When I’ve got the music, I’ve got a place to go…

‘My Daddy was a bank robber, but he never hurt nobody, he just loved to live that way, and he loved to steal your money…’ It was around 1996 and my Dad was playing ‘The Story of The Clash’ in the car, ‘I Fought the Law’, and ‘Should I Stay or should I go’ was played, both amazing tracks but it wasn’t until I heard ‘Bank Robber’ that my love for this band and genre of music began. It was the track that made me sit up and take notice, it ‘sealed the deal’ with me. Punk Rock. Whilst my younger sister was all over the Spice Girls, B*Witched, 5ive etc. I was never into the popular music floating about in the 90’s until I heard The Clash, fast forward 24 years and what I listen to today has been influenced by these guys – that song. Reggae, R&B, dub, ska, funk, rockabilly… The Clash were all of these genres at some point throughout their career, and why my music taste may seem a bit ‘diverse’ if you will. I was around a friends recently and walked into ‘Paper Planes’ by M.IA playing for example – of which the backing track for this song is ripped from the Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell’. Joe Strummer remains my favourite vocalist… just so fierce, passionate, poetic…and relatable on so many levels, I could listen to his voice and what he has to say all day long.

Music has always been my therapy, those who know me will know that I always have my headphones attached when out and about, playing when getting ready, doing housework, even sitting here now I am writing this with music playing in the background. ‘Love Come Down’ by Jamie Lawson…a track I forgot I had in my collection…ahh the nice surprises you’re greeted with on a shuffle (well until baby shark comes on from an attempt to entertain the niece that time).

I use music as a distraction from the pain that I can find myself in; nerve, hand, and leg pain being the main contenders, to what I call ‘nuisance pain’ from pins and needles in my feet, muscle spasticity, to the cognitive hit the pain brings – the latter is quite a complex relationship. If I can focus my mind on something else I find that this allows my body and mind to be distracted from the frustrations often felt. Those frustrations are, a lot of the time, stemmed from cognition function ‘blips’, if you will. These blips can range from information processing, attention span, confusion, word recalling, reasoning ability, and at times impaired judgement.

When I have MRIs, I can be in there for up to an hour at times and whilst they put the radio on for you – even dogs would struggle to hear it over all of that banging. For anyone who has had an MRI before, you will be familiar with the different pulsating banging noises that accompanies each scan. For those who haven’t, here’s a clip capturing that rave for you to experience. I have restless legs, I’m forever jigging them about and whenever I hear anything musical; a song, beat, drum, tapping… an MRI machine. My toes in particular are forever tapping along to it, and with that said, I soon discovered that whilst you have to remain still in the MRI machine…moving toes are a go-go. So that radio I cannot for the love of me hear (probably for the best as it as it couldn’t be any further from The Clash) is no longer an issue because am I not only entertained in there whilst tapping toes along to the rhythmic banging, I can continue with my go to pain distraction method.

Pain management doesn’t just lie in the medications prescribed, music therapy has been my constant for as long as I can remember, and as the title says (if you haven’t already noticed, is always a music lyric)…

‘When I’ve got the music, I’ve got a place to go…


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