For my A2 coursework, and the bulk of this year, I have chosen to look at the topic of “home”.
The concept of home is something I find very interesting. Google defines it as “the place one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household”, which is true. Google also describes it, of an animal, as a place where an animal can “return by instinct to its territory after leaving it” and I think this is true of humans too. I just can’t help but think there’s more to home than the place we live in.
What makes home? Or, in terms of a house and in the words of a popular saying, what makes a house a home? Good Housekeeping magazine online complied a list of things that they think makes a house a home. It include things such as “the people”, “the noise” and “the constant mess”. I liked the list. Alternatively, you could listen to the simplistic advice of Dionne Warwick- latterly covered and, arguably, made famous by Luther VanDross, or Glee-from the song “A House Is Not A Home”:
A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight
Does this mean that home is a place where there are people to or that you love? And that the materialistic things in life don’t actually matter as they’re just “things” we have.
“Home”, to me, is, of course, the place I live, the people I live with and the, or rather a, place where I feel safe and comfortable. It meets all my basic psychological needs- if you’re interested, you can look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as home, physically, covers the physiological and, hopefully, safety and love/belonging needs (it could probably even cover the self esteem and self actualisation tiers if you were that house proud and comfortable. Although many use their house as a place to touch base and to stop over.
However, I can’t help but think there’s another, metaphorical sense of home hidden deep within us. For example, if you ask me where home is, nestled somewhere within the list of places I call home, I’d probably, without hesitation, reply “Glastonbury Festival”. Now, if you look at Good Housekeeping magazine’s list it does have many of their, albeit subjective, ideas of home. Whilst it doesn’t hold many family heirlooms (it may for the Eavis’ though), it does have brilliant people, lots of noise, lovely smells of good (but not necessarily healthy) food, constant mess, countless memories and is a place where you don’t have to wear real clothes. Technically, if you were going by their list, it could be ‘home’ on a more physical sense, but I don’t, unfortunately, live there.
This year I spent the weekend at Glastonbury amidst the madness of all that came with so-called “brexit” and, subsequently, many bands and artists played on the idea of home and Glastonbury being home to them. Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, said that “Glastonbury stands for everything our generation wants – compassion, social responsibility, community, loving each other”, all things that make a good, positive and sustainable home for me. Ellie Goulding had a lot to say on the matter, too, she noted that “it is so nice to be in a place where there is so much unity and where everyone is so happy and friendly and dancing together and laughing together and loving each other”. She went on to say that “I really hope now for this lovely country that I live in and you live in that that sentiment, that spirit of Glastonbury, happens all over the country still, because I know some really terrible things have been happening and I really hope that when you go home that you guys will take that spirit with you”. Before concluding with “and if you see that that spirit is not happening wherever you live, wherever you are, to other people… We are all one person, we are all human beings. I just want to say I really hope that we can all carry the spirit of Glastonbury home with us, because that would make me very happy” again urging people to take a bit of Glastonbury home with them.”This song’s for you, wherever you’re from, but we all wish we could live here really and this could be our hometown” Adele suggested, during her headline set, before bursting into Hometown Glory- another good song about the concept of home. But why is it that places like Glastonbury feel like home to so many of us when we don’t live there?
On the other hand, I also think of home as places like the place I work (as I’m there often and have been going for a considerable amount of my life), at friends houses, within both of my grandparents houses and in Abu Dhabi, where my dad lives. Although, this list is definitely not exhaustive and everyone’s lists are most likely different as everyone has different grasps on the concept of home.
Have we lost the meaning of home over time? Has interpretation got the better of us all or is it just something we all have emotional ties to? How and why do we get homesick (is it because we miss the house, the place or the people)? All these questions.
There’s so much left to ponder and discover and it infuriates me that I can’t get to the bottom of it.
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