Cool Down Rewind – Forgive yourself and heal that longterm agony

Cool Down, Rewind – Kirsty Almeida – The song that helped me recover from one big clusterf*ck

I was introduced to Kirsty Almeida‘s music in 2011 after what I’ll call…a string of personal disasters in my life – what I’ll call one giant clusterf*ck – most of which was the result of actions I had taken in some senseless attempt to figure myself out after the stock markets crashed down on my life savings in 2008. I’d lost my fortune (almost $100k), made some bad decisions in love and was utterly bereft, regretful, self flagellating and brokenhearted, though good things were happening, too. Yet that just somehow was not enough to make up for what I’d been through. 

Two years later, I amassed a significant amount of money again working in the Middle East and returned to the UK to start a new life…again. It was my second time in the city. I felt an odd mixture of hope and despair. I was determined to heal and grow, but immigrating was not easy and on more occasions than I care to remember, I’d break down and go backwards. I couldn’t find happiness in anything. It was not good. I hated myself for what I’d done to put myself in that position, and I didn’t know anymore who I was or what I wanted. My career was at a crisis point, too. I knew it would be hard to teach in the UK again and would have to persist until something else became clear re. my professional goals. Where I was was not where I wanted to be, but I couldn’t find that out either. Talk about painful. Mixed up. Fragile human stuff. Some days I didn’t want to live.

Allowing myself the space to relax and float for awhile before starting up what became the world’s largest community coffee festival (it was set in 34 cafes and a hub in the heart of South Manchester with a team of 22 volunteers), I gingerly set about to find my stride as an artist who had made the decision to quit music. “Me and music have broken up,” I declared to anyone who asked. Instead, I wanted to bask in the joy of living in a city of art and enjoy the work of others as an audience member. No pressure. Just joy. Just the sole experience of drinking in these experiences. I sought gigs and took in some new music in that creative city.

You see, Manchester, England is a special place with music and designers, artisans, entrepreneurs and creatives galore all fighting for their chance to fulfill a dream and secure their place in the sun. It’s legendary for the independent music that has attracted some of the greats like Madonna in her early days and Oasis who blew onto the world scene, as we know. There is so much going on in that city, it’s not hard to find the latest greatest, and for me in 2011, that was Kirsty Almeida. Later, after attending many of her shows, I dubbed her ‘the first lady of Manchester music’, for she is that – a lady and number one in so many respects.

Kirsty is an elegant human being, real to the core, a self styled entrepreneur and a healer. She is, for me and many, a local hero, a good egg, a champion of the people and the planet. She talks about leaving Decca Records and releasing a couple of albums independently before starting up her latest project.

Manchester’s biggest creative hub, workshop space and healing arts centre in the famed Northern Quarter of the city’s city centre, The Wonder Inn is Kirsty’s latest. It’s a magical place where the mission is bigger than Kirsty’s music, though make no mistake…one endeavor feeds another and after giving birth to her son and taking time out in life for herself, Kirsty’s also recording another album. As for The Wonder Inn, the name says it all, too – Kirsty is endlessly and tirelessly devoted to maintaining that stance in life – ie. life is full of wonder. She, by her example, has informed my vision of healing. The day we stop letting ‘a world of colour flood back in’, (lyric from Cool Down, Rewind), we’ve lost the point of living.

Kirsty has lived, like me, in several places on this planet; she was born and raised in Gibraltar. Her Spanish parlour guitar is a feature of her music. We’ve talked about this business of living in the world at large and the hardness of making oneself at home somewhere when home is everywhere and nowhere. She’s taken her suffering (we all have our collection of life stories and dramas) and put it into song. The special group of musicians who go with her – her band The Troubadours – together they all make magic.

Kirsty Almeida’s music is HEALING. It’s the essence of healing. The songs on her first album Déjàvoodu are of heartbreak. They are songs of character and life. The stories are made up of experiences you know happened and they happened to you, too. They’re tunes and tales whimsically nonsensical, then so real…these are songs of finding the light and in this case, when the aches of old pain just will not go away, the song I search for is this: a song about cooling down and rewinding…or unwinding, as I like to think.

Every time I listen to ‘Cool Down, Rewind’, I release the pain as I feel it and think of new life, new love, new self love, new hope, new now, now relaxing, now letting go of all that hurt that just stubbornly won’t dissolve and all that went before. I’ve cried like a paralyzed zombie at Kirsty’s concerts as she’s dedicated this song to me, and I’ve healed and listened to this song with the deepest fondness of it and life itself.

There’s merit in studying how other people survive hard things like breakups in life. You’re reminded that pain is universal and so are the stages of grieving, survival and revival. It’s remarkable how many songs are about love and heartbreak, and falling back in love.

So, I hope you find this as calming and beautiful and good for your soul as I have. When you just cannot make sense of what has happened to you, turn to this little number. I LOVE the BBC live version of this in the studio more, but I’ve put the live Band on the Wall (premier live venue for bands in Manchester) performance first, because you should really see the beauty of Kirsty Almeida, first, and ‘meet’ her. She’ll remind you there’s beauty in life. Take it in.

Kirsty exudes a profound capacity to be resilient in the face of hardship, and she sticks to her guns and lives by an ethos and integrity that are inspiring. She draws strength from art and music. She sings to connect her soul to her art and puts herself out there with a passion that connects with others. She has a deeply loyal following. There’s a lot to learn from her and from this song. Eventually, it is good to come back to life…and to others.

So, let this beautiful song calm you when life continues to cause you a deep agony. This is not where you end. Breathe. Forgive yourself from your past mistakes. They were merely choices. You did the best you could at the time. Let it all go. Cool down, rewind.

Cool Down, Rewind can be found on the album Déjàvoodu. Purchase it directly from Kirsty directly.

Cool Down Rewind – Kirsty Almeida

Well I wonder just what might have been
Had I said yes to more than friends
Would the world seem quite as cold as it does right now?
Would the emptiness I was feeling then,
Slip away with saying yes back when
Would color come and paint my life somehow?

Chorus:
Cool down rewind
Spend a little time
I could make you laugh,
You could make it rhyme
We could watch the sun
Go up, go down, go up through time
Cool down, rewind
Watch a flower grow, make it all go slow
Just watch every moment as each moment blows
Cool down

If I tell you what I’m thinking now
Could we just rewind the world somehow?
Cause my heart just won war against my head
Kinda feels like you’re so right, right now
Just walk and talk and breathe it out
Let a world of color flood back in

Chorus:
Cool down rewind
Spend a little time
I could make you laugh
You could make it rhyme
We could watch the sun
Go up, go down, go up through time!
Cool down, rewind
Watcha flower grow, make it all go slow
Just watch every moment as each moment blows
Cool down

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Well, I wonder what just might have been
Had I said yes to more than friends?
Would the world seem quite as cold as it does right now?
Would the emptiness I was feeling then
Slip away with saying yes back when
Will the color come and paint my life somehow?

 

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