All of us, I believe, can look back to certain times and places and find ourselves recreating with what seems like total recall, that moment in our minds.
Personally, I very much doubt that the remembrance truly reflects the moment as it was, but what is important is that it seems to do so.
One such moment that often returns to me, at odd times – and by odd, I mean times that really don't seem to provide any obvious stimulus for the recall – relates to an evening spent alone in the place shown in the photograph above. Strange as it may seem, the woman in the picture – named Jan – is not part of this particular story. This is strange, for much of my thoughts on that lonely night were the thoughts of a young virgin male who often dreamed of love with a woman such as this.
Not to be. Neither then nor later. However, let's continue to fill out this remembrance with the yearning that this photograph implies for it remains as a slow burn beneath whatever else was happening.
On this particular night, I was alone. My parents and sister had gone out for the evening with me choosing to stay behind. Not unusual for me at this age. I did not enjoy socializing – a trait that continues, considerably moderated to be sure, to this day. Instead, the absence of everybody else gave me the opportunity to loudly play some of my favorite records. Just some, for I was not at home. No, this place is in Spain, on the south coast near the port of Alicante, and this is a holiday flat. Long sold now, and the time I spent there when I took this particular shot was the last I ever spent there.
But I had no sense of this at the time of my memory. At that moment, this could have gone on forever. I never doubted that it would, for I was at the age where I had not yet lost the timelessness that a child possesses.
I played one of the few records that I had brought with me from England. It's strange to recall now, but carrying music was not a trivial thing. Long playing records were large and heavy. At most it was convenient to take perhaps ten, and even those few were quite a bulk.
So that's maybe all I had. I remember two. The first Roxy Music album and "Revolver" by The Beatles. I remember them because these were the records I played that night as I gazed out over the neon lit clusters of villas, restaurants, apartment buildings and street lights that surrounded our particular building. I played one song in particular, the Roxy Music tune "2.H.B", over and over again. "Take two people romantic" – it's a love song, but one filled with uncertainty. I had yet to experience those emotions. I wanted to, though. At that time, I wasn't quite sure how that was going to happen. I wasn't even sure it ever would happen. That's where the music came in, swirling, indefinite, mysterious and unknowing. As a substitute for a cluster of feelings I had yet to experience, it was light and ephemeral, yet it was all I had.
I played the song over and over. Most vividly recalled are the emotions of yearning plus a strange sense of being exactly where I wanted be. At least for a moment. I felt a wash of peacefulness that placated much of whatever turbulence I was experience. Music was important to me at time in way that is not so now. It helped keep me grounded through the most difficult periods. Or so it seems.
I still love music today. But it is not a lifeline.