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Music to Grieve To
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Christmas parties - Ugh! Really - you mean that’s part of my job description now? That I have to go outside of work hours - off the clock - and socialize with people I can barely relate to when you’re actually paying me?!

And to be honest - it’s not just Christmas parties - it’s any kind of party at this time of year - ‘cos there sure seem to be a lot of them. It’s as if the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere anyway) infects the population with the desire to interact - to be happy and touch and dance and do all those things that require a soul - or at least - a soul that’s prepared to show up.

Do you know what it’s like to be in a room packed full of people and to feel entirely alone - to sit or stand there, drink in one hand, party face in the other and to feel completely separate from the human race. To watch dispassionately as every joyful human interaction seems to pour gasoline on the flames of your isolation.

Yeah. I was never really one for parties - at least - most of the time. There were - and still are - times when I’m on form - where I’m one of the people on the other side - the dancer, the laugher, the all night partier and king of good times - but you can’t rely on him to show up - and it’s always too late by the time you realize he isn’t coming.

Zane knows what I’m talking about - I just wrote that with this track on repeat - but you should read what he had to say about where the track came from - ‘cos it’s brilliant -

So I stood in a circle of people at a party one night and looked to the other smiling faces and wondered if they, at that very moment, felt as alone as I did. “Friend”, I wanted to say to the handsome man with the winning smile, “is that shadow next to you cast by my solitude or yours?”

But, while still wondering whether the question would spark a newfound kinship or just derisive laughter, I noticed a second shadow grow beside the first, this one cast by doubt. So, I decided the query be better left unasked.

So, with Solitude’s companion, Doubt, the party got very crowded indeed. I sat on the couch and Solitude and Doubt joined me. I sat listening to the party’s chatter as it blended together into a simple tune, conversations setting the beat and laughter singing lyrics in the most human language of all.

I smiled to all an inviting smile and I let myself wish someone would come speak to me about what I heard in their conversations, to guide me through this strange evening’s adventure, but Solitude reminded me that the couch was already crowded and could accommodate no more.

So I sat, without a guide, seated between Solitude and Doubt in a crowded room, when I heard the whispers of a voice. It spoke about my fears of loneliness and my uncertainties about everything, describing them as only I know them. I thought this voice may be my conscious, or even my subconscious, but really I did not want to know. Secretly, I wanted this voice to be an angel, guardian only to me, or even God, taking a moment to acknowledge his more questionable creation before he returned to the task of overseeing all that there is. I wanted to know that the voice was the guide I sought.

Was I vain to think myself worthy of such attention from the universe or was I just afraid I really was not? I had no idea but the voice did indeed guide my fingers over the guitar when I sat hunched over it after the party, at four in the morning, trying to capture that moment when I wondered about it all. When I was done, hours later, exhausted and sleep deprived, I sat back and listened to the recordings trying to decide if I should share this song with the world or if I should just keep this, my own little madness, to myself. Solitude smiled and said “go for it”, and Doubt laughed and refreshed my drink with a little more whiskey.

And so the song is titled ‘Alone With You’.
— Zane - Alone With You

You can learn more about Zane here:

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About the Curator - Andrew McCluskey

The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the dark forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top. They would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.

After my dad died I was very sad - I couldn't play for a while and when I did, the music that came out reflected my grieving state.  I wrote an album of solo piano music called Music to Grieve to - from which the idea of the Music to community originated.  

If you'd like to know more you should read Nicole's fabulous article on why listening to sad music can make you feel better.