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[Disclaimer: Read the following if you are one of those folks living a good 80% of their life with earphones buried deep in their ear canals. Keep reading if you, like me, are forcefully imposing your music tastes on your powerless neighbours. But please stop reading if you are an extremist. That is, if you believe your musical genre is the only one worth listening to. This is no post for musical-monotheistic fundamentalists.]

It is healthy and reasonable to listen to both old and new classics. We all indulge in binge listening to our favourite Johnny Cash, Joy Division or Fleetwood Mac for hours.
Having established this, it is only right to keep searching for more. And if the search is genuinely enjoyable then why not search full time?
To keep an open mind is not an overused and demeaned mantra of our generation. It is a law of nature.

When I first set foot on British soil I could have had no idea how much I would fall in love with the music scene of one of its finest cities. Sheffield talents have been blossoming since and I keep letting the waves of energy and creativity of this city wash over me in a blissful joy. Here I found a microcosmos of artists and live performers. I kept discovering the countless venues ready to host newborn local bands as well as established touring foreigners. Graphic artists embellish the streets with the finest graffiti. This is the perfect combination for nurturing hard working talents, an impressive fertile ground indeed. Musicians don’t fear competition, the frequent open mic events are tempting and the atmosphere is always relaxed and collaborative.

I started supporting local bands when I was still a student by purchasing my very first EP, a band from Exeter called Naomi. I have posted one of their song at the beginning of this blog. I literally wore out the CD and decided to switch to their digital version, keeping the physical copy as a token of appreciation. Some sort of relic. Since then I’ve been pleasantly surprised by dozens of other artists. What really strikes me is the never settling variety of genres. This journey of discovery is so entertaining, I can’t help but give in to the constant stream of invitations to join this or that event and show up to yet another venue. Listening to the supporting bands, the headliners, the DJs. Getting to know the people orbiting around them and appreciating their opinions and ideas.

I happened, I don’t deny it, to attend poor performances. But, to be fair, who cares? When the statistics are so skewed in favour of good music and nice people, the risk of spending a couple of boring hours is nothing at all. Considering I will be doing so with the most interesting people anyway completely erases any possible doubt. And this brings me to the second part of this post: friendship. We all know friendship is such an important ingredient in the recipe of life happiness. It is often taken for granted. But I am grateful for the disinterested, even selfless, relationships I managed to establish. And yes, music definitely played a role in this. A gang of likeminded individuals will manage to pull the best out of the dullest night outs.

I decided to take a picture to celebrate my personal collection of musical artefacts. Every day these little friends pour ethereal food into my brain through my side openings, also known as ears.
Sometimes it is sweet funky honey, other times I’ll be having psychaedelic brain food. When I want energy and realism I indulge in my big unhealthy dose of blues rock. If I am all about the feels I’ll let my thoughts drift away to melancholic bittersweet melodies. No doubt this selection will look insignificant to the most avid collectors but it is nonetheless an excellent starting point.

I found unconditional happiness on this little big planet. I surprise myself with a big grin on my face, strolling down the roads and finding no reason to be upset even when the rest of the world is snapping madly at me. I found balance thanks to this chaos. To distil a formula for a thorough musical enjoyment was my intent. This heartfelt blog post is my best attempt. Please let music inspire you and your life companions.

[In the photo, top: Postcards by Fran Wyburn and the Indigos, Glossolalia by The Sky Moguls, Autumn in Eden by Isembard’s Wheel.

Centre: Somos Lobos/Odmieńce by Baba Naga, a signed poster from The Downtown Roots last gig, Wet Nuns homonym album.

Bottom: Naomi’s EP (the one I was referring to in the post), Stay Dry, Stay Warm by Steve and the Sea, Ain’t no Fool by Ross Connor and The Sound of the Baskervilles by.. well, The Baskervilles.]