Unreliable Memories

I’ve always prided myself on having a good memory, yet today, I wondered. I was on YouTube, playing eighties music and came across a link to a song called “Broken Land” by The Adventures (1988). It sounded familiar, so I clicked on it. As soon as it started I was flooded with a powerful rush of feeling. It was instantly familiar, I recalled how much I had liked it at the time, and I was able to accurately sing along. I’ve written before of the power of music to evoke feeling and memory, and this was a good example of it. So what’s so surprising? Until today, I probably hadn’t heard the song for twenty-five years. I had neither bought it nor taped it from the radio (apparently it was the most played song on Radio 1 that year) yet I’d forgotten all about it. It had fallen through a hole in my memory.

Yet this rush of renewed memory was so powerful, was brought so suddenly close, I could almost touch it. I was instantly borne away on a warm river, back to being a nineteen year old away at university. How could I have forgotten this song? It seems incomprehensible. But forget I did, though that has made the rediscovery all the sweeter: it’s a pity I can’t hold on to the feeling I got when I first re-played it, turn it into some sort of pill… A rush? Quite probably. Hearing it again certainly lifted me, and I could do with more of that.

Comfort me through this stormy weather/From where I stand/I see a broken land

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