The Walking Experiment

Tonight I did something I don’t usually do and I went for a walk listening to music.

A few months back, Jim was mentioning listening to music when out walking. I replied to him saying that I couldn’t really do that, that I like to take the sounds of life in when I’m walking. That walking that way is therapeutic to me. I can take moments to be in my own thoughts but equally be aware of what’s going on around me and take that in. He replied saying that a lot the lyrics written for the things I listen to when NOT walking about (as I said I listen to music when traveling, just not when walking) – tracks from Sons and Sister, were written as a result of listening to the music tracks when walking to and from the recording studio.

So…in my experiment to listen to music while out walking…what better music to listen to than Sons and Sister?

Usually I have quite a set idea my mind where I’m going to go. This time I didn’t. This time I just had no focus…which was strange because usually I’m quite focused and know when I’m going to go and I know what route I’m going to take. This time there was no focus at all. I relied on the impulse from the moment I walked out the door I just went with whatever feeling I had to take the direction I went. I made last second decisions…veered off and went down roads I wouldn’t normally do.

I felt, as I imagined I would (and what I had said to Jim was one reason I felt I never listened to music like that), really cut off from things. I couldn’t really hear anything else. Unlike the days of Sons and Sister being recorded and Jim would be walking about with a Sony Walkman and its sound leaky headphones (and over-ear headphones too) and use of a cassette with tape whir and hiss. Not like now where we have digital audio and noise-cancelling “in ear” ‘phones. I could just about hear traffic going by. That was about it.

It certainly set me a pace to walk to! I walked faster than I normally would. If doing walking purely as an exercise, I could see why you’d walk along listening to music. It set me a pace and I pretty much stuck to that pace through the whole walk. It was 1 hour 40 minutes long, the walk. I started with the Celebrate Extended Mix first, just so I made sure I was underway and walking before In Trance As Mission started.

Aspect of the walk were frightening. I went walking through this part of the countryside behind us…it borders farmland. I was on this track alone…and it was so quiet (well, I assumed it was quiet cos all I could hear was the music) and NO ONE was around. Usually I’ll bump into a dog walker or two along this path…but no. And I kept getting worried someone was behind and kept looking over my shoulder. Real paranoia set in during that part of the walk.

There’s a horse that lives in a house somewhere at the end of this track…path…whatever I should refer to it as. I always listen out for its neighing…as it’ll just neigh at random. I missed listening out for it. I missed hearing the birdsong. I saw swifts flying about everywhere, but couldn’t hear their screeching “banshee” call.

I got to the end of this stone chip road where I think the horse lives and This Earth That You Walk Upon comes on. I nearly stop in my tracks for Charlie’s solo…but I was fixed on that pace…but, I still got absorbed in the song. At the end of Charlie’s solo I thought to myself “God, if Jim didn’t cry like a baby after listening to that guitar solo for the first time…I don’t know what he’s made of!”

I can’t find it now (just spent the past 30 mins searching the blog) but there’s an article I shared and Jim is talking about having just listened to a new piece of music composed by Charlie (and possibly Mick too) and he says something like, “It’s beautiful. I can’t see the road for the tears” (they’re on the tour bus). He actually ends up using that line in In Trance As Mission, “can’t see the road for the tears”. Jesus he can write some beautiful words!

So, at that point, I just wanted to do what I normally would do (cos usually I’m laying in bed listening to them)…and just close my eyes and take it in.

Anyway…to cut this short…I walked a really long way. The music gives you a good pace for walking and is a great motivator.

Did I enjoy the experience? Certain aspects…yes…but on the whole? Maybe with something other than Simple Minds music. I would feel I need something innocuous. Something that means less to me. Minds music means SSSOOO…and I couldn’t really concentrate on it as I’d like, or get absorbed in it…close my eyes…take flight with it.

Like I say, it certainly worked in a pure exercise and motivational sense. I was fucking knackered when I got home…
I took a full circuit around my home, and then halfway round again. Will have to calculate miles walked.

I don’t know. It just felt strange because it really isn’t a way I take in music. At one point, when Seeing Out The Angel was playing, I wanted to find a fallen tree and just sit and listen to it. Next time, maybe?

Total distance: approx. 5 miles – OF COURSE I’D *HAVE* TO DRAW SOMETHING VAGUELY PHALLIC! Lol. It was the route I took! It was an accident! Honest, Gov!!! Lol

Walking Conversations

My last couple of interactions with Sir have been on the topic of walking (well, the first really wasn’t…but it led to that). Today’s interaction was lovely and had Jim discussing birdsong with me (one of my favourite subjects…well, birds are in general!). It’s a shame the article he linked to was from 2003…but there is an album of the Jonathan Harvey “Bird Concerto for Pianosong” on Spotify, so I will give that a listen tonight. 🙂

Maybe I should go out for a walk tomorrow and have it playing? But then, as I say…I’d miss the real birdsong, wind rustling through trees, human interactions with people…saying hello to them or being said hello to while people walk their dogs. Hearing the excitement in the dog’s breath. I love that kind of stuff! And if the dogs approach me, I never feel fear, I always put a hand (or both hands) out to pat them. 

Again thank you, Jim, for replying to me.