Why do we sometimes keep clear images of insignificant actions? Maybe because they were not so insignificant, they ended up having a meaning. I used to go almost every Saturday afternoon to a record shop in the centre of Caen, my hometown. It had a silly name: Nuggets! But it was the only place in town where you could find the kind of music I liked.
There was a special box for people like me, fanatics of new-wave, cold-wave, post Joy Division and Bauhaus bands. That’s where I bought my first Smiths records and The Millpond Years, And Also The Trees’s third LP.
I perfectly remember picking it up. Would it be as good as the cover looked like? It was a guess. And a good one. Dark, romantic, sad, dandyesque, taking you to a sort of spleen.
I got obsessed with a song, The House of the Heart, a song that has been haunting me ever sincethat keeps on coming back to me, unexpected, because of an atmosphere, an emotion, a vision, a smell, words overheard… Till I found out they were playing in Marseilles! Almost 40 years after they started – somewhere near Stratford-upon-Avon in 1979 -, they were still going, had even recently released an album – Born into the Waves – and seemed to have found a dedicated public in France. They were playing at Le Poste à Galène, a great little venue.
The place was full, full of fans who knew their stuff, the particular sound the Trees had been producing for decades. I was suddenly hit by a wave of nostalgia, by flash-backs and faces from the past, by memories, good and sad.
And the feeling lasted the whole gig – and a bit after too… – , strangely comforting and disturbing at the same time, making me realise how one can get stuck in time through memories, how music and a long-loved band can jog them with a few notes and plunge you into a state of nostalgia close to melancholia.
And they didn’t even play The House of the Heart.