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Bursting Into Life…

21 June, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m away from home just now. I have been for a few weeks and will be for another week or so. Before that I was home for a short while, but I’ve been away off and on, if I’m honest, for the best part of 13 years. Over that time there have been many songs which have grabbed my attention, not all rock as you may expect, sometimes very simple songs.

One such song would be Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. The last time I was on tour I had an acoustic guitar with me which I played (or tried to) as often as possible. With the song having such a simple guitar part it was a sure bet for me to learn with my limited talents.

There are things that happen while you’re away which don’t hit you until you get home. One of these is your perception. I mean everything, your senses adapt to your surroundings, the sights, sounds and smells which seem so alien to you on arrival soon become ‘the norm’ and all memory of colour is washed away.

This was my situation when I landed in Brize Norton at the end of my tour. I’d spent six months in Helmand Province being blinded by the drab tan landscape, bombarded with alternating smells of shit and baked earth and listening to armoured vehicles, Chinooks and whingeing Staff Officers, I was knackered. As I pulled out of Brize in the hire car I dialled in Radio 1 and it was Jo Whiley with her Live Lounge, she introduced the show’s performer for that day and I nearly switched over, Natasha Bedingfield? Surely she was just another digitally tuned pop starlet who couldn’t really perform? How wrong could I be!

As the song began I was filled with a sense of colour as I drove through the Oxfordshire countryside, have you ever noticed how true the words ‘green and pleasant land’ really are? The fields and trees seemed to glow with a fluorescence which was hard to comprehend, add to that the smell of moisture in the air and my combined senses lifted me to a place of heightened awareness, and then she sang:

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life

It’s strange how some things, no matter how simple, stay with you forever as freshly as the day they happened. I can still close my eyes and visualise the view and, if I hear the song (especially her version), everything’s pulled so sharply into focus I can actually smell the moisture in the air.

It’s the little things that matter.

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