Without Music, Life would be a Mistake

Well, that’s what Friedrich Nietzsche said and I have to agree, though admittedly I’m not sure I could argue with the likes of Nietzsche! Looking back, this week’s main theme seemed to have been music. It started on Monday when hubby and I went to see the moving biopic Bohemian Rhapsody about the band Queen. Being a real 80s child, I’ve obviously grown up with their music and can sing along to most of their songs. However, in a way I feel like I took their music for granted whilst growing up and never realised how extraordinary they actually were until only a few years ago. I suddenly started to hear their songs in a different way and recognised how they dared to re-invent themselves musically all the time and actually managed to write some of the world’s most iconic pop songs of the last few decades.

I didn’t know that much about the band’s captivating frontman Freddie Mercury until I watched the emotional BBC documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender from 2012. I had tears in my eyes afterwards and the same happened a few times in the cinema last Monday. Watching back footage from the 1985 Live Aid concert on a big screen gave me goosebumps. I was 6 years old when I saw the concert live on TV at the time and can’t remember anything from it anymore, but watching back at how they managed to captivate an audience of thousands and thousands of people demonstrates to me how amazing Queen actually was. I wonder what would have happened to the band and also to Freddie’s solo career of he hadn’t died at the early age of 45.

More music in film

Later this week hubby and I needed to cheer ourselves us (read the reason below) so we chose to watch the new comedy Juliet, Naked. Based on a Nick Hornby novel and starring Chris O’Dowd, Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke it tells the story of Anne and her romance with the enigmatic and faded singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe. I have seen the film adaptation of Hornby’s other music-themed novel High Fidelity at least 20 times. Although it’s extremely difficult to beat the performances of John and Joan Cusack, Jack Black and Todd Louiso, I am sure I will be rewatching Juliet, Naked in the future as well (perhaps not that many times though).

Live in concert: King Crimson, Propaganda and Heaven 17

This week hubby and I were also very lucky to be offered tickets to some very special music concerts. Although I wasn’t entirely in the mood for going out of the house, in hindsight I’m extremely grateful for having been given these opportunities. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen in my stories that these last two weeks have been quite challenging. The main issue was a supposedly straightforward home renovation project. We had decided to replace the authentic and very handsome looking cast-iron radiators in our home with more modern and efficient ones. The plumber expected this job to take 2-3 days, but in the end it took 11 days. There were various reasons for this delay such as having to wait for essential parts and replacement radiators twice. I know it’s a first-world problem, but because of this delay we didn’t have central heating nor warm water for over 1.5 weeks and the average indoor temperature was 12.5 degrees Celsius. The stubborn virus I had finally managed to shake off last month had returned again because of just being so cold at home all the time. And then there were several more annoying and time-consuming issues to deal with which I won’t bore you with here. On their own they might not have been that bad, but everything added up caused a lot of grief, stress and anxiety.

An evening with King Crimson

So, when I learned on Tuesday night that we were offered tickets to see King Crimson play in Nottingham the following evening, I wasn’t immediately jumping up and down from enthusiasm. But of course I was glad we went after all as it turned out to be a very special evening which lasted for over 3 hours! I have to say that I before I met hubby, I had never heard of this 1970s progressive rockband before. Yet, they have played such an important role in the music industry, influencing many bands from the progrock genre, but also from genres such as alternative metal and hardcore. Listening to their music now, I can clearly hear their influence on one of my favourite bands, Tool – whose massive concert in the Netherlands next summer was sold out in mere 10 minutes!

Considering some of the band members are in their seventies, they might not be doing many more tours in the future anymore so I’m very fortunate to have been given this chance. Quite funny for me on a personal level how we got these tickets actually, as a friend of hubby’s, who’s documenting the current King Crimson tour, managed to arrange them for us. This mystery person was none other than the former MTV presenter Toby Amies whose shows I always used to watch as a teenager! Speaking to him briefly after the show was quite surreal for me.

Back to my childhood with Propaganda and Heaven 17!

On Friday night we celebrated the finale of the seemingly never-ending plumbing job with a great concert in a small venue in Northampton. It was the first night of the UK tour of Heaven 17 with Propaganda. Again, these are bands whose songs I used to hear constantly on the radio and television as a child so seeing them play live in such a small venue was really amazing. (Especially since they’re playing huge venues later in the tour.) It was also pretty cool to casually bump into the band members of Propaganda in the corridor and being able how much I loved their music as a child.

BBC Introducing

We closed off this week with a visit to this special BBC event held in East London. BBC Introducing is a platform for emerging UK platforms offering anything from workshops to the opportunity to play your music to A&R managers. Together with artists Cherise Adams-Burnett and Anna Neale, and members of the organisations Music Minds Matter and Musicians’ Union, hubby was part of a panel discussion about the #metoo movement and exploitation within the music industry. Drawing from his own horrible experiences in the last few years, he spoke of how people in the creative industries are too often are expected to work for free. No, not entirely for free. In return for ‘exposure’. Because that pays the bills as well of course. You can read his article on this subject here: Exposure is not Payment.

Seeing all these young and ambitious artists walking around the venue yesterday felt really positive and reassuring. There is something in music for everybody which is just simply amazing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour myself a well-deserved glass of wine and have a relaxing evening which will probably involve more music. This week has proven again to me what an important role music plays in my life. Hearing some tunes of my childhood’s soundtrack in both the cinema and in a gig setting brought back many comforting memories, which were more than welcome whilst feeling highly anxious and very stressed.

As for me drumming in the top photo? That’s me pretending I’m an amazing drummer in the Yamaha room at the BBC Introducing event, channeling my inner John Bonham. Another perfect way to release tension!

Thinking back of your own childhood, what music did you listen to? Let me know in a comment below! 
Thanks, Zarina xx