Yesterday I went out for brunch at a place I hadn’t been to in a long time, and that was nice. I used to like going there because they always happened to play the Beatles. Whole albums. From beginning to end.
This time they played not Beatles, but Elvis. Not bad at all, though it made it harder to concentrate on the conversations I was having (when I was having them, that is… the interruptions were just too many). After Elvis, an assortment of oldies, that made not only myself sing along, but the people at the next table too.
I left the restaurant, and went to a bookstore to look for some inspiration to write. It came, but not so much from the thousands and thousands of attractive titles all promising to give me the solution to all my problems (I am sure the solution must be there somewhere, but my lifetime is finite, and the number books in the world — or in a bookstore — I’m pretty sure isn’t).
The inspiration came from their playing “Help”, by the Beatles, in the backgroud. Not just track number 1 from the album of the same name — which in itself reflected my mood and somehow uplifted it. They played the whole album. All the fourteen tracks of it.
As my poor younger brother well remembers, “Help” was the first album I ever bought. With customary teenage tenacity, I played it over and over and over again (I don’t know whether so “customary”, but I was 13, and my purchase power was limited by monthly allowance). I’d almost say I played this album “ad nauseam”, only I never got sick of it (not sure the same cannot be said for my brother). I learned the lyrics (even though I didn’t understand English at the time — but it sure helped me with that). I learned the chords (two things the Beatles inspired me to do: to learn English and to play the guitar. But now at the bookstore I could not for the life of me remember the last time I had listened to the album from beginning to end.
I wasn’t looking for anything in particular (other than the ultimate answer to life, the universe and all there is — as I said, nothing in particular). So I just browsed aimlessly from shelf to shelf. I went from Aboriginal Studies to Zoology, through Health and Well-Being and back through Digital lifestyles, humming — what am I saying — singing, lound and clearly, prounouncing each word deliberately, remembering the time I didn’t even know what they meant. Some people, I noticed, turned around and stared at me. Some others were too busy in their own quest, while others were busy singing along too.
At the final chord of “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” the search for inspiration was over and I came home, fully satisfied with my Sunday brunch+bookstore combo. And I could not decide whether it was the food or the music at that restaurant that made me always so happy and energised.