As I write this, you’re three and a half years old, so I’d guess you probably won’t read this until you’re maybe ten? I signed you up for a Gmail account when you were born, so this week I decided to sign you up for Love Will Save the Day too. If I’ve kept this thing going for the next six and a half years, and you’re reading this aged ten, then there’s just 338 letters to go through before you get to this one.
In case I haven’t bored you to tears with it already, I started this whole thing a year ago, and it was my way of sharing music and thoughts on culture with people who liked those things too. Actually though, I think I can trace it back further.
About a year before you were born, your mum and I were sat after a night out talking about our (then future) children, and being excited to share the music we loved with them (you). We decided that the best way to do that was to make a list of all the music that we loved growing up and then start buying it on record. That way, when you were older, we’d be able to play it to you, tell you all about it, and it would act as a sort of story of our lives. Music has always been really important to your mum and I, and while I’d never admit it to her, your mums taste is far better than mine (don’t tell her I said that).
While I’ve always been in love with music, if I’m honest, there was a point in my mid-twenties were I felt like I’d hit a dead end with it all. This conversation with your mum, and the thought of being able to share the music that we love with you, opened everything up for me again. It reminded me why I loved music.
Fast forward to a Saturday morning eighteen months later, and you were nine months old, with your head on my shoulder, smiling as we danced around the living room to a record that I’d bought that week. That was the first time we’d done that, and the song playing was Caribou’s Can’t Do Without You. I remember swaying with you in my arms while, and your mum coming in and seeing us and laughing at me. I was crying, and laughing with happiness. That moment is undoubtedly one of the happiest of my whole life.
Fast forward another eighteen months, and after many more trips to some of London’s finest record shops, and much more dancing (and much more dad-crying), I decided one night to set up something called Love Will Save the Day. I’d been reading about music and culture more and more, and decided that rather than keep it all to myself, I should share what I was finding. The first idea was to set a party up, and the second was to write a weekly email that people could subscribe to, that would contain a link to a mixtape of great music, and a letter about all the interesting things I’d found that week. This is the 52nd letter, and it’s nearly a year since then.
While setting up Love Will Save the Day has helped me to find so much brilliant music, and helped me to structure my thinking on culture, it’s also taught me a lot too. Some of the letters have been me just sharing links and some thoughts, and some of been more introspective. All of them, though, have felt like a very public journal. Whether it’s the notes that I write, or the music that I choose, I know that people can see when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m having a tough time, and when I’m having a great time.
Music is my refuge. It’s there when I’m feeling down, and when I’ve felt helpless, but it’s also the soundtrack to my best times, and my highest highs. Music might not mean the same to you, but I hope you find something that you can find truth in. Whether it’s art, dance, sports, design – whatever it is, when you find it, you’ll know. Then, grab hold of it. It will help explain everything. These letters are my way of exploring, and making sense of the world. You’ll find your map.
The music I’ve put on this mixtape is music that I felt explained how amazing the world is, how important love is, music that we’ve already shared, and music that shows how much I love you. There are a few songs that I think represent all four. One of those songs is Stevie Wonder’s As. Around this time last year (in Letter #3), I included As. It’s been a favourite song of mine for a long time, and the Saturday morning after I’d sent the letter out, I put the playlist on, and as As came on, for the first time, you asked me to dance with you. Dad tears, again.
In fact, dancing, music, singing, and laughter have been pretty constant since you were born. Whether it’s dancing to Michael Jackson with your cousins, singing Elton John’s I’m Still Standing with your headphones on, or asking for us to put on the Charlie and Lola album for the millionth time in the car. Oh, and despite my protests, musicals have been a big part too.
Maybe it’s genetic. While much of what I’ve learned about the power of music has come from the music itself, it was my dad (GiGi, to you) who gave me my sense of curiosity around culture, and my passion for music. I hope I can give you the same passion, and inspire the same curiosity (even if it isn’t about music). This letter has taught me that if you have something worth sharing, share it. Lots of people talk about the meaning of life, but I think happiness comes from creating meaning from life. Sharing what you have will strengthen that meaning, and we will always be stronger together, than apart. Also, if you’re kind, people will be kind in return (but that’s not the reason to be kind).
Finally (and I promise I’ll stop preaching soon), commit. Commitment to your beliefs (and belief in yourself) will keep you hungry, and this will help you live a life that is rich, exciting, and filled with adventures.
You are (and have always been) thoughtful, strong, and generous. You make me prouder than I ever thought I could feel. I cannot wait to see the change you’re going to make in the world.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re reading this rolling your eyes, so I’ll stop going on now.
I love you, Effie.
Love Will Save the Day