More than this


I've taken to listening to my iPod, with all the tracks shuffled, while I'm on the bus or walking through town. This allows me to shut out the noise of traffic, but it also sometimes leads to a happy synchronicity between my mood or surroundings and the music. This happened today.

I was walking through Queen's Lane towards the Bodleian Library early this morning, with the sun warming the stone of the colleges to a lovely honey colour, and sparkling off the frost. First I got Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble and one of the pieces from 'Officium' (polyphonic Gregorian chants and saxophone) -- a perfect foil for the old and new of the surroundings. Then, just as I was getting to the end of the lane, I got the remix of Peter Gabriel's 'More Than This' by Elbow. I passed under the Bridge of Sighs and turned to look at the Radcliffe Camera, just as the piano part swelled and the chorus came in:

more than this more than this so much more than this there is something else there when all that you had has all gone and more than this i stand feeling so connected and i'm all there right next to you

The low winter sun was backlighting the roof of the Camera and the spire of the church, and slanting across the walls of the library, painting it with gold stripes. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and the combination of the music and the scene made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

I took a picture (which really doesn't do the experience justice), which you can see on wings open wide.