See the dwarfs and see the giants —
Which one would you choose to be?
Scott Walker, "30 Century Man"
It’s been a tough month. I haven’t had the headspace to finish any of the drafts I have been working on for this site but today I had to share a few words.
When those we admire pass away, the grief we feel is different from the one we feel when we lose someone we actually knew. It’s stranger — like someone who has passively been watching over you since you first crossed paths has now taken their time with you on their way out the door.
For me, this time was my adolescence.
I fell in love with Scott’s music around the age of seventeen…
That was the age when I was struggling to assimilate into a new school and working hard to graduate a year earlier than I was meant to. I showed up to class, did what I had to do, and immediately went back home. Lunches were a time to listen to new music or take a solitary walk and friends were sparse, if nonexistent, ’til I met a girl who saw something good in me and is still my closest friend.
I remember sitting on a bench in the middle of a busy avenue during the early stages of our friendship. We were still getting to know each other but felt at ease together. We first bonded over our mutual Blur obsession and existential teenage crisis. Soon, we were sharing each other’s treasures, secrets, and fears. Her love of frogs, Irvine Welsh, and baking; my fear of pretty much everything, my love for bears and of course, Scott Walker.
That day on that bench I gave her an earbud and played “The Old’s Man’s Back Again” on my iPod. We sat there and I felt a layer of my anxiety peel away. I doubt that she remembers it, though, but it’s still a small but lasting memory that plays out whenever the song comes on.
Scott symbolizes an important chapter of discovery and acceptance in my life, where I phasing out of reclusion and slowly embracing the life I was living, wherever it was taking me because I now felt loved and understood.
His early records (Scott – Scott 4) had a cinematic quality to them that painted every cloud in my life in warm hues of pink and gold. With Scott, I floated down grey school hallways and rode along on buses and trains, welcoming the whimsical to take over the mundane.
There were many nights where I’d stay up listening to “Duchess” many times in a row. I was in love. I’d never heard a song so beautiful — I still haven’t, really. I still cannot listen to it without swaying to it and being hit by the wave of emotions it sparks up within me.
As I say goodbye to the elusive man whose voice carried me through a crucial part of my life, I say goodbye to those same fears that burdened me when I first discovered him. So much has changed for me since then, but his music will always be a comforting reminder to take pride in my journey and my singularity.
To those who love him, I wish you a day of reminiscing and gratitude.
Images courtesy of Google Images.