I recently re-listened to Alex Turner's heartwrencher of a soundtrack to the 2010 Welsh film Submarine. This song takes me back to a special time in my life, when I was still learning about the world, and feeling like in a sort of cocoon. Few memories and songs bring me back, and it's hard to wrestle off the feeling of the years gone by, the lost friendships and broken loves, as well as the realisation of how different we were back then.
Alex Turner's Piledriver Waltz tells the story of the two-sidedness of love, on one hand a beautiful waltz, on the other, a screeching pile driver of a wreck. I feel this song encapsulates our generational yearnings, modern and yet fragile:
I etched the face of a stopwatch / On the back of a raindrop / And did a swap for the sand in an hourglass
I heard an unhappy ending / It sort of sounds like you leaving / I heard the piledriver waltz / It woke me up this morning
You look like you've been for breakfast at the Heartbreak Hotel / And sat in the back booth by the pamphlets and the literature on how to lose / Your waitress was miserable and so was your food / If you're gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes
Mysteries flashing amber go green / When you answer but the red on the rest / Of the questionnaire never changes
I heard the news that you're planning / To shoot me out of a cannon / I heard the piledriver waltz/ It woke me up this morning
When the hours become days, and the days become years, it's easy to forget the goals we had back then, the ideals we held, and the dreams we worked towards. It's also easy to forget the nature of growing up, the leap into the unknown.
Growing up alone in England (10 years), the Welsh movie Submarine left me impressed with its morose by realistic depiction of life in the Welsh coast, the fresh sea breeze, the rocky shores, the working class environs, and the teenage dreams of escaping. Years later (2015) I had the privilege of visiting the Welsh shore myself, and was stunned by the crisp landscapes and dreamy illusions of the sea. I remember the emotional wreck I was back in 2008/9, struggling with university, poverty and loneliness. I also will forever be grateful for the friends I made in England, who stood by me in a rather emotional time. The time before smartphones, where one could only communicate with loved ones by phone, separated by gulfs of water, and with little knowledge of what one was to do upon leaving university. In the words of Charles Dickens:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only"