Category Archives: joy

PJ Harvey, Praise You and funny faces

I saw PJ Harvey perform at Bestival a couple of weekends ago. I’m a big fan of her music, and it was such a privelige to watch and listen to her sing her favourite songs solo as she played various instruments to accompany herself.

She gave herself utterly to the performance. Her voice was exquisite, but she played the songs with her whole body. It was more like channeling. You could see the joy and the pain around her like a halo.

It reminded me of the classical musicians that used to come into school when I was 8 or 9 to play their instruments for us. They’d blow on their trumpet, or strum their harp, and I’d watch their faces. They made funny expressions, squinching up their cheeks or their shoulders or shutting their eyes. They were ecstatic. They entered the music.

It felt like I ought to laugh at these musicians, because they looked so silly, but somehow I didn’t want to. I was transfixed. Maybe this is how it always is, when we enter into something entirely. We look like an idiot, but we are also at our most beautiful. Just like these dancers in Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, one of my favourite music videos.

It’s so difficult to take our attention away from what people might be thinking about us. But when we can…

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PS Happy publication day to me, happy publication day to me, happy publication day dear Fiona…. happy publication day to me ; )