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The Soundtrack of my Various Lives {Guest Post}

Hi Friday everyone!

Today I’m having one of my favourite people guest posting on my blog! Her name is Tali Kord and she’s a wonderful girl and one of the best friends I made in St Andrews. She’s an amazing writer – she actual works as a content writer as well – and I’m so happy she said yes to writing something for TTIACF! Now over to you Tali!

Soundtrack of Various Lives 

In my quarter-of-a-century on this lovely earth I’ve lived in four different cities (moving to a fifth soon.) First there was my hometown. Then there was the university town, which might have been technically close – maybe an hour and a half’s drive from home – but in atmosphere was world away. Then there was grad school in St Andrews, which I’m going to assume you know all about, being followers of this blog (there’s a test at the end, mind you.) After Scotland was London, where I lived and worked for a while and still miss very much now that I’ve left it.

In each city I had other friends, other tasks on my mind, a different environment and a whole unique daily routine. The other day I was riding the bus to work and thinking about how unreal all past routines seem once you’ve settled into a new one. It’s not about forgetting things. It’s more about an outsider’s look. I can picture in my head the street I lived on, the grocery store I used to frequent, the pubs I used to frequent even more… But I feel like I’m watching an HD home video. It just doesn’t come together as an experience anymore.

Then a certain song came on iPod that turned that same thought on its head. Hearing that particular music was that much stronger than recalling places and events. It sent me right back to whatever it was I associated with it, like nothing else could. So for my guest post I figured I’d write exactly about that: four cities, four routines, four songs that never fail to relive a whole different lifetime.

Highschool: Led Zeppelin, Good Times, Bad Times

It’s roughly 7.10 in the morning, it’s quite cold out, and it’s November or December. I’m getting ready for school and the most important part of my routine is to press play on my CD player next to my bed before I do anything else. I needed my music while preparing for another day of classes (admittedly I don’t anymore), and Led Zep were dominating my own private billboard at the time.

As it turns out, getting ready for school may feel tedious but it doesn’t really take very long. Which is why I only get to hear the first few songs of the album before heading to breakfast and then outside. Don’t feel too sorry for me – I have plenty of time to listen to the rest of it while walking to class or once I got back home. But the point is to picture this: a mid-sized room. Comfy and warm but raining outside. Heavy guitars are playing in the background in an energy that far surpasses anything I’ve ever felt at 7.10 in the morning. And then finally, reluctantly, I press pause and head out, still humming that killer solo.

University: Ricao, Malacutum

I have to open this one with a disclosure: this particular song came to me (and now to you!) via one of those Putumayo World Music collections, specifically the Rumba & Flamenco one. Putumayo make pretty awesome CDs, but at the same time they are like those For Dummies guides, so I just thought I’d admit this right off the top before you go on with your lives and imagine me being some sort of Flamenco connoisseur. I’m not. I’d like to be. But I’m too busy swaying around and pretending to play the castanets. Damn, Flamenco is awesome.

It’s awesome, among other reasons, because for me it’s the epitome of a weekend morning. Or really, any morning if you’re a humanities student and you really only have class for like 6 hours a week. It spells out (albeit in Spanish) sun, and independence, and overall joyfulness. For me it also spells out an airy summer dress, a stroll on campus grounds and the unique brand of freedom that you can really only experience as a student. Because right there, at that moment, walking and listening to this song, I couldn’t care less about the upcoming test or my potentially jobless future. I just want to run my errands in the sun forever.

Grad school: Lana Del Rey, Off to the Races

The weirdest thing about grad school is that you feel like you’re spending a whole lot of time doing nothing and only in retrospect do you realize that holy shit, you got a lot done. Maybe that’s because most of what I was doing was reading, taking notes, and writing, which I hardly consider work. Or maybe it’s because of all the procrastination. My god, the procrastination. I consider myself to be very focused and not easily distracted but writing a dissertation is truly a different playing field.

I remember it vividly. I’m sitting on my swivly chair, feet on the bed, laptop on me. I should be putting together another chapter, or at least searching for some useful sources, but – don’t tell anyone – I’m really not. I’m playing Candy Crush and Farm Heroes and listening to Lana Del Rey on Grooveshark. I’m in comfy pajamas and under truly the coziest fleece blanket you ever did see. It’s chilly out, because Scotland doesn’t really care about your outdated notions of summer, but inside it’s absolutely lovely and warm and comforting. I’m ignoring the – lets call them “problematic” – lyrics and enjoying the beat and the crushing of the candies, which just seem like they would never ever end.

Post study: Suzanne Vega, Marlene on the Wall

Look, I know she’s from California, but to my mind there’s something very London-y about Suzanne Vega. She’s melancholy but also kind of hopeful. She’s not as glamorous as NYC (at least she’s more coherent than “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”) but has a more delicate, reserved charm. She also echoes various different traditions while maintaining a steady and cohesive vibe, which I happen to love very much.

It’s the kind of vibe that fits in perfectly with gray skies and a light drizzle while I’m sitting in the number 253 bus headed to the office at Camden. I think it’s because melancholy is all kinds of contradictory: I’m spending every day between the four walls of the office but to get there I have to walk right next to the famous open market. I’ve got a nice shirt on and some makeup but then a heavy coat and wellies. I feel gloomy but I’m also amazed that this is not a dream, that I’m actually here and doing this, that I have a flat and a job both of which are a short ride away from the British Museum (or whatever.)

Both Vega and London have something special about them. It’s a mix of many different things but then they’re all happening at the same time and I’m not really sure how to feel— so I just stare out the window and contemplate my current and past “here”s while Marlene watches from the wall, mocking.

* * *

She definitely reminded me of some songs that resonate so much with certain moments and phases of my life! Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did! You can follow Tali on Twitter!

Now do you have a soundtrack for particular moments of your life?xx 

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