You can learn a lot about a man from his music.
The very fact Giles possesses vinyl shows a hidden depth commonly vacant in today's super-sized, corporate-packaged and soulless digital reality. You own cd's but you possess albums.
Actually, they kinda possess you. They are like little self-contained worlds, landscapes of art and poetry just waiting to be explored. The music they hold lives in those little ruts and raises. When the vinyl spins and you rest the needle along the edge it's like a boat set sail on an adventure.
Giles' tale is in his music.
As I flip through the albums, I can't help but be impressed. There are so many, and every one speaks volumes. First glimpse, you notice the staples required in any collection, Houses of the Holy , Abby Road , and Dark Side of the Moon to name a few. Most would see these albums as nostalgic but actually, they reveal more of his future. Not as it is now... but then. They shaped Giles to who he is today, laying the foundation for the tweed-clad Watcher thick in duty and obligation. But back then, he was all about the music. Reading philosophically into the images on the jackets and the masked notes underlying the tunes, trying to unravel the mysteries presented there while unwittingly doing the same within himself. Each one of these records is warped from overplaying. The jackets creased from intensive examination and abuse caused while under the influence of the many chemical wonders offered by Mother Nature and mans own ingenuity for self destruction. The evidence can still be smelled in the aged cardboard and paper. I smell Giles here.
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced: My respect knows no bounds. This one is instrumental in sparking his interest for the guitar. Who could blame him, you could ask for no better teacher or inspiration.
Cream - Disraeli Gears: Clapton, another guru to feed his muse. I'm not sure how I know, but this one's been played recently. I wonder why?
The Who - Who's Next : All about the rock while teaching him the strength of silence. Behind Blue Eyes still moves him. Sometimes I catch him playing it, revisiting his aspirations for rock-stardom. I believe he can still reach it, if only he'd try.
Black Sabbath - Paranoid: This makes me grin. I can imagine Giles at eighteen sneaking to a friend's house to listen, free from the watchful eyes of his authoritarian father. He'd listen for hours, venting all his angst and frustration with every ripping guitar chord and smashing drum beat. You wouldn't think it, but this one taught him discipline and humility.
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors: He probably loved and lost to songs from this soap opera album. This is where the mystical entered his life along with Jethro Tull - Aqualung , changing him forever and tempting him toward a more mischievous path.
Bowie - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars: One word: experimentation. More than one word: mind expansion and the redefinitions that come with it for all realms of worldly knowledge. This one taught him to create, accept, and search for the possibilities in life.
The Clash - London Calling: Revolutionary, anti-establishment, rebellion. No doubt this one helped him survive his schooling through the Council. That's why the sleeve is barely intact, all edges worn and frayed. After a long days work of falling in line and study, he would play this and feel he hadn't yet lost his soul or his mind.
Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell: Giles' desperate attempt to hold onto his youth. Huh, I could have sworn he'd have a copy of Rocky Horror Picture Show to go along with this. This one couple's with those motorcycle magazines that are a far safer venture than risking experiencing such pleasures in reality. He should get a motorcycle, it would do him good.
Strauss, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky, evidence of a proper education and upbringing. Overtly so. But his appreciation still stands and this is the music that drives him forward into battle on those long nights patrolling the Hellmouth.
La Boheme: It makes me sad. Why does he still have this? Perhaps to remember... or more importantly, to never forget.
Sarah McLauclan - Surfacing: I can't help but smile. This one isn't really his though he keeps it to please her. Buffy gave this to Giles. She said it was special. That it meant something to her. It was a thoughtful gift and he accepted it graciously. But he can't listen to certain songs for fear of what the lyrics bring him. Memories he'd rather forget and times he'd wished to repair. It reminds him of her.
One of the last ones I find is hidden far in the back, buried behind all the others, either to be forgotten or protected from prying eyes like mine. It's a 45, sealed in cellophane. I don't recognize it but I do know it doesn't belong. Older than the rest and quite plain, free of the flare of any artwork but it holds my attention like a good book. It's unopened and practically in mint condition. He's probably never even listened to it and that is the biggest crime of all because every album needs to be heard at least once. It is it's destiny to be heard, much as it is his destiny to hear it. But it isn't the record that almost brings me to tears, it's the gentle, feminine, handwritten note on fine stationary pinned to the yellowing plastic surrounding it. It's short and sweet and touching beyond words.
"To my brave heart and loving son, Rupert. Never forget to dream."
Some say I'm too young to understand, that my generation is nothing more than a lazy population of self-absorbed fools and slackers. I can't argue. But I can tell you that I'm not that far removed from him. I see myself in his music... in him.
He is the kindhearted warrior and patient teacher who opens his home to a gang of slackers and would-be heroes, always treating us as equals and friends. He sees more in us than you do. We see more in him than you do. And that's what makes him Giles and us family.
His story is there for all to see. You just have to know where to look.
It's all there... in vinyl.