Letters of Life

Lessons in Love

12:20 am Every so often, I post a music video here. Today, it’s British jazz-funk band Level 42. Ok, they hit their zenith a while back, but still. . . good music is good music.

Please press PLAY now.

The band gained fame for its high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of lead vocalist Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the band’s hits.

Lessons in Love was one of their biggest hits, and it’s obvious why. I never tired of listening to it. I remember at a Music Appreciation class one semester, I volunteered to share a song so that the professor could break down its structure for us. Level 42’s pop-funk sensibilities were not well-known in this part of the States, where John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen reigned supreme. So in the last class of Spring semester, Lessons in Love was played to the class, half-empty because many had already left for the summer. But I was happy, letting my classmates, mostly strangers, listen to a kind of style they probably never heard and likely couldn’t really take to in one sitting.

Lessons in Love brings me to bright days, days so bright your Ray-bans wouldn’t work. It was about working hard, playing hard, and in case you’re interested, wearing lots of white. It was summer, afterall. I’m afraid if I wax even more lyrical now about that time, I’m going to sound like a centenarian reminiscing about the old days. Not that it’s a bad thing, but sometimes, some things are better left unsaid.

OK, if you want to know what lessons in love I learned at the time, it would be this. Are you ready?

#1: Communicate your feelings honestly. Most of us do this on different levels, because we are all practical people. Ideally, if people can resist being opaque to each other at the same time for just five seconds, it is a blessing.

#2: Learn not to sweat the small stuff. ‘Nuff said.

#3: No relationship is worth giving up your individuality. It seems to me this tip has to be applied when relatively young. Otherwise, you change without knowing how much you’ve given up of yourself in exchange for a poor substitute of the unique person you were created to be.

#4: Expressing your feelings in writing is good for the soul. It’s cathartic, therapeutic, beats retail therapy anytime, and all you need is your smartphone, if pen-and-paper is not your scene anymore. Me, I’m a fountain pen-and-ink person, but all that’s in storage. Sigh.

And lastly, #5: Stay around positive and loving people as much as you can. This keeps you young. And by the way, age is all in the mind.

I just heard from old friends today that a cold snap has descended in the city close to my heart. It’s wintry cold up north, with dreary skies. The sun, if it’s still around in the afternoon, fades without fanfare into early darkness. You can’t believe it’s only 5 pm. What’s worse, there’s still four months to go.

So if you’re reading this and the day is grey and too cold too early, this one’s for you.

What song brings back good memories for you? Share it here. Sharing music is one of the best things to do!

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