Guest Author David Mitchell: The Way to Utopia Avenue

Songs are mysterious companions. I remember turning the dial of my mother’s transistor radio one summer’s evening in the late Seventies and finding Across the Universe by The Beatles. It transfixed me. Why? How? What was it about the combination of words, music, voice, phrasing that took me out of myself, then gently left me not quite the same as I was before? I’m still not sure how songs work, but I know they have touched me countless times since. Songs have been windows. Songs have articulated what I never knew needed articulating. Songs have embodied possible versions of myself I liked more than the real one. Songs have been messages in bottles, about life, love, people, politics, the world. Songs have been sonic photo albums, preserving a time, a summer, an hour, a younger Me. Songs have been the fabric of friendships. Songs have emboldened, cautioned and calmed me. Songs have opened spaces to dream in.

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