Diva Edwin gave me a lovely home-made CD of chrissy songs, which reminded me of all the mix tapes I used to make for myself, especially when I new there was going to be a temporary change in my life. I had a Christmas Hols 1988, a Greece 1984, an Exams 1990 TEE...
Once we planned a family trip across the UK and parts of the continent, so all my songs were chosen for long-distance travel with great views and nights spent in at my mum's home in Itea, Greece. My choices? INXS, Howard Jones, The Communards, Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles album, The Big Chill soundtrack. And everytime we rode a train or drove en masse in a tiny van up a mountainside, these songs would be blaring in my ears as I thought dreamily about stories of me and some romantic hero in the countryside...
So now I am listening to Edwin's choices and thinking of the feelings they have stirred in him that warrant them as his picks for this christmas CD. And though I may not know why or even understand why THAT song, I do get that under the glitter he is a romantic and is deeply inspired by beauty and the sanctity of a fantasy well-fantasised.
Now I have listened to his little album, the personal-ness of it gets me looking through all my music, and at last I choose "the Fantasy Suite" by Al Di Meola and others, a lovely, haunting instrumental that seems to be building a fantasy film set around me, all shadows, reds, squeals and emotions.
It's like a memory I have of attending an outdoor concert for the closing of the Perth International Arts Festival sometimes in the mid 90s. It was night. We had toruble parking, but we managed to find a place and trawl through the hundreds of people setting up their foldup chairs and picnics and portable barbecues on the grounds of the Perth Concert Hall. We were a way away from the orchestra, but it was wonderful. If you've never understood why anyone would go to a concert hall to listen to a live orchestra when half the price of the ticket would get you a recording which you can listen to over and over again, I'll tell you this: it's the feeling in the air.
And it's a real feeling. Even though it might all be miked up, at a live concert you can feel the vibration in the air - the hum of the strings, the throaty exhalation of the woodwinds... It's a vibe and a thrum that lifts the spirits and makes your hair stand on end.
I have been to classical concerts where I've felt so brought alive by that feeling that I've been close to tears (sob sob - the magnitude of the human expression!) thinking about the beauty of it all.
Anyway, at the end of the concert, the conductor began leading the orchestra into Tchaikovsky's ( I think) 1812 Overture, where the endingis a vivid portrayal of a large succession of canon blasts, which at this performance, was perfectly timed with gigantic, loudly percussive thunderstrokey fireworks up overhead!!
We all lit up, it was like a fluoro light had been turned on above us. There were about 10 or more of them, all huge fireballs that dissolved into glittery sparks. The finale was grand. I'm sure it's been done time and time again, but it was a truly spectacular experience!
But besides my personal excitement, hearing the outward gasps and screams and expressions of awe and wonderment was a lovely thing to behold. No frowns, no concerns, no hassles, just pure delight and being in the moment.
So thanks for my chrissy mix fix Edwin, as I drown in an aural pool of Spanish histrionics and drama...