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James' music to help overcome chaos: a true... Expand / Collapse
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Posted 17 June 2014 02:21


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Before you ask, this thread is not about me. It's the story of a young French woman - Madame Givrée is her nickname - published for the first time on a blog two weeks ago. I read it, was deeply touched and moved by her message and I decided to contact her. She kindly agreed to let me post the original paper on the French website dedicated to James. I also asked her to translate it in English because I wanted to give James himself the opportunity to read it and, of course, for the benefit of all the readers here. There's a slight difference between the original text in French written 8 months ago and the English version written over the last few days. Things evolved in the course of time.

During interviews, James used to say that he's "just a musician", he doesn't save lives, educate or rebuild countries. Obviously, it's not totally true. There are situations where you don't need a nurse, a doctor or a teacher. Sometimes, people need lyrics and music to relief their soul and save their life. This is what this story is all about.

Thank you Madame Givrée for sharing your experience with us. Thank you James for opening your soul through the songs.

Post #253553
Posted 17 June 2014 02:25


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English version written by the author « Madame Givrée ».

I've never been that crazy about anyone famous. I've never really been the kind of girl who'd put posters of her favourite singer up in her bedroom and stare at them all day, I've never been one to swoon over anyone's performance, nor have I ever been the kind of person who wouldn't stop talking about their favourite singer, who would wait nervously for the next time a newspaper mentioned their name. As a child and teenager, when someone asked me who my favourite singer (or actor) was, I would invariably answer « I have no idea ». I really had no idea.

But that changed when I first heard James Blunt singing, not long before he became so incredibly popular with his now almost-unbearably annoying song : You're Beautiful. I immediately loved his songs.

When his album Back to Bedlam (note the word « Bedlam » meaning disorder, tumult, chaos) was released, I immediately loved it. James Blunt became incredibly famous with You're Beautiful playing on the radio at least 5 times a day. It seemed all the girls around me loved him, and boys would roll their eyes at the mention of his name. He soon started to be seen as a « crooner » and girls would drag their boyfriends to concerts.

I was 19 at the time and I don't think I'm exaggerating if I say I was going through chaos. I couldn't help thinking I was going « back to bedlam » every time I went home at night. I had been a victim of rape, for years : my abuser was a member of my family and I was suffering in silence, I was scared, ashamed, isolated. I was hurting so much I wanted to die.

I used to listen to the lyrics of James's songs all day long thinking that he, at least, knew what he was singing about. It was a mixture of hope and despair. He was literally back from Bedlam too, and if he talked about fear or death, I could just listen to him and let the realization that I wasn't alone sink in.

How I wish I could surrender my soul.
Shed the clothes that become my skin,
See the liar that burns within my needing.

How I wish I'd chosen darkness from cold
How I wish I had screamed out loud
Instead I've found no meaning.

I guess it's time I ran far, far away ; find comfort in pain.

(Back to Bedlam – Tears and Rain)

I wished I had screamed out loud too. I used to wish I could find a meaning to it all. But I had found no meaning and I was hurting a little more everyday. I often thought it was time for me to run far, far away... I wish I could tell you how much I wanted to die at the time.

I suppose you can imagine this song was full of meaning to me. The lyrics reached that dark part of my heart where all my emotions were bottled up. I had that funny feeling James Blunt had managed to put into words everything I didn't allow myself to feel or say.

Billy was another song that had a special meaning to me.

He knows the price that he's paid.
He admits that it's too late to admit that he's afraid.
Tomorrow comes, sorrow becomes his soulmate.
The damage is done.


And what about this ?
Do you see my guilt ? Should I feel fright ? Is the fire of hesitation burning bright ?

I used to feel so incredibly guilty. I was so scared I felt I couldn't talk to anyone. At the time, only 2 of my best friends knew what had happened to me. I knew they were worried about me, and they were always encouraging me to talk about it, they wanted me to report « my » abuser to the police (I am still struggling to use the word « my » to talk about him). But I felt too guilty (what if it was my fault?), too scared (will he go to prison? What if I ruin his life?) to be able to say or do anything.

James Blunt gave me an opportunity to express my pain and my fear. All I needed at the time was someone who just KNEW what pain was like, and could put it into words for me. Listening to his songs really loud and singing at the top of my lungs helped me not to break down. I recognized myself in the lyrics, I was under the impression the lyrics were mirroring my emotions.

Looking back, and though it might sound a little silly, I think his songs helped me through that rough time. They let me realize I wasn't the only person who had been through awful things. They helped me put things into words.

His songs were not just echoing my emotions. He's not just a supposedly good-looking singer who knows a great deal about pain. He's also a British singer with a lovely accent – some people might call it posh. I love the English language so much you can imagine how much I love listening to a British-English singing singer. Especially one who makes (not so-) subtle references to William Blake's poem « The Tiger ».

Time has passed. I reported my abuser to the police when I was 20. Talking about it, telling my family about it helped. The pain remained for a very long time. The police led a two-year long investigation. Listening to James Blunt helped calm me down and push through the anxiety. I started being a little more optimistic about my future.

And he released a new album, All the Lost Souls.

Oh these feet carry me far.
Oh my body, oh so tired.
Mouth is dry. Hardly speak.
Holy spirit. Rise in me.


He sounded a little more positive too. He released this song just as I was starting to walk along the path of resilience. He remained the only one who could put things into words when I wasn't able to.

I didn't care if he really felt that way or not. It didn't matter to me whether he knew it or not. The fact was that there was this one person in the world who sounded like he knew exactly what suffering was about, and he was able to put it into words, and it helped me survive.

In 2008, on the eve of my 22nd birthday, I went to one of his concerts for the first time ever. I was quite far away from the stage. I saw a little guy moving and singing and... I was over the Moon.

Time went by. I am not going to go into details, it was hard. The worst part was sitting through my abuser's trial, having to listen to all the details I couldn't get out of my head. He was sentenced to a few years in prison. « Not enough for what he did », was everyone's reaction. Definitely not enough for me. But I started getting better. I went through therapy. I passed my exams and started my job as a teacher – a job I'd chosen when I was 11 years old, still a schoolgirl.

That's exactly when James Blunt chose to release his 3rd album, Some Kind of Trouble. And on this album, the song No Tears :

Don't I know it ? Nobody has to say it.
I've been lucky. Guess I was born that way.
[…]
Well, I've been everything I wanna be.
So no tears, no tears from me.


Don't I know it ? I really consider myself lucky. Don't cry for me. Once again I had that funny feeling he was speaking for me. I had two wonderful friends who gave me a lot of moral support, who persuaded me life was worth fighting for, who encouraged me to lay down this burden.

When the time came, my then-fiancé held my hand and walked me to the police station, he let me cry on his shoulder every time I needed to. He was so patient and loving that I still have a lump in my throat whenever I think about it.

I went through hell, but I went through it surrounded with loving, caring people who never let me down, not even when I thought I was all on my own. And James Blunt expressed everything I felt better than I could have at the time. I really feel I have been supported by his music, I was never alone, his voice was always with me.

When I tell my friends about it, they often think I am crazy. Maybe it'll look better when you read it than it does when I speak about it.

To put it bluntly (no pun intended) : when I thought I had hit rock bottom, I found songs that led me to understand what was hurting me, deep down. When I found out about James Blunt, I found out about a very sensitive man whose songs were full of meaning. I found out I wasn't the only one who'd been through hell. If he had done it, I could do it too. He gave me the strength to fight. Just as I started living a happy, balanced life, he released this 3rd album that was often described – at least in France - as « a rush of happiness and adrenaline ». I had finally laid down my burden, and he had put it into words. Again. And the girl who was « never so crazy about anyone famous » started impatiently waiting for the next concert, the next interview, the next album release, the next opportunity to talk about him.

He released his fourth album last October, and as he beautifully puts it :

[...] in time, all the flowers
Yes in time, all the flowers
Turn to face the Sun.


No Tears. Please don't cry for me. I am facing the Sun and James's help is beyond words. He helped me in his own strange way, he was never really a part of my life and I was never a part of his. It could have been any other singer, writer, actor, but the thing is... I found myself in James Blunt's songs, not anyone else's. I find myself in his songs everyday. And no matter how I feel, there is always a song that matches my mood.

Post #253554
Posted 17 June 2014 02:32


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Here's the full text of the original paper published in French, just in case the blog closes one day.

http://www.sous-notre-toit.fr/reussir-surmonter-epreuves-se-retrouver-chansons-celebrite/

Retrouver un peu de moi chez une célébrité m’a aidé à surmonter de lourdes épreuves

Publié le 5 juin 2014
par Madame Givrée

Je n’ai jamais été une groupie. Tu sais, la fille qui met des posters de son chanteur ou acteur préféré dans sa chambre, qui se pâme à chaque fois qu’il passe à la télé, qui ne parle que de lui, qui ne vit que pour lire ses actualités ? Je n’ai jamais été comme ça. À la question « qui est ton acteur chanteur préféré ? » (la question se décline aussi au féminin), j’ai toujours répondu, invariablement, « je ne sais pas » ou « je n’en ai pas ». Et c’était vrai !

Puis, j’ai découvert James Blunt. Un peu avant que sa côte de popularité n’explose avec la désormais célèbre, niaise et insupportable You’re Beautiful, quand il était encore un petit chanteur pas très connu avec vaguement « une voix de fille ». J’ai tout de suite aimé ses reprises et compositions un peu années 80, un peu modernes, ce mélange de tristesse et de joie chez lui. Je suis ce qu’on appelle « une fan de la première heure ».

Quand son album Back to Bedlam (bedlam, en anglais, c’est le tumulte, le b*rdel, et parfois l’enfer) est sorti, j’ai tout de suite adoré. James Blunt a fait un carton avec You’re Beautiful, les filles l’adoraient, les garçons levaient les yeux au ciel à la mention de son nom. Très vite, il a été catalogué « chanteur pour les nanas ». Un peu niais, comme je te le disais.

A l’époque, j’avais 19 ans, et je traversais un véritable enfer. Ou plutôt, j’y retournais, comme le titre de l’album. Et même, ma vie était un sacré bordel. Victime de viols (le pluriel est intentionnel), je ne savais plus trop comment sortir du silence, de l’isolement, de la douleur, de la peur, de la honte et de l’envie de mourir.

Dans ma chambre d’étudiante, j’écoutais ses paroles à fond et je me disais que, lui, au moins, savait de quoi il parlait. Un mélange de désespoir et d’espoir. Lui aussi, revenait de l’enfer, et s’il parlait de la peur, de la mort, je pouvais l’écouter et me dire que je n’étais pas seule au monde.

Morceaux choisis… (chanson Tears and Rain)

How I wish I could surrender my soul
Shed the clothes that become my skin
See the liar that burns within my needing.

How I wish I’d chosen darkness from cold.
How I wish I had screamed out loud,
Instead I’ve found no meaning.

I guess it’s time I run far, far away ; find comfort in pain.


Traduction :

« Comme j’aimerais pouvoir livrer mon âme, me débarrasser de ces habits qui sont comme une seconde peau, voir l’imposteur rongé par ma soif de vivre.

Comme j’aimerais avoir choisi les ténèbres plutôt que le froid. Comme j’aimerais avoir hurlé. À la place, je n’ai trouvé aucun sens à tout ça…

Je pense qu’il est temps de m’enfuir très, très loin, trouver du réconfort dans la douleur. »

Du fin fond de mes propres ténèbres, ces paroles ont eu un retentissement que, je suppose, tu peux imaginer. J’ai eu le sentiment que James Blunt mettait en paroles ce que je n’arrivais pas à exprimer. Et que dire de ces paroles, issues de Billy, du même album ?

He knows the price that he’s paid.
He admits that it’s too late to admit that he’s afraid.
Tomorrow comes.
Sorrow becomes his soul mate.
The damage is done.


« Il connaît le prix à payer. Il admet qu’il est trop tard pour admettre qu’il a peur. Les lendemains reviennent, la douleur devient son âme sœur. Le mal est fait. »

Et ça ?

Do you see my guilt? Should I feel fright? Is the fire of hesitation burning bright?

« Vois-tu ma culpabilité ? Devrais-je avoir peur ? Est-ce que le feu de l’hésitation est très vif ? » (Chanson Cry, du même album.)

A l’époque, j’avais parlé de ce qui m’était arrivé à deux amies. Elles m’encourageaient à continuer à me battre, et essayaient de me convaincre d’en parler à ma famille, de porter plainte contre celui qui m’avait fait du mal. (Même si parfois j’utilise les termes « mon agresseur », tu verras que la plupart du temps, je refuse d’utiliser le mot « mon » pour parler de lui.)

Mais le sentiment de culpabilité (et si c’était ma faute ?), la peur (qu’est ce qui va m’arriver ? Et lui, il va aller en prison ?) étaient si forts que j’étais réduite au silence.

James Blunt me donnait la possibilité d’exprimer ma peur et ma douleur. Membre d’une chorale quand j’étais adolescente, je chante de façon acceptable. Chanter les chansons de James Blunt à mes heures me permettait de lâcher un peu la pression. J’avais le sentiment de me retrouver en lui, de me retrouver dans ses paroles, et donc, un peu, dans ses émotions.

Avec le recul, et même si ça peut paraître idiot, vu de l’extérieur, je pense que ses chansons m’ont aidée à survivre. En ce qu’elles m’ont permis de comprendre que je n’étais pas la seule personne qui avait à dépasser des horreurs.

Les paroles des chansons de James Blunt ne faisaient pas seulement écho à mes émotions. C’est aussi un chanteur britannique avec un parfait accent anglais – un peu bourgeois. J’ai une telle passion pour l’anglais que tu peux imaginer à quel point je peux apprécier un vrai chanteur britannique. Et puis, j’aime ses références (plus ou moins) subtiles à la littérature anglaise, comme dans l’extrait ci-dessus, qui était une référence au poème de William Blake, « The Tiger ». Tout ce que j’aime !

Le temps a passé. J’ai finalement porté plainte contre mon agresseur, fait mon bout de chemin. La peine est restée pendant très longtemps, la procédure suivant son cours, l’angoisse prenant beaucoup de place. Et pendant tout ce temps, James Blunt est resté mon chanteur préféré. J’ai commencé à voir mon avenir avec un peu plus d’optimisme.

Et James Blunt a sorti un nouvel album.

Oh these feet carry me far.
Oh, my body oh so tired.
Mouth is dry. Hardly speak.
Holy spirit rise in me.


« Oh, ces pieds me mènent loin. Oh, mon corps, si fatigué. Ma bouche est sèche. Peux à peine parler. Le Saint-Esprit s’élève en moi. » (Chanson I’ll take everything, album All The Lost Souls, James Blunt.)

Un peu plus positif, je te dis. J’avançais sur le chemin de la résilience, et James Blunt reste gravé dans mon esprit comme LE chanteur qui pouvait mettre des paroles sur des sentiments au moment où, moi, je ne pouvais pas.

Je me fichais de savoir s’il ressentait vraiment ça ou pas, si j’aurais un jour l’occasion de le clamer haut et fort ou pas. Le fait de savoir qu’il y avait au moins une personne dans ce monde qui souffrait, et qui était capable de le dire, m’a aidée à survivre.

En 2008, pour mes 22 ans, j’ai eu la chance d’aller le voir en concert.

J’ai vu un petit bonhomme chanter et s’agiter de loin, et j’ai été aux anges pendant des semaines.

Les années ont passé. Je ne vais pas te raconter tous les détails, mais mon agresseur a été condamné à – un peu – de prison. J’ai traversé un passage à vide terrible, et puis je me suis relevée. J’ai commencé à aller mieux. J’ai eu mon concours. J’ai commencé à exercer le métier que j’avais choisi à 11 ans, sur les bancs de l’école.

C’est ce moment qu’a choisi James Blunt, du fin fond de sa bulle à lui, pour sortir son album, Some Kind of Trouble (que je traduis, un peu pour m’amuser, à moitié sérieusement par « un peu dans la m*rde »). Et dans cet album, la chanson No tears, et ces paroles :

Don’t I know it? Nobody has to say it.
I’ve been lucky, guess I was born that way.
[...]
Well I’ve been everything I wanna be.
So no tears, no tears for me.


« Ne le sais-je pas ? Personne n’a à me le dire. J’ai eu de la chance, je crois que je suis né(e) comme ça. J’ai eu tout ce que je voulais. Alors ne pleurez pas, ne pleurez pas pour moi. »

Et encore une fois j’ai eu l’impression qu’il parlait à ma place. J’ai eu deux amies qui m’ont soutenue quand j’en ai eu besoin, qui m’ont poussée à me battre, à parler, à me libérer de mon fardeau.

Le moment venu, j’ai eu un fiancé qui m’a tenu la main pour aller porter plainte, et qui m’a laissée pleurer sur son épaule. Il a fait preuve de tant de patience et d’amour que, des années après, j’ai une boule dans la gorge quand j’y pense. J’ai vraiment eu de la chance.

J’ai traversé l’enfer, mais je l’ai traversé entourée de personnes qui ont su m’aimer et me soutenir quand je croyais être seule. Et James Blunt m’a permis d’exprimer ce que je ressentais mieux que je ne pouvais le faire moi-même. J’ai réellement le sentiment d’avoir été portée par sa musique, accompagnée sur le chemin de la guérison.

Quand je parle de ça avec mes ami(e)s, ou avec Sir Givré, je passe aisément pour une folle. Peut-être qu’à l’écrit, ça passera mieux…

Quand j’étais au fond du trou, j’ai trouvé des chansons qui m’ont permis de comprendre et de dire ce que j’avais au fond du cœur. J’ai trouvé en James Blunt une personne à la sensibilité exacerbée, quelqu’un qui était capable de dire les choses, et la preuve que je n’étais pas la seule en enfer. S’il avait survécu, je pouvais le faire aussi.

Au moment où j’ai commencé à aller mieux, James Blunt a commencé à sortir des chansons plus joyeuses. Et quand je me suis enfin libérée de ce fardeau, il a sorti un album qui a été décrit dans les médias comme « une explosion de bonheur ».

Alors, moi, la fille qui n’a jamais été une groupie, je me mets à attendre avec impatience le prochain concert (j’en ai quelques uns à mon actif !), ou la sortie du prochain album (il en a sorti un, Moon Landing, en octobre dernier).

Et comme il le dit dans la première chanson de ce tout dernier album:

But in time, all the flowers
Yes in time, all the flowers
Turn to face the sun


« Mais en leur temps, oui, en leur temps, toutes les fleurs trouvent/se tournent vers le soleil. »

No tears. Ne pleurez pas pour moi. J’ai trouvé le soleil, et James Blunt m’y a aidée, à sa manière, de loin, sans qu’il ne fasse jamais vraiment partie de ma vie ou moi de la sienne. Ça a été James Blunt, ça aurait pu être n’importe quel chanteur, acteur, écrivain, vivant ou mort. Le fait est que c’est en lui que je me suis reconnue. C’est en lui que je me reconnais, au jour le jour. Et quelle que soit mon humeur du jour, il y a toujours une chanson de James Blunt appropriée.

Post #253555
Posted 17 June 2014 03:14


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That was incredible. I feel the same way and have survived through some very rough times with the help of his lyrics and music, but never could find the words to explain it. Thanks for posting this.
Post #253556
Posted 17 June 2014 03:30


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Thanks melwin7777. I'm sure a lot of people will relate to this story and hopefully it could help some of them. It's not that often that we find an account of this quality written as well in French as in English by the same person.

A friend of mine posted this picture of James today on her Facebook page. I don't know who took it but I'm sure it's just after James sang "Goodbye My Lover" when he takes a moment to receive all the appreciation from the crowd and when he expresses his gratitude to us by gesture. So beautiful.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t1.0-9/p370x247/10171917_651775694898782_5589700586290647411_n.jpg


Post #253557
Posted 17 June 2014 05:24


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Ah, yes, that Facebook post is what directed me to this post. Great photo!
Post #253558
Posted 17 June 2014 07:21


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Thankyou jbfan132 so much for posting this! I had a few tears in my eyes reading it as I can relate to it. With Blunt's music I've overcome many difficult times and I still am.
Post #253559
Posted 17 June 2014 13:46


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This is beautiful, I shed a few tears. It's just amazing. Everybody had a story. I believe that everyone have a deep reason to love Blunt's songs (and him of course); just like me. We've been through so many things and sometimes we just want to hear someone saying (singing) that understand you. When he released "Heroes" and I heard for the very first time I was astonished. The lyrics, the song itself... It seems that he knew my story and he sang it for me. Anyway there is no need to explain why I love him and his music, its just easy to see. James is an amazing man with a beautiful soul.
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Posted 17 June 2014 13:46


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This is beautiful, I shed a few tears. It's just amazing. Everybody had a story. I believe that everyone have a deep reason to love Blunt's songs (and him of course); just like me. We've been through so many things and sometimes we just want to hear someone saying (singing) that understand you. When he released "Heroes" and I heard for the very first time I was astonished. The lyrics, the song itself... It seems that he knew my story and he sang it for me. Anyway there is no need to explain why I love him and his music, its just easy to see. James is an amazing man with a beautiful soul.
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Posted 17 June 2014 13:46


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This is beautiful, I shed a few tears. It's just amazing. Everybody had a story. I believe that everyone have a deep reason to love Blunt's songs (and him of course); just like me. We've been through so many things and sometimes we just want to hear someone saying (singing) that understand you. When he released "Heroes" and I heard for the very first time I was astonished. The lyrics, the song itself... It seems that he knew my story and he sang it for me. Anyway there is no need to explain why I love him and his music, its just easy to see. James is an amazing man with a beautiful soul.
Post #253564
Posted 17 June 2014 20:56


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OMG!! What a beautiful story! Yep, a few tears here too, i'm a soppy old mare

I think that is what James has, he touches nerves with all of us in this same way

I hope this lady stays as strong as she has been already Good luck to her
Post #253569
Posted 17 June 2014 23:01


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Very movingly written, Aline. Thanks to you and the author for sharing.

It's always touching to read of or witness the emotions JB's music brings out. I'm usually too wrapped up in a live performance for any outward show of emotion but at the beginning of one tour, while watching GML for the first time in many months, I found myself with goosebumps and by the end of the song was shivering.

Well, it was Scotland in January (at least that was my excuse )


"Music : a backstage pass to the soul"
Post #253571
Posted 18 June 2014 02:32


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Thank you all for your comments. Please, keep them coming, they are important to the one who revealed her personal story.

Post #253572
Posted 18 June 2014 08:05


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thanks for posting Aline, I'm really touched, thanks for sharing it Madame Givrèe.
Post #253575
Posted 10 July 2014 18:58


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Thank you for sharing, Aline
Post #254254
Posted 09 June 2015 20:33


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Hmm. I'm bumping this post because I've been re-reading it.
Post #267989
Posted 19 June 2015 03:55


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Good idea to bump this thread. It's been a year since I opened it and I'm still touched when re-reading.

Here's a new link to the picture that I was talking about:

http://bit.ly/1K1tswS

Post #269059
Posted 20 June 2015 08:30
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Last Login: 01 August 2018 22:05
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Thank you for sharing that wonderful picture, Aline!

I loved reading Madame Givrées story and I wish her all the best.
Post #269061
Posted 26 June 2015 07:51


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Last Login: 04 January 2019 05:58
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How could I miss this incredibly moving story last year!?

Thank you all for introducing, sharing and bumping!
Post #269126
Posted 23 January 2017 17:34


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Last Login: 19 July 2018 17:08
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* bumping because reasons *
Post #278931
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