There’s more to this blog than the occasional feeble attempt at humour.
Not much more, admittedly, but nonetheless…
Anyway, be assured that I don’t spend all my time sitting in front of my computer screen trying to multi-task by virtue of combining the two activities of blogging and shirking anything that might involve physical effort.
No indeed, sometimes I’ll have my earphones plugged in as well. And if I have, there’s a very, very strong chance that I’ll be listening to the Grateful Dead. Don’t worry, I’m not going to rehearse the whys and wherefores again. If you happen to be interested you could read this.
No, on this occasion I’m responding to a WordPress Daily Prompt (I know, another one already; what a rich vein of form they seem to have struck recently):
“Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post”
This is exactly what I’ve done here. My favourite line from the one Dead song that, if forced, I’d pick to take to a desert island. Probably.
The song is called ‘Eyes of the World’ and this is the third verse:
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
Sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses
Sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own
Like the rest of the lyrics – which you can find here – this is a bit, well, cryptic; although I prefer to think of them as poetic. Why it particularly resonates with me, though, is that it seems to sum up perfectly what it means to be so peculiarly drawn to this special form of magic. As one commentator (see link) puts it, this song, and especially this verse: “gets to the very essence of the Dead experience which is to simply be who you are.”
It doesn’t mean that you’re antisocial to live ‘no particular way but our own’ occasionally, but it’s also liberating to walk alone sometimes, and then there’s nothing you’d rather do than plug in those earphones, close out the rest of the world and float off to whatever part of your head that the music takes you: the songs of your own.
Well yes, you may be thinking, but what does it actually sound like? Like many Dead songs, it’s a laid-back vehicle for extended improvisation, which is why every version is different (of course: it’s the Grateful Dead). By happy coincidence, you can (you should) listen to the first version that I ever heard. Recorded in March 1990 it was released on an album, ‘Without A Net’, that I went out and bought the very next day after my own Damascene conversion at Wembley Arena on 30th October 1990. It features Branford Marsalis guesting on saxophone and the interplay is sublime. This is 16 minutes that could change your life. Seriously.