Listen to Kavya’s playlist here
“Life is an immobile, locked,
Three-handed struggle between
Your wants, the world’s for you, and (worse) The unbeatable slow machine
That brings you what you’ll get.”
— Philip Larkin, ‘The Life with a Hole in It’
“If you look at life like rolling a dice, then my situation now, as it stands – yeah, it may only be a 3. If I jack that in now, go for something bigger and better, I could easily roll a 6… I could also roll a 1. OK? So, I think sometimes… just leave the dice alone.”
— Tim, The Office
A person grows up when they realise that one day, they will be fifty. It’s not a new thought – most people have spooled out in their heads a few decades of unlived history during quiet moments. But it surprises you nonetheless because this time it comes with feeling, so that for the briefest second, you are fifty, and instead of carrying thirty years of imagined happenings you’re simply carrying thirty years. You don’t feel much else, aside from their lack of weight and distance.
But back when you were seventeen and scouring the notable alumni section of every college’s Wikipedia page, there were things to be done. Double acts propelled to the Fringe, plays written and performed to agents sitting in the darkness at the back of the Pilch. Unmade paintings that are now interred in a sixth-form sketch you have pinned up in your room (the occasional compliment from a visitor is inevitably met with the reply, “Yeah, thanks, I haven’t drawn anything in a while”). Writing. The instrument you’ve never found the time to touch.
Ennui, the recognition of delusion, and a polite rage directed singularly at yourself: these are all feelings that have been captured by music for years. Springsteen did it for factory boys building street engines in nowhere-towns, Bowie for budding androgynes shedding off school blazers in the chrysalis of English suburbia. It’s a little more difficult to find a soundtrack for staring at a spreadsheet, or staring at the number of Tube stations remaining until you arrive at the place where you stare at spreadsheets.
I wouldn’t claim that this playlist comes close to rearticulating those moments which much- needed romanticism. What I hope, however, is that you might find something on here that reminds you that a life constructed in-between office small-talk and the depressingly- glorified concept of a weekend is no less a life than the kind presented in art. That there is still dignity to be found in stability.