In 1997 a man called Baz Luhrmann changed my life.
Actually, in 1997 a man called Marcus changed my life, but he did it with the help of Baz Luhrmann, and that’s the key bit of the story.
Mark Anthony ‘Baz’ Luhrmann is an Australian filmmaker who had just released his MTV Generation spin on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Marcus is from Rushden.
Marcus has just got his hands of a copy of a CD that Luhrmann had produced called Something for Everyone and on it was a seven-minute-long track called Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen. The premise was as follows – to the backing of the choral version of When Doves Cry that was used in the Shakespeare film, a man called Lee Perry reads an essay that Mary Schmich first published in the Chicago Tribune.
It’s written as a piece of advice for coping with life but, to me, it’s the sort of thing that, if I could, I would send back in time to my 15 year-old self and try to convince them to take notice of the words.
In essence, we spend so much time thinking about life, we forget to live it. Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen has stayed with me since 1997.
I listen to it when I’m down, I try to remember it when I need encouraging and I’d like to think that, one day, I’ll play it to my children and to their children.
I made a pact with myself once that I would never get reflective, but it’s been one that I haven’t been able to stick to.
I think that, especially around your birthday (yes – today… I know… the card’s in the post), it’s too easy to look back at the decisions you’ve made and the paths you’ve taken and try to think about what you could have done differently.
The answer is, of course, that you shouldn’t have done anything differently. You learn from your mistakes, you move on, and you look to the future.
If you get a chance, listen to Baz Luhrmann’s track – it’s all over YouTube.
I never really ‘got’ what people meant about music having the ability to speak to you until I heard it. Fifteen years on, and it’s still with me.
You know, John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans” – although saying that, John Lennon also once said: “I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob”, so what did he know?