Archive | May, 2013

Loving The Lovebirds

31 May

944305_10101018111628123_606727560_nThe weather here in San Diego is stunning. I’m from the cold, wet and windy north of England. At times I have an exile’s nostalgia about miserable weather but that tends to pass as quickly as clouds on a southern Californian morning.

The other day I was sitting in the back garden in the sunshine. I was listening to the unedited interview we did with our friends Veronica May and Lindsay White, aka The Lovebirds. As part of a series of shows we’re making looking at resilience, they were speaking to us about how music has played such a central part of how they have come to understand and live with the challenges of mental health. As Veronica points out in the interview, “I have bi-polar, I am not my bi-polar”.

We invited them to play songs that they’d written in response to living with bi-polar. One of those was a song called ‘Dead Wooden Box’ that Veronica wrote about her guitar. She shared about being in ICU in the hospital after a manic episode and how when she held her guitar and strummed an E minor chord, it released a flood of emotion she’d been unable to express or acknowledge up to that point. One day she noted the dents and scars on it and how they were all connected deeply with her pain. She wanted to write a song to for her friend in order to say thank you for being there at the best and the worst of times.

I picked you up one day and I noticed a dent

One I inflicted on accident

You threw your reflection at me

And said, ‘I wear your scars proudly’

You take it from me when I take it out on you

Yell when I’m angry and you cry when I’m blue

So here’s a sweet song just for you

So many memories I can retrace

The smell of your spruce top when I open your case

I frantically open the locks

Who knew so much could grow

From a dead wooden box

You take it from me when I take it out on you

Yell when I’m angry and you cry when I’m blue

So here’s a sweet song just for you

The ambulance came and it took me away

With an expressionless face

I said ‘I don’t want to stay’

So they brought you to my bedside

And I cried

And I cried

You take it from me when I take it out on you

Yell when I’m angry and you cry when I’m blue

So here’s a sweet song just for you”

As I sat in the warm sunshine and listened to the recording of Veronica singing, I got goosebumps. No amount of heat could have kept the beauty, emotion and power of her voice and music from revealing itself on my skin.

Michael Fryer – 30th May 2013

Thanks to Betsy Hartman for the photo.