Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Pleasures of Listening

In case you haven't noticed, I post every Wednesday morning. I think this violates some basic tenet of blogging (that one should post frequently), but weekly is what I can manage. Every week, I encounter so many things related to my theme (discomforts of diversity and labeling) that I sometimes have a hard time settling on a topic. However, this week, I was clear on the subject, even though it is perhaps slightly off-topic. 
    A couple weeks ago, I posted about the discomforts of listening--especially to opinions that differ from our own. This week I want to address the pleasures of listening. This is because last week was my birthday, and the gift my husband gave me was the new boxed set of Beatles music--all of it, and all remastered to perfection and packaged in a very handsome black box with many photos and liner notes and even DVDs.
     As a girl, I was a true Beatles lover. John was my favorite. It didn't even seem worth arguing that he was the ultimate. When someone named one of the other "lads" as their favorite, I'd simply shake my head and refuse to even consider their POV (much like that little boy in the photo in my earlier not-listening posts). 
     At any rate, my husband and I have been going through the CDs in this black box one by one over the past three or four days, and it has been a magical mystery tour through my own personal history. Every song triggers memories, and I remember almost every word. So many wonderful songs. It has also been stunning to witness, through sound and photos, the development of these four men from somewhat packaged commodities in their identical hair and round-neck suits, emerging step by step, song by song, as artists with distinct talents and interests. What a wonderful birthday gift this has been.
     One last thing to say about this. I have now become far more open to the possibilities of the other "lads." I now see what they have to offer as musicians and artists and potential heartthrobs. However, when we took our daughter (maybe 10 yrs old at the time?) to see Hard Day's Night, a film I'd seen and died over perhaps 15 times, she said she couldn't tell the difference between the four guys.


rasi said...

Ah, the pleasures listening to music bring, including the personal memories you mention and an awareness of a the timeless progression of the musicians, as told by their music. While "Yesterday" was written in a relatively short period of real time, it's a bit hard to believe the Beatles' change in attitude from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and how young they were when "Yesterday" was written. As we get older (I too had a birthday last week - a milestone one) so many more musical lyrics tell our stories whether they are happy, sad or reflect the passage of time.

Listening to music becomes more precious as my hearing worsens. I can't "Imagine" not being able to hear my favorite music. Fortunately with the advent of better hearing aids, I don't anticipate this as a problem.

Before I read today's post I had the pleasure of listening to a baby gurgle in my arms and imitate the silly sounds I made to her. We both laughed and we both enjoyed. I couldn't help but think about this wonderful experience and then I read your post.

Thank you for increasing my pleasure and happy birthday!

Susan Messer said...

Thanks, Rasi. The world is full of wonderful sounds. Oh, world. So glad this post harmonized with your experience.

Etta said...

I do not have memories of listening to the Beatles when they erupted on the American shores. Rock music, like so much else, was sin. I do remember hearing people talking about the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. (Something of course I did not see, since we did not have a TV.)
We only listened to religious music. It wasn't until I got my driver's license and had times where I drove the car alone that I got to listen to rock music.
I also acquired a transistor radio with a little earpiece (only for one ear). With that I also could listen to the radio.
Thinking about the Beatles makes me realize how little I have done to listen to the music of now. I get comfortable with my classical and jazz that I like.
I should expand my horizons.

Susan Messer said...

Hard to imagine being barred from all that as a young person. It was so central to my life and the lives of my friends. But, really, there's no shoulds about it.

Patry Francis said...

John was my favorite, too.