Fear is just a feeling like any other. Hence it should be just as easily dealt with with music as love, heartbreak or really really needing to go to the toilet.
Breathless by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, chosen by Roo
Mmm… skydiving! …the grand old lady of jumping off of things from far far above. What indeed would be a fitting soundtrack to my introduction to this splendid pastime activity. No doubt the experience would be glorious, as would the shit stain in my pants, so any old tune would not do here. Nay, it has to be something that really captures the intensity of the release at the moment of jumping out as well as the severity of the crippling anxiety leading up to that very same moment. It would also help if the tune somehow helped me keep pepp going all the way ‘til the jump off.
I have some experience of both succeeding in this sort of things as well as some shameful moments of defeat at the very same sort of tasks. I have had some of my most intense feelings of joy after doing bungy jumping. On the other hand, I really regret having missed out as I have on some occasions failed to jump off of cliffs into some of the world’s most scenic waters, among other places at Lake Malawi.
As described above I know for a fact that if the circumstances are not right I will fail. I can only assume that the soundtrack will be pivotal to my success. Therefore I delve into this challenge with the utmost earnestness and seriousness. Knee high in records discarded from not meeting my exacting criterias I plow on towards victory or certain death …or a missed deadline, much at stake!
After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it has to be First Communion by Gang Gang Dance. This track is cheerful while still intense and somehow suspenseful. Lizzi Bougatsos bursts out in these squeaks throughout the song in a way that I imagine will channel the overflow of emotion building up as to thus keep my nerves in check. The guitar (at least I think it’s a guitar) also bursts out in flurries of tones, as part of its main figure, in a way that to me evokes both playfulness as well as gravitude somehow. This is just what I’d need for an undertaking of this magnitude.
Would it come to a shameful defeat where I don’t manage to jump out, at least I’d have gotten a damned good tune pumping in my ears all the way up there.
It has its perks being named after a small chubby passerine. One is that this particular songbird feature in a love poem by Nick Cave and happens to be the perfect pick for this hair-raising challenge.
And the red-breasted robin beats his wings,
his throat it trembles when he sings
for he is helpless before you
You bet your sweet little behind that my voice would tremble, that I would be helpless and indeed breathless before this stupidity that I for some reason, I can’t figure out, are about to throw myself into.
I would be breathless in a double sense: scared-shitless-breathless and oh-it’s-really-beautiful-from-up-here-breathless as the old band name goes; The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, except I would be. I would be so afraid! So very very afraid! I bet that the slightly off-key flutes in the intro wouldn’t even make me smile like they never fail to under normal circumstances. Off-key and off-pitch is funny in itself, but this intro, both versions, makes me think of that hilarious clip of the flute playing over the 20th Century Fox production logo. That might be the funniest thing ever produced. Top ten at the very least.
My reasoning for picking this tune is that at least I heard something beautiful, both in words and melody, before being a wet smudge on someone’s driveway. And it is beautiful! Put it on repeat right now!
In the book Nick Cave Sinner Saint: The True Confessions by Mat Snow, Cave says that this song was an attempt from his point to: “[…]write a song that didn’t have a twist at the end.” He continues “[…] and it had a buoyant melody. I mean, It still sounds sad to me, but I think that’s just something that lives in my voice no matter what I do with it. To me, songs like that that are obviously written as celebrations of things always suggest the other side of it anyway.”
You know you have an affinity for the bizarre and the wonderfully weird when you for once want to write a song without a twist. You just gotta love that about Nick! He is of course quite right about what he says about celebrations suggesting the other side, the dark side. More precisely the sidewalk that I’m about to have a close encounter with. You know what though, I might just be whistling slightly out of pitch with a silly smile on my face, perhaps thinking of flutes before the lights go out and im forever breathless for real. If I’m lucky I’ll wake up again in a hospital and I’ll be breathless, now not in the literal sense, but before the beauty of, like Cave sings; you.
Don’t ever make me do this, but if you do; bring Nick Cave and a flute!
…and for our next task, we will find a tune that…
With sharpened pens we will defend our tunes with nails and claws.
see you in two weeks!