Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Advice You Buy

Right now I'm connecting with songs like never before. Seriously, just listening to their (sometimes cheesy) lyrics is enough to get me thinking about my life - and I either get all uplifted, or deflated because I'm thinking about her again. Take Rowan Keating's "Fathers and Sons" which plays in a never ending loop at the cinema - since my break up it's hard not to find the lyrics "you'll still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not" utterly beautiful. And that's scary. Cos I just called a BoyZone song beautiful. *Shivers*

But seriously, songs are a fantastic way to mend a broken heart. They're essentially memoirs written by the song writer; a morality lesson from his or her own experience. The best example of this is Baz Luhrmann's "Sunscreen" song from circa 1999. Listen to it. Each and every verse. It's a life lesson from one elder gentleman, giving us - the next generation - advice on how to live our lives; based on how he never lived his own.

That song, "Sunscreen", has some magnificent lyrics that touched me when I first heard them almost a decade ago. Who doesn't relate to the line "get to know your parents, before they're gone for good"? Who's ever lost somebody and just wished that they had one more day with them to say so much, and tell them how much they were loved? I know for sure that I have.

Luhrmann himself lost his father to skin cancer - hence the decision to create a song on the idea of wearing sunscreen. But the whole thing is a wonderful voyage of the soul, and I think everybody deserves to at least read the lyrics - lyrics that touched me when I was growing up, and lyrics that now have an ever more profound effect on me every time I listen to them.

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what theywanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybeyou won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funkychicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over theugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen"

Songs have a power that mere conversation cannot. Hence why they're so heavily used in films and television shows - they have an emotional depth that somehow hooks our hearts, and tears it to shreds. Music and lyrics are a beautiful combination; that I've learnt. And some of the best advice out there can be found inside some insanely cheesy BoyZone song.

Don't be afraid to listen when a song attempts to give you the advice you need - because on the rare occassion, a great song will come along, and it'll deserve your attention.


Current Mood: Nelly Furtado's "Why do all good things end?"
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