The music filled the room with a warmth that only vinyl can give. The vinyl beanbag underneath me was the most delightful and pure accompaniment. This was the first time since March 2020 (or maybe earlier!) that I had lounged about, music on, with nothing else in my mind except pure enjoyment.
Beren, the rambunctious and enthusiastic toddler, was off somewhere else in the room flinging his arms about in an ecstasy of dance. His dad was keeping an eye on him. It was in his dad’s room after all, a man-cave filled floor to ceiling with memorabilia of music, movies, and Star Wars.
So much KISS. The pillar in the middle of the room is an altar to KISS, filled with every conceivable piece of memorabilia, from photos with the band to early-80s make-up bags.
We were listening to KISS because Troy was off this afternoon to see KISS’s final tour. He’s been a fan since he was a small kid, has seen every single KISS tour since the first one in 1980.
I have no attachment of any kind to an object in the way that he has to KISS. It caused me one day to ask him what was it like, to be such a fan? He told me that it was like not being able to imagine life without the band or its music. It was like not being able to imagine that that your existence could be possible without it. That it was almost indescribable, a sense of love and identification with this music that existed almost beyond time and space. I am butchering his words in a poor and remembered replication, but the way that he explained it left me nothing short of awe-struck. Imagine, I thought, having some object, some thing, some music, or band, or book, or author, or movie, or footy team, that could give you such an intense sense of wellbeing. A sense of being home, that nothing can take away. I’m such an intensely individual sort of person that I don’t have anything like that. I feel as if I just am; and my experiences of music can therefore never be anything like a lifelong fan’s experience.
The little guy meant that I couldn’t go to see KISS. For such a long time in the lead-up to the event, I had imagined that I didn’t care. But now, lying on the floor with feet stomping in time, fist punching the air, singing along and with my eyes closed, I realised how much I did care.
I love KISS. I’m not a fan in the way that ‘KISS fans’ are, but I love their show, their music, the entire live experience. It never gets old. It never has gotten old. A KISS live show is like nothing else on Earth; they led the development of live performance. They love what they do and it seeps under your skin. The more you experience it, the more it soaks into you.
I realised how long it had been since I had just been able to bum around and really enjoy anything. Music. Movies. Books. For the past two years I’ve been completely inside the world of the little one, and hadn’t realised just how little of myself I had been allowing to come through. I had completely forgotten this part of myself.
But the craziest thing was that what I wanted most of all was to smoke a cone.
I felt this desire come from outside of me, as if it were in my aura somewhere and it wriggled up next to me and whisperd ‘hey’ in my ear. I felt an overwhelming desire to get bent and listen to record after record, feeling the deepest mathematics of the music, as I had when I was a fledgling adult.
When I was 18 I moved out of home and lived a long way away, in Byron Bay. I had nothing much, but I did have a little bit of organic pot occasionally, a second-hand, ’70s record player, and Pink Floyd on vinyl. The record store in Byron Bay was incredible, largely because of the tourists who’d saunter in and sell off their music to make some money before moving on. Some days there was absolutely nothing better than listening to Umma Gumma while a little bit fuzzed around the edges, staring out over the balcony into the bush; nothing else to do; nobody to answer to; just a pure experience in an eternal present. There is something completely deviant about Careful with that axe, Eugene that you can’t experience in any other way except very loudly, while high.
This moment on the floor was a calling back. Not to the ‘who I was’ of the immediate pre-child time. But the who I was when I was young and open, and experiencing ‘freedom’ for the first time. Those first wild steps into adulting that resulted in my dancing with a demon for much too long, and losing myself faster, faster, faster, faster…
Becoming a mother has brought me back to Me in a way that I had never expected.
This extended, joyful moment on the floor was a hook. The beanbag was just a prop. Almost empty of beans. I was really just lying on the polished wooden floor. The music filled every enclosing crevice that the beanbag left empty.
In this space I found everything that explained how I’d always loved live music to distraction. Why I’d fallen into music event promotion as a youngster and music journalism as a young adult. I recalled how, as a teenager, I’d blast metal full bore and lay on my bed staring at the ceiling just absorbing the music; or how, when at rare moments at home, I’d take the oft-longed-for opportunity to put Tchaikovsky on the lounge room stereo as loud as I dared. How music accompanied almost every phase of my life.
It showed me that, even though I never felt like that chick who wore band shirts on her own accord–having always been surrounded by others of similar stripes–actually, I did.
Then a relationship cut my crazy corners off and locked me up.
After I emerged, I went into business before rediscovering my full expanse. I never allowed myself time to unfold first.
Why, I wonder, do we sabotage our very selves when seeking validation as an adult?
What is it about society that trains us out of listening to our deepest yearnings and intuitions?
How do we become shades of the people who came to this realm fully formed, so that we end up fragmented, stunted? Afflicted by this tension between who we are and who we feel we ought to be, we become wracked with dis-ease and limitation. Then spend our lives following people who proselytise, claiming that it’s a simple matter to shed limitation, manifest your desires, and become who you are ‘destined’ to be.
When you were that all along, and have simply forgotten where you left your keys.
Paying attention to the briefest of moments, we can reset ourselves if we allow the feelings to rise. As I did, lying on the cold, polished wood floor, physically remembering the feeling of being high and carried away on a wave of rock’n’roll; happy.
As if it were recess and for one brief stretch of time I were outside in the sunshine running my legs off until forced back inside.
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