By David Dawson
Let’s say it like it is, 2020 is the year of coping. Coronavirus, fires, the economy, racism. It’s been a pretty stressful year and we all need something to help get us through. Well, why not music?
So, this year on top of everything has at times been extremely lonely. People have been shut in their own homes and unable to see their friends and family… it’s not ideal. Know what can bridge that gap? That’s right, music. Now of course, listening to some tunes won’t fill the empty void in your life that is human contact, but it certainly is an amazing way to reach out to your nearest and dearest. Now, my wonderful best friend and I decided at the start of lockdown that each day we would make each other a short playlist, or recommend an album, based on a theme decided together. It sounds like a simple bit of fun but it really did help both of us during lockdown, in a time when not much was happening to us and there was nothing much to talk about, we all of a sudden had exciting conversation, giving rigorous feedback and reviews on the music recommended by our counterpart. Not only was the listening fun, making playlists for someone else and filling them with the most obscure music in my library was so enjoyable, hearing someone else’s reactions to your beloved bangers and introducing them to new stuff they like is a great feeling. Whatever my day brought to me I knew that I had my playlist to listen to and a new one to make and that really did keep me going.
Ok, ok, I hear you, it’s not just the loneliness. People are pretty worried about the future. It’s so unknown and nothing seems to be guaranteed anymore. God I wish I could just go back to the good old days. Well, you can. How? That’s right, music. Now, of course I’m not saying that an old anthem will literally put you into a time machine and take you back to that party where you got sick all down your shirt, but it certainly is an amazing way to distract yourself with memories of the past. Music and memories are pretty strongly linked, I’m sure everyone has songs that automatically bring happy memories of good times with good people. So why not make a playlist? Fill it up with those songs that transport you from your worries and your strife and into a vivid re-watch in the cinema of your mind. Go ahead and fill it with reminders of your childhood, holidays, and times when our biggest problem was when your school didn’t shut because there was a single millimetre of snow outside. Now obviously one playlist full of memories will not solve the world’s problems, but in those dark moments when you just need to get out of your own mind, a trip down memory lane can be just what you need.
Yes, alright, I’m getting there. I know you’ve listened to your memory lane playlist three times and I get that it’s not distracting you as much anymore. God it makes me so angry, if only I had something to calm me down when I get mad at the world around me. Well, I can. How? That’s right, music. Now of course I’m not saying that a playlist of soothing songs will literally calm you dow…oh, it can? Well, anyway, as it turns out, if you’re feeling pretty pent up and frustrated, putting together a playlist of some slower, more soothing music will actually help you keep a cool head and try and relax a bit. Find some songs in your playlist that chill you out, whether it’s those with a good summer vibe or something really therapeutic, put them together and sit there with your headphones on listening. Shut out the rest of the world, shut your eyes and relax. Now, if soothing classics or Smooth FM aren’t floating your boat, maybe go for some relaxing sound effects. Pull some clips of birdsong, wind, water, just anything that helps you cool down. Now, effectively what I am suggesting here is a light amateur-hour version of meditation, so if you find that your relaxing playlist is getting a bit old or not quite hitting the spot, why not fully immerse yourself in meditation? In times of stress and worry, sometimes we just need to take a moment, and if you think you haven’t got time, well, you probably need it more than you know.