Tuesday, April 25, 2006

She Hangs Brightly


Today was one of those perfect dark days. The kind that make you want to curl up underneath a cat blanket with a dusty old book, a crackling fire and a pot of strong tea. I've been listening to this old tape of Mazzy Star's "She Hangs Brightly" in my car recently. It goes perfectly with this weather, my mood and the sky. The clouds have been trippy of late. Thick and rich, black and blue and multi-layered. It is hard for me to tear my eyes off of them to avoid ramming my car into people. Driving down Main Street toward the water at sunset was almost too perfect. The hard, black water sparkling in the distance and the sun bursting yellowish light through the black clouds in powerful shafts.

This Mazzy Star tape brings me back, way back to 1992-ish. It is funny how music can bring memories to life in a way that even smells or photos can't. I was 19 yrs old and at school in Norwich, England for a semester abroad. I spent my first month horribly lonely. I couldn't connect with the blase, fake-as-hell American bimbos or the redneck, pint guzzling Brit boys that populated my hall. It didn't make sense!? As one of the Brits pointed out while examining my music collection (a white boy named Miles Davis!!?), "All your music is British!"

It was true, I had been an Anglophile most of my life! I loved Brit music, literature, cinema, tea and the funny way they talked! My British accent was close to perfect, what was the problem? I was beginning to wonder if I could ever fit in, ever again. I spent so much time alone that I was beginning to lose my mind.

"Now how exactly does one speak out loud to other people?" I would ask myself. My only conversations were with people working in chip shops, newspaper stands and pubs. I spent hours upon hours alone in my room reading Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, wandering the city aimlessly, and drinking tea out of little plastic cups for 40 p.

My luck changed when I met Gabi, an Irish girl who had already graduated. She hooked me up with her clique of activist friends and got me a job scooping gourmet ice cream out of a little cart on a cobblestone street for 3 pounds an hour. Gabi was gay and most of her friends were too. We went to the only gay club in town and danced, drank, smoked rolled up ciggies and laughed our arses off. Then we'd eat tea and crumpets in the morning and I would tumble off to classes. Some girl with a large tattoo decorating her belly made me this tape of Mazzy Star. I listened to it constantly for months and took it on my trip to Ireland. This music will forever be entwined with the stark green Irish coastline and the bumpy bus ride that took us from Dublin to the coastal villages.

When I left England, I vowed to come back and live there very soon. 10 plus years later and I never set foot back in the country again, not even once. Even when I was in Switzerland visiting family. England, Gabi, Norwich, Reynaldo's Gourmet Ice Cream, and that lonely month at the University of East Anglia are wrapped up tightly in this old cassette tape like the newspaper surrounding my favorite meal of fish and chips. And it amazes me how popping a dusty old tape into my car stereo can bring all of it flooding back...just like that...

4 comments:

Q_Monroe said...

i lurv lurv lurv it when you talk in your british accent. you've still got it, even though you haven't been there in ages.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

BBLWAM!! You are cracking me up Miss Q! I will speak British for you any ol' time!

casey said...

"Halla" still works strange magic on me...

Eva the Deadbeat said...

hell yeah, "Hala" kicks some serious ass....i am beginning to worry though, 'cause i can't seem to get "Ghost Rider" OUT of my head. i am worried about insanity setting in. i keep hearing the plunky intro, duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh...AIEEE!!!! maybe i need to change the cassette tape in my car...??