Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You're Not Alone Anymore

This past month I purchased The Travelling Wilbury's first album again, on CD. I had it on a cassette but it had gotten lost at some point over the past two decades. I think it was from stumbling across a YouTube video of "End of the Line" that made me want to hear the rest.

The Wilbury's were a group of friends who had been making music together for quite some time. This page on their website tells how it came about that they joined forces to produce what became a really solid album almost by surprise. The players -- George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty -- had gathered to create a B-side for one of George's new songs.

Ultimately they pulled together a full album of material which was recorded in Bob Dylan's studio. It came across as a surprisingly fun collection of special moments, songs written by each, shared by all. One of these was "You're Not Alone" featuring crooner Roy Orbison's rich trademark vibrato. Listening to the song made me think of a blog entry I wrote in 2010, which I share here again.

You're Not Alone

I can't recall when I first had the strange thought that the room I'm in is filled with sound waves but I couldn't hear them. Wherever you went, if you had a radio you could pick up a station.

When we were kids, my dad had purchased a multi-band radio that could pick up short wave signals from all over the world. Even though he mostly listened to WOR on the AM dial I remember occasionally tuning in to strange languages on some of the other dials and trying to guess where they were coming from. "Is that Russian? Is that Finnish?" I imagined a submarine captain in the Baltic Sea.

All these sounds were accessible, surrounding us, but each originated somewhere else. It was interesting to contemplate.

Fast forward to the present. Think of the bombardment nowadays. Satellite radio is spraying signals continuously, and satellite television. Your GPS device signals are ever instructing, and the old fashioned network TV towers keep singing. We're surrounded by a cloud of noises we can't hear at all.

Science has shown us that the atmosphere is also filled with light waves. We don't see light waves, of course, but only see the objects that they reflect off of. Our light bulbs emanate photons likewise invisible to perception or comprehension.

Many religions add still another layer to the list of things unseen and invisible, yet surrounding us. Many believe we are surrounded by angels, spiritual beings not perceived by the senses... and ultimately, God.

What if we could see all this unseen "stuff"? It might be interesting for a moment, but somehow I have to think if we could see all those sound waves and light waves, it would be a little challenging. I can envision my room here stuffed with a giant mass of shredded cottonball-like material, and myself absorbed in it. Maybe I wouldn't even be able to see this computer monitor because all that stuff was in the way.

I think I like it just as it is, the room an empty space with an easy chair where I can curl up and read a good book.

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