A softly spoken magician

It’s the first time I’ve agreed with Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, but then again it’s the first time I’ve heard of him. I saw a quote from this 18th Century Prussian composer this morning that perfectly encapsulates my experience earlier, around 2.20am.

I’m not a good sleeper. Not that it’s something that requires 10,000 hours of practice to master. What I mean is, I’m not very good at getting to sleep. I’m the opposite of those people that say “As soon as when my head hits that pillow…”. I’m not anything as dramatic as an insomniac, but in short, I always need time to slip into unconsciousness. This has been the case even in more hedonistic days where I stayed up the whole night before.

Coupled with a night owl prowess, and fondness for the witching hours, it has made YouTube my frenemy. I am one of those people who go on meandering late night journeys through the website, jumping from this to that, care of the sidebar clickbait. One night this led me to watching Saudi drifting of all things — bored, wealthy young men killing themselves in crazy driving stunts. It was only about the 6th terrifying car roll that jumped me out of the cyber-daze and to the sudden “What AM I doing?” thought required to get up and go to bed.

Last night I began by looking at an extraordinary football goal that I had heard about on a podcast. It was worth the effort and each different slow motion angle made it appear even more amazing. Little did I know that this was to be the start of another of those unexpected journeys. It ended hours later with a mesmerising music finale. This is where ol’ Ernst Hoffman comes in. The contemporary of Beethoven said, “Music reveals to man an unknown realm, a world quite separate from the outer sensual world surrounding him, a world in which he leaves behind all feelings circumscribed by intellect in order to embrace the inexpressible.”

Would you believe the YouTube slice that left me feeling exactly as Mr Hoffman described was care of the reality show Sweden’s Got Talent? Not an expected gateway to the sublime I know. It was a five minute piece charting the story and song of Jon Henrik. A Colombian who went to Sweden as a baby and spends his days looking after reindeer. Bullied for years and highly introverted, Jon wrote a song for his best friend Daniel after he passed away. I haven’t a clue what he is singing about but it is soaring and majestic and life affirming. It closed out another silly online journey perfectly and I promptly went straight to bed, enriched, happy and thankful for the spellbinding, filter-smashing, universal power of music. And what a hat…