During the whole of the period since Gail passed – both in September 2018 and as I write this now – I’d found music to be a huge source of comfort and sadness. Songs that I briefly associated with a particular event or moment became huge emotional statements. I often found myself crying while driving, having to pull over and compose myself, just because of a particular line in a song that I didn’t even have any other memory of. There was nothing I could do to control this and they didn’t even have to be songs that had meant anything to us or even ones I particularly cared for. I had no idea of what would affect me, just that it would arrive unannounced and wipe whatever day I thought I was having away.
I decided to actually utilise this and when things got tough I just posted a song relevant to Gail and I on Facebook. Under the heading MixTape’88, I started to compile imaginary tapes as I had done when Gail and I first met; friends commenting on each song as it appeared on the page. Then I hit on another idea and, going up into the loft, I bought down the actual cassette tapes that Gail and I had passed between ourselves back then.
Buying an old cassette deck on eBay, I started to listen to the tracks – and just to drag this into the second decade of the 21st Century used Shazam to identify the songs and artists I had forgotten – recompiling them on Spotify under their original cassette names. I found this rewarding and relaxing, if often upsetting.
I don’t intend to use the blog for that – it would take too long and ultimately not mean much to anyone else – but I should mention September Blue, a song from Chris Rea’s ‘Dancing With Strangers’ album that was a bit of a staple back in 1988.
I never told Gail but when we broke up in the middle of ’88 (we got back together in 1994) I used to play ‘September Blue’ a lot. That time was one of those things we never spoke about much; even though it turned out for the best ultimately, it was a wound we felt it was best not to poke too much so we didn’t.
Anyway, I thought I’d post this here because it’s relevance seems to have come round again.