Bliss to me is being on holidays in a country as steeped in culture and history as Malaysia, surrounded by people you care about and who return selflessly the same sentiment.
Bliss is also when my mp3 player picks up my favourite tracks to accompany me on my way around Londontown.
But it's your own mp3 player, silly! I hear you shout out, of course, it'll showcase the songs you like! Hmmm... yes, you're right, but certain songs 'are more favourite than others', to misquote George Orwell. And occasionally my little gadget plays the tune I want to listen to at the precise moment I want to hear it. And believe you me, the effect is magical.
When I walk, I crave music that sets my pulse racing. And when I'm sitting in one of the carriages of the London Underground, I like music I can read to, or that stimulates my mind. Just the other day when I went to St Thomas hospital for a dental appointment my morning trip began with 'Jimmy Jazz' by the Clash. This was followed by Jorge Ben's 'Carolina Carol Bela'. Already I was in the mood to face the dentist's drill. Once on the bus, my mp3 decided to calm down a bit because it probably saw me open my newspaper. That's why it changed the tempo and played 'Turiya and Ramakrishna' by Alice Coltrane. The combination of reading an array of well-written, absorbing and provocative articles and Alice's magical sound reminded me of Spring tuning its violin for its first April concert. And the mood continued as I made my way down the escalator and onto the platform. My mp3 picked up Led Zeppelin's 'Going to California' to make my journey more special. There are lines in that song that always make giggle but this one comes top: 'Find a queen without a king/They say she plays guitar and cries and sings, la-la-la-la'. It's that la-la-la at the end that does it for me; playfulness and gaiety mixed together. Ahhh... bliss. The message behind 'Raros Peinados Nuevos' by Charly Garcia about not confirming to stereotypes always takes me back to my year 12 and my work experience in the countryside. A guitar, a bottle of rum and hoarse Cuban voices pretending to sing and talk like one of the most famous Argentinian pop and rock musicians. Plus my daughter loves that song nowadays and used to have the lyrics pasted on one of the walls of her bedroom. Sometimes she asks me to sing it to her. I changed at Green Park and how did my mp3 know that I was on the move again? I only ask because why on earth did it select the raw 'Rock It (Prime Jive)' by Queen? I - almost - skipped all the way to the platform of the Jubilee Line. By the time I arrived at London Bridge station, my music box had a string of tunes lined up to make that final third of the journey an unforgettable experience: 'Que Pasa' by the Horace Silver Quintet, Nuyorican Soul's 'It's Alright, I Feel It' (with Jocelyn Brown on vocals. Did you read that well? Jocelyn Brown, on vocals! Oh, mi querido eme-pe-tres, you bring me so much bliss!), the acoustic version of 'Bedda At Home' by Jill Scott (He's the kind that breaks it down/And curls my toes, woo woo woo baby ow, just change 'he' for 'she and you'll know what's going through my mind). And just as I walked past the Lupus unit on my left handside at the hospital, my mp3 decided to relax a little bit again and regaled me this time with Janis Joplin's 'Mercedes Benz'. The singer's famous 'That's it' at the end of the track saw me into the waiting room. And that, ladies and gentlemen is bliss to me.
Image taken from londondance.com