I was listening to Henry Mancini just the other day. You remember him right, the composer of The Pink Panther movies? Well, I’d placed on the Spotify turntable the score for the first movie, titled (you guessed it), The Pink Panther.
Man what a score. It’s lively and vibrant and full of jazz and fun and it gets your feet tapping and there’s a real cool bit with an agogo and…me thinks I am too enthused!
It’s smooth and it’s fun and it is what life should be.
Now, as I look out of my window and the autumn leaves fall from the trees, hinting at the beginning of the season of death, I am glad that this music is sifting in through my ear canal and then dives into the chamber of solar plexus. It is lifting a mood from so-so to smiley. I am almost like the emoji, the one that comes from the badge from Watchmen. Yes it is cold, it is grey (when is it not in the UK?) and my garden is collecting the dead leaves as if it were placing them in a vessel for a keepsake; perhaps an urn for nature.
Anyhoo…It got me thinking. Music! If music be the food of love, play on. Someone wrote that and what a fine piece of prose it is too. You see, music is a gateway to your imagination, your soul, your emotions and it enables you to harness the power of meditation.
Music has a unique ability to alter your state. Okay, maybe not unique, people can do that too, and movies, and pictures, emails too, and the weather, and relationships and…(stop there)
Music does play an important role in our emotional wellbeing. Just picture this event that I am almost 199% sure could have happened to you, maybe:
You’re in the car, picture the scene in your mind; traffic is clogging up all around you and the voice of the radio DJ is not making any difference to your growing frustration and increasing anger. You’re going to be late, this is such a waste of time, of life, of petrol. Oh there are so many things that are wrong with this scenario that you wished you could write a letter to your MP, or to your milkman, or the person who is causing this madness. Then, something magical happens. You notice the first bar of the music, that first chord and you are instantly transported to a place far away. It’s like you have journeyed to another location, the hills are rolling and pirates skip along the shoreline. The next chord follows and you nod approvingly, yes, this is the one, this is the perfect piece of music. Suddenly the interior of your car glows, a glitter ball hangs from the rear-view mirror and as the lyrics begin you are away. You are at the O2, or Cobham village hall, and you are the star. Your negative energy is released as your lungs fill with air so you can hit that note, the one people thought only Simon Le Bon could hit. You are there!
The power of music.
Now I would like to introduce you to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s soundtracks. Because there are a great many here that are joyful. First of all you have the rhythm and soul of the jazz. Think High Society, Louis Armstrong announcing “Beginning of story.” You have the genius of Henry Mancini, who not only did The PP, but also Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Then you have the Bond movies scored by John Barry. Then we head into the 70’s with cop shows, think of Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, The Bionic Man. All these had cool and sharp theme tunes that encourage your fingers into a clicking motion.
This is music you can walk to work with. This is the kind of music that will put a skip in your step. You know what this sort of music can give you?
That’s what it’s all about. As you sit in your car belting out A-Ha or whatever the track is that gives you goosebumps, you feel enriched with energy because you have opened your imagination to a possible alternate life. You taking front and centre and wowing the crowds ahead of you. You look so cool, and then when you walk with this playing in your earbuds you could almost dance along the street.
Going out to get lunch becomes a musical number. You sing your order to the lady behind the counter at the bakery. You chime your delight at the delicious looking Choux Bun that you treat yourself to. During your walk in the park you imagine high-fiving everyone you walk past, and you nearly do it, because you’ve got Mancini driving you along.
This is the music that helps you walk on air. Jazz is an energy, it connects to our soul. Yes some of it can be a bit overbearing and pompous, but not the popular stuff, stick to that. Stick to movie soundtracks. Make them the soundtrack to your life.
That’s what I do. I mainly listen to old Bond soundtracks, notably Moonraker. This soundtrack is written as if you were floating in space and offers a wonderful sense of calm because of it. It’s a great record to meditate to, I highly recommend it. Some of it is dramatic, but you can overcome that. Life is drama, and we all need some danger music in our lives at times. But the theme, sung by Shirley Bassey, is just as calming and dreamy and for three minutes you can be transported to another place.
Your place; your world. Not the real one that dares to knock on your door from time to time. That belongs to other people. Your world is yours.
The beauty of thinking like that is that it is not wrong. We all view things from our own perspective and yours is different to mine. That makes us rich, unique and beautiful.
Make your life soundtrack. Create a playlist and stick it on your phone. It has really helped with my emotional health, and it has worked wonders for me while writing this. Which may explain some of it!
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Stay fresh out there, enrich your world and believe that you are all the power you need.