss off someone influential with my sweaty flailing and get myself chucked out.  I would at least, if I could remember much, have good material for a blog post/club review!

All that said, to dance like a maniac to poppy, sing/shout-along music is something I don’t often do enough these days and something which at times is just so, so much fun.  I find myself wondering what it’d be like to rub shoulders with the likes of Naomi Campbell in Ibiza … oh, hold on, that doesn’t solve my outfit issue!  Or the expense issue … maybe I should just officially retire from clubbing and save my windmill moves and shakes to weddings!

I love listening to music.  I expect most people do.  Apart from the escapism element of music, my favourite thing about hearing a particular song is how easily it transports you to another time, how it gives you a little burst of memory magic.

I wanted to write about one song so I was desperately thinking of really cool songs that have meaning to me.  I thought it’d elevate my music credibility.  Sadly, I’ve now got a song in my head that doesn’t give me that cred but that’s the one I’m going to have to write about.

Name that tune:  “Looks like we made it, Look how far we’ve come my baby.  We might have took the long way …”

Shania Twain, You’re Still The One.  It’s not a favourite song, I doubt it’d go on a ‘mix tape’ but whenever I hear it I can’t help but smile.  I’m not a lyrics person, I a more a tune-rememberer.  In fact, I listen to songs, sing the wrong words but generally get the tune about right.  Listening to Shania right now, I realise that the words are also really sweet.  But that’s still not the point.

Even playing this song deliberately to put me in the mood for writing this, I find myself smiling and I am transported to a covered shopping street in Nara, Japan, where I’d just moved.  It’s March 1998.  I am at the beginning of two and a half years of what I will always remember as being a hugely life-changing, character-building time for me.  I am walking down that street and it’s full-on Japan, despite only being a small town.  It’s busy, noisy and smelly.  Shop assistants are shouting welcomes from shop doorways, automatic pachinko parlour doors keep opening to emit the roar of ‘game machines’, I can smell food, unfamiliar Japanese food.  And from the loud speakers situated near the roof of the covered street (as if more noise is needed), Shania Twain is singing about her love.  It’s exciting.  The whole place is alive, buzzing and I am about as close to being in Alice’s Wonderland as I can ever imagine being.  And I’ve been hearing that song all the time since I arrived and it marks the beginning of a whole series of crazy, wonderful adventures.

It is definitely a happy memory but even now, listening to the song on repeat on YouTube, it seems kind of sad.  Actually I feel kind of sad.  Maybe it’s because I’ve rose tinted the life I had then, maybe because amidst the amazing experiences I had there, some life-changingly awful things happened to me, mainly my dad dying while I was there.  But I don’t feel horribly sad, I guess it’s just that hearing that makes me want to really be back there and now the song has ended it’s quiet and I’m not.  But that’s what’s so great about a trigger song like that, it allows you to momentarily peer into another life.  Because that’s kind of how the past feels, it’s kind of another you.  But for me it’s probably enough to appreciate that the past is what made me who I am today and a few minutes of feeling transported to a place that I can rose tint as much as I like so long as it doesn’t consume me is a magic moment indeed.    So thank you Shania Twain for “You’re Still the One”; every time I hear it, I am reminded of some times I don’t ever want to forget.


et cetera