Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's not every day when you can hear a voice and fall in love with it. I have been so lucky, or unlucky seeing as how my emotion is misdirected towards a voice I will never meet, to have fallen in love with two voices. The first voice is that of Emma Clarke. She is the voice every Londoner knows all too well as they ride the tube around town. Her soft, comforting (yet sensual) voice caresses your ears as you ride along, passing "Kings Cross, St. Pancras" on your way to Camden Town or Edgeware. There were days when I would ride the circle line all the way around from Bayswater to Paddington and just lose myself in her beauty. I would doze off, dreaming of what she looked like. Surely this magical voice was matched by a body just as heavenly. Some days I remember thinking that I would one day find her. I had the same discussion with many other men and we all felt the same way.

When she would say "Mind the Gap" you would feel as if she truly cared for your safety and your safety alone. I never left the tube in a foul mood. I had Emma's voice to keep me comfortable and calm. Of course, I never saw what she looked like, nor did I ever get the chance to meet her. It wasn't until I sat down and started writing this that I even knew her real name. I will forever remember her as the voice of all that is beautiful in life. Thank you Emma.

The other voice I have fallen in love with is that of Cat Power, a female musician that can bring me to my knees after a single note. I rediscovered her a while back after talking to a friend of mine about female voices and how beautiful they can be. He then mentioned Cat Power being one of the most moving shows he has ever seen and I remembered that one day I listened to her and the world stopped. I was swallowed whole by her lyrics and felt as if I was swimming in down feathers, slowly falling and flying. Call it what you will, but that feeling is hard to come by. Only two voices have had that effect on me and I feel blessed. I am sure there are some people who can fall in love with a voice with reckless abandon and leave it just as quickly when a new one enters their ears. And then there are others who will go their whole lives without ever hearing Emma tell them to "Mind the Gap" or get a chance to listen to Cat Power's rendition of "Sea of Love". I don't know what I would do if I didn't have their voices with me.

Writing about these voices also makes me think about the power of a voice in general. There are voices that will draw the rawest forms of emotion from deep within when you least expect it. There have been times when all I want to hear is my mother's voice and when I do, it drops me to the floor. Then there are those times when I hear the voice of a particular person from work or my life and I cringe. I have had moments when I hear a voice and it takes me from a calm and happy place to one of total annoyance and it throws me off guard every time because all I heard was the voice of someone. It wasn't the words, it wasn't the actions, it was just the sound of their voice. When it comes to musicians, I feel like everyone has a song or two that they can listen to to put themselves in any mood they desire. I have my sad songs, my happy songs, my leave-me-the-fuck-alone songs, my I'm-so-in-love-I-can't-breathe songs, and so on. A lot of times it isn't even the lyrics or the music itself, but the sound of the voices and the associations I have between them and my emotion. It's as if my heart sings to in response to the sound of others. While this may sound like the sappiest thoughts, it's what has been filling my mind recently. I don't mean to write as if these are new, original thoughts. I am sure people have had these revelations before, albeit they have probably kept them to themselves as it is pretty self evident that voices of musicians and loved ones can draw out emotions, however it's nice to think about voices that make you happy (or sad or angry or just feel emotions) because I feel like sometimes we don't take the time to enjoy the sound of others. Sometimes I feel as if I focus so much on what is being said and not enough on how it is said. Vocabulary be damned, give me a sweet voice telling me good morning and I will give you gold. Just waking up to the humming or sound of someone you enjoy talking to and there is nothing that compares.

If I could embed audio in this stupid blog I would play you Cat Power, but I don't know how so I won't. Instead, go here.


whatdoesnotkillme said...

If I could rent Morgan Freeman by the hour and have him read me bed time stories every night I totally would. Even if it meant having him read to me on the street because I spent every damn cent on his reading to me.

dana silberman said...

i think i just fell in love with you.

patrick said...

I listened to 'Good Woman' by Cat Power about 10 times on the way home from Vegas, if you love her voice check out the pictures Avedon took of her.

holmac said...

my favorite cat power song is called 'i dont blame you'. best when put on repeat. she reminds me of dusty springfiel.