Why does some music hit us so hard?

Richard Thompson and Beeswing just came on the radio stream. It is so bittersweet. As a result I am now streaming RT’s acoustic classics(2).
The music takes me to a place I once was and have no wish to be again, but also I would like to be that young again.
Sunday night musings of an old man perhaps.


Absolutely valid Sunday musings Bruss; I find that music is a real time machine capable of taking us back to memorable times, both good & bad. I equally have a set that can take me to a not very great place if I am not careful.

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Hearing is so evocative, same with smell. Music fits in perfectly I guess. Plus, we’re (generally) pretty old on this forum - music was an essential part of our lives back when…


I find that two things can transport me instantly to a particular time and place - music and smells.


For the narrator in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, the taste of a madeleine triggered 3,000 pages.

As for “Beeswing”, I was in my 40s when I first heard it, so it doesn’t really bring me back to anything. But it does move me.

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I think it is a combination of age, early loves and expectations, lost youth and ideals not realised. Age makes me realise not all things I once thought possible, are actually possible. The world has changed both for the better and for the worst. C’est la vie.


My equivalent would be Sweet Baby James.

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I have to be careful on a Sunday night exactly what I watch, listen to or think about. I used to think it was work-related (ie pre Monday misery) but it’s not. I find the quiet hours at the end of Sunday are a dangerous space where too much contemplation leads quickly to melancholy and the pining for a lost past, lost youth or lost world where good health and opportunity, the sheer possibilities, stretched out endlessly.

I’ve been both blessed and cursed with a broadly photographic memory and truly random memories can quickly surface due to some random trigger - childhood holidays on the Isle of Man, the mynah bird at the Shell Station in Union Mills, the cafe at Port Soderick, walking there cross country and having ice-cold lemonade, the steam train to Peel, EB Christian’s Ford dealership on the inner harbour at Douglas and MV ‘Golden Lal’ moored nearby.

I could go on but some of this is so vivid it is like yesterday. These memories are 50+ years ago though. My parents were alive and summer sun always shone. Musically that would be triggered by Burge’s ‘Cornet Carillon’ the B side to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards’ Amazing Grace single from 1972.

From later in life some of the musical triggers are tunes I’d not necessarily listen to even at the time, but they were ‘present’ at the time, and the list is endless.

Coming to the end of my working career, honestly I feel like I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve not changed the world, though, I’ve been to too few concerts, I’ve not spent enough time with friends and family, and not travelled enough, all by the standards I use to judge myself.

That said I’ve much to be happy about and occasionally catch myself being truly content, but I worry too much, I’m focused on task and achievement and I consequently don’t seem to be able to achieve the inner calm that my godparents and grand parents exhibit(ed).

I’m also aware my kids are planning university and their own lives. They are unaware how much my wife and I will miss them. We won’t tell them really how much because they won’t understand and they also need to grow and break free. I can’t believe how fast they’ve grown and how quickly this point in time has arrived.

Writing this, it strikes me that I need to retire and work out what comes next. Maybe Monday mornings and afternoons provide better clarity than Sunday nights!


I can understand all of those thoughts. I have come to a place that I’m happy and content with where I am, but there is always for me the thoughts of how too little the world has changed and why didn’t I do more. Joni M’s Yellow Taxi reminds me ‘paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
‘. Now why didn’t I stop even that.
The RT track though adds the desolation of lost love associated with youth. As his song elicits though, it couldn’t be changed. We move on in different directions.

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