27 March 2017 — “Do Your Thing”

Depression somehow cannot be avoided. I’m writing this whilst sitting on a beach, enjoying a beautiful sunset and a glass of wine. Sure, I am here for work, but these peaceful, relaxing moments should be anything but depressing. Instead, they fill me with a profound sense of loss and failure. More even than that, is the sense that even staying in a large house and working around hundreds of people everyday, I feel profoundly alone. At parties, meetings, anywhere there are lots of people gathered, my mind retreats to a feeling of inadequacy. I do not have the gift of a brilliant conversationalist, nor many enlightening opinions (though I have more than my own fair share of opinions.) This all contributes immensely to my anxiety and feelings of anger and frustration in myself.

All of these feelings were leading me to a different song conclusion for today, when my iPhone suddenly went into a shuffle mode and the Basement Jaxx’s “Do Your Thing” came on. (By the way, be sure to check out this music video. It is adorable and quite clever, in my humble opinion.) Without missing a moment, I threw down my pen and actually started to dance. For those of you who may not know me, I do not dance. Ever. Something about how I am even more awkward when I have to move with music playing. Anyway, there I was, dancing on the beach with headphones on, not caring about the world around me any longer. As soon as the song finished, I felt those feelings of inadequacy and loneliness come flooding back , but that momentary respite from the world had a profound effect on my day.

* * *

The place I discovered this song was (embarrassingly) the BBC’s advert for their Children in Need drive they do on a yearly basis. After the 2012 London Olympics, medal winners for team GB got together with the BBC to create this humorous video which features the world’s crush, Tom Daley and other British athletes awkwardly dancing and having a great time. From there I quickly took a liking to this song and with it, electro-swing. Being someone who enjoys jazz, this new concept for using electronic music to explore the jazz idiom was intriguing and lead me to some other artists from around the world who spend time experimenting with electronic music in this setting.

Further snooping for this post today lead me to another video of an orchestra and jazz band that took a crack at this piece with an acoustic setup. The long introduction and really leaning into the jazz part of this piece is an interesting change from the sound I was used to. The conductor here is also the conductor of the Heritage Orchestra, and I can guarantee you will be hearing more about them later.

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As much as this piece rejuvenated me today, it certainly didn’t cure my depression. Depression is one of those illnesses that does so much damage from the inside out and is so difficult to treat because it is locked away inside your mind. That being said, this song allowed for a brief respite from my own mind. Perhaps this is the reason so many people around the world turn to music as the lens through which to clarify their own feelings. Music has the power to show us little parts of ourselves and also has the power to take us away from what we feel day-to-day and give us moments of soaring fantasy as well.

I hope you all have a love and joy-filled week. Don’t forget to take a moment to savor life and everything that comes with it, both good and bad. Until next week, ta!

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