I realised again that feeling content comes in many different forms. Tonight it was the simple pleasure of sitting with my husband watching a programme. No stress, no parents around, baby happy and asleep, just the two of us doing something very ordinary. And it was also a healing process related to my past.
I think I finally like ordinary things.
So, to the show. We all know karma can be a bitch and a mighty one at that. But this evening I watched a wonderful documentary that moved me to tears and showed that good things can also happen to good people. Karma can be a sight to behold.
The music of Rodriguez first came into my life as a sixteen year old, feeling on the cusp of greatness as I moved to the last two years of school. I remember it as a hot golden summer – my first job, my first real boyfriend, thin enough to rock a crop top and hot pants and young enough to not give a shit about very much at all. My boyfriend’s brother returned from a year in South Africa, full of stories and enthusiasm about this amazing country and raving about this artist called Rodriguez.
‘he shot himself on stage right after this terrible gig’ I remember him claiming excitedly. ‘he’s the soundtrack of apartheid and anti apartheid and Bob Dylan can go fuck himself compared to this guy. Everyone in the whole frigging country plays these records.’ I clearly remember the brother waving his hands with an eloquent third finger to Bob Dylan as he described this as-yet-unheard-by-us-artist. One friend was outraged at the sacrilege to Bob Dylan’s name – a man he revered so much he wrote on his Biology A level paper to one question ‘the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’ before walking out and going to get stoned.
It’s amazing how music can evoke such clear memories. Until a couple of days ago I had clean forgotten. I’m also surprised there isn’t the usual sting to the memories. I didn’t wince as I usually do, but for the first time was able to look back at a particularly turbulent time with fondness.
Anyway, we were of course agog to hear anything which was against the establishment (I was in particular very heavily into Sepultura and Rage Against the Machine at the time – my prized possession was a shirt emblazoned with some of their more infamous lyrics).
I remember it being a particularly balmy summer evening as we sat on the beach and he put the cassette in and pressed play. I had my feet digging into the sand and was watching the sea, slightly zoned out to everything around me. Little known to me at the time, I was slipping away from my first mania into my first truly severe depression and I recognise that zoning out and detachment as part of the cycle.
Then, of course, I just thought they were being teenage boys waffling on about some dull artist and I was amusing myself in my head. Despite the detachment though, I was listening to the brother’s story about Rodriguez and I was intrigued to listen to this music that was the soundtrack to a generation.
It wasn’t at first my cup of tea. But as the summer melted along and there were many more long drives and late night sessions, with Rodriguez pretty much permanently on the music player, I grew to love the songs.
As I grew up and left home to find my own path, I forgot that long summer. Until I moved to London and lived with a bunch of South Africans who also had it on permanently. They were able to explain how interwoven this guy was into their fabric of life and I enjoyed the revival of Rodriguez’s music.
I still thought he was dead though.
And as time passed, I forgot again until checking out the very excellent a-z posts by blahpolar who mentioned Rodriguez. And that he was very much alive! Thank God for Spotify which meant I was able to play the albums and enjoy the music almost instantly. I was thrilled to see that ‘Sugarman’ alone had over twelve million listens. I was also fascinated in the story, particularly as it reminded me of such an instrumental summer in my life (I left home shortly after another blazing row with my family), and the intrigue around his identity was a mystery.
One of my many new things to do (along with getting pink hair) is to listen to music I really enjoyed before my ex and illness sucked the life out of me. It was such fun yesterday to walk along the Maas with my baby asleep in her pram, on a glorious spring afternoon, singing along to an album I had memorised so many years ago. There was even an award-winning documentary made about Rodriguez, his story had become that famous. How had I lived in such a bubble all these years?
DH and I find little in common when it comes to viewing but he found ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ for me – a documentary about the guy – and it was so nice to snuggle up next to DH and watch it this evening. We get so little time together these days, which is shortened even more when living with the in laws. Time together, alone, is so precious and to be savoured. Sitting drinking a cup of tea watching an interesting programme with the man of my dreams and the father of my child? I didn’t know a few years ago such a thing would even be possible. But here we are ❤
If you only watch one thing in the coming weeks please consider watching this. It is an amazing story of how one man without even realising it impacted on so many people in a country that has gone through fire. I was crying at the end. Truly wonderful. A link to the trailer is below.
And the music is pretty good too 😀
Thanks to blahpolar for the rediscovery of this great musician 🙂