Saturday, 30 March 2013

Brixton, 2013

This poem was written over the course of seven days, as a tribute to the power of live music. It's nominally about a gig I went to at Brixton Academy last weekend, but it's also about how music can lift you out of the mundanity of the everyday, and bring people closer together. Hopefully it isn't as pretentious, hackneyed, and sentimental as this introduction, but we'll see. I wrote it for Claire. 


Brixton, 2013

So we're finally here.
It's me and Claire and we're standing there
ten feet from the stage. Knee-deep in teenage
memories, those killer melodies from the CDs,
and I can see the burst capillaries on the bass
player's face. We're that close to the stage. And
the people around us are too cool to dance but
this is the chance we've waited all year for. And
we won't shed a tear for the pain in the past coz
no matter what they say the bad things, they never
last. All the lies cast in stone, well, they'll shatter
soon my friend, and if the outcome's not a good
one, then it's just not quite the end. We pretend
we're alright as we fall through our lives, but the
speakers are screaming: 'It's fine not to be fine.'
Trust the music tonight coz we know every line
and we're lost in the crowd and the feeling's
sublime. See, we've crossed every bridge and
we've paid every toll, and we felt like we'd spent
all the gold in our souls. Then we came here
tonight, pushed those feelings aside, taking breaks
from the aching of everyday lives. And the knives
in our backs are worked loose by the sounds of the
music that echoes from ceiling to ground. And we
feel like we've found a new place to belong, among
brothers and sisters and familiar songs. It took us so
long to find our selves here, in this throng of believers,
with overpriced beers. Everyone in this crowd says
this music, it saved them. They're talking these lyrics,
reeling tunes off, verbatim. This poetry flows with
each kick of the bass drum, as we lift our heads up,
swept away by momentum. Coz we're lost in this
crowd and we're shouting so loud, and the words
that we're singing, well, to us they're profound. See,
we're proud of this band and we're proud to be fans
and as bridge swells to chorus we raise up our hands.
And it's not quite religion but, by God, it's close, coz
these songs helped us out when we needed them most.
See, the rhythms – like blankets – have cushioned our
heads, from the heartbreak and sorrow and hospital beds.
We lost it all once, but we've found it again, among like-
minded women and good-humoured men. We were
strung by rejection, depression and fear, but tonight, the
crowd's voices are all we can hear. And we know that
we've made it; we're still standing here. This home-made
congregation, me and Claire.

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