Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Medicine Cabinet #20

by Nayt Housman

Music is my medicine. Is it yours? I ask the public six golden questions to find out if and how they use music to feed the soul. 

Jan by Nayt Housman

Last week I shared with you all the music loves of my father, so this week I bring you the Queen of my world, my 67yo mumma Jan. As children we always wonder how much of an influence our parents have on all aspects of our life. I definitely felt some connections to my dads taste in music (maybe not Nickelback) so how do my own musical flavours compare with mother dearest? In her youth mum was a bit of a keen fashionista, a pretty snazzy dancer and was pretty good with a ball or two (basketball and netball duh). Of course I take after her in those aspects though these days the words “breathe in peace; I am peaceful” are more likely to be uttered by Jan than “Lets get loose and cut loose bitches!!” So how does my music taste compare?

Thinking of music as medicine:

Who are the musicians and/or bands that flick your switch and turn up the volume?

Jan: Fleetwood Mac, Goldfrapp, Bee Gees, Everything But The Girl, Sade and a bit of Shania Twain. Oh and Icehouse particularly the Man Of Colours album.


Why do you think they are the pills that cure your ills?

Jan: A lot of them take you back in time to a time and place that is very different. Some make you feel that you want to dance, some make you feel calm like you want to sit and listen and some make you feel very emotional.

What kind of high do they give you?

Jan: Some of them give me goosebumps. It’s a euphoric feeling, makes you feel alive. Makes you want to do things that you haven’t done for a long time. TO DANCE!


When do you find yourself craving music for relief?

Jan: Probably I don’t. I used to a long time ago. I enjoy listening but I don’t really crave to listen to music, probably because I’ve become boring dull and uninteresting *laughs*. I don’t know?

Where in life, home, and your world does music take you?

Jan: Some music takes me back to Melbourne. Where I used to work we had a pretty crazy social life at Hertzfeld’s department store. So it brings back memories of that and my boss Mari.

 Those tight, white pants! We know who dresses to the left...

How do you share your music love?

Jan: I probably don’t. There’s music that I like, but no I don’t. We used to go to concerts and live shows and pubs where we’d sit and listen to people with friends and sometimes strangers.


I almost don’t know how to process this interview with Jan. On one hand, this is the person I spent the most time in my youth listening to music with and the one who taught me how to love these sounds, but on the other this is a woman who has seemingly grown passed that very music.

Even though it has the power to conjure vivid memories and to force a worn and tired body to desire the stimulating movements of dance maybe it’s not as powerful as I always imagined it could be? Music can ignite emotions we’d forgotten were there, it can inspire change and move, can bring the world together and split people apart but what happens when that power is lost? Maybe all of this is just a phase of life that is no longer significant and those memories and emotions no longer feel relevant. This could be why some, like Mother Dearest, no longer crave the stimulation of music? I wonder how I will feel in 30 years? Will music have become more of a novelty and just something that plays in the background while my focus is on more serious aspects of my reality?

I shall dub this “The New Prescription Effect”. When music has served its purpose for most of one's life but loses its effect. The memories of how it once worked are still there but the need to take a daily dose has been replaced by something else. It’s time for a new prescription then. What can take the place of music? Maybe when a person loses the need to listen it’s time to learn to play? Take a tap dancing class and channel music in a different way? Learn to DJ?

Doctor Nayt’s prescription is to find new ways to include music in your life. Music doesn’t have to be purely for listening pleasure and there’s no such thing as age limits in music. However if you’re not feeling it when it’s coming from the radio then there are plenty of other ways to enjoy it. Next time you’re sitting in silence staring into space, grab that pen next to you and start tapping on the table. Then with your other hand start tapping your fingers and BAM you got a rhythm. Then start whistling if you can whistle or humming if you can’t and POW you got a melody. Before you know it you’ll be channeling your own experiences into lyrics and do you know what a beat + lyrics + melody =? A MOTHER QUACKING SONG! Music is everywhere you go. It’s the rhythm when you walk, the birds that sing when you stroll the neighbourhood, it’s in the laughter of the kids playing down the street or the dog barking in the back yard. Don’t ignore it. Explore it!

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