Geeks Vs Loneliness: mood music

This week, how music can help punctuate the dark times....

Welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our spot on the site where we try and natter about things that may be affecting you, or people around you. We fully understand that not everything we write in these articles will be of use to all, but hopefully, there’s something across the series that resonates for you.

This week, we’re handing over to the brilliant Jane, who wants to have a chat about music…

I’m in the kitchen, heading for the door. Radio on for the dog, places to be. Then – boom! I’m getting a bit Freddy, tasks forgotten, tail feather shaking, vocal chords straining. Yes, whichever generic rock station I’m tuned to today has just played Queen’s Hammer To Fall and the world falls away as I show my appreciation in some spectacularly inept kitchen dancing. Including air microphone swinging.

There are some tracks that connect to a primitive part of my brain that say STOP! DANCE! SING! And these are not the songs or the artists that I generally publicly admit to. No, these are the secret tracks of the Playlist of my Heart. We all have one. We can wax lyrical about the beauty of a Howard Shore score (and Lord Of The Rings is in my CD rack. Yes, CDs. Some of us still have them…). Swoon over Hans Zimmer. Display our music tribalism in our choice of T-shirt.

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I do all of this – I’ll happily admit to everyone my Depeche Mode, goth music loving persona. What I’m not quite so open about is my bubblegum pop bouncing kitchen dancing or rock power ballad fuelled creative sessions – Meatloaf and Cher belting Dead Ringer For Love really gets these fingers typing. Once I stop air guitaring. And oh boy do I indulge them.

And Queen is right up there with them. Britney and Girls Aloud make my pants wanna get up and dance (as does Dr Hook from whom I nicked that line). Sugababes version 2 being a Freak Like Me cannot be beaten for cleaning windows. And even my 75 year old mother admits that when she hoovers the stairs she likes nothing better than to crank up Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger and wave her nozzle in the air.

Let’s, then, talk about how music can make us feel happy. Specifically, the music on the secret playlist of your heart. That one song that makes you shake it like an unfiltered Polaroid picture when no one’s watching, unlocking a little birdhouse in your soul. Not the sad stuff – that has its time and place (and Damien Rice’s perfectly exhilarated sadness certainly features in mine) – but the stuff that gets you genuinely upbeat. For me it includes the pop-girls – the Shakiras and Little Mixes of this world with a healthy spattering of 80s pop (still Holding out for that Hero) and a wee bit of Nicki Minaj because she’s brilliantly bonkers. And then there is the special compartment in my heart reserved entirely for Enrique and those Latino croons. Pump up the volume!

I’m writing this because there was a point when I stopped kitchen dancing. Stopped singing. My dad had died; I didn’t have that joy in me. Then one day as I was mooching like a ginger cloud of doom in the kitchen, A-ha’s The Sun Always Shines On TV came on. And I found myself in full vocal bellow. Its bittersweet lyrics and catchy melody just hit that sweet spot. And afterwards I felt that perhaps I was going to be all right. Not perfect, not whole, but okay. And therein lies the secret power of kitchen dancing (occasionally throwing in a bit of random Cossack dancing to Abney Park’s bonkers steampunk airship romps).

So – I am Pop Goth and proud. What’s your musical ambrosia? What secretly makes you twitch your behind on public transport (or is that just me vibrating as I listen to Bonnie Tyler?)?

Have fun with this – but remember, who may be your own particular pied piper of delight might be someone else’s ear worm of horror. There are no wrongs or rights in what music makes you happy – it just does. Spread a little playlist joy this New Year. Shake that tail feather and sing like there’s no one listening.

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And thanks as always for reading.