How to be happy

Watch this video

No, please. Please please please watch it.

It’s Mumford & Sons’ stopover in Bristol on their Gentlemen of the Road tour. To close out the show, they have the entire lineup (that’s Dawes, Apache Relay, Haim (I FUCKING LOVE HAIM), Jeff The Brotherhood, Simone Felice, and Justin Townes Earle) join them onstage to sing Wagon Wheel.

30-odd voices and just as many instruments all singing one of my favorite songs in the world.

And singing with so much joy and heart and soul as befits it.

There’s this thing called frisson, where, in watching a show or listening to music, or reading something, you get shivers that begin in your stomach and spread out to your fingers and head. For example, when I was reading the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was listening to KT Tunstall’s Other Side of the World. Somehow, the combination of the arching melody of the song and Dumbledore’s words in King’s Cross gave me frisson out of my ass.

Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.”

Frisson is amazing and beautiful and arguably better than an orgasm. It makes me want to make. Jiro Dreams of Sushi didn’t make me want to eat. It made me want to CREATE. It made me want to become a shokunin, one who has achieved mastery. 

Japan’s most famous shokunin these days may be Jiro Ono, immortalized in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, but you will encounter his level of manic focus across the entire food industry. Behind closed doors. Down dark alleyways. Up small stairwells. Hiding in every corner of this city and country: The 80-year-old tempura man who has spent the past five decades discovering the subtle differences yielded by temperature and motion. The encyclopedic barman who hand chisels every last piece of ice and wears his tuxedo extra crisp because you can taste the difference. The young man who has grown old at his father’s side, measuring his age in kitchen lessons. Any moment now, it will be his turn to be the master, and when he does, he’ll know exactly what to do.

Watching Jiro and reading about shokunin give me frisson everytime. I shiver and tingle and run off to go make something.

I get the same thing with this video. My absolute favorite part is when the horn kicks in here. It’s effusive, unrestrained, and  irresistible. The whole performance is sheer joy, spoken, sung, and played into existence.

I submitted this to Reddit, and I’m going to paste a little of what I wrote here:

Whenever I hear Wagon Wheel it takes me back to late nights in school with my best friends, singing along to Old Crow Medicine Show, drunk and safe and happy.

And this is everything that this song should be. Multiple bands, multiple voices, multiple banjos and guitars and upright basses; pure joy and energy and linked arms.

Why am I crying? I hardly every cry.

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