It’s now over a week since I stopped being paid to teach. It’s over three weeks since I sent an email to a student during lockdown. It’s exactly two months since I actually spoke to a student face to face. I’d give anything to be able to resume that life – the one where I went into a Sixth Form College and taught some intelligent, highly motivated students, where I went for a couple of pints after work, where I played snooker once a week and went to watch Brighton play every couple of weeks. The one where I had three holidays planned. I’m not alone in desperately wishing life to return to “normal” and knowing that in all probability, the old normal isn’t returning. Not that life is very unpleasant at the moment. I can’t complain. But I do.
But thinking about “the good old days”, one of the things I loved more than anything, was having a lesson that started at 8:30 a.m. and getting into College at 7:30, opening up my classroom, switching on the computer, filling up the kettle and making a cup of tea, rearranging the desks (into groups rather than facing the front like the previous teacher), putting out the worksheets on the desks, writing the lesson timings on the whiteboard, sitting at the desk and listening to Alexi Murdoch. The feeling of utter bliss and contentment, anticipating the day to come, the bright and eager students, knowing that the lesson was well organised, looking at an empty room and listening to the most sublimely beautiful music is something I will never get back.
Alexi Murdoch was born in London. His father was Greek and his mother was Scottish-American. He moved from Greece to Scotland when he was 10 years old before moving to America when he was 19. He subsequently moved to Berlin and his latest Facebook posts suggest he is living in Scotland again. He has released 2 records and 1 EP.
He released Time Without Consequences in 2006 and music from it has been widely used on TV shows. “Orange Sky” appeared in “The O.C.”, “House”, “Prison Break”, “Ugly Betty”, “Dirty Sexy Money”, “Ladder 49”, “Suburgatory”, Southland and a Honda commercial. “Home” appeared in “Prison Break”. “All My Days” was featured in “The O.C.”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scrubs”, “Without a Trace”, “Stargate Universe”, “Sense8” and “Years of Living Dangerously”. “Song For You” appeared in “Everwood”. “12” appeared in “Brothers And Sisters” and “One Three Hill”. “Blue Mind” was featured in “Dawson’s Creek”. “Breathe” was used in “Stargate Universe”. “Wait” was used in the shows “Defying Gravity” and “Parenthood”.
I first heard Alexi Murdoch when watching an episode of “Stargate Universe” where the spaceship was malfunctioning and the oxygen supply was rapidly depleting. When everything was fixed and the crew could start breathing normally again (although the bad cases of sunburn would take longer to heal), they played “Breathe”. There is now an increased use of songs in TV programmes rather than incidental music. Sometimes it’s very annoying but in this case, I loved it.
I investigated this song, bought “Time Without Consequences” and fell in love with it. As I get older I find that listening to quiet relaxing music is more often appropriate to my mood than listening to something loud and unsettling. It seems to go hand in hand with my preferred type of TV show. I now can’t really bear to watch violent TV programmes and prefer character driven dramas like “Succession”, “The Good Wife” or “Normal People.”
I think that anyone listening to Alexi Murdoch, hoping to hear something completely original is probably going to be disappointed because the obvious point of reference is Nick Drake. They both have beautiful, dreamy, melodic voices and the songs are normally accompanied by an acoustic guitar. That’s not to say that there is no extra instrumentation and this is always excellent.
“All My Days” is another beautiful song and it was played on “Sens8” which is possibly the most beautifully filmed TV series ever. (It was directed by The Wachowskis).
My favourite song is the last one on the record and is called “Orange Sky”. The lyrics are “Well I had a dream, I stood beneath an orange sky with my brother standing by. I said, “Brother, you know you know it’s a long road we’ve been walking on”. And I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky with my sister standing by. I said, “Sister, here is what I know now: in your love, my salvation lies. But sister you know I’m so weary and you know, sister, my heart’s been broken. Sometimes my mind is too strong to carry on. When I am alone, when I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone, when I’ve lost all care for the things I own that’s when I miss you, you who are my home.” Well I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky with my brother and my sister standing by.” His singing is sad and acknowledges that although he is in a dark place, he will find love and redemption from the love of his family. It’s sublime, peaceful, beautiful, quiet and full of memories for me.