I don’t have a musical bone in my body. But I can be strangely moved, inspired and motivated by music. Not classical music I hasten to add. The well-meaning music teacher who tried to inspire us to appreciate classical music by playing it to us lesson after lesson failed miserably in my case. I know two classical pieces – the William Tell overture and everything else which isn’t. Not bad going.
Recently I came across a song which was extremely important to me at a difficult stage of my life. It saw me through my mid-life crisis when I realised beyond doubt that I couldn’t face staying in the job I was in for the rest of my life. That song helped me take the difficult step of walking away from the job without having a job to go to. Now how can a song have the power to do that? I guess it is because music stirs deep emotions in us. If you don’t believe me watch the faces of the Welsh rugby team during the singing of their national anthem before matches. Music has the ability to reach below the surfaces into the deep places of our humanity and innermost feelings. Some tunes are inextricably linked to significant times in our lives. For a long time I couldn’t listen to the hymn sung at my father’s funeral without wanting to cry.
Lots of people listen to music while they run and swear that it really helps them. I haven’t tried that yet – mainly because I lack the necessary equipment – my most modern possession is a camera that takes colour photos.
I’ve compiled a long list of songs that I want played at my funeral. So long in fact that my wife insists on having power of veto. As long as she keeps “Running Wild” by Roxy Music I don’t mind!