Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Walking with Music

Yesterday, I caught the train to work for the first time in months. I've missed catching the train since I got a car - it's a nice opportunity to read a book and rest my head on a window for twenty minutes or so - but what I've missed even more is the part where I have to walk between the train station and the office.

For years, a large chunk of my music listening was done whilst walking, but it's a habit that I more or less dropped entirely when Darth, my handsome black Volkswagen, entered my life just over a year ago. In many ways, he's made my life a lot easier, but as I dance-trotted my way towards Cadoxton station yesterday evening, I found myself wondering if the benefits of having a car were worth the sacrifice of my daily music walk.

Photograph by Sascha Kohlmann

I've been struggling lately to make strong connections with new music the way I used to, and I think there are two reasons for this:

1) I'm old and jaded and nothing sounds as amazing to my ears now as practically everything did when I was a 13-year-old newbie.

2) Where I used to listen to music in parks, on streets, and as I ran to catch my train or the start of a uni lecture. Now I pretty much only listen to music in the car and at my desk.

There's not much I can do about that first issue, but I'm pretty sure that #2 would be easily remedied by going for a walk every so often. Happily, my mum will be borrowing Darth every Tuesday and Wednesday for the next few weeks, so I'll have plenty of opportunities to stomp along to my favourite tunes in the short term, but I'm concerned that I'll relapse into my lazy driving-everywhere ways once the clocks have gone back.

So I guess I'm writing this blog as a reminder to myself to keep walking places this autumn. Walking - like headbanging, toe-tapping, and having sex - is a great way to engage with the music you're hearing, especially if the songs you're listening to hit the right tempo (my iPhone shuffled up a storm of great walking-pace songs last night, including Someone Great by LCD Soundsystem and I Lost My Mind by Titus Andronicus). Matching your steps to the kick drum and snare certainly beats sitting still and half-listening to the latest tunes while you're trying to simultaneously focus on work, and if there are some freshly-fallen leaves to stomp through while you're at it, so much the better!

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