An open letter to Missy Higgins

Dear Missy,

Gosh I don’t even know where to start. You have been such a huge part of my music life for such a long time now, and you still continue to amaze and excite me. Ever since you were Unearthed back in 2001, I have followed your career. I was at your very intimate album launch at The Zoo for The Sound of White in 2004/05 with just you up on stage. What an incredible gig.

I also saw you at The Tivoli among a few other places over those early years. Your songs All for Believing and The Special Two actually inspired me to get back with my ex in 2006. As it turned out he wasn’t “the one” though, I don’t blame your songs for me giving it another go 🙂 I came to see things more clearly, in hindsight, when I heard your cover of Stuff and Nonsense. It could have been written about that relationship.

It was your song Steer that reminds me of the man who ended up being “the one”. It was played a lot on FM radio at the time we got together, so whenever I hear it I think of our early days, all loved up with nothing but time on our hands and dreams in our hearts. We married at the end of that year.

Though we were very limited in our musical abilities – we both played bass (poorly) and karaoked for fun (I used to do a pretty mean rendition of Scar that still gets talked about) – we always had music playing in our home.

Most recently, your album The ol’ Razzle Dazzle got played a lot. So much so that our three eldest children (of four) got to know the words and would sing along to Hello Hello, among other songs. It wasn’t until months after I’d started playing that album that I really listened to the final song, Sweet Arms of a Tune. I was in love. It is so beautiful and it touched me so deeply. The bitter sweetness of it is truly marvellous.

I’m sorry to tell you that I lost my beloved husband, Frith, on New Years Day this year to suicide. There have been so many songs that I hear now that remind me of him and our wonderful 11 years together. But the other night, driving home from a friend’s place, with my sweet children snuggled in their car seats, I put that album on. When that song came on, it hit me really hard.

He told her when she played
Wings sprouted from her shoulder blades…

Frith used to call me his angel in our early years together.

… oh and how she’d longed to say, that she’d missed his troubled ways
and if she could she’d do it all again
Sometimes every word has been used
and there’s nothing left to do
but hold the one you can’t have in the sweet arms of a tune

… now he’s sitting on her floor
she’s playing all the minor chords
wishing so damn hard he’d kiss her like before (
I wish this more than anything)

Cos sometimes every inch of you is bruised  (I wish I knew how he was feeling)
and there’s nothing left to do (was there something I could have done?)
but hold the one you can’t have in the sweet arms of a tune
yeah hold the one you can’t love, in the sweet arms of a tune.

Your words just floored me. I’ve heard them a hundred times before, but the other night I heard them in a new way. I’m holding on to Frith so tightly with every one of “our songs”, and I can tell you, there are so many. And this one just got added to the list.

I’ve been a bit out of the loop with new things this year as you can imagine, and I just saw that your new album came out last week. And ironically the first song I listened to from it, while writing this, was Cemetery. It’s a great song by the way.

Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. I will keep listening and will make plans to come and see you live again some time.

Yours in the sweet arms of a tune,

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *