I’m currently listening to one of my all-time favourite musicians David Sylvian, probably better known in the early 1980s for being ‘the most beautiful man in the world’ and for his band Japan and songs such as ‘Forbidden Colours’ and ‘Ghosts’. However, since he split the band up at the peak of their success in 1982, he has forged a career as a kind of combination of Scott Walker and avant-garde art jazz pop if that means anything.
Before you run away from this post scared by the fact that it’s turning into a haven of music geekery, I’d like to get to my point. When I was 14, the second album I bought was David Sylvian’s debut solo album called ‘Brilliant Trees’ and as a huge fan, I was so excited going to the record shop to then come home to play it and be amazed. One problem. It was awful! Or so thought the 14-year old me who was at that point unable to cope nor understand the so-called creative ‘progress’ he had made. Like many great artists, writers, directors and musicians with an urgent need to be creative, experiment and move forward, he had moved on. Being 14 of course, I hadn’t. I wanted to know where the Japan-styled ‘pop’ songs were!
A year or so later, I remember trying to impress a girl and as I was a bit hopeless at sports, the only weapon in my armoury at that point was trying to be cool with the music I liked and making compilation/mix tapes. In hindsight of course, I don’t recall any girl I met actually liking the music I liked except my wife who I didn’t just marry because she was a Sylvian fan though! However one thing that did come out of it at the ripe old age of 15 years old was I gave ‘Brilliant Trees’ another try. After all I’d invested all of £4.49 for the LP at the time. And this time, I loved it.
The truth was I wasn’t ready for the album when I first heard it, but one year later, it became and still is in fact one of my most favourite albums of all time. It was as if the music had now found me as I had now moved forward and ‘caught up’ with it.
David Sylvian is still making music, still pushing boundaries and still moving forward looking for his path. However, what I have always taken from him and his music, as well as countless other people in every area of society is that idea of constantly moving forward. I’m not suggesting burning bridges at every opportunity to move on, but simply to consider a step (however small initially) in a new direction in our lives which could be in our work, recreation, creativity, dreams, ambitions or wherever we want to get the most out of life. Yes, sometimes in the end, this may not be the best nor the most successful ‘project’, however it is at least going somewhere ‘new’ and maximising the opportunities that life offers us. If necessary, we could potentially go back to where we before this experience to regroup and then move forward in a new direction at a later date if that is indeed what we still then want to do. .
Of course, people are different. Some prefer the stability and security of what is familiar and that is fantastic for those who are genuinely happy with what they have. However, this is more for those who are still ‘searching’ and for whatever reason, have been afraid to move forward in their lives in whatever sphere it may be. In my experience, I have found that this sense of moving forward ultimately finds you when you are ready and more open to it partly because you have taken steps to put yourself in the right place and done many things to help yourself achieve what you want.
We can all move forward in our own way. One person’s way to move forward may be to stay living in the house they have lived in their whole lives because they are so happy there and that is how they want to move forward with their lives. For others, it may be selling your house tomorrow to travel the world.
One person’s moving forward is another’s standing still. Either way, we all need to find our own path. Wherever it may be.
And if you are curious to listen to any of David Sylvian’s music, this is the ever so beautiful ‘Forbidden Colours’: