Forgotten Hopes

Once, a long time ago, I wrote a poor version of this and put it up on my Wattpad account with this as a cover. I still like it somehow; that’s me, by the way.

She was fifteen when she first heard the song that changed her life and became path and direction of her journey. Music had been a distraction and a companion for most of her isolated childhood and youth. Being subject to emotional abuse, she had found somewhere safe to hide in her mind when music was playing. When silence reigned in her bedroom, thoughts threatened to destroy her fragile mind. Once in a while, her older sister took her to the city. They browsed stores for clothes and, her favourite part, for music. Their shopping spree always ended with an obligatory trip to the newsstand. Her sister bought the latest teen magazine, and she invested the last of her money in music magazines that came with free CDs.

On the bus home, both girls looked out of the window, trying to find ways to ignore what was awaiting them at home. The older one retreated to her own bedroom as soon as they walked through the door; the younger one was greeted with new chores that were added to her list and verbal abuse when she was not able to do the things she was commanded to do. She was not innocent though, she replied to every insult thrown at her with another insult. Inside, she broke apart, but she refused to show it to the outside. They would love to see her cry, and she was not willing to grant them this victory. Once done with everything, she too found her way to her sanctuary, where the first thing she did was putting on some music. But the music she listened to made her angry. Angrier than she already was. Her friends had suggested those bands, and for once, she had wanted to fit in, and something was appealing too, but she was beginning to see that those friends were morons who weren’t able to see past shallow lyrics and worshipped ugly minds and ideas. This was not her. She was too open-minded and free-spirited for this hate and ugliness. She had enough of those at home already, and she wanted more; needed more. Somehow she always knew that she deserved more.

She unpacked what she had bought, new CDs to put in the stand next to her stereo and listen to one after the other; a new black top with a large white and silvery bird, and the magazines from the newsstand. She wanted to give the new music on the free sampler attached to the magazine a listen first. Awaiting rejection, she knocked on her sister’s door to ask for the laptop they were sharing. With relief she saw that the older girl was not using it and with a warning to bring it back within an hour, she could take it. Once everything was plugged in and mounted, she was in for a surprise.

4 minutes and 42 seconds were about to change her life. The CD started on its own accord, and the first sounds she heard was an acoustic song by a band that was unknown to her. She didn’t know much about music, but she knew when she was touched by something good. She looked at the screen in front of her and was intrigued by the two men she saw with their guitars. One was sitting on a chair, strumming and singing; head slightly bowed. The other lay on the bed cradling his guitar like a lover; eyes closed. A myriad of emotions ran through her mind and body, too many emotions to place them and all she was capable of doing was sigh and smile. Wow! The song ended. The screen faded to black and she, she released another long breath. She was mesmerised by what she had heard and seen. Before the next song came on, she had to play this one again. The repeat button was the only option there was. This time, the smile was there from the beginning. As soon as the song had ended a second time, she knew she needed more; more of this beautiful and sad music. She was greedy, but this music, these lyrics, and the men somehow too, they had touched something deep inside her. Something was born and awoken in those few minutes of having listened to the song. In a frantic nearly obsessed way she browsed the internet to find out who this band was. They were brothers and part of a band. The clip of them in the hotel room was made to advertise their newest release. This British band had been around for a while, and she made a point to purchase as much of their back catalogue the next time she would go to her preferred record store. It was 1998; she was fifteen and deep inside, she knew that this band had just changed her entire life and thoughts.

She was twenty-six when an unexpected bout of depression hit her. It was the first time she felt helpless, hopeless, obsolete. Friends had long gone; only a couple had survived and morphed into adult friendships. Life had changed; she had moved on with a family of her own. She had a house, a husband, and two kids. Her mind had changed too; of course, it had, she was not a child anymore but an educated and intelligent woman. The music she listened to had changed, as well as the meaning it had in her life now. The band that had changed her life in her youth was still there and had stayed the same; more or less, releasing new music regularly.

It was 2009, and everything looked good on the outside; to some her life was perfect. But inside; inside everything was different; she had lost hope. She had forgotten how to have hope for a better future. She had no dreams, no goals, no future. She was existing, but not living. No one had ever promised anything to her. No one had ever punished her for dreaming. And yet, she was bruised by the daily struggles. Hurt by her own high expectations and standards; and yet she couldn’t change. She was powerless. Hope was lost.

She sat in front of the computer. It was silent in her room. Just she and her tormenting thoughts that became louder and more vicious with every passing sleepless night. She clicked YouTube links by the dozen to distract herself from the noise in her brain, but the music didn’t bring her peace anymore. The songs were filled with melancholy, and they all made her want to cry and hide from the world even more. Until seemingly out of nowhere, the song came on that had changed her life a decade ago appeared in a random playlist. The exact same version. With both men in a hotel room and the camera focusing on the guitarist who lay flat on his back playing the intro to the song. Forgotten Hopes.

The song that had changed so much such a long time ago was doing it again. She didn’t smile once when it played. She just watched. Frozen. Her mind was empty, devoid of thoughts. This hadn’t happened in a very long time. And when the screen faded to black to begin playing a new song, she paused the playlist and buried her face in her hands. She finally cried. She cried the tears she had kept in for years, and when she was all cried out, she felt freer than she had ever felt. Snot was running down her nose, and dark dots that used to be warm tears adorned her shirt, but it was okay. Her head hurt from the sudden release of those locked up emotions. But that too was okay. And once again, this song, this band that was ever-present in her life, had changed her train of thoughts. It was okay. It was okay, and everything would be okay. Music was healing her mind.

She was thirty-two in 2015, and after supporting one of the musicians of the band that had been her longtime companion in a crowd-funding campaign, she received a personalised song. It was the most unique gift she could ever receive. Forgotten Hopes, and it was sung just for her. It took her a couple of tries and a lot of headshaking and worrying, but in the end, she dared to send an email to the man whose lyrics had guided her through her life and whose words were inspiring her own creative mind. She thanked him and told him briefly how much she owed to him, his lyrics and his passion. He had touched her in all the right places, and now she wanted to touch him too. Give back a little. And by doing so, her life changed again. And maybe, his did too. For her, it was Important that he knew and understood that his presence on this earth had saved her, that it mattered. In her mind, every artist deserved to know that their light gave hope.

Forgotten Hopes. A vivid reminder to her to never lose hope.

Anathema – Forgotten Hopes

(partly autobiographical)

Top 11 songs on Spotify

This year, these are the top 11 songs I listened to on Spotify. The top 2 are missing though. And they are – drumroll –

2nd place:

Anathema – the beginning and the end

1st place

Luke Sital Singh – until the night is done

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As you can see, my tastes are varied and random. This is the link to my entire Top 100 streamed songs of 2018. Spotify Top 100 of 2018

Any thoughts about this? Songs you like? Songs you hate? Surprising songs in this list?

Have a lovely week.

Cathy

Refueling

Some days, everything feels like lead. No energy. Everyone has different ways to cope with those days. For me, I had the chance to listen to a pile of records. Vinyl. The real deal. It is a conscious way to listen to music. At least it is for me. I just sat in my chair (still sitting there – it’s the chair I inherited from my grandma) and I am looking at the records spinning. I am not sure if I have the right words to describe it, but listening to records on vinyl slows everything down. It’s something I really enjoy.

Does it get any better than this? Outside a storm is raging. The autumn leaves are blown over my patio, the rain is pouring down; while I am sitting inside with a steaming mug of green tea, listening to music. A content smile is on my face. Bliss.

This is my stack so far for today. I think there will be a couple more additions. A day just for me.

It started with Our Ceasing Voice – Free Like the Night

Her Name is Calla – The Dead Rift EP

Anathema – the Optimist

U2 – the Joshua Tree

Worriedaboutsatan – Shift

Chris Rea – the best of

Very eclectic, just like me. Or maybe simply without direction? Just like me?

Are you enjoying your Saturday too?

Music…

Let’s start this music post with something progressive.

The band is called Gazpacho, and the song is called “Chequered Light Buildings.”

The song is from an album called “Night” (2007, Kscope)

🎧🎵🎶

The second song I recommend is called “A Long Time Listening” from another Nordic band, (Gazpacho are from Norway) Agent Fresco. (Agent Fresco are from Iceland)

The song is from an album with the same name – “A Long Time Listening” (2010, Record Records)

Thoughts?

Thinking about last year…

Where do I start? This year has been the best and the worst in a long while. But how and why? Well… On the outside, everything went really well. In February, I started the best job I could ever wish for. I am very happy there. I celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary with my husband in August. We built a house together and moved the family into said house last weekend. I reconciled with family members who were mere distant memories. I got a raise at work and a trainee, despite the few hours I work. (26 instead of 40). My kids are doing more or less well. Financially, everything seems to work out too. We are not rich, but we can afford to take the kids to the movies and to the restaurant once in a while. I had to get a new car in April. It drives me from a to b, but it’s not my favourite…
On the outside, everything is looking up.
The inside though, my internal life is a mess. I suffered from a sever bout of depression this year. Worse than ever before, and for the first time, I asked for help. I couldn’t go on the way I was. Asking for help felt like failing, but it also felt like being in control of my damned emotions again. My behaviour was toxic. I cut my skin and pretended that I was marking myself to remember things. I was in complete denial of my own needs and suffered willingly for someone else’s good. For a while, I took meds – I am not taking them right now, and they helped, but I also know that I need to get on without the chemical help. I was overwhelmed with the fast success and I felt inapt and unprepared. For everything. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is a scary thing. Emotionally, this year was very draining. From dealing with the past and worrying about the future, to coping with the present. I tend to assume and overthink. I often suppose and project, instead of knowing, and that’s what gets me every time. Add people to the mix who are sending mixed signals and are slipping through my fingers when all I want is to keep them close – let’s just say that it was the “coup de grâce”. The cherry on top.
My low self-esteem and the fact that I seldom allow myself to praise myself or be proud of an achievement makes life even harder for me. As it did this year. I guess, my ups and downs are palpable in my writing and in my poetry. Mostly the downs though, because I don’t need to write as much when I am okay. (Or even in a manic phase.) I scare people away with my moods. I am quite overwhelming at times.
I also made friends and lost friends this year. Acquaintances became friends. Daily parts of my life. I was mentioned in the acknowledgements of two different books and a song was written with me in mind. I saw some live music, not a lot, and I bought some of music, I always do – nothing new.

My favourite books this year were “You” and its sequel “Hidden Bodies” by Caroline Kepnes.

My favourite movie was “Paris 05:59 Théo & Hugo”.

My favourite musical release? I couldn’t tell. I simply don’t know since I didn’t listen to all that much different music this year. Though, Spotify lists the following as my most listened artists this year:

  • Pearl Jam
  • IAMX
  • Anathema
  • New Order
  • Kate Bush
  • Tadgh Daly
  • Lone Wolf
  • Fabrizio Paterlini

I read a lot and I wrote a lot, but I couldn’t reach the 400 poems I wrote last year. But I also drank and smoked too much, lol. Again, self-destructive behaviour is one of my patterns.
I loved a lot, and hated very few things, and no people. I stood up for myself and cowered behind bad excuses at times too. I cried more tears than I shed the entire decade before. I felt anxiety and excitement…
And at the end of it all, I am daring to let go of an idea that has been planted in my mind for too long now. I kept holding on for the wrong reasons and now, my mind and my soul have to reconcile and accept that my heart is saying goodbye. I am letting go.

I had a good year. Intense and emotional, but successful too.

To everyone I accepted in my world and didn’t push away – please stay.
To everyone I accepted in my world and who betrayed me – fuck off.
To everyone I accepted in my world and pushed out – I am sorry, but it had to be this way.

To everyone reading this – thank you.

I know my flaws and my qualities and they help me survive.

Thank you all for your support and friendship, have a happy new year.

xx
Cathy

(A lighter version of this was shared on Wattpad…)

The Optimist

Let me just quickly share my own personal thoughts about the latest Anathema release, called The Optimist. It was released on June 9th (by Kscope)

I’ve been a fan of this band – their music, for the better part of my life. Through all my life, there have been elements in their music that just spoke to me in a way no other band ever could. Though, let me admit, I was never a big fangirl of the musicians. It was just the music, the lyrics. It has nothing to do with the girls who love One Direction or Justin Bieber. And no, I am not judging, merely saying that it is different.

I digress. Back to the topic. The Optimist. It took until yesterday (June 19th) for this preordered record to arrive at my doorstep which strained my patience quite a bit. I didn’t listen to any songs while I was waiting, but I read the reviews. So many negative reviews. I wondered if it was the right decision to spend money on both the CD/DVD set and on the red vinyl. After all, people don’t seem to like the record very much. Me? I like it. I really do. While I was not a fan of their previous release (Distant Satellites), I have to say that this is a really good album. I don’t think that it can be compared to any of their previous work. I read in interviews that The Optimist is a sequel to A Fine Day to Exit. (An album I don’t particularly like or dislike – I don’t have a strong opinion on that one). It is in terms of the character who tried to find a way to exit and is now trying to find a way back home. Musically, it is not. Because, as I stated above, this album cannot be compared to any other album Anathema recorded.

So… The Optimist takes us on a journey. With pianos and guitars, with electronic aspects and string arrangements, we even hear some trombone in the jazzy Close Your Eyes. That trombone was certainly a surprise but it works in favour of the song. Just listen to some of Her Name is Calla’s songs (a British band), they use guitars, piano, strings and trombone too and it works well for them, in my own humble opinion.

Sure, the Optimist is a bit repetitive here and there (the vocals are and the melodies are sometimes too in some songs), but that repetivity is a constant in Anathema’s discography and it never bothered me. Also, I thought I heard some U2, some Radiohead (Wildfires), and even some Oasis (Back to the Start) influences on this album. Nice.
I like the heavy sound of the guitar, it sets a dark(er) mood. At the same time, there is a lot of hope and… optimism (duh!) on this record. For me, it is due to the strings and the piano. They can sound melancholic, but I don’t hear that here.

I wouldn’t recommend The Optimist to first-time Anathema listeners. It is not an easy record. There are many layers to peel away and to listen to. Too many? Is there such a thing as too many layers? My personal answer: No.

Lastly: in the many reviews I read Ghosts is often cited as a standout song. Personally, I think it is one of the weakest (alongside Wildfires) on the entire record. I like the lyrics, but that’s all I like about the song. Sorry.

My own standout song is The Optimist. (Followed by Leaving it Behind and Endless Ways). Can’t Let Go is a song I imagine could work on radio stations too… When I heard Springfield for the first time, I immediately thought that it would be nicer in an acoustic version… As for Close Your Eyes, I adore the arrangement of the song and even Lee Douglas’s voice. This style suits her.

Many words to say that I was afraid to listen to a bad record and I was positively surprised that it is not. It certainly isn’t easy to digest, though.

And now, the reason why I wrote this and will share it too: my inner music nerd was rejoicing when I listened to this brilliant record for the first time, but I still had the many negative reviews on my mind. (How devastating must it be for an artist when they invest time and creativity and emotions and money in their art and it is ripped apart?!) I needed to release my own personal thoughts and since there is no one in my immediate surroundings who feels as strongly about music as I do, I share it with you. And maybe you don’t care either but you will not hurt my emotions when you’re uninterested or rolling your eyes.

Thanks for reading and now go and search YouTube, iTunes or Spotify (or wherever you search for new music…) for this album and then go and buy it. 🙂 (And always remember that this little review was not written by a critic, I am merely someone who listens and likes music.)