Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sound Tripping@Forty: Dire Straits, Led Zep, Neil Young and Miley Cyrus

I grew up in a family who loves music. Yep, I remember listening to a wide range of musical genre--from folk to rock to r&b, jazz, classical and downright heavy metal. Credit that to the influences made by my uncles and aunts who love listening to great music.

That's why when I entered the university, I was already familiar with the great songs which I hear from my room mates and org mates. Fact was, I spent most of my evenings listening to great music from Red Rocks, the bar before it became Club Dredd.

Red Rocks featured bands such as the Jerks, the Cocojams and of course, the Dawn. When alternative  rock came into the fore thanks to the Eraserheads, I continued spending much time in such eponymous places such as Mayrics, Club Dredd and other places.

I enjoyed grunge and heavy rock during my stint as associate lecturer at the Dela Salle University-Taft. I spent my Friday nights with some of my students and others who became my friends. Fridays are always at Ayala Alabang, drinking with friends and waking the next day with a hang-over. During those times, I was at my most creative. I wrote poems in Marlboro covers, short essays in my little leather note book and reading Schopenhauer, Nietsche, and others. I enjoyed reading a paperback about the life of Mao, which I lost when I transferred place. (Now, I'm desperately searching the web for a copy of that book which narrated Mao's life in the first person perspective.)

Spending one's life as both a teacher and journalist can be described back then as an existential life. You get to live by the moment. Remembering those times, I am lost for words describing those moments, of pain, of self-induced poverty, of doubts, of creating meaning out of nothing, of crafting a philosophy, of finding meaning in simple urban existence.

My early forays in interpersonal relationships led me to nowhere. Four failed experiments nearly pushed me to the verge of that precipitous cliff called death. My strong will though saved me.

That's why when I listen to some of the agonising stories of my friends, I approach them with an assuring mien, and told them that these things need to happen for you to learn something. These experiences are priceless. At every stage of struggle, you get to know yourself better and learn from these mistakes.

I took refuge in Law, hoping to understand society and the behaviour of men. I took to reading various non-Marxist tracts, trying to find that one answer to the riddle of human existence only to find myself creating my own based on my own direct experiences. These philosophers only led the way.

While writing my very first take on Philippine history, I found out that music has a profound influence in the actions of historical figures. Music represents the mood of the era.

Now at forty, I am re-discovering my roots, trying to determine the right path to take. Led Zeppelin is trying to provide me some answers, while Dire Straits is teaching me to take life easy. Listening to Neil Young makes me consider the fine line and keeps me searching for that heart of gold. While Miley Cyrus is a revelation for me after repeating her song, I Adore You.

So many songs, every sound a piece of the soul, a definition of what it means to be human.