I don’t play any instrument, and I don’t sing(well) but I am a great listener. Music has always been a part of me.
As a teenager, it became my escape, my meditation and my comfort. Dropping into the melody of Mike Oldfield and Rick Wakeman was the closest I have ever gotten to touching the divine. My Nu Romantic passion brought me to the acceptance of men wearing frilly shirts and eyeliner. When eVoid burst into my matric year I was dumbfounded by the fact that they were South African. I was trying to reject anything ‘not mine’ and in my obedient rebellious way against the awful Apartheid system, eVoid became a sort of truce with something from my new ‘home country’.
I had been to a few ‘live gigs’, session bands were big in the 70’s and hometown band Helicopters played at our Matric farewell. But my first year out of school the music scene exploded with Ella Mental, Petit Cheval, and many others. My drug of choice became eVoid at the Chelsea Underground. My nurses salary stretched to it’s tiny limit, any time I wasn’t on night shift, I junk jived my place to front right of the tiny stage under my heartthrob’s nose. The live shows connected me to unknown territory, propelling me to indescribable feelings. I looked drunk or stoned, but tap water was all I could afford and besides I didn’t need external highs, the music did that.
I tried to figure out the reasons for this strange connection. I didn’t feel the same when I played the cassette of their music. It was only at their live shows that I connected with whatever this was. But I realised that explanations would be found later, all I needed to do was show up as much as I could and fadget. The huge groundbreaking Concert in the Park made all sorts of imprints in the country. A multi racial concert, with a peaceful, connecting 100 thousand strong crowd showed us youngsters that it can be done. Every name in the music world played around three songs each and I was in heaven. My band came on as a headline act but also announced that they were heading overseas to make their mark. It made their few songs all the more special and in that bittersweet moment I realised that this chapter was over.
My first (one sided) love affair was over. I wasn’t devastated but was ‘lost’. Where was I to get my fix from? How was I going to connect to whatever it was that I was connecting to? The solution came in a very unexpected but even-better-than-I-could-imagine way, in getting a job in the local broadcaster as a Sound Operator in the Outside Broadcast department. I became part of music shows, pop concerts, sport programs, church services and beauty pageants. I was propelled into a world of behind the scenes, watching famous and some not so famous people get on stage and do their thing. It was magic, it was beautiful and it fed my soul.
Nowadays I let music enrich my life every day, and I love to go to shows when I can. I realise that the connection is always there. The inner world of music keeps me tuned (ahem) in. My first love has remained a loyal love. A selfless supply that is with me, in my head, consoling me on my runs, playing through my dreams, murmuring in the background. It always offers me a place of nurturing, inspiring, refueling and comfort.
As John Miles sings, ‘Music was my first love, and it will be my last…’