In This Life
"In This Life" is more than just the name of this song but also the title of this whole collection of songs. It felt appropriate to choose this song as a reference,
as "In This Life" basically is about the genesis of all my present pieces of music - albeit the story is written down in a rather encoded way.
The story is structured in three verses which resemble the stages of life of the leading character: A young boy is dreaming to put out to sea one day and to explore the world.
When he is old enough and the scene is set to make his dream come true he continues to spend his time thinking about his dreams instead of getting started. Finally, an old man realizes that he has wasted his life.
The story behind this song in a certain way is about myself for a change.
Nevertheless the chosen image of a child dreaming to explore the world is only a metaphor: Although I´ve been living right next to the sea for many years, I have never been very ambitious to leave dry land behind me or to travel the world
more extensively than people usually do.
The real story behind the lines rather is about my plans to write some pieces of music of my own - plans that are very old and have been suspended for many, many years.
I have always been interested in music and enjoyed playing my favourite pieces of music written by others, but things changed when I got in touch with the music of the early Genesis records during my last years of school. The songs seemed fascinatingly different to me and much more complex than the music I had heard until then. It seemed to me that there are no musical limits and
for the first time I thought about writing some pieces of music of my own.
When I left school I started spending every other banknote to buy yet another recording device or instrument. This allowed me to record music from very early age on - which unfortunately I rarely did:
There are surprisingly many appealing reasons and excuses not to start today but preferably tomorrow - whether it´s about exploring the world or only the presets of a
Luckily all parallels with that young boy who never put out to sea end at this point somewhere in the middle of verse two:
Having recorded a major part of my songs (at least on a "demo-tape level") saves me from the "curse of the 3rd verse".
So it´s not that the gloomy ending of the lyrics was based on age-related bitterness of course. In order to validate this theory toward myself I checked the first outlines of the story which I wrote when I wasn´t even 25 years old and which already have all major elements of the final recording.
The working title then was "Carpe diem" and in order to convey this message a certain darkness of the ending seemed necessary. A side benefit of this hopeless ending should have been a certain pressure on myself to take things more seriously - similar to the warning messages on cigarette boxes.
Just like the latter, the ending of the lyrics can´t have had a very deterrring effect as it took me so many years to commence recording anyway.
So in the end it were the records of early Genesis that changed my view on music and constitute the hidden origin of this song.
Therefore I ended the song with an instrumental section which is meant as a tribute to those days by taking up a few of the stylistic elements of early Genesis songs.
The most obvious element referring to a Genesis song is more than just a stylistic similarity: One of my first central ideas (and maybe even the part that led to the whole story - I don´t remember
anymore) was to include a citation from the song "The Musical Box" by Genesis.
The protagonist of this song is a boy who gets caught in his own musical box and is released later with the physical appearance of an old man - but still with the mind of a child (This story was exclusively presented to you in fast-forward mode).
Inspired by this song at the age of 20 years and a bit, I asked myself a question that probably many young people ask: What is it like in real life?
Are old people (respectively those who I considered to be old back then) mentally old as well or will they remain the same people they used to be when they were younger?
So the well-known guitar element from "Musical Box" is meant to anticipate the words of the final verse: the child and his dream live on, only the physical appearance is changing and the time left to make the plans and dreams come true is shortening.
The 'lighthouse in the bay' at the beginning of the song has a real background: It is the lighthouse 'Arngast' right in my neighbourhood (see picture above).