Sunday, July 24, 2005

Rip it up and start again

One of the pleasures of visiting my parents' home is rediscovering old CDs gathering dust under the bed. So I've spent a couple of hours ripping albums, to listen to at leisure another day on my Walkman:

Robert Johnson - King Of The Delta Blues; R.E.M. - Monster; Cesaria Evora - Cabo Verde; ABBA - Voulez-Vous; Radio Tarifa - Temporal; Jewel - Spirit; George Michael - Faith; Khaled - Sahra; Joni Mitchell - Hits; Alison Krauss - Collection; Van Morrison - Tupelo Honey; Jimi Hendrix - Ultimate Experience; U2 - War; Fiesta Mora - Hispanor; Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow; John Lee Hooker - More Real Folk Blues.

Some of these are embarrassing but fun (ABBA, Jewel, George Michael, Sheryl Crow), others are good old-fashioned "grandad rock" (Hendrix, Morrison), some are "great-grandfather blues" (Johnson, Hooker) and others are a little bit hippy (Krauss, Joni). But at different points in my life I loved each and every one of them. As I've mentioned before, my Walkman is enabling me to listen to music other than my usual suspects (I still haven't downloaded a single David Bowie track to my player yet), to revisit the old and forgotten, as well as acquaint myself with the new.

And I've found other traces of former lives at my parents' home: books on yoga and meditation, which I used to do regularly, rising at 6 in the morning during my late teens; an old Olympus SLR camera with an array of lenses and books on developing techniques that guided me through many a darkroom sojourn at undergraduate college; writing and painting notebooks, manuscripts and sketchpads from my school and university days (I had a literary agent and an editor at one point); shelves and folders bulging with smudged cooking books annotated with my handwritten notes, torn-out recipes and scribbled recipe inventions from as recently as my postgrad days; I even created a garden from scratch in a house I lived in in Oxford (I'll gloss over the fact that I filled it with dull pink dahlias and orange California poppies side by side -- it's the attempt that counts, isn't it?).

Visiting my parents is often a time for regrouping and reflecting. Away from the frenetic whirr of life in London, I can afford myself some luxurious thinking and dreaming space.

When did I stop being a producer of my own and become a consumer of other peoples' creativity? When I moved to London and got lost in a "proper" career. Time to rekindle some of my old pursuits. And at the very least, to slow down and carve out more dreaming time.

No comments: