It’s Great When We’re Together (or, A Musical Manifesto)

Okay, so it’s time to announce a new category… Musical Manifesto!

Hello and welcome, my usual delights and newcomers alike! This post is by yours truly, the one and only Jocelyn Teri (or Magic Johnson in closer circles… and I think by now most of us are all there on that same page!).

So a little context, yeah?

I was the kind of teenager with the most extensive cassette collection you’d ever chanced upon. It was a sad day for me when my ol’ tin can of an Uno was stolen in my varsity years with my entire collection in the trunk. There were even some none-too-worse-for-wear mixes from the youthful days of my uncle and Godfather, Dave (some of you may know him as the former South African wicket-keeper, David Richardson… Sorry, Dave, naming and shaming here) such as 80’s Reggae Hits. (Although side bar: Thanks to your mixes, I did know all the lyrics at the Eddie Grant concert I scored tickets to! And my fondness for Men Without Hats’ Safety Dance lives on long and is usually my Get-Up-and-Go Track!)

I would spend hours listening to late night radio, especially X-fm on my gap year in LDN-town (Respect, Lily!), adding to my collections. Even while babysitting, as a musically fervent fifteen year old desperate for chunk change (for my Black Labels and the pennies for the pool table slots!), when the little ones were asleep I’d be going through their parents’ extensive CD collections making mixes. (Thankfully, my mom knew the odd DJ here and there… and even DJ’s need babysitters!) One time I won an iShuffle at a trivia comp on campus (iShuffle… Is that what they were called?) and swapped it for my mate’s portable cassette player.

So, again, commiserate with me…

Sad, sad times when years of work went with the car I could’ve cared less for. Rust bucket that it was. (Although, perhaps that is a bit harsh. It was useful in its own way. So thanks, little Uno, for all you left my sneakers and socks drenched in rain water when the weather was being unkind! You simply weren’t made for living on the coast, bless your poor little soul.)

Back to the beats though… Time is few!

Even when watching a flick, my ears are finely tuned to the soundtrack. Were it not for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, my number one SoulMan may not have made it into my CD collection. (Al Green, please oh please, Let’s Stay Together… Forever and Amen, brother!) Or Etta James on the Pleasantville soundtrack… And don’t get me started on the Countryman soundtrack… Yup, the sheer doggedness of that Small Axe and what it can do! Oh, and how could I forget the hauntingly beautiful dearly departed Elliott Smith who sang right through me on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack… I could go on! But really, no need to bore the audience! (Thanks for the patience, mense!)

But yeah. One of the best things my mom (a.k.a the True Artiste, Janet Fryer!) could’ve ever done for me was getting me a couple of second hand CD racks, respraying and joining ’em, to create a space for me to get out all my forgotten jams…. I’ll tell you one thing, not much can get you out of a Dreary Funk like the sounds of the good ol’ days!

You see in my teens and in my gap year in the UK, most of my hard earned dosh was spent on music magazines, the books they recommended, the albums they listed as HAVE TO HAVE. HMV was a total revelation for my younger self… What the actual… Shopping baskets at the door?! Storey upon storey of music and all its memorabilia?!

And here I was… Back home… Reliving the dream. With my mom’s encouragement (love you!!), out came all my old tunes, and there was music in my life again. Me, who’d forgotten who she was in her depression… Me, that kid who’d watched Grosse Pointe Blank (only like a thousand and one times!) and dreamed of being Minnie Driver, the cooler than ‘kewl’ radio jockey playing whatever the hell she wanted… Can real life be like the movies? Pretty please? (By the way, yet another kickass OST! Get it!)

Anyways, this is one category that’ll be contributed to by many of the many who have brought music into my life, or at least the willing and able ones… Life is hectic, yeah? And besides, over a lifetime (although not the longest one yet admittedly), there really are too many to count! (Wanna see an eclectic collection? Pop in for some vino by candlelight sometime!)

But one fine sunny Sunday I jammed all day cleaning house to every mix, from every ex, from every friend, from every forlornly rejected (yup, it’s true we can all be heartless bitches!)… And oh how very glorious! It was like stretching out Time itself and basking in that dust-moted haze of pure golden nostalgia!

So here goes nothing…

Let’s celebrate good vibes and good tunes!

This platform is my Musical Manifesto… As it is the Musical Manifesto of so many others. Funny that at 33, I should realise even after all I’ve read, I’ve been influenced the mostest in my writing by a musician, my Ultimate Heartsong, Ben Folds, than any other writer! (P.s. Thanks for swaying me in the direction of Rockin’ the Suburbs, Dylan Ferguson! Still my Desert Island No.1 Album to date!) If I could be half the writer Ben Folds is, I’ll be a happy gal one day! For now, I’m just the Luckiest.

(Click here to listen to Ben Folds’ The Luckiest.)

And it sure is great when we’re together. Thanks, Finley Quaye. Click here as it goes, for a taste of his magic and the credit for my title. 

But without further ado… Thanks to Nahko and Medicine for the People for the inspiration! (And to Clay… or Bugsy as he’s more affectionately known for the sharing and caring!)

To me, it’s all in a name. Sorry, Shakespeare. Perhaps a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But we gotta choose our words wisely these days.

Click here to check out their epic track, Manifesto. 

Or to read the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
Well this is real talk, this is non-stop
It is looped now tongue and mind
Played off the sidewalk, straight to your boombox
How it travels from ear to memory
Well this is medicine, there’s a message within
And each will find it in their own time

[Verse 2]
Well this is music, this is how I use it
It makes you move and move the movement
This is how I focus, knowing it’s not hopeless
But it sure starts with me and ends on a whole note
Musical medicine, this is my healing
For past and present future things to come

[Verse 3]
I see people stressin’ over space and possessions
Out of fear and a need for visual aids of our abundance
Give me examples or something tangible
Something I can get my hands on and find real meaning
Where is the medicine, well I’ve been searching
And I suppose each will find their own kind

[Verse 4]
Well everything’s at stake, it makes it hard to concentrate
And there are men who see a war and see a paycheck
Such different programming, to live so fearfully
Terror this and terror that, terrible reality
There is no medicine on the television
So turn it off and turn yourself around

[Verse 5]
And let’s just face it, the world’s fuckin’ racist
Even the most peaceful of us gets caught in the trend
To live cohesively is almost a fantasy
And we ought to know it starts with humbling our egos
What is the medicine for cultural woundin’?
Has its moments, has its melodies, has its time

[Verse 6]
Well I was listening to the outgoing seasons
About climate change and some of the reasons
When the sky opened, like I been hopin’
And there came horses by the thousands
And there was thunder on their tongues, and lightning on their minds
And they were singing this old melody from some other time

They sang don’t waste your hate
Rather gather and create
Be of service, be a sensible person
Use your words and don’t be nervous
You can do this, you’ve got purpose
Find your medicine and use it

They sang don’t waste your hate
Rather gather and create
Be of service, be a sensible person
Use your words and don’t be nervous
You can do this, you’ve got purpose
Find your medicine and use it

[Crowd singing Chorus]

Click here for the blog title reference… You won’t be disappointed! 

“Now use your words, don’t be nervous.

You can do this, you’ve got purpose.

Find your medicine and use it!”

Magic Johnson signing off…


(Postscript…Oh and to the great and wonderful and dearly departed, my personal favourite, Kandinsky for the feature art!) 


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