Sunday 11 April 2010

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

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


  1. Mecano! Wow! Yo estuve en ese concierto en el Sant Jordi de Barcelona... vaya tiempos!

    Qué bien que estés disfrutando de Malasia. Ya sabes que es un país al que queremos mucho y además tenemos lazos de sangre por parte de mi marido. Mándale un beso a Malasia de nuestra parte y sigue disfrutando!

  2. I can relate to that, I too love my mp3 especially when I am in transit.
    I love different music and I do have a number of uptempo ones old (90s) but goodies.. that just tempt me to want to tap my toes and move my hips.. (!!!) in the middle of a train ride..(lol).

    Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comments.

    Glad you enjoyed Malaysia, it's our nearest playground for short trips.

  3. It sounds like you have a rather special mp3 player that is particularly attuned you your needs. Mine is more like a cheeky six year old: I'll be sitting quietly reading, perhaps dozing off a bit, and it will blast me with the opening of Beethoven's fifth, for example.

  4. Wow - music you can go to the dentist that is an achievement!! Great post as usual and glad you enjoyed the trip to malaysia - please do some posts as I have never visited there. Greetings from mexico

  5. That's a really special relationship between you and your MP3 player. Can't wait for some Malaysia shots and impressions. I'm still old school and refuse all those portable playing gadgets but I have a beautiful CD full of Brazilian classics like Alfomega (Caetano) and Mariana (Maria Behania) that, I bought at my hair dressers! It's just about to drive me into bliss.

  6. Wow, Cuban, I'm going to have to listen to some of these songs you mentioned.
    When I go on my morning run, I must have my Mp3. It helps me to finish that last lap when all I want to do is quit, but I complete it listening to the lyrics, 'keep the body moving, keep the body moving".

    look forward to your impressions of Malasia.


  7. What a delightful trip you took me on and what an eclectic taste you have in music. Keep having fun in Malaysia.

  8. I just love your attention to music -- the detail, the memory, the melding of sense and the ineffable.

  9. Wonderful post (need to listen to some of the pieces you allude to)! I love how you can make a trip to the dentist's come out as bliss :).

    I am not a listening-to-music-on-the-go kind of person - I don't like the feel of ear plugs in my ears, and also I feel like I'm missing what's happening around me by plugging my hearing - but music on the speakers on soft definitely is one way I relax.

  10. I'm addicted to my iPod, so I can entirely relate, Cuban. Enjoy the good times and enjoy the places. And I'm sure you're having a blast in Malaysia! Take care.


  11. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    Greetings from Kuala Lumpur. Yep, still in Malaysia. :-)



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