- Andy Salkeld
It has been a long time since I wrote anything here. Being honest I forget this website exists at times. I still haven't figured out exactly what I want to use it for, if for anything in particular. Maybe not everything in life needs a purpose. Sometimes things can just be. I should probably think about that some more, but that's deeper and more inward reflection than I want to cover here and now.
This is probably going to get ramble-y.
There's a lot of thoughts and feelings flowing through me right now; most, if not all, of which are positive for a change!
You're welcome to read along as always. I can't really TLDR this one for you I'm afraid. It's as much a process (and somewhat catharsis) for me to write this, so it'll be just as much a process for you to read it and to see where the story ends up and how my life has changed for the better.
Music is the Language of our Soul
Much has been written about the five love languages and I'm certainly not going to repeat all of that here. My love language is somewhere between 'words of affirmation' and 'quality time' for what it's worth. I have limited self confidence and low self esteem (regardless of how I act!) and people saying nice things about me or simply spending time with me makes me feel loved.
However, music is what makes me feel alive.
Well, that and standing in front of an audience of thousands humiliating myself and sarcastically mocking society and culture.
I have organised to go to my first gig since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last gig I went to before the pandemic was Dashboard Confessional and my first gig back is going to be The Cat Empire.
I barely knew any of the songs by The Cat Empire before this past month. Somehow I managed to convince a group of friends from York that coming to see a band they probably don't know would be a good idea. I took it upon myself to get to know the music more as if I was to be the tour guide, then I'd probably need to know some of the songs.
For me music is mostly about lyrics. I either enjoy no lyrics and lots of bass or I like intricate lyrics that hold some meaning. One song by The Cat Empire has always stood out to me for their lyrics. The song is called The Chariot and the lyrics are as follows:
This is a song that came upon me one night, when the news it had been telling me about one more war and one more fight and I sighed but then I thought about my friends and I wrote this declaration just in case the world ends.
This be a declaration written about my friends, it's engraved into this song so they know I'm not forgetting them. See maybe if the world contained more people like these then the news would not be telling me about all that warfare endlessly.
I think about this song a lot. I have met some absolutely fantastic people in my life. There are people that have changed me and helped me become a better person. After everything went bad for me, I made my own declaration, admittedly to myself, that I want my life to be a testament to those people. If anything ever came of my life, I wanted them to know they'd played a part in it and that it was because of them. My success would be their success and as I helped and supported others this endless pyramid scheme (it's not a pyramid scheme, honest!) of help and support would continue.
As I was exploring new song I can across one that really made me feel. I don't know if the lyrics are intended to evoke the feelings of loss and reunion, but that's exactly how I interpreted it.
This song talks about 'the other side' (different from De Other Side) and the dead. To me I understand the lyrics to be about reunion with loved ones lost. Maybe I just want to read it this way and that is absolutely fine. Music whilst defined be the melody and rhythm induces emotional responses and so very few people will experience the same musical piece the same way.
Regardless, this song touched my heart.
After diving into The Cat Empire's catalogue and seeing what their recent setlists have been, I am so excited to see them live.
I'm just excited to see live music again.
To dance is to be free!
36 years in the making
With music in my heart I finally got to do something I honestly never thought would happen. It genuinely changed my life and gave me reason to think towards a future and come to peace with the present and past.
I've tried explaining this to a few people, but it's complicated and there's such a well of emotion attached to it that it's hard to put into words properly. I'm just going to show you because it's easier.
I finally said goodbye to my sister.
I finally stand there and mourned a loss that has affected me so deeply.
I felt relieved.
I don't want to go into the inner workings about why this hasn't been possible until now. That's not my story to tell. Please don't go chasing reasoning either if you read this, not that I think anyone will. I just want to be able to share something with you all that fundamentally changed my life and even my outlook on life.
The words are a line from Sleep Won't Sleep by The Cat Empire (slightly modified). See, I can hold together a narrative across a rambling monstrosity like this! The flowers were white with a single purple flower. My message reads as I would speak, and it felt so nice to be able to speak to my sister and call myself her big brother. I may be the big brother to my own brothers, Nick and Chris, but there is a different relationship between brother and sister and this allowed me to experience it if only for a moment.
I had carried a lot of guilt up until this point about not being able to say goodbye, and not being able to do anything. I think in a way it's survivor's guilt. Regardless of what it is, what it was and what it could have been, I feel released from it and there is a lightness in my step as I walk.
I intend to keep visiting as often as a can.
I would normally write a long and somewhat confusing ending to try and give this whole blog post a point, but for once I want to keep it simple.
"I'll be with you on the other side."