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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sultans of Swing

File this one under Music my parents listened when I was growing up, that I hated at the time but now love with all my heart.

Photo from

Dire Straits. Just look at them! How could any self-respecting pre-teen think such a band was cool? No wonder I groaned to the high heavens and rolled my eyes whenever my dad put Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits on the CD player.

Without me realising it, this album came to signify a sense of safety and belonging that went along with sitting down with my family to eat a meal. Gradually, our parents gave my brother and I the freedom to select our 'dining music' - the music that would accompany our frantic feeding times. Time and again, we would bashfully choose this CD - Dire Straits, whom we'd once so derided, had somehow become our favourite band.

Now that I'm living on my own, an apparent 'grown-up' who's but a week away from that quarter-of-a-century milestone, I'll freely admit that Dire Straits blasts out of my laptop speakers more often than not these days. When I'm stressed or feeling sad, listening to the dulcet tones of Mark Knopfler and friends brings me right back to those family dinners on rainy Sunday evenings, surrounded by the most important people in the world.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sleeping with Nick Drake

Watching a loved one suffer is no one's idea of a perfect summer vacation.

But you make do with what you've got.

You re-shift our focus and find a new daily routine. Work, hospital, home. Home, hospital, work. If you don't think about it too much, it seems almost natural. You find a new rhythm and adjust to it, but you never give up hope. You never lose sight of normalcy - it will return one day, and soon.

You remain thankful for what you have, and constantly remind yourself of the good stuff. Good friends, reliable family, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things, we could be doing much worse. You remind yourself that your loved one is where they're supposed to be, and while it sometimes seems like an endless stream of doctors/nurses/specialists float in and out of our lives with little interest in the problem, you know they're invested, and they're on your side.

You take comfort in small things. The familiarity of your neighbourhood. The smell of wet grass. A nice shower and a warm cat.

And music that helps you sleep at night.