“Whatever Mess You Are, You’re Mine…”

Be safe, be safe. Whatever the mess you are you’re mine, OK?

(“Challengers” – The New Pornographers)

OK. This isn’t a beer post. I’m not even sure what it IS. But this morning, on the way to work, I started thinking about what music means to me. And how I return to certain albums. Because they move me.

And I got to listening to this

Now then. Maybe I’m attuned (no pun intended – I’m not funny) to these things, given my “history”. Or maybe the beer “industry” (especially “craft”) has a higher proportion of devotees / employees with mental health issues.

Shit. We might just be living in dark times or people are generally simply less resilient.

But I seem to pick up on “issues” so much from my social media feeds.

Recently, my TLO “outed” me to a very nice man as not being quite as confident as I portray. As I act. Anybody who has lived with – or suffered from – depression may recognise this. The “act”. To mask the hole in your core. The face you put on, to seem “normal”.

And the thing that helps me to apply the make up in the morning is music.

When I returned to work after 5 months of “grieving”, I found it physically difficult to leave the platform at Manchester Airport train station. To ascend the escalator.

And there were two songs. Just the two (initially). That almost literally gave me the power to get up those steps. To lock the tears away. Helped apply the “face” that I needed to get through the day. Each and every day.

They were “Johnny Was” & “Never Let Me Down Again

Neither are what you might call “chirpy”. Both are – in their own ways – quite grim in their subject matter (death in a time of conflict and heroin addiction)

But – if you listen to them, you’ll see – they have an undeniable “power”. A force. They certainly forced me up that escalator.

When I was diagnosed with depression for the first time, I was offered meds. And I was utterly terrified. Scared of dependancy. Almost as a knee jerk I rejected that “solution” to the condition.

Music is my drug. Always has been. And as I’ve repeated many times, it’s way more important to me than beer.

I remember fondly an incident at Phil’s funeral.

I was extremely flattered to be asked to put together a playlist for the “celebration”. His life was indeed something to be celebrated. He lived it fully. He also remains one of the loveliest humans I’ve ever known. I had a clue what to use. This was – after all – for and about him and for a number of years I’d been making playlist cds for him.

Anyway, half way through, Daughter Thing and her bezzie approached the laptop as “1 Thing” by Amerie came on.

“You can’t like this! It’s our age!” stated DT.

Now then, smiling, I went on the offensive. “Music doesn’t know age” “If it’s good, I like it!”

Nobody is going to tell me I can’t like “LSD” by A$AP Rocky or “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar. To me, this is music of beauty, with the power to move.

Currently, this jovial edifice is a fragile construction. It won’t bear too many floors. Hell, it might even be an emotional bungalow. And it is music that loosens the mortar. Just sat at my desk earlier when Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting” and within seconds I was moist of eye.

It’s musical prompts that shake my foundations. Always have.

Hey. This piece had no direction. This is my pressure valve. And – as you already know “I’m a rambler from Manchester way”

Back soon. With something beer related.

And – back to the start – I can never say enough QUITE how much I love that New Pornographers album. Especially the voice of Neko Case.