There is a bit of OCD that runs in our family - it focuses more on the obsessive than the compulsive resulting in lots of deep thinking but not so much dishwashing. For me, I find it manifests when listening to music. Even as a teenager I wouldn’t just play the same song time and time and time and time again. I would repeat my favourite section of the same song time and time and… you get the picture. There was a certain bit at 1:53 in when it switches to instrumental in Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl that I would rewind on the cassette until it was all scratchy sounding.
Over the years there have been other bits of music I listen to over and over: 2:51 into Bloc Party’s Pioneers when the drums really kick in… a spine tingling moment a mere four seconds into the London Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op 92 … that bit 4:43 into ‘Who drove the red sports car’ when Van (again) wails ‘Come on in out the rain!’ which is just so blimmin… sexy.
My latest fixation is 17 seconds into PJ Harvey’s love and grief lament called England from her Feb 2011 album - ‘Let England Shake’. When Harvey’s voice hits the same key as the wailing in the background it makes my whole body respond. ‘Let England Shake’ is a big and bloody album. It deals with big themes taking on history and psyche of her country. As I listen to Harvey’s extraordinary voice I see a montage of faces – traumatised by war, reddened from beer and an open fire at the pub, weathered by the moors, oppressed by royalty and religion and hysterical from the most recent riots. These are heartsick and homesick laments and tributes to her homeland. Good stuff.