Tag Archives: Music

In which I debate house and home

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Synonyms are such a bizarre thing, wouldn’t you say? “House”…”Home”… They’re usually used interchangeably even though their connotation is rather different. I say this as a person whose first language uses the same word for both concepts (and then some). I do find myself leaning towards “home” in preference though. “House” feels so impersonal, a word that should be used to describe a building instead of the (hopefully) warm and fuzzy feeling that is “home”. Yes, I think “home” is a feeling, a state of being if you will, instead of a particular place. It’s being safe and comfortable and familiar with all the quirks that come with it.

For me home is Athens (some parts of it more than others), Paros, Norwich, heck! at a stretch I’d add Nottingham. Goodness knows I’ve grown at least used to this confused whirlwind of a city. But home for me is also fire crackling, swimming surrounded by waves, getting lost in a library, walking in the countryside or a very select playlist on my mp3 (no, you don’t get to learn what songs). I’ve travelled, not nearly as much as I wish, and there have been places that felt welcoming, like almost-homes or potential homes, and places I couldn’t wait to get out of. As much trouble as I have reading (real) people, places and atmospheres are open books. Don’t know why. Must be the story-teller in me. If a place has potential for stories to be told in the years to come, you can bet your glossy pages I’ll want to be there!

What has onset my latest bout of philosophical rambling, you ask? My ever-un-pleasant, ever-stressful job hunting. Word to the un-wise: your chances to get that dream job you’re sighing longingly over are probably higher if you stay positive about it, no matter how farfetched. And what better way to do that than to indulge in some daydreaming of walking around the place you’d be living in (if you’re like me and likely to move), find your dream house (never mind your paycheck, this is a daydream after all!)? I didn’t even realise it at first, but one of the most recurring questions running through my head while I was going through Zoopla ads (after “How far from the rail station is it?” and “How do they get away with charging this much for a hole in the wall?”) was “Could I make a home out of this house?”

There’s a question that’s loaded, terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! Especially in the few cases when, while going through apartment pictures, I found myself mentally assigning places for my stuff or imagining what kind of posters I would put on which walls… I mean, I have no concept how far out of my budget I’d be in the places I was looking (probably less than I fear). I suppose that’s the nice thing about dreams. Unless you’re desperate to make them your reality, you are allowed to be as grandiose as you wish…

 

 

 

But what does it say for me, that my idea of grandiose is a successful job interview, an decent apartment with a kitchen I can cook in (and bake, and have a fridge all on my own) and not having to worry about money by the end of the month or whenever bills show up? Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose….

Oh Spring Break, where have you gone?

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Well, okay, I still have a week left but still! Why do you think time flies so fast? Is there something incredibly cool coming up that no one told me about and even the forces of Space and Time are impatient? Because that would be so cool! If this comes off as a little hyper I have one two good (?) explanations for you, dear, bewildered reader.

  1. My  immune system has been sling-shooting between healthy and stomach-bug-from-hell for the past few days. Today has been moderately good and I’ve trying to focus on the positives.
  2. I’ve rediscovered my love for Taylor Swift (which mean that Blank Space and the rest of her newer stuff has been playing non-stop on YouTube). The thing is, last time I liked Taylor Swift so much, I was a teenager and  going through the happy-go-lucky phase (which was swiftly replaced by the moody, Linkin Park listening, too sleep-deprived phase). So my bright T-Shirts and crazy earrings wearing, early 00s teenage stuff has reared her pony-tailed head. The rest of the voices have invited her for tea so I don’t see her moving out any time soon… Somebody stop me if I start wearing neon green eye shadow again.

Anyway, I’m just focusing on the small things because reality is looming uncomfortably close as usual. Unfortunately the part of reality enjoying to breath down my neck is not the one about all the awesome comic book/sci-fi movies coming out or the amazing weather I’ve been having here in Athens or even the pleasure of reading a nice book. No, I’m talking about the kind of reality that’s grey and mundane and stressful and has you looking longingly at the alcohol cabinet. But enough of that! I’ll save the gripping for another post, when I’ll be suitably irritated with the multiverse.

“Ooh, we called it off again last night/ But ooh, this time I’m telling you, I’m telling you/ We are never ever ever getting back together,/ We are never ever ever getting back toge…”

Ooops! Sorry! Started listening to the lyrics while typing. It happens sometimes. You should see some of my seminar notes when a song gets stuck in my head… On another -heh- note the playlist just switched to 22. I have to wonder, what’s with the age-specific songs? I mean, I really like this one (and how convenient for me since I’ll be 22 for a few more months) but I always feel a little bad when I listen to them and I’m not the age they are serenading. Like I’m intruding in someone else’s reality. Which is further proof of my raging paranoia, some might say, but what can you do?

Hmmm, I think I’ll sign off now because I have a tangent/rant brewing in the back of my mind about the Batman vs Superman movie and boy I don’t feel like opening that can of worms again. But for the record, I didn’t like it.

 

P.S. I know live-tweeting is a thing, but is there such a thing, but what about live-blogging? Is that a thing? And how would you go about it?

The wind in the trees

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From behind the double-glazed glass

I see their branches softly sway

To the rhythm of a symphony I cannot hear.

 

The wind plays his pipes,

Perched on my rooftop tonight,

And the trees are dancing.

 

Softly I open the window;

My chimes and dream catchers

Join the revel outside.

 

And the piper in grey and blue

Sits on my windowsill

And smiles.

Faery Queen May and the Minstrel

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Once upon a time, in a small village by a long road, there lived a young man who wanted nothing more than to become a minstrel. Day in and day out he would labour with the lute until his fingers bled. No matter. The notes fell flat and scratchy to the ears of his unfortunate neighbours. Day in and day out he would practice his singing until his throat was hoarse. No matter. The ballads of desperate lovers sounded like market gossip when he sung them. Still the would-be minstrel practised, determined to achieve fame, to one day travel to the distant capital and perform before the king and all his gold-arrayed court.

 

The young man lived with his mother and grandmother, in a small house near the long road. They had a garden in their backyard and made a living by selling fruit and vegetables to their fellow villagers. The minstrel’s mother was at her wits’ end with her daydreamer of a son.

“Thomas,” she’d say, “go and water the garden.” And Thomas would go out to the garden, but get distracted, grasping for words to describe how the sun light made the water drops gleam, and half the garden would be left dry.

“Thomas,” his mother would say, “take this basket and go to the market to sell our wares.” And Thomas would take the basket to the market, but get distracted, listening to the sounds of life and people, and half the fruit would go unsold and spoiled.

 

The grandmother was old, some said as old the long road. She moved little and spoke even less, but her eyes were sharp as hawk’s and she saw what burned her grandson. One afternoon, as Thomas sat in the garden, practicing the lute in vain, she called to him and spoke thus:

“Child, I know what ails thee and how to remedy it. And if you do exactly as I instruct you, you will become as great a minstrel as ever’s a minstrel been.”

Thomas set the lute down and swore to do exactly as she instructed. The grandmother pointed to the long road.

“Tonight,” she said, “the court of Faery Queen May will go a’revelling through this road. Mark me well. Go and sit yourself on the ground and draw an iron circle around you. Then play your lute as ill as you have ever played. They will invite you to their dance, if only to stop your music, but heed them not and stay a’playing. They will ask your name and that of your master, but heed them not and stay silent. Know this well grandson. If you speak to them, or move out th’circle they will take you with them and it will be years before you find your way home. They will tell you many things, many great secrets, and if you keep your peace and pay them heed, I guarantee, a minstrel you will be, as great a minstrel as can be.”

 

Thomas thanked his grandmother for her council and determined to do as she had ordained. And the wise old grandmother, knowing her child’s child to have more heart than reason, gave him a spoonful of pine honey to hold in his tongue before he left the house, with the instruction not to swallow until dawn broke.

 

That very night the minstrel drew a circle of iron in the middle of the long road and sat himself in. Before long Faery Queen May’s court appeared, dancing and singing their way out of the woods and into the crossroads before Thomas. He looked and saw as fair maidens as he had ever dared imagine and even more so. Their skin was white as the glow of stars, their eyes glittered like gems and their voices were as melodious as any nightingale’s. They saw Thomas and beckoned him with sweet smiles to come and join their revel. But Thomas merely picked his lute and started playing as ill as he could.

 

Before long a faery, wrapped in the greens of leaves, came and stood on the edge of his circle.

“What is you name fair youth?” she asked. “Who is your master? He is poor master indeed, to have taught you so ill. Listen to the wind as it brushes my leaves, that is how you should brush your strings.”

Thomas listened to the way the wind brushed the leaves but spoke not.

 

The moon was half-up in the sky when another faery, wrapped in the blue and crystal of the deep forest pool, came and stood on the edge of his circle.

“Where do you come from sweet one?” she asked. “Who are your parents? Your music will ne’er be sweet if you lean on your lute so heavily. Mark my light dewdrops hanging from the flowers. That is how light your body should be.”

Thomas marked the gathering dewdrops hanging from the flowers but spoke not.

 

On and on, all night long the faeries revelled in his tunes and every now and then one of them would come to stand before Thomas. They tried to get him to sing but the honey made his tongue heavy and unyielding. They tried to get him to join their dance but the circle kept him in. And as the minstrel listened to their words his fingers grew deft and swift, and as the night passed the notes came sweeter and smoother, as good as any minstrel’s of the past.

 

At last Faery Queen May stood before Thomas. She spoke not but gazed at him with sad eyes, and Thomas gazed back and saw that she was fairer, so much fairer than her companions, shining light the full moon amongst the stars. At last Faery Queen May spoke.

“Oh dearest one, your music will ever be but notes unless love touches your heart. Come with me, beloved, and let me teach you about love.”

She offered her hand and Thomas, spellbound by her beauty, swallowed the honey and sprung to his feet, but! As his hand reached through the circle dawn broke. Like a flash the faery court disappeared and Thomas was left alone on the long road, with a head full of wisdom and a heart aching for love of the Faery Queen May.

 

He picked the lute in his hands and, as he walked the long road back to his small house at the small village, he played and sung. His old grandmother heard him and wept, for she knew what it meant to have fingers as swift as the wind in the leaves, hold light as dewdrops hanging from flowers and a voice as sweet as a lover’s yearning for their love.