Sunday, May 06, 2007

Other People's Nostalgia

There's a car in the parking lot of my townhouse, which is a good 500 yards away from my kitchen. The sound coming out of that car has to travel over 3 rooftops or sneak magic-bullet style around a few curves to pass through the glass of my kitchen window. I've heard the same song coming out of that car for the last 45 minutes or so, perhaps due to a skipping CD or an MP3 riff with the repeat function nailed down, or maybe this is a somebody's little statement of some kind. It's Martha and the Muffins' 'Echo Beach.'


'Echo Beach' merely sounds like 1980 or so to me, which makes it one of my sister's 45's that she played on a small turntable in her bedroom. I have no sentimental attachment to it aside from than the fact it reminded me of the beaches for years, and I now live in the beaches. Or the beach. Or whatever it's been branded this week.

There's something intensely claustrophobic about getting stuck in somebody else's resonant song - I was once trapped in a club on College St. waiting to see a friend perform when a woman come in to sing 'Four Strong Winds' (which I've always hated) and spent a good 10 minutes discussing how she feels that song is HER song since (and this is the boiled down version) she made out with this guy once at the end of summer (in 1971 or so) and he said he'd call and HE NEVER DID and that song really means a lot to her because she feels she's been carried by those four strong winds through this lifetime and...it went on. You get my point.

Honourable Mention in the trapped-in-somebody-else's-moment competition; Cynthia Dale on CBC discussing her recent CD of showtune standards, saying that there are some songs that you can't record until after your thirties, when you've gotten "Some scars on your back, and..." (a meaningful, sweet sigh was inserted here),"...some scars on your heart." And my skin crawls. She only gets an honourable mention since I could (and did) turn off the radio and avoid buying the CD, I wasn't trapped in a room with the baggage and dubious musical talent.

An unknown driver in my parking lot seems to love 'Echo Beach' deeply. If it isn't just an 80's tribute night on CFNY (again), or a CD auto-program gone wrong, and if somebody has decided that this is their poetic moment, the message ain't subtle. The lyrics spell it out like this;

"On a silent summer evening
The sky's alive with light
Building in the distance
Surrealistic sight
On Echo Beach
Far away in time
Echo Beach
Far away in time"
Repeat and fade.

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