Cheaper and quicker than cognitive behavioural therapy: just stick your MP3 player on shuffle, and let it answer the following set questions, oracle style.
1. What do you think of me, Random Music Player?
Emily Snow – M. Craft.
I’m not sure how this got onto my iPod, but it turns out to be a wistful, mournful, slightly twee acoustic ditty concerning the impermanence of human relations.
“Where do we go, now all the late night bars have closed, and our friends have turned to shadows? People come and people go… blink of an eye… we’re all gonna die… so what are we waiting for tomorrow?”
Well gee, THIS is working. THANKS for that, iPod! Is there any point in continuing with this? Or with anything? Anything at all?
Also, I don’t take awfully kindly to being called Emily Snow. It makes me sound like some sort of coke-sniffing spinster, and I refute the comparison utterly.
Or perhaps this is some sort of “confrontational” therapy, deliberately designed to challenge and provoke? We shall see.
2. Will I have a happy life?
Six Days – DJ Shadow.
So does that mean that I can only expect six days of happiness in the rest of my miserable life, or that I’ve only got six days left on this benighted planet? F***ing hell, enough with the doom and gloom already! Where are we going with this?
“You could be sitting taking lunch, the news will hit you like a punch, it’s only Tuesday… tomorrow never comes until it’s too late.”
This is one miserable dirge. I scarcely dare continue.
3. What do my friends really think of me?
Childrens World – Maceo Parker.
Good grief, this sounds even more mournful and tragic than the DJ Shadow track, as a lone sax picks out a ragged, forlorn solo over softly descending organ chords and understated, bluesy guitar chops. For, like, over ten minutes. Maceo Parker is best known for his sizzling, ecstatically funky work with James Brown’s band… so what happened here?
I have visions of my friends all standing round and shaking their heads in sorrow, in a kind of what-went-wrong way. “He could have been someone… if only… he never really grew up though, did he…”
Towards the end, things reach a kind of frenzied crescendo of agonised wailing, with multiple horn solos all kicking off and singing their own disconnected songs of individual pain. Was it something I said?
4. What does my Significant Other think of me?
Od Yeshoma – Oi Va Voi.
Jeez, more lush downtempo lugubriousness. What’s UP with this iPod today? Where’s the DISCO, fer chrissakes?
Whatever it is that K thinks of me, he has chosen to express it in the form of a traditional Hebrew prayer. Well, we do pride ourselves on never doing Obvious and Slushy. Ah, here’s a translation.
“Still will be heard in the mountains of Judas, and in the streets of Jerusalem. A voice of laughter and a voice of joy, A voice of a groom and a voice of a bride.”
Well, I suppose that’s vaguely cheering, if a little obtuse. Or maybe he’s planning to elope with a nice Jewish girl, leaving me standing at the
altar registrar’s table, sweating in my nice Paul Smith suit, nosegay already wilting in my clenched fist?
Moving swiftly on…
5. Do people secretly lust after me?
Yesterday – Matt Monro.
“Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be…” I swear I’m not making these up. Still, that would explain the lack of shitty sticks down NG1 last Friday.
6. How can I make myself happy?
We’ve Only Just Begun – The Carpenters.
“So many roads to choose. We start off walking and learn to run.”
Following many months of referrals, screenings and false starts, my first proper CBT session took place yesterday evening. Mountains to climb, streams to ford, etc etc. Nuff said.
“Talking it over, just the two of us. Working together, day to day.”
Someone inside that infernal machine is HAVING A LARF.
7. What should I do with my life?
A Rose Is Still A Rose – Aretha Franklin.
“Baby girl, you’re still a flower… darling, you hold the power.” This is WAY too Zen for a prosaic soul like me. Give me simple messages, dammit! And enough with the camp over-familiarities – a little professional distance would be appreciated, thank you.
8. Why must life be so full of pain?
Call Me – Feminnem.
“There were times when I really doubted, if after stormy weather always comes the sun. But now I can see the world from a different side, yeah…”
At last! It’s sunny, it’s bouncy, it’s breezy, it’s lively: it’s this year’s Eurovision entry from plucky little Bosnia & Herzegovina, sent to banish all sadness and fill my heart with gladness. For when a Eurovision song is playing, then nothing bad can happen to y…
“Fifty candles on the party cakes, for many years of happiness.”
Oh, just f**k off and DIE. I’M FORTY-THREE!
9. How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
When Poets Dreamed Of Angels – David Sylvian.
“She rises early from bed, runs to the mirror, the bruises inflicted in moments of fury. He kneels beside her once more, whispers a promise: next time I’ll break every bone in your body.”
OK, now you’re just scaring me. May I see your certificate?
10. Can you give me some advice?
Every Party Has A Winner And A Loser – Erlend Øye.
11. What do you think happiness is?
Doop – Doop.
Now we’re singing from the same hymn sheet. Happiness is… an instrumental novelty number. Indeedy-doody-doo!
12. Do you have any advice to give over the next few hours/days?
Peach Trees – Rufus Wainwright.
“And I really do wish you were here next to me, cos I’m going to see James Dean. There I will be, under the peach trees with him.”
This must be some sort of tit-for-tat reprisal for the nice Jewish girl. Frankly, I think I’ve got the better deal.
13. Will I die happy?
Small Song – Lhasa De Sela.
“I made a small small song. I sang it all night long, all through the wind and rain, until the morning came. This song is my small song. I sang it all night long, and when the morning came, I had to start all over again. My song is so so small, I could get down and crawl, searching from wall to wall, and never see anything at all. How could you hate such a small song? If i was right, I would be wrong. Don’t be afraid, it’s just a small song.”
Oh, iPod. And I thought we were on the point of a breakthrough. Same time in a fortnight, is it? Yes, I’ve got cash. No, I’ll see myself out.
Moral: Man, that machine has more issues than I do. Perhaps this was the point all along.
Don’t worry: I shan’t be “tagging” anyone with this, as I believe common parlance now has it. What is this, the school playground?
(Yes, I take your point.)
Update (2): Meg of me(ish) dot org takes the meme, mutates it a bit, then does her own iTunes-on-shuffle splurge. (Yay, John Martyn’s cover of Glory Box!)