Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Melancholy Man

And the laughter of little children on the other side of the street above wafted through the small window, faded then died. Silence, nothing but silence.

At one time or another, we all suffer from Earworms. The term was invented by Professor James J. Kellaris, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati. It refers to songs, jingles and tunes which somehow assault the unsuspecting mind and get stuck there. A mild attack might last for an hour or two, a whole day perhaps. When a certain song becomes a hit and is incessantly being played on different media its metamorphosis into an earworm is often a collective yet short-lived experience. We are constantly coerced to sing it along. However, as soon as the hit is replaced by another ephemeral piece of senseless art we just forget all about it.
A more subtle and personal form of infliction is set off by association. Any sensory stimulus, such as a sight, a sound or a smell might trigger a dormant memory and by doing so instigates a complicated chain reaction. All of a sudden, an earworm with hazy lyrics takes over the brain entirely. If the worm survives overnight it often implies that someway, somehow, a Pandora's Box has been inadvertently opened.
I've been a keen fan of the Moody Blues since the early 80's. Back then, I bought all of their released LP's and ritually engrossed myself in their inimitable music. For the unfortunate kids who read me and are unlettered about the Moody Blues, I can reverently introduce them as an English Rock band from Birmingham founded by Michael Pinder and Ray Thomas in 1964. They were later joined by Graeme Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward and together were credited with the early development of Progressive Rock (a fusion of Rock and more Classical forms of music). They are still active as of the writing of this post. Less than two years ago I discovered LimeWire a free source of music download on the Internet and compiled my own collection. I've burned an MP3 CD of my favorites for the car and downloaded them to my phone's memory card. My album contains three or four Moody Blues' hits but somehow Melancholy Man had evaded my flimsy memory.
I was sitting alone in my little private space underground, staring at the washed-out and discolored instants of frozen time captured in some old photos and hung on the wall. I stared at the faces of friends and loved ones I've lost along the way. Then my gaze was fixed at a print of my friend Nabil and me, standing side by side, laughing so confidently as if we were forever young, beyond reach and out of harm's way. My vision blurred and the words assaulted me breaking the silence after the dying laughter from far away. I've been churning them in my head, words, intoxicating words...

I'm a melancholy man, that's what I am,
All the world surrounds me, and my feet are on the ground.
I'm a very lonely man, doing what I can,
All the world astounds me and I think I understand
That we're going to keep growing, wait and see.

When all the stars are falling down
Into the sea and on the ground,
And angry voices carry on the wind,
A beam of light will fill your head
And you'll remember what's been said
By all the good men this world's ever known.
Another man is what you'll see,
Who looks like you and looks like me,
And yet somehow he will not feel the same,
His life caught up in misery,
he doesn't think like you and me,

cause he can't see what you and I can see.


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16 comments:

Mariyah said...

We become more and more conscious of our mortality with every passing year and with the loss of family and friends. Most of the time we can shove it off to a corner of the mind. But when confronted with a trigger (a photo or a song) that reminds us of it, our mortality can settle again in the forefront of our minds. You are not alone in this, my friend. Go and admire your children. They are your ticket to immortality and they'll show your soul how to smile again.

Nabil - Allah yirhamu.

Anonymous said...

Abufares, whata surprise, this song is for oure generation, I picked up my guitar and tried to play it again, I´m not sentimental as I used to be, I was a teenager at that time,

Anonymous said...

Abufares, just to complete, although i am atheist, when melancoly seems to attack, I go to the Holy Quan and reed seome verses

Anonymous said...

I was introduced to The Moody Blues by my English teacher Sister Juliana in 7th grade. They are one of my favorite bands. One of my favorite songs is " Your Wildest Dreams". I guess it also has a touch of melancholy in it, but maybe beacuse the music is more up beat it always makes me smile.

"Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time
Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are
Touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound
I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams"

w.b. yeats

abufares said...

@Mariyah

Mortality, I can live with and even embrace.
Futility, is too much of a burden.

abufares said...

@lê
When melancholy attacks it's because the thin veil covering our feelings got damaged or torn... someway, somehow.
We are survivors though and like our skin heals itself, the veil is also restored with time or may be replaced with an even more exquisite one made of pure silk. What's inside, however, is unchangeable.

abufares said...

@w.b. yeats
What a beautiful song indeed.
"I wonder if you
Think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams"

DUBAI JAZZ said...

What gives me hope is that melancholy has its own charms sometimes. It allowes me to see things that I wouldn't usually detect in normal situation. How to put it? a well-rounded emotional experience? probably.

It's not so bad Abu Fares, it's really not that bad. We shouldn't lose faith in what good the morrow might bring.

KJ said...

For the first time I really am at loss at what to say.

Does my silence warrant enough of a response :)

abufares said...

@DJ
It's never as bad or as good as it looks... never

abufares said...

@KJ

Hello darkness, my old friend,
Ive come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said i,you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

KJ said...

btefhamni 3al tayer :)

david santos said...

Hello, Abufares!
I loved this post!!!
Happy week.

Anonymous said...

Abufares, you took me back to , the boxer, Mrs. robinson , scarborogh fair ..........

MomTo5 said...

i also listened to the Moody Blues when my parents played the LPs ;)

abufares said...

@KJ, David Santos, lê 7 MomTo5

Sorry for not responding to your comments soonest. I was away from myself.
Thank you all for dropping by and for reminding me that I should get off my ass and write anew.