30 YEARS AGO, IN COPENHAGEN, MY LIFE WAS CHANGED
July 29, 2021 § Leave a comment
Post written on 28th July.
I am not a nostalgic person. You will never hear me wax lyrical about the “good old days” (given I’m 45, I could easily be going down that road already). I do however increasingly recognize that some brief, lightning-like moments shape our lives forever. I mentioned in my 60s special mix last week for @jonivoid @ckutmtl that “A day in the life” was single-handedly responsible for me truly falling in love with music, understanding that this wasn’t going to be just another thing on top of other things I loved, like reading. But the Beatles shaped my life twice, though the second time was indirect, and happened exactly 30 years ago to this day.
On 28th July 1991, my parents, my brother and myself were coming back from a van trip to Norway – the farthest we’d ever gone. We stopped in Copenhagen for a few hours. I never went to big cities as a teenager, and in my small, boring hometown, had never been exposed to live music either. On that day in Copenhagen, two street musicians with acoustic guitars were playing Beatles covers. I stood transfixed. Begged my parents to stay for a few more songs. They refused. In my mum’s travel notebook (which enabled us to find out, yesterday, when I casually mentioned that this episode had happened “about 30 years ago”, that the exact anniversary was going to be today), the musicians and their effect on me don’t even appear.
A few weeks later, I gathered my courage and asked my parents if they might buy me an acoustic guitar. I was somehow convinced they would refuse, but they didn’t. In September 1991, lo and behold, I was the proud owner of a classical guitar, which is the one you can hear on all my recordings from 2005 to 2013. A guitar on which I immediately, spontaneously, started to compose snippets of songs, in a way that is totally in keeping with how I still work today. Getting close to that spirit of wonder with each new recording project is the only valid way for me to somehow connect with the past: not as an exercise in nostalgia, but as a way to try and capture the energy of love for something that is bigger than me.