Sia sings…

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist

I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I have a funny taste in music. I don’t really think there’s any genre I don’t like. Being more of a songs person than an artist person, it’s difficult to define my taste with a few band or artist names. However, if I had to narrow it down, I’d say 70s music in all genres or Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac. Anyway, now I’m just rambling about music! This is something I could talk about all day really. Music is so important to me, I don’t really know where to start. So I won’t, only to say, it’s really important to me.

When I was about fifteen, I got my first CD Walkman and my whole world came alive. I remember the precise moment it happened. I had my Carpenters CD playing and it had been snowing. I think it was a Sunday, it might even have been around Christmas time. I went out listening and walking.

At the time, I lived about ten minutes walk from my secondary school and it was surrounded by the school playing fields and a recreation field we called ‘St Christopher’s’ (funnily enough, because it was on St Christopher’s road). I moved out of the area many years ago now, but I have been back in the last few years and it all looks quite different. You can’t get onto the school playing fields now and everything is fenced off. However, back then, you could and the fields of St Christopher’s and the school field somewhat ‘ran’ together.

I was trying to escape something that day, I felt pretty alone and sad. I walked alongside the school fence and squeezed through the gap one of the boys had kicked in it. I remember looking at the school field and it taking my breath away really. The field was perfectly covered with snow and not a soul had walked on it. Having St Christopher’s to the right and the golf course behind it, all you could see was white, pristine, fields edged with snow capped hedges and the odd bowing tree. As I began to walk, the snow crunching and squeaking beneath my feet, ‘Ticket to Ride’ ended and ‘Superstar’ began to play. My heart… it just soared. I was in my own music video. Everything was just achingly perfect.

Ever since then, I have just been completely enraptured by listening to music whilst walking, being in nature, looking, feeling, thinking and being. I am in my own virtually non stop music video and I adore it beyond all explanation. When ‘in ear’ headphones became available and sound quality improved, my life went to a whole new level. But anyway, there I go again with my music obsession!

Fast forward to many years later and I am stood leaning on a wall trying to look over into Bryce Canyon. Maiko, our guide, nonchalantly peers right over and then confidently tells me he’d be quite happy to stand on ‘that ledge’ (he’s pointing to a precipice about four feet beyond the wall) without feeling the slightest bit perturbed. I on the other hand am finding it just difficult to look down. Bryce Canyon is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and one of the most joyous sights I’ve ever had the fortune to see. Despite my annoyingly poor head for heights, I eventually managed to ‘acclimatise’ somewhat to the height enough to really look at it. It was immense, healing and the colour was something else… hard to put into words really.

I carried my music everywhere with me during my US tour. I always do. I had it in my bag but it was difficult when out and about to listen. I was with my friend and the rest of the tour group. I didn’t like to seem rude or ignorant and so I largely didn’t really listen when we were off the bus. There was always someone wanting to chat or comment and that was just an important part of the tour as anything else.

We walked a lot around Bryce Canyon and it was on the last stop that I really got some space. It was so quiet up there and somehow my friend and I managed to find a place with hardly anyone else around. It was so stunning, so moving and the aliveness was intense. I stood and smiled on the inside. The moment was just wonderful. It was then that I turned and, without really knowing it was coming out, blurted to my friend that I had to listen to my music. He was of course fine with that and wandered off along the path.

All of a sudden, I got the need to get some music on and tether this experience to some song or other just like I did all of those years ago on the school playing fields. I didn’t have long… maybe less than 10 minutes and we’d have to be back on the bus. I pressed play and something wildly unfitting came on, I skipped on another track and again, it wasn’t right. I did this several times.

I’m not really sure what I was looking for. Probably a Kate Bush track or something else kind of magical and etheric in some way. But it didn’t happen… first it was A-HA, then Missy Elliot, then I distinctly remember ‘Big Love’ by Fleetwood Mac coming on. None of them were right. Too flouncy or light or aggressive… always too much of something. I looked at my watch as I skipped again and I heard the ‘tape’ sound that lasts for a few seconds at the beginning of Sia’s ‘Chandelier’. I went to skip again and then paused my finger over the button.

As it began I remembered the first time I’d heard “Chandelier”. Sia’s voice is quite remarkable and she sure can write a good song. I’m not usually a massive current music fan but Sia is generally one of a few exceptions. There definitely was a joyous and powerful resonance to Chandelier and so I stuck with it and made this my song for Bryce Canyon.

Whether you believe in angels or not, I tend to attribute these nudges to my angels and always thank them when they help me out. On this particular day they had done just that, in those final moments at Bryce Canyon, they’d given me that nudge to get on and listen. It turned out to be more than appropriate song… of course it was, that’s how these things go when you’re being guided by this mysterious old Universe.

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist

I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I’m not entirely sure whether Sia is being literal or metaphorical in the lyrics of the chorus. Who knows what these words mean or meant to her but to me they are all about freedom and it made sense on every level to me. As she sings the chorus, she has that signature ‘chest voice about to break’ sound that is just breathtakingly beautiful. The sound is full of feminine power, strength and has that ‘phoenix rising’ quality. To me it felt to be about empowerment, climbing up, getting out, flying away. As I listened and looked over the canyon it was the most glorious moment and one I know I will remember and treasure.

A month later and I’m back home walking the dog. It’s an average day, autumn is in the air and the edginess of the area I live in is grating and a bit dark. I don’t feel terrible about it, I’m only resting here a while before I fly off elsewhere but it does make me uneasy. It’s so possible to get sucked back in to the mentality and the churning of the life around you. I don’t want to. I made a promise to myself a long time ago that this wasn’t going to be my reality, that I was going to live a joyful and meaningful existence. But when they’re swearing and jeering – and you’re picking your way through goodness knows what ,trying not to tread on or in anything that might regret – it can be distracting.

Of course, I needn’t have even thought about it. As I walked past the little park where the local children played, what should click onto my MP3 player but “Chandelier”. As it began the kids raced around out into the street, dirty faced, oblivious to traffic and apparently carefree. I waved to a little boy on the top of the climbing frame who regularly came to pat Freja (my dog) and then walked on. As I turned the corner, manoeuvring past an old sofa and what looked like an armchair that’d been sawn in half, the chorus kicked in. I smiled to myself spontaneously and let out a little laugh. All was well and I was free. I remembered the deal I’d made with myself and the promise I was never going to break…’I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry. I’m gonna swing from the chandelier’

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