When I was an angsty teenager and my parents would make me come with them on long boring day trips, I used to make the music I was listening to into the soundtrack to the movie of my life. Headphones in, I would listen to some particularly fitting tune and imagine that this moment – me leaning my head forlornly against the car window as rain streaked against the glass – this was a scene in the movie of Varia’s life, and something very profound was supposed to be happening in my head (made clear by the preceding scene, obviously). It made those moments so much more interesting. It made my perpetual teenage sadness so much more bearable.
I think it’s also related that when I experimented with playwriting and putting on plays in high school, my absolute favourite part was choosing the perfect soundtrack. I like to think I had a knack for it.
But what I really want to talk about is the incredible serendipity of shuffle mode.
There’s a series of Russian books called ‘Day Watch’ and ‘Night Watch’, among a few others, which features, essentially, people with supernatural abilities who fight each other – doesn’t really matter. But one of my favourite quirks of the main character is that among all of his “magical” abilities like seeing the future and making people behave the way he wants them to, the one constant positive in his life is his regular old mp3 player, which he always has on ‘shuffle mode’ and which just happens to ‘pick’ the perfect song for the moment every time he switches it on.
I’ve always felt like I have this ‘magical ability’. It probably sounds insane, but I genuinely feel that the universe and I have a special little understanding when it comes to shuffle mode.
I don’t (always) pretend anymore that it’s the soundtrack to the movie of me, but the music that plays in my ears when I press ‘play’ is usually exactly right. Whether it’s the lyrics, the melody, the rhythm, or just the mood – it’s always a salve for a wound or an infusion of positive energy.
And just today, in yet another moment where I was reminded of being profoundly lost and alone by my own making, I put in my headphones and I received Swept Away by Parra for Cuva… and suddenly everything was a little bit better. I was able to get up off the bed and make myself some coffee. Suddenly I was back in the movie, and what had happened was simply another scene on the way to an inevitable happy ending.
Run with your life, not behind
Behind the scenes
On the street
The shadow’s broken
Trust your body and your head