Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My music is my refuge

My music is my refuge. We mustn't lose hope. - Mohammed Mohiedin Anis

As I flicked through the Metro this morning en route into Central Glasgow, I stopped in awe, wonder, shock and amazement at a striking, beautiful and haunting image.

Sitting amongst the horrors of war is 70-year old Mohammed Mohiedin Anis, his home, in Aleppo, destroyed, no walls, no windows, no doors, furniture virtually destroyed, his bed strewn with rubble. Yet his record player still works, he lights his pipe and plays classical music.

The photographer, Joseph Eid, described the image as 'a novel in one shot'. And it is. It says so much about hope, about the power of music, the wonder of getting lost in it, finding comfort, solace, joy....Yet it also clearly portrays and  describes - in one shot - the horror and destruction of war. 

You can read the full incredible article by Ishaan Tharoor via the Washington Post.

It really got me thinking of the times I have sought refuge in music; as a teenager rejected by a girl, or dumped by a girl, those troubled teenage years when you feel alone, that no-one understands, when I didn't get a job I really wanted, when I lost my Dad..... nothing in comparison to the image above.

I tend to think of happier times; truly discovering the power of pop/rock as a kid when I must have played Bon Jovi's Living On A Prayer; the pure pop rush and fun of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now; jumping and moshing around my bedroom to Smells Like Teen Spirit; hearing The Concept by Teenage Fanclub and the joys of duelling guitars and three part harmonies; the wonder of Brown, Squire, Mani and Reni combining to create guitar, bass, drum and vocal melodies, riffs and beats that you could sing; getting lost in Screamadelica, Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb and Jam and Spoon in my friend Reddy's room; punching the air in wild delight to Oasis; walking to the station/work with my cassette personal stereo and swaggering like Tim Burgess in the morning sunshine whilst singing a-long to North Country Boy.....

It keeps going; that joyful moment when you hear a song you have never heard - Kids In America by Kim Wilde at a friends 30th; playing the 7-inch of Hot Chip's A Boy From School at Edinburgh School Of Art and much cooler people than me going crazy and asking who it was; kids at the Wee Red Bar gasping with amazement when I told them the song I just played (Tomorrow Never Knows) was by The Beatles - I had to show them the record and play it again;

Then there is the sheer feeling of elation when band/artist and audience become one like Underworld playing Rez, the sheer ecstasy of Orbital playing Chime and taking it into Belfast, the Roses epic 15-minute Fools Gold at Heaton Park or me crying with joy in Amsterdam when they played Ten Storey Love Song and This Is The One; Marlena Shaw playing California Soul; Candi Statton playing You Got The Love; the DJ at Barraloadasoul dropping (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher; Neneh Cherry doing Buffalo Stance; Jimmy Cliff causing me to cry when he played I Can See Clearly Now at Wickerman; Nile Rodgers and Chic playing one of the best sets I have ever seen; the chills down my spine the first time I saw and heard Brian Wilson playing Good Vibrations or Arthur Lee and Love playing You Set The Scene; my ongoing love affair with Temptation by New Order and the Ritchie Havens version of Going Back To My Roots

Music is my refuge when friends and family create a moment of wonder when everything seems to stop; the moment Stephen Solo plays Crying Because and everyone stops talking and you can hear a pin drop; when my sister and TeenCanteen do an acapella version of Honey; when Stevie Jukes sings let your heartbeat or lets live forever, together we can stay young the audience puts their hands in the air; when Miaoux Miaoux takes an audience on a journey with Stop The Clocks.....

Music is my refuge when I can wander into a bar or gig, escape reality and marvel at the talent of someone playing...an original...a cover....when you can enjoy a song, a melody, a chorus, a lyric, a riff....

Music is such a huge part of my life, it has brought me great joy, friendship and love. I know that it will continue to do so. The moment when you can get lost and forget the world, forget everything and just be in the moment is truly special, music can take you there.......

The image that prompted this outpouring is incredible. I hope and I believe that Mohammed Mohiedin Anis got lost for a minute, for a moment, for the length of a song or record, that he was able to escape the horror, the destruction, the tragedy.....






Mohammed Mohiedin Anis, 70, smokes his pipe as he sits in his destroyed bedroom listening to music in Aleppo. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

1 comment:

charity chic said...

An inspiring story and a lovely post Murray