If You Sing…


I was all ready to come how and bitch about my conflicts with the Silversun Pickups again, but I heard “Sing” when I was waiting for my turkey burger. I’ve always loved the video. I remember when I was first leaving for Spain and MTV did some little promo for Travis as “a british band” that was big over there, but for some reason just couldn’t find an audience over here save for the pop savvy.

One might think the first time one lives in another country might be fun, and it is, but the first 2 days are hell. I realized my Spanish wasn’t what I thought it was, and that these people would, indeed be speaking Spanish, and with an accent I’ve never heard before. It was the Spanish equivalent of having a deep Southern accent, except Gijon is on the north coast.

The only proper thing to do is to panic. To withdraw, to try to sneak to McDonald’s though fast food was banned on the trip. To hide in the exchange family’s basement, taking advantage of their satellite TV. To watch Can’t Hardly Wait with Spanish dubbing, though knowing the lines in English anyway. Watch European MTV, which is all it could ever be dreamed to be, and see that video with the British band, in which an octopus is thrown about so whimsically.

And then, indulge on the too-bacon-like-to-be-true, jamon serrano. Stay out all night drinking cider. Jump off small cliffs on a remote beach. Eat roast suckling pig. Spain knows pork.

This could all be personal historical fiction, but it feels about right. One of the great things about the human mind is its ability to develop narrative; it’s how we developed an oral storytelling tradition in ancient Greece and constructed religions. In my mind, “Sing” is a biblical call to arms. It’s the moment I was able to break out of a panic and take a part in a challenging experience, thrust upon such blessed few.

The literal truth of the matter, I don’t really remember. There could have been other extenuating circumstances, but they were clearly apocryphal.

I guess this could be filed under my new-found humility in the face of religion. I think it’s wired in the human brain to develop stories that are only semi-factual, but compelling. And I can’t deny the passion behind it; I still think of Spain every time I hear the song, and I just never got sick of it. Granted, I doubt I’d kill anybody over BritPop.

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