I Have a Bottle Filled With My Own Teeth

“I have a bottle, filled with my own teeth”. I hear these lyrics and immediately I’m filled with nostalgia for a mix cd I made for my own enjoyment, and shared with my friends. I think I probably still have all the mp3s on my computer, but I can’t remember the order of the songs, or the exact content of the playlist. And I miss them. It. The whole shebang.

2004/5, not sure what I was doing with my life, reaching out to (then pulling away from) friends. Still consumed by the loss of a great love a few years earlier, the only thing holding me together was music. The soothing sounds of Bill Callahan’s baritone. The uplifting spiritual melancholy of Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans album. Cosmic Steve Miller Band instrumentals. Alice Coltrane’s swirling harp. Labi Siffre, soul choirs, Jenny Wilson, Karen Dalton, David Sylvian.

If I think about it objectively, these often slow, quiet tunes could have made me sadder, but melancholy music can be so soothing, don’t you think? Even harsh, glitchy music can make me physically relax. My muscles soften and I let go of the hurt, the tension and live in the moment, just for the duration of the mix. And that can be enough to see me through the night. I must have listened to that mix hundreds of times until my old iPod gave up the ghost. It would stop me getting stressed on the bus, it could send me to sleep, uplift me enough for a night out with friends. Music is my restart button.

Now, anyone got a copy of that mix cd?


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