My Time Machine



When I read Ronke’s article on music as a time machine, I smiled and nodded in all the right places. I smiled at the band names I’d only heard vaguely of- but never listened to.

You see, for me, music didn’t start until my first year in University. Not really, anyway. The only memories of music before then was dancing to Destiny’s Child at sleepovers and crooning along to the ridiculous versions of Westlife and Basckstreet Boys songs by the Hotel band next door.

And the radio. But those songs weren’t mine. They weren’t mine to have, to hold, to rewind, to pause..

So tonight, iTunes selected one of Jeremiah Gyang’s songs, ‘It Won’t End’ and with the first notes, I was translated to a younger me- sprawled on my bed- the upper bed on the bunk- with my roommates who groaned at my ‘type’ of music.

And thus the journey began. To the beginning of my love for music. Not in the music itself, but what it did to me. My ability to get lost in it; to be happy. And yes, I was happy then. Naïve, innocent but happy. Happy in my music.

I was just finding songs most people had tired of and with vigour, I launched myself into their sounds and nuances.

‘Lighted Up’ by Gabriel Mann was one of those songs that I listen to now and raises an unidentifiable mass up to noose my throat. It was me feeling. It was new to me. And it was music.

I was speaking to someone recently about re-finding Phil Collins’ ‘Find A Way To My Heart’ and KT Tunstall’s ‘Suddenly I See’ and I was smiling ruefully saying, “I was happy-go-lucky then.. Now, not so much.”

I would plug my ears and listen to Jeremy Camp and the WOW Hits from Arch’s little mp3 player and take long walks behind the University library. Back and forth because there was nowhere else I wanted to go. Even then, the music enveloped me, lifting me and taking me to places I hadn’t been- places that were new and exhilarating and profound.

I found music that made me cry. I found music that made me wish- wish for things I didn’t even know existed. I found music that made me write, eventually.

I’m all for music now. I’ve even found the niche that I’m most comfortable with. But it’s not the same. I’m older, not as simple-minded as then, not half as innocent so the reaction isn’t as profound as then. Not as acute, deeply-felt, absolute..

I still get there. Now and then. But it isn’t that easy to transcend to that high.

But when I listen to these songs of then, in a flash, I’m gone. To when I was that weird quiet girl who stared at everyone queerly from behind her too-big eyes. To when I wanted nothing but to sit in a corner and drown in Nick Lachey’s ‘What’s Left Of Me’ and have odd looks darted at me. To when I wasn’t weighted down with knowledge.

To a place I’m not sure I don’t want to be again.