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Saturday 1 July 2017

Glue That Holds Me Together

So last night I wrote a poem about living with a body that doesn't do what you tell it to. It's called Broken Machine Shell, and you can read it on my DeviantArt.

I wrote it off the back of listening to Brother Ali's most recent alum in its full, All The Beauty In This Whole Life. It's a great album, speaking of the man's love, faith and good work from a very honest place.

It occurred to me that I'd have not heard of this guy were it not for someone introducing me to him - and thus the piece of writing I made wouldn't have existed either.

Music is - as the title implies - the glue that holds me together. It's very important to me. It's a way I ground myself, inspire myself, live with myself, and get through daily shit. It's also a way I bond with others, so I suppose it's the glue that sticks me to other people too.

So if you have introduced me to music - a band, an album, a song - then you've kind of contributed to me being whole.

Jon Clucas got me onto Brother Ali - and also P.O.S., Dessa and the rest of the Doomstree collective. I think he probably introduced me to Run The Jewels too, though I'm not sure. I love my hip hop and despair at some of what has been done to it over the years, so knowing there are people out there that know and respect the game is a godsend.

My first taste of Iron Maiden and Metallica was at the hands of Matt Ball. As you all know, once you go metal, you can't go back. That's a singular cornerstone of my music taste right there. Probably contributed to me getting into RPGs so heavy, too.

While metal happened at the very beginning of my high school years, grunge came along partway through. Silverchair was all the rage amongst the people I hung out with, and were such a ubiquitously liked band that I can't remember who actually introduced me to them first. I think it was probably Gareth or Alex though.

Chris, housemate and friendo, first bid me listen to Magic Sword; and the second tall hairy Tom I know (who was actually the first I met but not the first I saw) got me listening to Pentakill.

Two Emmas have introduced me to music - more recently Rocco DeLucca and the Burden, but again back in high school days, my two actual favourite bands, Pearl Jam and Counting Crows. Maybe it is an Emma thing?

Vicky, who probably won't ever read this blog because frankly we parted on pretty bad terms, nevertheless introduced me to (hed) Planet Earth and Vex Red.

Just yesterday I was treated to Bomb The Music Industry! by Jade. That was a nice surprise.

Dan got me onto Alter Bridge, who I absolutely adore. He also introduced me to the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Youtube Poop, so I'm not sure if that's an overall profit or loss.

I wouldn't really know the Levellers were it not for Simon. Long are the hours we spent chatting shit about the guy that randomly screams partway through Just The One. He also got me listening to Radiohead and Ben Folds Five properly.

Josh tried to introduce me to Soft Cell but that didn't work.

I have Sara to thank for knowing who Kill Hannah are, and I get the feeling that not a lot of people do. Perhaps not to everyone's tastes but there's some songs that just stick their hooks in me.

Speaking of hooks. Hamelyn has a habit of playing me songs that just instantly sucker-punch me in the feelings, one of those being Cathedrals by Jump Little Children. A beautiful and haunting song.

Robbie was responsible for my first-wave love of hip hop, getting me into Snoop, Dre and Warren G. He also supplied me with Memorex 90 tapes filled with Carter USM, Fu Schnickens and Funkdoobiest.

Dark horse Terry introduced me to The Prodigy, allowing me a stupendously long loan of Experience and Jilted Generation on CD. Like I had that shit for years yo.

Tim got me into Gil Scott-Heron and more Neil Young than I had previously considered listening to (I'm a Skynyrd fan, you understand).

Ivy first played me the Castlevania Symphony Of The Night soundtrack, which I had previously thought to be quite good, but now realise is actually pretty fucking amazing.

Crazy Drunk Texan Mike - who is actually now a respected member of society and such - showed me who Kanye West was before he decided he was Jesus and went crazy. Those first two albums? Absolute choice. Anything after? Debatable but probably terrible.

Sunny introduced me to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

I learned about Oleander and Staind from Kris in TX,, and an abiding love for the Titan A.E. soundtrack.

Perhaps one of my biggest musical influences is my mother. It may sound sad but she introduced me to Led Zep before I was born, Queen when I were but a wee bab, Pink Floyd when I was still young - Michael Jackson, Motown records, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Genesis with either of them in front, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Chris Rea, Dire Straits. My mum has some REALLY solid music taste.

She once got hit in the head by Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) when he span round too fast with his bass. He hit on her afterward. She turned him down. Rock and roll.

Games and movies have introduced me to a lot of music, too, but that's not something that really bonds you. It's a side-effect. Sure, it can lead to very important musical discoveries - like how Burnout 3 led me to Rise Against, and how GTA San Andreas and Black Hawk Down brought me to Faith No More from two different directions. Kerrang had its place, as did MTV when it still showed music videos - and once, I bought a CD just because I liked the cover.

That was my first taste of A Perfect Circle, and from them, Tool, both bands that are solid staples in my life now.

So if I am a Frankenstein's monster made from choruses instead of corpses, then at least some of my body parts have been given to me by others - and I have to give thanks for that, even to people that I don't really get along with any more, don't hear from, don't see.

Half the time, that's my fault. More than half I suppose. I'm bad at being social, bad at staying in touch. Always have been.


Just a thank-you note to the folks responsible for making me who I am.

I wonder if I've introduced anywhere near as much music to other people as they have to me?

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