Why I sing the blues

Forget people - how do you truly know when you love something? What we're attracted to develops as we grow up, as our personality is drawn out and projected onto all of the things we’re introduced to. And what we grow up to really love depends on the innate, immediate effects it has on our body.

That flurry of happy chemicals bursting through us, the dance of sensation on the backs of our necks. The rush that starts off as physical sensation and reassures the mind that at that moment nothing else in the infinite universe matters. 

Of all my loves, blues music would be the one I would marry if I could. I’m not sure where my love came from exactly, but I’ve got a hunch it was partly from hearing it throughout the house when I was little. (Although, I’m sure I also smelt a lot of steak and kidney waft through the house too, and if you come near me with either of those things I’ll definitely vomit.) My early years with the blues planted a seed, and I’ve grown up to love it of my own accord.

I love the trudging rhythm of blues. I love its delicious melancholic minor keys. I love its rich history. It's refreshing naivety in comparison to most music these days.

The blues is a very isolated pleasure that usually requires my waiting until I’m alone before turning the speakers up, or squeezing my eyes shut and unreservedly shaking my head and inwardly enjoying it for myself through headphones.

Despite this, however, you may be surprised to learn that until yesterday I had never been to a blues club. And I felt like a bit of a fraud. 

So last night I went to my first blues club, Round Midnight blues and jazz bar in Islington, to see Tim Aves and WOLFPACK, and it brought a feeling to the surface that only blues music can do to me.

The frontman, Tim, was dancing like the middle-aged man he was. There were pointing fingers, twisting legs and pivoting feet. Unselfconscious, unbridled dancing, the kind that only happens when the blues rushes through your conscious mind and deep into the pleasure centre.  All I could think was: I'm so lucky this thing can make me just as happy as he is.

Its effect on me is like eating a rich, gooey chocolate pudding covered in chocolate sauce (if you like that sort of thing, if not this will be completely lost on you). It can only cover the surface area of your mouth and your taste buds can only take in so much, but you want the feeling to be stronger, you want to be able to keep it going forever. Your body loves it just a little bit too much to know how to react and what to do with it.

And something that nicely ties in with my other love is a comment made by the late author Elmore Leonard:

“I'm very much aware in the writing of dialogue, or even in the narrative too, of a rhythm. There has to be a rhythm with it … Interviewers have said, you like jazz, don’t you? Because we can hear it in your writing. And I thought that was a compliment.”

If I could one day master how to write with a blues rhythm, I’ll die happy. Ha-ha-happy, I will die. I've got a little way to go yet, I think. 


  1. I too love the blues, which I'm sure in itself sounds silly. "I get happy listening to music that is traditionally sad in nature." And I've always been a firm believer that rhythm and sound go hand in hand with writing. After you write something, read it aloud. If it doesn't have rhythm, if it doesn't flow, if it sounds flat and lifeless, then go back and write it all over again. You did it wrong.

    1. Haha same, blues music makes me happy and actually, a lot of happy music has the opposite effect!

  2. Ooooh one of my favourite venues! So glad you enjoyed your visit. X

    1. Thanks, I'm definitely going to become a regular! x

  3. Lovely post! Makes me want to go and listen to some blues now :)