Monday, 12 May 2014

I went to Spain and there was no music (2008)

From The Fly

It’s the drunk-conversation-favourite question: would you rather go blind, or deaf? Touch wood, it’s something that I hope never, ever transpires but in the past I’ve always thought that, well, all things considered, this is still a pretty damn amazingly beautiful world and every time I go and visit another part of it I find that there are new colours everywhere that I never even dreamed existed. 

It could be in the shade of the grass, prismed through dew at dawn by the river in Shrewsbury, the dancing blurry greeny-blue of the Northern Lights above Reykjavik; the pink of a new nipple; the wood and stools and moustachioed chubby Lithuanian butchers distorted by the glass and amber of a fresh-poured beer in a Vilnius bar; Bangor City losing 6-1 at home in the UEFA Cup. OK, perhaps not the last one quite so much but that was always my thinking: eyes rule. Not that the alternative is any more palatable as a result, but if you really had to…

It’s a bastard of a question, really, which is akin to the ‘hey lad, how much would you, ya know do Anne Widdicombe for’ type of conversation that always begins at £1 Million before someone does, as they say, ‘the math, dude’ and realises that even now 500 grand could well be enough to retire on if you weren’t stupid with it, then someone else chips in with the old ‘yeah but for ten minutes’ work £100k ain’t bad’ which subsequently quickly gets decimated into ‘if I was pissed I reckon £10k would be ok’ and before you know it someone – usually DD – is saying that if you paid for all his ale that night and a kebab on the way home he’d get stuck right in cos I bet she’s gagging after all them years and fuck it imagine what you could sell to the papers afterwards etc etc. 

Or perhaps it’s not like that at all, actually, but as they say in Spainland, que divertimento

And cause they say things like that and also have excellent tapas and lots of sun I’ve been there for a week or so on hols. The last time I was in Santander was in a vicious tour with the old band which involved, variously, sleeping in squats with pet iguanas, no water and rotting once-was-cauliflower on a stove through a hole in the wall, or running away from 80 irate Anarchists bent on kicking our stupid Welsh arses off, or hallucinating after no sleep, eight hours driving and nobody knowing what the twonk was going on cause a) it was in August and about 100 Degrees F and b) we kind of forgot to learn any Spanish. 

Anyway this time things are better and the beaches are lovely and there’s nobody trying to kick my head in for accidentally slagging off Negu Gorriak, who I would like to put on record are a very great band indeed. This time, there’s been other kinds of music; very little on telly aside from the (original) version of that crap Karaoke show on ITV on Saturday, the radio I bought is already fucked (after half a play of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ironically) and the only live music has been a funky jazz band in the fiesta over the weekend.

And even though I’ve ostensibly been on holiday, it’s bloody everywhere. Speakers in the plazas all night during said fiesta (also involving hundreds of wooden huts selling beer and tapas made from prawns, octopus, and other slithy toves) blasting out the latest hits, my own listening to stuff on youtube and myspaz, even having CDs sent in the post – music is inescapable. 

Its power, and passion, and ubiquity, and ability to express and induce shades of emotion I never thought I had, is something I don’t think, truly, that I could live without. No, I know so. I’d even listen to Toploader every day*, if it meant I could still keep discovering this magic. Although you’d have to give me 50 grand first. And buy me a kebab afterwards, to take away the taste.

*OK, maybe once a week. I’m not fucking mental.

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