A brown boy, a bowl of branflakes and a Bruce Springsteen puzzle.

You can’t start a fire. You can’t start a fire without a spark. This guns for hire. Even if we’re just dancing in the dark.

Wanna change my clothes my hair my face. Man I aint getting nowhere.

Wow. Very generic Dawood.

So what if you start an article with superficially meaningful lyrics from a hit song (assuming everyone here knows who those words were penned by. Which I’ve recently found out is not that many *insert shocked face*). You think everyone’s going to sit up and listen to the power and pull of pop culture…80’s pop culture…ok fine end of 80’s…

But I think you will listen, because this article isn’t just about Bruce Springsteen, or dancing and especially not guns. It’s not a review of music (but Bruce if you see this I’m sure we can arrange something I could really do with the money). More like half an essay to be really honest. It’s about how we all see pieces of ourselves in everything. We’re all puzzles. We don’t all get a full puzzle. Some get more pieces than others. Some don’t really bother to find the pieces that weren’t given to them or the pieces they lost under the sofa that no ones moved in years. Some travel far and wide to find pieces that just don’t exist. Some stay unfinished forever. And do we really know who hands out these bloody things? Probably not.

But we’re all puzzles; no one is just one thing. Everything we relate to in one way or another is just a bit of the universe calling out to that puzzle piece of us. It’s a miracle we end up focused at all – there is so much in the world calling out to us everyday, new and old, I know I’m forever changing lanes on this rollercoaster, fighting myself to not turn at every bright light I see.

So when I start an article with words written by a white, american, middle aged man. I’m making a point. I’m drawing attention to the fact that despite our totally monumentally different perspectives of the world, there are puzzle pieces we relate to. I see some of myself in the words. Not all of me and most definitely not in the way I usually see my pieces. But I am there, and if I sing the words in my voice then who cares if it wasn’t written about or for me, in that moment they’re mine and no one else’s.

Pretty sure I promised this wasn’t a music review or an adulation essay on the virtues of springsteen. hmm. Thing is I haven’t been totally honest. I said earlier we’re all puzzles and our connection to things in the universe is just this vague entity singing to our pieces.

I meant every freakin’ word of that but earlier today I heard that singing. And louder than I normally do. Sitting down at my freakishly over-cluttered desk *cut to grainy 90s-esque shots of plants, piles of books on the ins and outs of witchcraft and diaries of wildlife observation in amongst tattered ribbons and cans of hairspray and glitter* armed with bowl of branflakes in one hand (grandma cereal lovers you’re welcomed here don’t listen to the rest of the world they’re just jealous), and laptop in the other.

I can’t really eat nowadays without doing another activity at the same time (blame the government). So I watched a movie. It’s called Blinded By The Light. I’m not going to spoil it because I want you to watch it rather than gain the experience via my frazzled writing. But god dang this movie sang to me. Quite literally I mean it was full to the bursting with Springsteen music. But, it’s set in Luton??? And it stars a pakistani boy??? what’s going on.

I saw some of myself in that movie. It wasn’t all of me. And it wasn’t even the most accurate portrayal of those parts of me, but I felt it. I felt it singing through the relationships it talked about and I felt it sing from the way it used emotions and how I was feeling at the time. Just that starry eyed combo of jean jackets and too much hairspray. A slow chase scene and dry bend it like beckham humour all painted onto a background of Thatcher politics and protests against immigrants. How could I not be pulled into this universe where everything and everyone was so different but they could all hold onto the same music, the same words, and say them all a different way but sound so goddamn similar. I related to the collars and punk hair cuts but also the flowery designs and big boy boots, and to the mosques and thobes of the religious elders, whilst prancing to the jostling tunes of an american dreamer. This was my life and my era spun into an tale I had always been fascinated in but never thought to have ever belonged to.

But it’s so bizarre that this movie was even made, these are totally different backrounds and yet somehow it works?!, and that somehow makes me even more delighted to be human.

We’re all ever-changing puzzles and we’re all made up of so many different ever-changing pieces how on earth can anyone know who they are for certain all the time. I sometimes feel as if everyone in the world is in such a rush to work out who they are and where they fit. But the truth is we’ll never truly fit anywhere, the magic of this being that we all fit in our current states all the time. Because as ever-changing puzzles that lay unfinished till the end, it’s a bit like trying to find that lost piece under the sofa. Basically impossible. Trust me I’ve been there.

I’m really trying to say that there’s a real sense of calm in this chaotic theory. The world is changing so much. It always has been and it will continue to change long after we die. Lights have opened at the end of tunnels we didn’t even know existed. Tunnels we didn’t even know we were trapped in. The beauty of this and the beauty of humanity is life will always be full of things we relate to but we needn’t change so fast trying to look, it happens whether you want it or not, we’re all our own worlds, changing in our own bubbles and watching the huge bubble of our planet changing everyday. Slow down. Listen to music. Learn things. Watch sunsets. You’ve got time.

Not bad for a springsteen song and bowl of branflakes.

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