You know, as we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future.
A quote from the film Jack.
Regular readers will know about my love of music. Non-regular readers – I love music. As I was driving yesterday, my phone shuffled a song in to my playlist that I hadn’t heard for ages. I started tapping the steering wheel to the intro and began to wonder why I hadn’t listened to the song for ages. It felt fresh and different and I was enjoying it.
It was from the same band I was listening to once when I was working in Pittsburgh. It was a Saturday in the height of summer and I must have been there without colleagues that weekend. I went for breakfast at Pamela’s and took in the busy Strip District before crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge to go and see if the Pirates were playing that afternoon.
I dropped off the main road on to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, walking alongside the Allegheny River. I walked past Heinz Field and the Carnegie Science Centre, found a quiet spot and lay down on the grass under bright blue skies and blazing sunshine. Families were out with kids playing in the fountains along the trail and there were people on boat tours along the river.
It was hot but there was a lovely breeze blowing where the Allegheny met Ohio and Monongahela. I put my earphones in and a song came on. It contained these lyrics:
And we laugh till we cry
Always so hard to say goodbye (good bye)
And we all sit round here in our home town
It’s so good like this, these are times we’ll miss
The memories, I hope will never fade
Glowing embers fly across the sky
You’re here by my side, in my summer, our last summer
The world passes by in my summer, our last summer
The light makes shadows fall, surrounded by each other
I let you watch it all, the view through our last summer
The view from our last summer…
I would stop time to stay with you
I would stop time so we don’t move
I would stop time
I would stop time
I would stop time to keep you
They weren’t the most fitting words, but I can remember them really working for me in that moment. When I traveled all the time, I missed home and what I could be doing with my friends, but in that fleeting moment in time everything felt right and I was happy. I lay there smiling to myself. That’s why I still remember that walk in so much detail.
So why haven’t I listened to that band for so long? The answer, for those people who haven’t worked it out yet, is that the band is Lostprophets and in 2013 their lead singer and primary songwriter Ian Watkins pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences that arguably make him Britain’s worst convicted paedophile.
Despite having such good memories of the music, once seeing it played live and singing my heart out to the extent I couldn’t speak the next day and still, even now, enjoying it when I didn’t know what it was, I find it very hard to listen to, to the extent that I skipped the song when I realised what it was the other day. Something that once provided so much pleasure and provided the back drop for possibly the most happy time I had working internationally has now been ruined.
Should it be?
Don’t get me wrong, I would hate the idea that Watkins somehow still gets money for the music and some of the lyrics he wrote can now take on a much more sinister meaning, but it got me thinking more broadly.
I had a conversation a few weeks ago with someone who’d just gone through a break up and they were talking of deleting photographs that didn’t really help them remember anything. When we go through breakups, we think about the stuff that had happened that we enjoyed together. They’re the things that hurt the most and when you’re trying to get over it you hear a lot of people telling you not to think about those things. Sometimes it’s easier to taint them and look for a reason that they were happening that wasn’t just two people enjoying eachother’s company – that there was a actually a hidden motive or agenda.
The truth, though, is that you want to remember those good times. You want to remember them because they were so good. And I think that’s right. Remember them for the good times that they were and not what they now appear to be. They can be gone all too quickly.
Come with me baby
I’ll sing you a song to remember
Walk with me darling
We’ll carry our fortunes forever
I hope in time you’ll see
And play this song for me
And this love is forever
Happy to see you
I’m praying this love is closer
So happy to see you baby
I swear I’ll feel this way forever
Or I just told his tale for all to see
One can only dream that so will she
Come with me baby
I swear I will love you forever
Talk to me baby
I’ll sing you a love song you’ll remember
A lovers’ song I pray
A foolish melody
This is a lovers’ song to remember
My heart is weak with confusion
My mind is under illusion
I’m seeing things that I can’t see
I’m hearing you if I believe
I don’t know how to love you baby
This is a lover’s song to remember
I’m a foolish man, made clever
A timid soul made stronger
This is a love song to remember
Love Song To Remember by Jamie Scott & The Town