It is 1977: I am 11 years old. I hear a song on the radio that I love: Ariel. It’s by a bloke called Dean Friedman: an American singer-songwriter for whom that is his only ‘major’ US hit. However, his quirkiness catches the ear of a Radio One DJ I listen to obsessively: Noel Edmunds. Thanks to him, I buy Friedman’s second album ‘Well, Well’ Said the Rocking Chair and become obsessed with a particular track.
I am still carrying it with me to this day.
It is a quintessentially perfect piece of narrative storytelling: it’s the breakup song to end all breakup songs. It’s uplifting and smart and has the most killer saxophone solo, but what keeps it in my head after forty years are these four lines:
Take a look at the place you call your home
you’re reflected in all the things you own
and the seeds of reason you have sown
they’re a measure of a part of you that’s already grown…
Not gonna lie: for a good few years I carried those lyrics around with me, in a tea ball locket. I am happy to reveal that to you, dear readers, because I know we’re at that stage in our relationship. It’s still on a playlist that gets listened to weekly, and it was stuck into last month’s Internet of Words #Soundtracking2020 playlist… and that’s when things get funky.
Monday, I’m sorting stuff out online post PT, and I get a notification: Dean Friedman liked my use of this song, in that playlist. I think to myself ‘nah, can’t be the real fella, it’s gonna be a robot or a fan account, coz that’s how social media works…’ So, I went and took a look. I didn’t believe what I saw. So, I had to go check the account. IT’S THE ACTUAL REAL DEAN FRIEDMAN. No, really IT IS.
I’m not gonna lie, this is a MASSIVE huge deal for me. This song is so significant that it is indelibly threaded through my entire life, I could not separate me from it if I tried. Were I a singer (no I’m not, don’t worry) and there was a set list of covers I’d play, this would be the first song on it. Therefore to have the person who wrote it FOLLOW ME FIRST (I didn’t even know he was on Twitter ^^) is a massive deal.
It would be like Daniel Craig reading my Bond Fanfic and then chucking me a respective follow. It would be Guy Garvey knowing how much his lyrics have altered my life and doing the same. This is THE MOTHER OF BIG DEALS and let’s be honest, two days on, I’m still quietly revelling in the wonderful nature of social media. It also means that something has to happen as a result…
I am already writing it, despite the fact I planned other stuff this week. I suspect it will come with me doing an audio reading of it, when the thing is finally complete to my satisfaction. The title alone is the stuff of childhood dreams and aspiration, just beyond your creative reach. If the guy who wrote the song that altered my perception as a 12 year old can turn up and remind me that people do listen, anything is possible.
Needless to say, this is the beginning of a VERY interesting journey.
[EDIT: He now follows me on the Work account too… \o/]