Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Been thinking a lot about exclusivity. We're had a minor flood last week. The big river was about 6 or 7 meters above it's normal level. Nothing too severe, there are a few houses with flooded basements but not many.

I live near the river and ride along it every day getting to and from work. There's always people about, especially on nice summer days, but never that many. The flood brought out the gawkers. Can't really blame them 'cause I've been gawking some myself. But they are annoying me. There's a little voice that complains every time I have to go around a group. One that says "You don't belong here." Primitive territorialism rearing it's hoary old head.

I've never felt this way about the music I've made, even when I was in a regularly gigging band. The few times I was confronted by a fan I felt embarrassed. For me, cause I never felt what we did was that great and for them cause why the hell would anyone waste their time listening to this crap for? Hey, I had self-esteem issues, er, well, "have" is the proper tense.

I wonder now if I should be more territorial, if that's a route to valuing what I do? I know I have it in me, over and above my current annoyance at the flood gawkers.

On our trip to Ireland the LUC and I attended a gala dinner/dance for the conference. She loves dancing and I do too, but I've never learned how to dance with someone. In my early 20's I spent one summer going to a nightclub every night, seven days a week. I was too shy to try and pick someone up and too poor to drink much so I spent a lot of time dancing by myself. I loved it. Dervish trance all the way. So the LUC and I get up to dance and she looks around smiling at everyone, everyone but me. Or so it seemed at the time. Lots of guys come up and talk to her, people she's met at the conference. Most of them don't know about me. A percentage of them, and not an insignificant percentage, have a little more on their mind than just saying "Hi". Nothing serious and no cause for alarm on my part, not really. But somehow I got really jealous. Not a proud moment. (I went for a walk, gave 10 euros to a homeless guy sleeping on the steps of a church and felt better about myself)

I lack these feelings in regards to music I've created. I don't share it with the world because I don't value what I do rather than wanting to possess it all for myself. It's in me somewhere, that "Me, Mine!" territorialism. I can see how that feeling, transferred to my creative work, could be motivating. Make me more likely to put something out, get over my apprehension. I kinda like the idea of my inner caveman bullying my inner-child; the whiney little git needs a good spanking. Or maybe some cookies and a nap, hmmm, nope that's my outer-adult that wants Bourbon Cremes and bit of a lie down...Tah.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Flummoxed, Flabbergasted and Flattered

A couple of days ago the fabulous Jett Superior wrote a post triggered by something I wrote. Wow. Hell, calling it a post is to do it a dis-service, it was nothing less than a rhapsody. I take no credit for it, but am overjoyed to have provided a spark for one of my fav bloggers. For those of you who didn't get here through the link in her post: go now, read her work, savour the verbal fireworks, humour, irreverence and honesty that is the Superior way.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Noisy Old World

Well, I'm back. The trip was a long one. Well, it was only three weeks but we did so much that it seemed longer. I'm too tired to write anything coherent, in fact I'm barely able to type. Jet lag is such a first world problem that I can't complain about it. Or at least I can't complain about it without feeling a twinge of guilt. The vast majority of humanity never gets farther than 50 miles from home in their whole life. Here I am, having just flown back from across the Atlantic having had the opportunity to explore another country and I'm going to whinge about being a little tired? OK, I am but...well...there's the twinge.

[The next morning]

Ah, that's better, nothing like a good sleep in your own bed.

So, on to the music. I spent some time considering the musical nature of transportation. Things in motion have a rhythm almost by default. But where is that rhythm in a plane? It's not like a train clacking over the tracks, the deep throb of a ship or even the swaying of a bus. All there is is a hiss. Very un-musical. But after too many hours in the air, bored of my book, uninterested in the movie and with the LUC asleep, I noticed something. That hiss had harmony.

It was composed of three distinct parts. One very high frequency hiss, another a bit lower, not more than an octave or two and a much lower frequency roar. I'm guessing that they were caused by, from top down, the plane's air pressurizing system forcing air into the cabin, the wind of our passage against the fuselage and the engine noise vibrating the whole plane. My ears aren't good enough to tell what the actual harmonic relationship was, but any two notes sounding at the same time is harmony regardless of their relationship.

The jet age, it's all about speed baby. It's certainly not about comfort or beauty. The clip clop of horse hooves brings a smile to most, it's almost restful. The clickity clack of trains is a well know sound of romance as are those made by big ships These are human sounds, despite their mechanical (or equine) sources. Their frequencies are within the range of human heart beats and that makes them comfortable. The noise of a plane is pure industrial. It's frequencies are so fast that it becomes a hiss and a roar. It's not on a human scale. Despite that, it is musical.

The harmony of an airliner is one unending chord. It speaks of speed and efficiency but it also speaks of life. The environment outside a plane at cruising altitude is deadly. If any of the three sounds were to stop you'd be in a world of trouble. Heartbreaking pictures on the nightly news kinda trouble.

In the end all sound is life, that's what the plane was whispering to me in it's un-aesthetic way. Everything we hear is created by life or in some way necessary for life. Coughs, snores and sniffles. Barks, howls and chirps. The neighbour's lawn mower, a passing car, a distant siren. These are all obvious sounds of life. But so too are storm winds tearing up trees and houses. It's the sound of the world's lungs at work. Thunder on a summer's night promises life giving rain. The roar of a forest fire is the sound of old growth giving way to new.

Life, it's everywhere and it won't shut up: music universal and unending.