The Magic of Music

Abbey Road
Image Courtesy of Apple corp

This time of year, is very special to me because as a family collective we love Christmas. I know this because the women in our family start planning for this extravaganza in October.

To make things worse come the first of December Lady Ann starts watching very average American TV Christmas films full of very bad acting and melodrama that could make you choke on your hot chocolate.

The only thing I truly love about the pre-Christmas warm up is the genius of the creativity of the people who make the Christmas commercials. These thirty or sixty second mini masterpieces are the result of people at the top of their creative game and they have budgets to die for and stories to tell which are truly fantastic.

My favourite by a huge margin this year is the John Lewis Commercial. It’s not only the story that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside although that is amazing, it’s the choice of music and the artist that makes it special.

Golden Slumbers by the Beatles is by any measure a masterpiece. Add Guy Garvey into the mix who has a voice like velvet and a story that resonates with most of us (lying in bed scared of the monster’s underneath) is a work of true genius.

What makes it special is it works on several levels. I can remember listening to Radio Luxembourg on a transistor radio in my bed when Abbey Road was released in 1968. They played the album in its entirely without commercials (which was unheard of at the time) and thinking this was by far the best thing I had ever heard.

Two weeks later after saving up my money from my paper round I had enough money to go and buy the album, something I will always remember. Handing over a couple of quid and running home to listen to the album.

So, let’s travel forwards to the present. I sit down and watch the commercial and listen to Guy Garvey doing a fantastic version and it still has the same effect on me as it did then, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. That’s no mean feat from an almost 50-year-old piece of music.

Music is invaluable it brings memories flooding back. It feels like it happened only yesterday.

I remember the very moment I heard it, lay in my bed feeling the soft fluffy sheets dressed in my stripy pyjamas with a small transistor radio hidden underneath the pillow, listening to this magical music on a single earpiece with the volume drifting in and out of signal and me thinking life will never get better than this.

That is the Magic of music!

Taking Stock at the End of the Year

Mince-pies-angels

I don’t know about you but last time I blinked it was Easter and now I have just returned from my grand daughters school nativity and I am looking at the impending Christmas celebrations in a state of shell shock. 

As another year grows to a close if you are like me you will mentally taking stock of what has happened through the past year and how you have faired in the grand scheme of things.

So how do you judge how well or otherwise you have done. I suppose its all down to your own personal experience. Now I am a fairly positive individual, I am in the cup half full brigade opposed to the keeping up with the neighbors gang so my outlook is obviously coloured by this.

Now at my age the first thing on the list in your health, without it your life becomes instantly more complicated, and your time is consumed by waiting in crowded hospitals with people who could infect you with the black death at any given moment. This time last year I was recovering from what everyone thought was a heart attack. It wasn’t and I am still here and even more of a bonus I now know I have a perfectly healthy heart so I can now eat butter again for the first time in a decade.

So the next thing on the list is my Family. My long suffering wife who has had serious health problems in the past appears to be recovering. I know this because she is showing signs that her lust for life has returned and has made this year very special, its as though I have the woman I first met back in my life and that is priceless.

During the past twelve months my offspring have both found partners who will put up with them and there foibles and who are blissfully happy. I know this because the phone has stopped ringing quite as often. The only drawback to this scenario is that the number for Christmas dinner has doubled and the presents under the tree mean I cannot see the television without sitting up straight in my chair.

Unfortuately this year saw the passing of my cousin Jennifer who passed away a few weeks ago and my thoughts are with her family at this time, I find myself feeling a little guilty because I should have taken the time to keep in touch whilst I had the chance.

Friends are the next on my list, this year has been an exceptional year, I am lucky to have friends who always know when to turn up just when you need dusting off and leave when they think you can stand on your own two feet again. More importantly I haven’t lost any or been to a funeral which is always a bonus. It appears that living through the sixties and seventies was very detrimental to your health and longevety. 

The last thing on my list is my job. I am one of the lucky ones in life, I love what I do, I suppose my wife is right when she says I haven’t done a days work in my life, and I hate to admit it but I think she is right. The great thing about my job is the people I meet and try to help deliver various projects. From students who are at the start of there chosen career through to business men who need a hand in trying to understand the brave new digital world in which they have to exist. 

The most rewarding part of my role is helping community groups who are trying to improve were they live with very little in the way of resources, these people are the true heroes of modern society, people who share the little they have to help the communities they live in. 

So back to my opening premiss, How do you judge how well are you doing? It’s very simple, as long as you can cover your bills, have your health and are surrounded by people who love and care for you, you are better off that at least half the planet. 

According to my wife, if you add someone to do the ironing, copious amounts of Mince Pies and Horlicks into the mix life doesn’ t get any better. So all that remains for me to say is I hope that you and your families have a merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.