On Sunday I had a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. My parents, for all their faults, gave me an excellent musical education as I grew up. Totally different influences came from mum and dad. From dad came rock, metal and blues. From my mum came folk, jazz and singer songwriters. My early days were a mixture of Neil Young, Billie Holiday, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Joni Mitchell and Carole King.
It’s the latter I was lucky enough to see perform this weekend. I feel like as I grew, the album ‘Tapestry’ grew with me. It’s an LP on love, longing and heartbreak, universal themes to us all as we move through life. Whatever mood I am in, I can hear something I connect with in those songs. So I couldn’t believe it when I heard that after a break of 27 years, Carole King was billed to headline BST Festival in London’s Hyde Park.
Not only was she performing, she was planning to give a rendition of the whole of that wonderful album from start to finish – for the first and probably only time. My mum came along with me, and I can say it was one of the most lovely experiences I’ve ever had. The performance was humble and wholehearted. It is quite incredible to see just one person have such a connection with an audience of fifty thousand. I think everyone there felt like she was singing those songs just for them.
What made it all the more special was that for the first time in a few years, I genuinely enjoyed spending time with my mum. Things have been really difficult between us since my breakdown, and even more so since I recently contacted the police to report my brother abusing me at the age of 10. I had forgotten what it was to feel close to her and happy in her company. But on Sunday we were warm with each other and we were just content to be in this unique moment together. As we listened to a beautiful rendition of ‘You’ve got a friend’, she hugged me and we both cried tears of happiness.
I have to note these moments. I am so committed to my misery that I resist them. So I am making sure that I keep this one close, even when my relationship with my family is strained and painful, because at some point in this darkness I know the light is eventually going to get in.
Like the poet Rumi said; “Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there“.