It’s midnight. Friday the 13th 2020. Doomsday looming in both my homes. The bombardment and monopoly of the 24hr news cycle focused on a pandemic taking over the planet. Athens is already under lockdown from the spread Coronavirus Covid- 19, and New York City is not that far behind. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be experiencing something like this, my parents isolated far from New York and me wondering what the next few days will bring. Fighting hysterical posts on the one end and dismissive political figures on the other; there needs to be a mind and body triage to keep me going.
Two things that have always comforted me in good times and bad, are books and music. Both have been companions and my shield. I love diving into a good book and music, well music has been my salvation over the years, so a virus outbreak calls for some serious tunes and reads. It seems that very soon I will have to rely heavily on both for solace in what have already been very trying times. As an homage to two of my favourite pass times; I’m invoking the ever amazing BBC radio program Dessert Island Discs to make a virus lockdown mix. Music no matter how bad things get will always soothe the weary mind and heart. So with our further delay my dear readers… Here is :
My Desert Island Disks and Books for the threat of a citywide virus outbreak lockdown.
1. Here Comes The Sun — The Beatles
Why this song : Because it’s one of the first songs I ever remember hearing as a child in our Kifissia ( northern suburb of Athens) apartment when I was probably around 4-5 years old. It played on the Techniques turn table my dad had at the time, and I remember my mum wearing her very 70s glasses at the time and looking stunning. I still remember the look of the apple turning around and around 37-38 years later. It makes me tear up every time I hear it.
2. Wish you were here — Pink Floyd
Why this song: It’s epic. Plain and simple. Pink Floyd were and are some of the most prolific musicians I’ve ever come across. My first ever concert was the Pig Tour concert in 1987 at the Olympic stadium in Arhens and I remember like it was yesterday.
3. Personal Jesus —- Depeche Mode
Why this song: My love for Depeche mode and especially this song was born during my London days in the early 2000s, and it’s so telling of the era and the tone it was recorded in. The false prophets and the lost souls in invokes and the idea of a personal savior that never was.
4. Tiny Dancer — Elton John
Why this song : It reminds me of my first and last College boyfriend and who I was at the time. I was for all intents and purposes a dancer, living, breathing that art form in all its glory and whenever I hear this song, I relive my young self in upstate New York and my long gone college days. My passion for this guy who broke my heart and how he knew how to speak through song what he could never voice in his own words.
5. Dionisis Savopoulos — O Karagiozis
Why this song : The love goes deep here with this artist and this song specifically because it describes a whole generation of Greek entertainment, the idea of the pauper fool who despite his squalor always manages to get by. The long lost art of theater of shadows that kept generations of Greeks ( mostly lower and middle class greek families) entertained. This artist who’s the Greek version of Lucio Dalla, part story teller, part folk artist, he raised me with his music more than any other Greek artist I can recall ( and there are many)
6. Koupes — Marina Sati
why this song: Marina Sati to me exemplifies all that is wonderful about the new Greek music scene. A multicultural, multiethnic strong voice. A woman who exemplifies all that I love about the newer generation of Greek musicians. This song is absolutely gorgeous, beautiful vocals, great musicians. It takes me to a place I love visiting in my mind. A sunlit beach with no care in the world.
7. Vivaldi —- The Four Seasons
There are many exceptional classical pieces of music, but for me Vivaldi although often over played and considered not as sophisticated as other classical composers, is one I go to often. Especially the four seasons. It seems apropos to our understanding of nature and how it makes us feel.
8. Faithless —- Insomnia
This is the ULTIMATE dance till your bones come loose club song of the late 90s early 2000s. I get high only from its rhythm and it’s beat. My body feels so good letting its rhythm take my mind off all that’s troubling me. It takes me back to my years studying in London and my hope at the time. I absolutely love this track.
Ok one last one which is cheating the basic premise of the 8 tracks to take to the desert island but this last track is probably my ultimate piece of music I will listen to on my desert island and brings up the most beautiful memories I have of my time in London.
With a bang
Keith Jarrett — Köln Concert Part I
My list of books for keeping sane in insane times will be up tomorrow night. Till then..
Stay safe everyone.