Tag Archives: music

Comfort Tunes

I had the flu last week. After an exceptionally busy weekend, bam, it knocked me out. Nothing dramatic – no more than a cold with benefits – but it just really dragged me down. In old books (Agatha Christie, say), they sometimes talk of people going into a depression “after a bout of influenza”; that’s not something you hear about often today, the concept that an illness can do more to you than give you a few coughs and sniffles.

So, point being, I was better by the beginning of this week, but only in a manner of speaking. I’ve still been dragging my emotional butt all week. The sunshine we had for a few days certainly helped (see Wednesday’s “Wordless” post), but then today, as per the promise of the weather forecast, the clouds fell down on us, and it started snowing again.

img_20170203_111135328So here I am, socked in at my house. I can’t even see the lake from the windows, it’s 9° below freezing, and the fine powder snow is relentlessly drifting down onto the world. And thoughts and feelings snow down onto my mind, piling up, pushing down; the ticking of the clock slicing my thoughts into slivers.

But then I reached for the CD player, and I took out the Sense and Sensibility soundtrack, the one from the 1995 movie, the score by Patrick Doyle. I put the disc into the player, pushed “Start”, and let the sound of the violins wash over me. And almost immediately, I felt better. Calmed, soothed, uplifted. The slivered thoughts reassembled themselves into a jigsaw puzzle – or perhaps they didn’t; perhaps they suddenly just didn’t matter so much. The music flowed around them, washing their jagged edges into rounded softness.

img_20170203_110932259The sounds lifted me out of this snowed-in, cold February day in 2017 North America, and in my mind I was in Austen’s (and Ang Lee’s) England, among green fields and sunshine, ladies in soft pastel gowns and gentle men in boots and greatcoats. Patrick Doyle’s musical genius never fails to move me, the half hour of the soundtrack taking me through a speed version of the film, of the story; and when the final, triumphant track “Throw the Coins” surges into its upswing, I know once again that the world can be all right, that heartbreak and darkness make way to love and sunshine.

Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said that music “soothes the savage breast”? It does. And it brings comfort to a cold, dark day. A day where now the falling snow outside is once again just cosy, the ticking of the clock a calming heartbeat to my life.

Life, the Universe, and Tunes That Comfort. What music do you reach for on those days?

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Filed under Jane Austen, life

Check It Out: “Patrick’s Song” by Norm Strauss

For today’s Check It Out let’s mix things up a bit: instead of a book, I want to introduce a song to you. Reader, meet Song, Song, Reader. Oh, that didn’t do it? Well, how about this: Check It Out: “Patrick’s Song”, by Norm Strauss, from his new album The Color of Everything. It being St Patrick’s Day and all – the song tells his story. If you want to know what actually happened sixteen hundred years ago to make St Patrick who he was, give it a listen (and no, shamrocks, shillelaghs and leprechauns don’t come into it).

Go to the link, and click on the play button underneath the album cover; you get to listen to quite a sizable chunk of the song there. I highly recommend you spend the buck and download the full song [Addendum! See PS below!] – or better yet, spend the tenner and get the whole album. “Patrick’s Song” is only one of my favourites in the collection; for the others, it’s a toss-up between “Late Bloomer”, “Immigrant” (a song about a German immigrant coming to Canada in 1952 – a topic that is, as you can probably imagine, close to my heart), “The Roofer”, and the title song “The Color of Everything”. Norm’s songs always have a story behind them – if you click on “info” beside the blue download button, you can read the lyrics and find out the background of the songs.

Incidentally, yes, Norm is related to Lee Strauss, whose books I’ve advertised here before – they’ve been married for close on thirty years. So much awesome art in one family.

Life, the Universe, and “Patrick’s Song”. Happy St Pat’s!

PS: Oy!! Just after I first posted this I saw a post from Norm – the song is free today!! Go here and get your free download so you can enjoy the whole thing. How great is that?

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Filed under Check It Out!