#1023: “Just the pieces of the man I used to be”

RECORD STORE TALES #1023: “Just the pieces of the man I used to be”

You never know how it’s gonna go.

You roll out of bed feeling like a winner, and then suddenly for absolutely no reason, that completely changes and you’re struggling to break even.

Maybe it’s the pressures of modern life.  The hustle and the bustle.  The need to get things done, even though you’re behind and energy is in short supply.

The feeling of loneliness even though you are not alone.  There’s a dark place in your heart, only inhabited by you, that no one can break into.  It’s not that you can’t let them in.  It’s that you don’t even know how to open that door.  Of if you actually want to.  If you’d prefer to be alone.

The daily monotony, the commute, the cold, the damp.

The fact that all the hours of daylight happen when you’re in an office doing your daily grind.

The pressure and drive to do something important, to be someone who matters.  To make a difference.  To be somebody…anybody…but who you are.

Somehow, a sad song helps.  There’s something about a sad song that can pry its way into your soul.  Provide sympathy.  Warmth.  Help you dry the tears.  That tells you someone out there is feeling the exact same way you do.  It’s as if someone in the world knows you, just as well as you know yourself.

You could be in a room full of happy celebrations, and feel so alone, so completely down, yet have to fake it to make it.

One of the worst winters of my younger life was the winter of ’95-96.  I had just been dumped by my first real serious girlfriend.  I put on a brave face and for a few days, I thought I had weathered the storm.  I listened to “classic British hard blues” that week and felt super strong.  The crash came later.  One of the albums that helped me through that winter was Queen’s Made In Heaven.  The final album with Freddie.  Though there is some undeniable dark material on the album, such as “Mother Love”, and “Too Much Love Will Kill You”, I was amazed at how positive some of the other songs such as “Heaven For Everyone” were.  The album was like a journey through my own convoluted feelings.

“I’m just the pieces of the man I used to be,
Too many bitter tears are raining down on me.”

Yet on the same album:

“In these days of cold affections,
You sit by me and everything’s fine.”

What will the album for the winter of 2022 be?  For the last several years, I’ve been digging deep down into the albums that made me happy as a youth.

“Listen! They said I didn’t stand a chance,
I wouldn’t win no way,
But I’ve got news for you,
There’s nothing I can’t do!”

It was a different time.  There was misery, but nothing can duplicate that feeling of hearing a song for the first time.  A song that you know means something to you.  That is destined to stick with you for your whole life.  And when you put those records on again, a million things start happening in your head.  You can be 12 or 13 again.  A time when the real problems of life were completely unknown to you and the biggest issue you had was figuring out how to talk to the girl you liked.

Like a phantom of a dream, old songs make the memories real again.  As you wipe a tear from your eye, you remember.  It can help sooth the sadness.

Sometimes you just have to cry it out, whatever it is.  Hell, I don’t know what it is exactly.  I just know it sucks.

They say that life never hands you anything you can’t handle.  I don’t know about that.  History is rife with people who could not handle what life has given them.  I think I can – but it’s never simple, straightforward, or obvious how to do it.

So I write.

It’s the only thing I’m really good at.  The only thing people really notice about me.

I write in the hopes that someone will understand.

That someone will relate.

That someone can take what I have experienced and draw something good from it.

And that maybe I’ll get some of that goodness back.

This winter has been pretty good.  My strategies are working.  My support personnel are solid.  But there will always be days where I can’t help it.  Can’t help FEELING IT.  The old familiar sting of that cold, unrelenting loneliness.  The kind of loneliness that can strike even when you are in a room full of loved ones.

One of the best albums for this time of year is Catherine Wheel’s Adam & Eve record.  It captures it all.

“Start the day, in a cold December way, feel what’s new, it’s December through and through.”

And on the same record:

“And we crown ourselves again,
There’s been no change since you and I were young,
When we burned ourselves again,
The spaceship days when you and I were young.”

I crave those spaceship days so hard sometimes.  But you can never really go back.

Except with a song.

Come back with me.  Join me in my memories, on this sad, cold winter day.



  1. Who are you, and why are you inside my head?

    Kidding, of course, but I can really relate to most of it. I’ve personally dealt with a brief stint of November Depression (3rd time in five years). Problem is that the cause is me not moving on from a bad memory. Like you, I used music to deal with the pain (and I can name exactly the songs that I relate to). However, this time, I started writing lyrics of my own. Lyrics from the dark side of the heart, if you will. That has been somewhat therapeutic doing last week.

    Ultimately, commen sense part of your brain is telling you the truth, while the dark thoughts of doubt from the heart tries to get in the way. The struggle of not letting the darkness get to you is tough, but we’ll all manage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man. I had a lot of self-doubt whether I should post this or not. I sent it to someone yesterday and I don’t think she particularly liked what she read. But I think it had to come out.

      “Ultimately, common sense part of your brain is telling you the truth, while the dark thoughts of doubt from the heart tries to get in the way.”

      I call this the inner friend and inner critic.


  2. You ever consider going hard on exercise this winter? You live in a tundra, so you can start training like Stallone in Rocky IV. Imagine depression is Ivan Drago, and you have to kick his ass for the sake of the free world. Mike Labuffo. Make Harrison number 2 in the eye candy department on your live streams.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Harrison being eye candy comes up in this week’s Ask Harrison. Don’t miss it.

      You hit upon a tough thing for me here. I SHOULD be going on hard exercise. I said I would try. But it’s so damn cold. And I refuse to go to a gym. I don’t want to be around more people. This is a serious problem. It’s too cold to get out there.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s too bad. Sorry for the late reply on this topic, but as I said elsewhere, I’ve been in a horrific fever haze for days unable to leave bed or look at a screen for long.


      1. for me that go to album is Holy Diver…

        I’d say exercise helps but not if u hate it.

        And a huge thank you to you. It does help to see another person going through these thoughts and feelings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I know words from the other side of the globe don’t do much in the grand scheme of things, but if you ever need some, you know where to find us. Speaking from experience, they do work.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t disagree with you if that’s how you feel. The only person in your head is you. Nor would I attempt to think myself of greater effect or connection than I am. But I will always try to be here to talk if you need me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you. I know I’ll never have the connection that you or Meat do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be the Harrison in your life

          And don’t underestimate the positive effect you have on other people. Last week you made me smile on a day that I really needed it.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have known Meat a long time. But he doesn’t really understand the mental health side of things. He tries though, he does try! You’ll always be my Harrison — OUR Harrison!

          Get ready to smile on Friday dude!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you. I know I have some trouble with the short days, but I’m guessing it’s a little worse for you because you’re a few degrees north.
    Don’t be scared to listen to the Beach Boys. They’re American icons.


  5. “You roll out of bed feeling like a winner, and then suddenly for absolutely no reason, that completely changes and you’re struggling to break even.” Those words hit me hard! I’ve been really down lately and reading your guys’ blog posts have really lifted my spirits, so thank you for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this and liked it, it’s been kind of in my head all day as we went through the thanksgiving motions. Anyway I only know you through these words you write and I’m often thankful for them, lifting spirits, a dose of truth and rock and roll, thanks for getting shit in the page and summer will return with warmth and daylight, I think it’s been pea soup all day here.


  7. That feeling is something we all hit, at points, so what makes it dissipate? Finding the things you love, reintroduce yourself. The other comments about exercise are spot on, it’s something I’ve let go of myself, with everything going on here, and I can feel it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a routine or not, just do SOMETHING every day. Never mind the Insta dummies and their perfect everythings. Just do something. Vitamin D really helps too, in the snow belt. And hey if you think that writing is the only thing we notice about you as a positive you’re wrong, Dude! You rock!


  8. Life has a funny way to lift us up and drag us down. Sometimes within 24 hours.

    Keep listening and keep writing and we’ll keep responding.

    On the flip side I am going into summer and have a very different feeling.


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