Friday, May 19, 2017

I hear the music and it's 1993 again

Something very unexpected happened to me when I heard about Chris Cornell’s death. Not only did I feel grief, in the same way, many of his fans all over the world felt, I saw myself go back in time to the early 90s.


It was 1993 to be exact and I've just moved away from my home province of PEI. I had a sense of nostalgia as I envision myself in the bachelor apartment in downtown Moncton, NB (Canada). It was furnished, allowing me to move in with only my personal belongings and start fresh, ready to discover a whole new world.
           
I remember walking down the street and seeing all the girls my age in Dr. Martens and short skirts, outfits that I wasn’t courageous enough to wear, clothing that was very different from the conservative hometown where I grew up, where kids were wearing Chip and Pepper shirts and Edwin jeans; usually the 'cool' and accepted kids in school, to be exact. For those not familiar with the culture, you have to understand that ‘grunge’ wasn’t just a type of music, it was the culture of youth. And of course, like most places I’ve ever been in my life, I didn’t quite fit in. But unlike most time and places that I would live, I wanted to be a part of it.

A group of my friends lived just down the street from me in an older house, one that I guessed to have been around for decades. Once known as a party house by the former tenants, it left my friends with the job of reforming its image and using a lot of elbow grease in order to clean it up. But it wasn't aesthetic perfection that we craved in those days but the sense of freedom and independence.  

I remember walking into that house and being met with music, laughter, and friendship. After spending my teenage years feeling like an outcast in my home province, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. There was a sense of acceptance in the house that I had never experienced before; it didn't seem to matter who you were, few people weren't welcomed in the door. To this day, whenever I hear Alice in Chains Jar of Flies or the early Pearl Jam music, I think of that house and everything it introduced into my life.

But it was Soundgarden that I listened to when I was alone in my little apartment. I found solace in Chris Cornell’s voice. I connected very deeply with the band’s music; with the words, the tone of the songs, the emotions locked in every chord. While I loved Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and so many other bands, there was something about Soundgarden that I connected with on a much deeper level.


When I heard of Chris Cornell’s death, one of the first things I said on social media is that every time I hear his voice, I’m 20 again, standing in that first apartment, ready to take on the world. That’s the beauty of music. It magically takes us back and opens up a vault of emotions and memories as if time stands still. It’s a world where we never age, friendships never fade and those we love never die.


Mima is the author of seven books including Fire and A Spark before the Fire, both taking place during the late 80s and early 90s music scene. 

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