Tag Archives: music

Long into the night

Các bạn VnRock vừa post bài này lên, lại khiến mình nhớ lại cái thời Rock Việt ngày xưa. 10 shows thì 8 shows sẽ kết thúc với Courage. Một cái kết rất đẹp, khi gần trăm cái đầu đen dúi dụi vào nhau, trăm bờ vai sát lại gần nhau để cùng đu mình theo cái giọng hát (phát âm tiếng Anh hơi chệch nhưng vẫn) vang vọng, tiếng lead (tuy bị loa làm bẹp đi gần nửa nhưng vẫn) thúc giục mạnh mẽ. Nhiệt huyết tuổi trẻ, cộng với sự ngây ngô của tuổi trẻ, có một chút Metal vào là như bước ra một bầu trời hy vọng.


Bài hát hết, cả lũ người lạ gật đầu chào nhau một cái, rồi ai về nhà nấy.

Mấy năm trước, mình cũng có những người lạ như thế trong đời. Tuần nào cũng thế, chả hẹn nhau mà cứ lên quán là gặp. Tuần nào cũng từng ấy bài mà nghe đi nghe lại vẫn hứng khởi. Xong cũng chả nói chuyện mấy, bâng quơ vài ba câu, thi thoảng cụng bia, châm thuốc, rung rinh người, xong rồi đi về. Hứng lên thì tag nhau vào mấy cái FB status như để nhớ về cái thời “tuổi trẻ” xa xưa lắm.

Thế mà xa xưa thật. Bây giờ thì đứa có vợ con, đứa vào Sài Gòn, hoặc đâu đó. Mình về Việt Nam cũng không còn lý do để liên lạc nữa.

Nhiều khi cứ nghĩ, có những người mình chơi cùng bởi trong cùng một hội, nhưng nếu chỉ có 2 đứa với nhau thì chả biết nói gì, không khí trôi qua rất vụng về. Nhưng có những người lạ khác, chả có chuyện gì để nói với nhau, nhưng ngồi lại với nhau bằng âm nhạc, thành ra như có một sợi dây gắn kết vô hình.

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“Even after all these years”

“Notes between the lines” is a series of blog posts in which I will share pieces of music and literature that I think resonate with each other. This post features “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” by Colin Hay and “The Bridges of Madison County” by Robert James Waller.


I discovered Colin Hay thanks to Scrubs, one of my most favorite TV series. His music, for me, is the quintessence of acoustic music: unruffled in melody, pensive in lyrics, like a piece that you improvised with your guitar while sitting on your porch in the late afternoon and indulging in reminiscence. In that moment, the rhythm becomes a narrative and the words become a tale.

That’s why it was easy to think about “The Bridges of Madison County”. I can imagine the image of Francesca, as she saw Robert walking up to her for the first time, as he departed for eternity, as she missed him incessantly and desperately the years gone by. I can imagine how she was always alone, but never lonely, as long as her thoughts were with him. And I can imagine this song serenading her longing for him, in and out of consciousness.

I never watched the movie adaptation, so I never knew how the soundtrack fits. I never revisited the book either, having grown out of the belief in “made for each other” or “love of my life” (I’m not cynical, I just think the concept of love is more than that). I think Francesca & Robert’s love was, and would be star-crossed in every way, even if she had made the irrational decision to leave. It was the wistfulness that bounded them together, and got them through. And that was what made the story, while unrealistic, spoke to many people so genuinely. We are reminded of the love that will forever change what love means to us, and when that happens, the memory becomes an everlasting part of us.

And all that’s left to do is wake up in the morning, and have a good cup of coffee (or tea, if you’re like me).

 ««It’s clear to me now that I have been moving toward you and you toward me for a long time. Though neither of us was aware of the other before we met, there was a kind of mindless certainty humming blithely along beneath our ignorance that ensured we would come together. Like two solitary birds flying the great prairies by celestial reckoning, all of these years and lifetimes we have been moving toward one another.

The road is a strange place. Shuffling along, I looked up and you were there walking walking walking walking across the grass toward my truck on an August day. In retrospect, it seems inevitable—it could not have been any other way—a case of what I call the high probability of the improbable.

So here I am walking around with another person inside of me. Though I think I put it better the day we parted when I said there is a third person we have created from the two of us. And I am stalked now by that other entity.»»

And Facebook just reminded me that 3 years ago I posted a quote from the same book. “… all the philosophic rationalizations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you, every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my heart.”

I tended to get sentimental on August. Blame it on the summer blues.

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In tribute to The Thorn Birds and Colleen McCullough (06/01/1937-01/29/2015)

“Notes between the lines” is a series of blog posts in which I will share pieces of music and literature that I think resonate with each other.


The Thorn Birds was one of the earliest books I picked up, maybe the same age when Meggie Cleary arrived at Drogheda. I remember the book vividly. My grandmother had sewn woven cloths onto its spine, and the cover was softer and thinner than a feather. The paper was so fragile I was scared it might collide into pieces whenever turned, yet rash I actually scratched my fingers with it. And it came in 3 volumes, with the middle one missing. I’m still glad it was divided, because thankfully long novels could intimidate me no more.

And the title was just… mesmerizing. The first Vietnamese version was translated via Russian as “The song of the bird in the thorn bush”. No plural. It caught my attention immediately, because unlike the children’s books that I was exposed to at that time and age, it was enigmatic. I mean, you could kind of guess what Gulliver’s Travels or Les Miserables are about, but what does a bird has to do here? That led me to the prologue, and then the epilogue. Skipping 600+ pages didn’t help, but these two passages left me emotionally suspended. They didn’t heighten my curiosity in a “I must know how this goes and ends” way, but instead, whispered to the early-blooming sentimental side of me. In other words, if reading an epic novel such as War and Peace was a pseudo-intellectual challenge, reading The Thorn Birds would make me feel like a girl promised to the wonderland of uncovered emotions and hidden real-life meanings.

Revisiting books in the past is always a delightful experience, especially when you find your perspectives and reactions change. In my adolescent years, I didn’t enjoy the book as much, thinking the Cleary ladies were weak and desperate. Then I grew up a little bit, had my share of heartbreaks, paid my dues of passion vs. conscience. I could no longer choose sides or make bold “if that were me” statements, and I started putting myself in each and every character’s shoes. And when I got bewildered (and sometimes, pained) by doing so, I knew I had became part of their story. That was what The Thorn Birds has been to me.

But in the end. After all this time; after all the new words I’ve memorized and all the agonizing book scenes I’ve vicariously live through, there is barely another moment when a little girl first learned about the very harsh reality of “made for each other, but not meant for one another”.

This video is not an original find, but I don’t think there could be a more perfect combination.

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