The Consequence of Sound

Music can do a number of things. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry. It can even help you reach that clarifying moment where you know how much work you need to do to get where you want to be, but you have a deep rooted sense that everything is going to be ok regardless. And maybe I’m having one of those now. The Rolling Stones’ ‘You can’t always get what you want’ (such a cliché I know) is playing and I’m sitting at my trusty iMac, surrounded by the debris of a highly stressful semester. I have about 15 weeks of classes to go and then I’m done. I’m a qualified graphic designer. I’m filled with ideas and pictures of how I want my life to look. The words of hundreds of inspiring authors float around my mind as I contemplate the life that is ahead of me.

But what happens when the music stops? What happens when the choir dies down and you are met with an almost empty and disappointing silence. Maybe you can hear the faint whir of your computer or the neighbours putting the bins out. What if the song ends and you are met with the screaming reality that it is 2am and you really don’t have time to pursue where your head, heart and Mick Jagger is taking you.

What happens is you shut your computer down, Crawl into bed, maybe check Facebook and Instagram a few more times, and you fall to sleep. Knowing full well that the cycle is going to begin again, and at the same time the following night, you will reach a point where you are almost drowning in possibilities and again there is no time at all to pursue them.

I have so many different bands for so many moods. The realm of melancholy safely belongs in the hands of Radiohead, although complimented by the odd track from New Order and The Cure (Ok, let’s face it. There’s a lot of The Cure in there). When I’m feeling moody I hit up the XX or Crystal Castles. Maybe even some Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol. Happy? Try Vampire Weekend or The Shins. Even when I’m feeling a bit down and want to get out of a rut, I can always depend on the words and sound of the late, great LCD Soundsystem. This is my soundtrack. Yes I have one. I have made sure of that.

So I have two choices. I can either go easy on the music, which I am a little uncomfortably dependant on it as you can see, or I can use it. I can recognise that I am the type of person that is largely dictated by emotion and I can cultivate that. I know that my validity and self worth and future plans all need to be rooted in God. As a Christian this is mildly important. And by mildly I mean hugely and ‘if this is not the case I really need to fix some things in my life because I seem to be missing the point in this whole relationship with God thing’ important.

When I sit down at my computer, I can make an effort to invite (well, acknowledge really because the whole omnipresent thing means that he’s pretty much already there) God into that space. And then we can listen together. I’ll roam around Spotify and Pinterest and make a time and space for this dreaming and planning season of my life. I’m 23 years old. And if I go by the lessons that countless novels and TV dramas that I have consumed have taught me (and ok, my parents and numerous sermons as well), it’s the decisions and choices that I make now that determine where my life, and my identity are going end up (although when exactly is this end point? Surely people are always growing and changing? At least this is what I hope).

I’m going to do this. I don’t want to waste my life away on the theory that I’ll figure it all out tomorrow. I love music. I love design. I love fiction. I love my family. I love my friends. I love the better, whole and restored world that awaits us. I love that we have all been invited to participate in bringing that world about. I love the Rolling Stones. I love dreaming. I love hoping. I love possibilities.

So this is where I stand. I’ll check in soon and let you know of the music and the dreams and the ideas that God and I have discovered together.

And now, to Oasis.


5 Comments on “The Consequence of Sound”

  1. Chanara Ton Anderson says:

    I love reading your thoughts.
    It is honest and true to who you are. You are one of a small minority that are able to bridge between God and music in my life. Thank you.
    keep it up Blair.
    You have made me smile and dream some more with cool beats playing in the background :).

    • blairelizabeth says:

      Hey Chanara,
      Thanks heaps! That really means a lot 🙂
      P.S Your Oliver is just too adorable! I hope you’re all going well!

  2. a curious reader says:

    Hi Blair,

    I think this is the largest number of words I have ever encountered from you, and I’m actually feeling quite privelaged to have a window into your world.

    I’m actually fairly post-christian these days… not that I think Jesus didn’t have a great point, I just find most of his followers are a tedious pain in the EeeAaaw.

    I can’t help wondering, when you listen to these tunes, many of which are inspired by our friend Lucy, who spent a lot of time in the Sky with Diamonds, and by our small spotty friends sometimes known as shrooms… how do you find God goes hanging out with you? What does God tell you about these tunes, and the people who created them? (If anything)

    If you are inspired by the depth of their creativity and the richness of their expression… despite what most Christians would consider to be some very self-destructive lifestyle choices, what does that tell you about your position on the spectrum between conservative and liberal?

    This may appear to be a little cynical or jaded, a little harsh or critical, but I don’t mean it to be. In truth I’m asking because I see more of the likeness of God, more of the kindness that people ascribe to Christ, more of the openness, hopefullness, and mindful ethical conviction, amongst the people in my life who are popping shrooms like candy and enjoying all the benefits of wild pagan romance. I like the Homos, the Hores, and the Head-Cases a whole lot more than the neo-conservative nuff nuffs I used to hang out with.

    It’s honestly not a criticism, I’m just a little puzzled by the incongruence between your taste in art and music (which I genuinely admire) and your religious convictions. But perhaps all that means is that I’m very ill informed as to the nature of your faith?

    • blairelizabeth says:

      Hey Tim,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and write.

      I can honestly say that listening to musicians that perhaps have decidedly more unhealthy lifestyles than my own has never really been much of an issue to me. In my life I have never really connected with a lot of Christian music out there (whether it’s because I genuinely am not a fan of it, or because long ago I went through a phase where I was pretty anti “Christian” music/anything and the habit has stuck). But it’s been mostly through secular music that I have felt any sort of connection to God. This can be through the lyrics or the music or both. I guess what my blog was about was the emotions and ideas that can be brought about by sound and how important it is to acknowledge God in that.

      This isn’t saying that I condone drug use or any sort of self destructive lifestyles, but I want to make sure I admit that I have some pretty unhealthy tenancies and, as weird as it sounds, get pretty creatively inspired by products and images that aren’t exactly kingdom building. An example of this is Coca Cola’s design for their canned drinks. I know that they’re a terribly unethical company, causing pain all over the world simply for their own capitol gain, but damn, that is some good design. And it’s design that drives me to want to be better at what I do. And I want to make sure that what I do is for the furthering of God’s Kingdom (only don’t ask me what that looks like just yet!). The great thing that I have been learning about God over the last 5 years is that he is a redeemer to the core. All good things come from him, and all things can be made good through him. And that is what I see happening when I feel that closeness to Him whenever I listen to Radiohead or the Rolling Stones.

      Where this puts me on a political spectrum, I don’t really know or care. That whole liberal/conservative thing is kind of frustrating me at the moment. So you can read into that what you like.

      All I am trying to do is join all my thoughts to God as the wonderful Sufjan Stevens most eloquently put it. And this is what it is starting to look like.

      • a curious reader says:

        🙂 interesting reply. I’m going to be curious to watch the evolution of your thinking over time.

        As arrogant as this may sound, you appear to have the fundamental aspects of a real human being. I have not always said that about other christians I know.

        I’m simultaneously quite conservative amongst my friends, and very pro gay marriage. I feel like people fail to understand the parameters of a secular society. No, we are not a christian country, in case anyone hadn’t figured that out.

        I like the Sufjan quote. I find your whole paradigm paradoxical – but thats just for me to ponder. There’s so much church lingo in it about “kingdom” and stuff, I feel like I’m in a harry potter novel when I read that… and then so much pragmatism about marketing and design. I’m not saying my own lifestyle or beliefs make any more sense to me than yours do. Its just all very interesting. I think my mind is underwhelmed at the moment.

        A stoned friend recently said to me quite passionately after talking about reading aristottle, and wrriting HD essays while baked on mushrooms, that really nobody knows anything, and its all about basic human decency. I just felt like she actually had more of it figured out than I do. We were at a gig – a friend from work who is very radiohead influenced, and increadibly courageous behind a microphone… totally blew my mind. It was the best thing since church. Probably a spiritual experience. It just felt a whole lot more honest than all the contrived monotonous sameyness that I hear one sunday to the next. I promise I’ll write less blah and send you a link to the music if I find one.

        Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I feel extra privelaged. 🙂

        (PS i was annonymous until you named me. oh well)

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