Friday 28 April 2017

Dean Martin shanghais my emotions

Ciara Ferguson

PACK up all my cares and woe ... Here I go ... Singing low ... Bye bye blackbird...

Dean Martin is a good ally when it comes to the alchemy of music -- whether it be a nostalgic interlude or an excuse to dance. I learned the power of music from my father, who loved The Jazz Lads, Westlife and Mahler with equal gusto. Somehow, over the past few years, I lost either the will or the facility to play my music. Not good, that. Shanghai was the place I learned how to 'fine tune' my life again. I even met my husband in a jazz club, where I couldn't hear a word he said and could instead perceive the subtle sense of him.

My Chinese neighbour has just had a special corrugated iron shed built for his own private nightly karaoke ritual.

All I can see from my window is the old soft shuffle of his feet as he sings along. The Chinese ballads sound oddly like the Irish ones -- especially when he throws in a few beers and has a good cry. Music allows emotion and yet keeps it at a safe distance.

I am packing. I hate saying goodbye. I'll avoid it where possible. Then again, in some ways, having a chance to say goodbye is a beautiful thing. I can't say goodbye to Shanghai. though. Shangbye just doesn't sound right.

I know it's time to go and at least I know there will be music playing under a corrugated iron roof. Like the vicarious heat of an old flame. Music softens all blows. It feels like I am leaving home again. And I have learnt that home is merely the place where we can be ourselves. But let's not make a song and dance of it when just a song will do ... Where somebody waits for me ... Sugar's sweet, So is she ... Bye bye blackbird.

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