Friday, September 3, 2010


it was around this very time thirty four years ago that i arrived at university.
i was almost entirely unprepared for the realities
of living away from home.
expectations of me as an independently functioning being were very reasonably placed.
they were just as reasonably ignored. perhaps overlooked would be the better word.
i had no precedent.
no idea.
i had a very strong sense of self
but no sense of how to make university with its social intensity,
its academic integrity,
its opportunities,
work for me.

so i deliquesced into an environment that rippled outwards from the late sixties and early seventies.
i'm grateful that i got to experience the goodness that was still very present from the people and energies
of that time.
a large part of that goodness was the place of music.
the recognition of music as a beautiful transformative quality of energy that comes from a place removed from the human experience and yet which informs it in the most benevolent and creative manner i can imagine.


it still astonishes me
that there was a time when music sounded like this


i remember the first time i heard this piece and so much else in 1976 at trent university sitting on a single bed in my room, hovering between where i had been and where i was going.
the real work of my life literally beginning to evolve
right before my unknowing eyes!

in retrospect, i was very much "the patient" of the song's telling.

this is one tiny piece of the soundtrack that connects to the (since that time) association i make between certain pieces of music and the soon to be arrival of autumn.

headphones on ladies and gentlemen!
if you wish to sing along, the lyrics are underneath!!

when you're asleep they may show you
aerial views of the ground,
freudian slumber empty of sound.

over the rooftops and houses,
lost as it tries to be seen,
fields of incentive covered with green.

mesmerised children are playing,
meant to be seen but not heard,
"stop me from dreaming!"
"don't be absurd!"

"well if we can help you we will,
you're looking tired and ill.
as i count backwards
your eyes become heavier still.
sleep, won't you allow yourself fall?
nothing can hurt you at all.
with your consent
i can experiment further still."

madrigal music is playing,
voices can faintly be heard,
"please leave this patient undisturbed."

sentenced to drift far away now,
nothing is quite what it seems,
sometimes entangled in your own dreams.

"well, if we can help you we will,
soon as you're tired and ill.
with your consent
we can experiment further still.

well, thanks to our kindness and skill
you'll have no trouble until
you catch your breath
and the nurse will present you the bill!"

words and music: tony banks, steve hackett


Elisabeth said...

Music helped me through my university days too, Steven. This is a beautiful song. No wonder it inspired you.


willow said...

Thanks for the glorious trip down memory lane.

Everyday Goddess said...

just blew me away with this tune! i remember it so well.

music can be such an uplifting energy, i agree!!

Linda Sue said...

WELL! That was freakin awesome! DANG! I remember my boyfriend listening to this but i was so lala I couldn't sit still long enough. Thanks for this! Wonderful and I love your youth!!!

Butternut Squash said...

I discovered Genesis,The Moody Blues, and Joni Mitchel in the in 1986, when I was in college. Really excellent music is timeless.

Kay said...

i love the idea of you hovering between places in your life....i sometimes think i have spent my life hovering!!!!xx

Annie said...

This song reminds me a bit of the Moody Blues, Yes, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, all popular and prevalent on the radio when I was in high school and in college, when progressive stations played entire sides of albums like these. Back then, and today, music is an important part of my life; and I was lucky to listen to music from the sixties as well, because of my older brother.

I don't totally understand what you mean by this:

"... a beautiful transformative quality of energy that comes from a place removed from the human experience and yet which informs it in the most benevolent and creative manner i can imagine."

To me, the energy of music emerges from the human experience, and is in no way removed. I agree that music is definitely transformative and benevolent; an offering of the self, both in listening to it and creating it. Thank you for posting this song and sharing your life and your thoughts.