Albums I Love – Into The Great Wide Open

Albums you will love (as long as you are me)

Time moves in mysterious ways. Three years ago Tom Petty followed Prince down the same tortured, tragic, path to Rock n’ Roll posterity.
Three years ago, for Movember, I tried a mindfulness experiment of listening to my favourite albums properly, like I used to as a teenager.
Where has that time gone?
This time I am more experienced, more focused, a LOT less fatigued. No problems drifting off halfway through track 2.

Why am I repeating the experience?

Because we probably still don’t stop. Three years ago the world was a frantic place. We didn’t stop. I never stopped. This quote shocked me

“Over an enlightening coffee yesterday I realised I never listen to myself. I will do anything to avoid hearing what my head has to say. Jan thinks I’m my own little bubble, oblivious to everything around me, I’m terrified about what my head wants to tell me, and doubt still finds its way in, like a fog of nano-dementors, drifting through the cracks in my armour.
This is no way to live.
I need space. When I’m exercising I feel great, but actually that’s because I’m not thinking, I’m just feeling the moment. There is no noise, and no opportunity to listen.
Space comes when we
Open our arms wide
And accept the truth we have been avoiding.”

I can hear the exhaustion in my voice. Can you?
I still feel we don’t stop. Only now we are trying to fill our time with distraction. The mobile phone is a poisoned chalice, forever demanding our attention. Distracting us from the here and now.
Meditation is an art. It takes practice. But listening to music? That just takes love, and the determination to turn off distractions and tune out for 40 minutes

Tom Petty – Into The Great Wide Open
The album that started the thought, three years ago. Anya was just starting to properly discover music in its varied forms.

“a couple of weeks ago Anya dug out my old Walkman because“I want headphones to listen to different music”. This was the day that Tom Petty died, so we put Full Moon Fever in and she was hooked.”

In my absence I didn’t realise she had continued going through my last remaining box of cassettes (the 30 or so of 500 I still couldn’t bear to throw away) and had not necessarily paid attention as to which cassettes went in which cases. So when I kicked back to listen the Full Moon Fever myself I got a surprise.

“I love our sofa, you can really lounge on the cream pinstripes, even if there are far more cushions than can be heathly. I kicked back in my best teenage slump and hit play. Only it wasn’t ‘Free Fallin’, it was ‘Learning To Fly’.
Well that changes the plan. I figured I would just go with the flow and left it playing. “

The problem with choice is we have too much if it. When I had 500 cassettes it was bad enough. Then I had 250 gig of music downloads. That was plain crazy. Now, with Spotify I’m amazed I can even listen to one song before a memory drags me off in a different direction.

The sound quality may be below the standard I am used to, but there are no distractions, no shuffle plays. At the time I was surprised how much I must have played the record. Every single note was like an old friend. today it is a happier, more familiar, reconciliation. Into The Great Wide Open was one of my initial purchases when I got roped into Brittania, and I bought it together with Full Moon Fever, which immediately topped my Most Played Chart, so I figured IGWO had been sidelined, but it seems not to have been the case.

What I have learned is that it is still so difficult to do just one thing and do it well. My mind kept wandering, I stared out the window, kept looking at my tired and cracked hands, played with my hoodie toggles, read the cassette inlay, thought about what I could write, stopped myself from going over to get my pen and pad, wondered how long I could do this for, went for the pen again…
I kept drawing myself back to the music, using the lyric sheet to try and draw out messages.
“Two Gunslingers” has always been a very peculiar song, the lyrics seemed to be about a pointless story that maybe never happened. Why had I never paid attention to the chorus
“I’m taking control of my life now, right now”

And that is what I am doing. Right now.

So the idea has evolved. I love music, I would love you to love my music too, and share your memories of some of my favourites. There is no planned album list, I’m going to see what crops up. I reckon I will find a lot of messages hidden in the music, and I’m excited to be learning lessons that I can share.

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