say it’s alright

 

I.

I feel.

I feel small.

So very small.

Realizing, that no one was waiting for me and that I walk alone for most of my journey makes me sad. And just like that, my bubble bursts and I crash down. Hard. I am breaking. Inside. All the thoughts pour out of me and are scattered and shattered all over the floor. All over me. Like a blanket or a second skin… I try to sort through them. Understand. But I don’t. It is all  in vain and it doesn’t matter any more.

Because no matter how hard I wish to be seen, I am not.

No matter how much I want to be loved, I am not.

At least that’s what I see. It’s dark where I am. I am in pain. Inside and outside. With thoughts and emotions strewn all around and over me.

I need you to tell me, that everything will be alright.

But you never do.

You never do.

Never do.

Do.

Finding Home

The feeling was new, yet familiar as Sebastian walked down a long bright corridor. It was shapeless or at least, it felt that way. There was no way that he could tell, if it was rectangular or oval. Shapeless. White. Everything was white and clean. He would have expected the walls to be smudged by now with different sorts of stains. They looked immaculate however, as if he was the first person, to ever walk down this path.

He was scared, but not scared at all at the same time.

Sebastian instinctively knew where he was going and he knew where he was coming from. His heart thundered in his chest, he even felt the pounding in his ears. For all the wrong steps, he had taken in his past, he knew, he felt it in the deepest recess of his mind, that this was good and these steps were right. He took them with vigor, relishing the feeling of his own steady step.

He came to a crossing. A choice needed to be made, but he was so unsure which way to go on. He turned and looked at every new way.

North. East. West. South.

Every way looked just the same. He spun around again, this time with his eyes closed and made his choice. Sebastian took a tentative step and a deep breath. Instinctively, this path felt right. Maybe there was no wrong path to take. Maybe they all led him to home and happiness. He walked on and the white became green and blue, with only specs of white left. He felt the emerald green grass underneath his naked feet. Two feet. He hadn’t felt this since his childhood. There was always something keeping him from going barefoot through the grass. Wasps. Other people looking. Morning dew. Until it was too late and he felt foolish for even thinking about it.

Not this time.

Not this time.

He drew in a deep breath and he smelled the scent of fresh grass. It filled his nostrils and made him exhale with a smile. He was going home. Everything felt right.

Every step he took forward was a conscious step, until he stopped and took the time to raise his head and look up at the sky. It was, as if he was looking into a gem stone. Sapphire blue. Just like he remembered it from his childhood. The sun warmed his skin. Not even the shadow the sparse clouds cast over him took that pleasant feeling away from him.

Freedom.

He felt free. Freer than he had ever felt these last years.

A shiver ran down his spine and goosebumps covered his skin all of a sudden. He looked around and realized that he was alone. All the beauty of the scenery couldn’t make up for that hollow cold feeling, that was spreading fast from his stomach to his heart and made it beat faster. There were no familiar faces. No one was waiting for him. Anxiety took over and he reeled. There was nothing to hold on too and the content feeling he had felt while walking down the white corridor or the happy memories, that he remembered while crossing the meadow were gone.

The outside hadn’t changed. It was the inside that was shifting. Sweat was forming at his temples and ran down in long trails. He felt exposed and silly. His throat was burning and he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t breathe.

There was no need to breathe. It was strange, but it was real. Even without breathing, he was still there. His chest felt constricted, but he was not in pain. The moment he recognized it, the anxiety faded again. He was shaking, not from the cold, not from fear. He simply was shaking.

Deciding, that it was time to walk on, beguiled by the thought of coming home, he brushed his hair out of his face and marched on.

No – not marched. He didn’t march, because he enjoyed every single step he took. Savored it. His skin started to prickle and he instinctively knew, that he was no longer alone. He closed his eyes and listened. But there was no sound. No sound, except for the wind, that blew softly around him. Opening his eyes again, he was startled, when his surroundings were changed completely. No blue in the sky and no green on the ground.

Instead, he found himself in a new empty space. Dark. There was a door, cast in a shining white light, but nothing else. He looked back, but all he saw was a black eternal room. He had no idea, where it ended or where it started, he only knew, that the only way out was through the door.

“Sebastian. I was waiting for you.” a familiar voice said. Tears filled his eyes at once. He didn’t see anyone, but he knew the voice. He would recognize it everywhere and always. It was branded in his mind. Frantically, he turned and tried to find the source of the voice, but he couldn’t find it.

“Jamie where are you?” the distress in his voice was evident. For years and years, he longed to see Jamie again, be with him again and now he was close, so close. But he couldn’t see him.

“Come closer to the door and you will see me. I was waiting for you.” Jamie’s voice repeated again.

Sebastian tried to walk, but his legs didn’t move.

“I can’t. Jamie help me. Wait for me.” Sebastian pleaded desperately. New panic arose. Cutting of his throat again. He reached out his hand in a frail attempt to get to Jamie. But whatever he did, he couldn’t see him and he couldn’t move.

“Try harder.” Jamie whispered in Sebastian’s ear. The sudden proximity made Sebastian spin around with such force, that he almost fell over. He faced Jamie.

A young vital man. Alive. Real.

Hesitantly, Sebastian raised his hand to touch Jamie’s cheek. He almost didn’t dare to let his hand reach its destination, but Jamie leaned into the touch. Sebastian deflated a bit. A weight was falling off his shoulders. Home. He was home.

“I didn’t have the chance to tell you, that I would wait for you. And I waited. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. Decades. It doesn’t matter anymore. Time doesn’t matter, as long as you are with me again.” Sebastian’s hand slipped from Jamie’s face, over his bare shoulder, down his sculpted arm, until it rested in his hand. He took a small step back, to look Jamie up and down.

He was still the young man he used to be. Not an ounce of fat was on his body. Dark hair was dusted all over his body. There was nothing, that reminded of that dreadful last night they had shared. No mark. No scar. Sebastian’s free hand moved on its own accord and came to rest over Jamie’s heart.

“How can this be?” he asked, looking for an answer in Jamie’s green eyes.

“It’s how our story is supposed to end. Everything is determined. We are only puppets, walking the way that was set for us long ago. Call it fate or whatever you want. This is greater than us. So much so, that we will never be able to conceive it with our human minds. It’s time to let go now Sebastian.”

“I am scared Jamie.”

“I know. There is no need to be scared.” Jamie pulled Sebastian closer and let his arm envelop the other man in an embrace. “Just let go. I am here. You will not fall and you are not alone. Let go Sebastian.”

And Sebastian let go.

He saw Agnes and Jordan, with their children. JJ – Jamie Junior, was already a teenager. They had a beautiful daughter too and it was hard to let them go. Sebastian saw Kai, who had finally found his own happiness, with a beautiful pregnant wife. He would never bicker with his twin again and he would never meet his brother’s children. He saw Ryan, who had been the only love he had ever experienced, after Jamie’s passing. A love that was profound, but not enough to stand the test of time. Ryan had moved on quickly and was happy being single. Sebastian saw himself, dancing on a stage. His favorite piano piece was playing. He was young and healthy. Nothing showed of his ordeal and he looked happy. Sebastian saw Jamie and the night they had made love for the first time. It suddenly felt so real and as if it was happening again. Sebastian saw himself again. This time, he was lying on a floor. His eyes were open, but empty. His hand lay on his chest, covering his heart and a smile curled around his lips.

Jamie held Sebastian’s hand tighter and guided him to the bright shining door.

“When we walk through this door together, with joined hands, our souls will unite and we will become one. Do you want me to let you go?” Jamie’s voice was wavering. Fear stabbed at him, until Sebastian turned him in his arms and took his face in both hands. He rested his lips on Jamie’s and pulled back again. For years, he had longed to feel those lips against his own again. He had always thought, that it was impossible and yet, it was happening

“I am ready and I will not let you go again. Never again.” Sebastian smiled. He felt serene and he finally understood, why Jamie had been calm and serene when he died. It was a feeling, as if nothing would matter anymore. His heart was filled with a pleasant heat and love radiated through every pore in his body.

Jamie reached for the doorknob, but Sebastian held him back. “Wait!” Jamie took his hand back. He faced Sebastian with a chuckle.

“You are here to guide me through the light. Who was here for you?” Sebastian hoped, that Jamie had not been alone.

“My grand-parents. They were here for me. They walked through the door together and I followed alone, because I knew, that you would come someday and I wanted to be here for you. I was waiting for you, my love.” Sebastian nodded and squeezed Jamie’s hand.

Together, they took one last unneeded deep breath and walked through the shining light.

At last, they were reunited. They became a bright star in the eternal night sky.

Douglas Dare – Whelm (review)

Douglas Dare is a young British singer/songwriter, who recently released his first full length album “Whelm” (on erased tapes records). If you are familiar with this blog, you’ve read that name once or twice before. I was introduced to Douglas Dare’s music in December 2013, when he was supporting Ólafur Arnalds on a few gigs through Europe. The evening was not, what I had expected, with Douglas stealing the spotlight from the main act. At least for me. I bought his EP ‘Seven Hours’ that night and there was no doubt in my mind, that I would get the full length album too, once released. I am impatient though and pre-ordered it. The day of it’s release, it was in my mail, that was 1 week ago.

To make this clear from the start, this album, is not for everyone. It’s special. Simple, but not easy. Raw, but not unpolished. Poetic, but never pretentious.

The heart and the soul of this record, are the lyrics. Poems and prose, brought to life with an exceptional voice, that sounds new and fresh. Distinctive. So much so, that Douglas Dare has a high recognition value. The voice is carried by piano and electronic drum beats and that’s all it needs.

The opener of the ten songs is, ‘clockwork’. Immediately, we get the essence of Douglas Dare. Piano, beautiful voice and poetic lyrics. From the start, it is clear, that this is no pop music, no easy-listening, but something that needs your full attention and if you are a music lover, you are willing to give it. Halfway through the song, we get a taste of the slight electronic elements, that are going to be present on this whole album. It’s not obnoxious, it’s merely a way to drive the song on. A song that ends the same way it started. Only voice and piano. The next song is called ‘Nile‘. We had the chance, to hear this song before the actual release of the album. I admit, it made me uneasy the first time I heard it. It has to do with the atmosphere the song creates and also the way it is sung. The singing style of Douglas Dare is hard to describe and that is good. As I said before. It’s fresh, not trite at all. His words are touching and the way he sings it, I am compelled to believe, when he says that he’d “sail down to river Nile, just to keep you alive and well.” Third song is called ‘repeat’. There’s a special sound in this song. At first listen, it was annoying, but then I realized, that it isn’t in the least. Again, it compliments the intensity of the song. The lyrics on this one are really good. Something  in them, that spoke to me on a personal level.

All of Douglas Dare’s songs are poems, prose. When I saw him, that last December, I complimented him on his lyrics and he told me, that he writes poems or lyrics first and then, the music is added. It’s something, that is almost palpable in his songs. Not one song feels forced. They flow naturally.

‘Caroline’ is certainly a highlight of the album. I loved this song a whole lot, when I heard it live. It was one of the really rare occasions, that yours truly had a tear in her eyes at a live show. It’s a pure song, telling a story. Sometimes easy is just as (or more) powerful than sophisticated. Though on this album nothing is ever easy and that is said in the most positive way. This song has a different feel to it. My guess is, that it’s a little closer to Mister Dare’s heart than the other ones. Of course, that is only my guess. After ‘Caroline’ comes and instrumental song. One that made me regret for the first time, that I don’t listen to anything on Vinyl. The whole album must sound amazing on Vinyl. We are taken out of the instrumental song with the next, ‘unrest’ which has an unsettling atmosphere. Again, complementary to the lyrics. It’s a heavy song, that reminds me of certain Depeche Mode songs. In a way a song that stands out. In a good – different way. Maybe, it’s the most accessible song on the album – if there ever is such a thing. Great chorus in this one.

Next is ‘lungful‘. It was the first ever song, that I heard of this talented man and can also be found on the EP ‘seven hours’. The lyrics are mind-blowing. They might be simple or easy, but they are very concise. Piano, a little drum beat and clapping hands… this song doesn’t need more to underline the depth of it.

You need to hear the call

They’re wishing you to fall

Don’t let them see you fail

I will not let you fail.

After this intense song, we are taken away with a story called ‘whitewash’. It’s the song, that explores Douglas’s voice the most, I’d say. Soft, fragile, deep, strong. It’s arguable the song, that marked me the most on this album. I kept trying to imagine how this song would sound, if it would be sung by Björk. Covering Douglas Dare’s songs must be close to impossible, because of his unique voice and singing style, but this song would suit Björk too. ‘Swim‘ is another song, that was released beforehand. It has no piano at the beginning of the song. Instead it has drum beats, which gives it a club-material feel. (imo). When the piano sets in, the song gets another different feel. I have to admit, that it’s a grower. I did not like it at first. It changed. Maybe I changed too and had another way to engage with it, after hearing it more often. Last song is called ‘London’s rose’. It’s a completely different style, than ‘swim’ and yet, it doesn’t feel out of place. This album ends with a simple song. Soft, but with meaningful lyrics. Douglas and his piano. An exceptional voice. Unique.

 

‘Whelm’ is an album about love, about loss. Sad and melancholic, but never pathetic. It’s simple, but not for the simple. It’s not crushed with numerous superfluous effects and that’s what’s best about it. Because it’s authentic.

It’s an album for lovers of good music. For people, who like to be taken on a journey. It’s certainly an album, that needs more than one listen and deserves it too. One to listen to consciously and not as background noise.

 

For more about Douglas Dare, go to www.douglasdare.com

Keep your eyes open for this young man and if you ever get the chance to see him live in concert, go see him. You won’t regret it.

 

Thank you Douglas, for sharing your talent with us

 

xx

 

Cathy

 

PS: remember, I am not a professional critic. This is from a music lover for other music lovers, therefore, it’s subjective.

Friday 5: silence

To be honest, I didn’t listen to much music this week, even now, silence surrounds me.

 

1. Anathema – the silent enigma

From the album with the same name, that came out in 1995

 

2. Starsailor – silence is easy

From the album with the same name (2003)

 

3. Papa Roach – silence is the enemy

From the album “the Connection” (2012)

 

4. Depeche Mode – enjoy the silence

From the album “Violator” (1990)

 

5. Coldplay – the scientist

From the album “A Rush Of Blood Through Your Head” (2002)

 

The theme of this weeks 5 is pretty obvious, apart from the last song, which is an insider, for that person and for me.

 

have a nice weekend

 

xx