There’s a filmic fantasy of life, played out on the projector-screen of memory, and then there’s the senseless white noise of reality waiting ahead of you as you gaze back over your shoulder. “Your life and my life, they don’t touch at all, and that’s no way to be. We’ve never seemed so far. […] It’s such a mess now anyway.”
When I think about our brief relationship now, I hear it as ‘Peroration Six’ by Floating Points: it’s tense, fraught, and ends at its climax, suddenly and unexpectedly. Without him I probably wouldn’t have listened to ‘Peroration Six’ at all: I was only open to it because of Throwing Snow, and only open to that because I was open to him. The reverberations of our three months together will continue in my Youtube Recommends for the next month or two at least, and then, perhaps, as quickly as he arrived, he’ll be lost altogether. A butterfly flaps its wings and nothing happens.
My usual cycle for falling in love with a new song takes about three weeks. The most intense attachment is usually at the very beginning, in the first few days. I play it seven or eight times a day at least, sometimes dozens, which eases off to three or four times a day in the following weeks. As it becomes familiar, I keep playing it but gradually stop paying so much attention. Eventually, I still have the fond memories but the song can no longer move me. It’s like the arc of a relationship squeezed into microtime.
The ranks of neo-soul are full of talented women of colour, a testament to the resilience and creativity of one of society’s most marginalised groups. I connect with the music most readily at the level of its unapologetic femininity: its vulnerability and quietude are refreshing, exploring feminine emotions and identities often derided as weak in ways that affirm them and reveal their nuance and worth.
I’m on the platform of the Waterloo & City line, waiting for the next train to Bank. The crowds are pulsing around me but I’m alone, listening through bassy in-ear headphones to Lucius’ ‘Something About You’. Only a small part of me is aware that people might see me moving to the beat, mouthing the lyrics, moments of ecstasy occasionally playing across my features. That’s because I’m only half there; the other half of me is in the future, on a dancefloor at my birthday party, plotting out a path for love.
I’m alone in my flat on a Friday night. I’m chasing, trying to catch moments. I’m writing; I’m feeding my mind with music. Somehow I’ve found myself back with Deep in the Iris, like an old lover. It’s a muse I know won’t fail me.
“Take that opening chord. It’s a minor chord, but so sure of itself somehow. It’s strummed so boldly. Then the next ones come in and it’s all so hopeful – light, almost dreamy.” A mirror to our relationship so far. I’m just yearning for the day we get to the fifth chord, that gorgeous G/D cadence before mournful E minor eases us back into doubt.