Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Unthanks - Gan to the Kye

Why am I talking to a singing bowl? There's something humbling about monks. The way they go through life contended; serving others without remorse for themselves, never asking for more. Why am I talking to a singing bowl? Maybe because this singing bowl has more intelligence than the entire human population combined. Why am I talking to a singing bowl? Maybe because this singing bowl told me to slow down and think of what I was doing and the reason I was doing it. This singing bowl reminds me of others who live in the world. People who feel. People who think. Already I'm plotting how to post this post; what to write, how to put it in a good light. Am I only writing to 'prove something'? And to whom? Why don't I just shut up and keep a diary like everyone else? No wait...That would be like being a prisoner of war. I'm not a prisoner of war. The singing bowl knows.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Dead Rat Orchestra

There are shadows chasing me. Or that's what it feels like. A worldly guilt that I can't put my finger on. I cook food, and look at it and think, "I didn't sow, farm, or harvest this food. The money that I used to buy it isn't even mine, so how can I eat it?" Well actually not "Can I eat it?" Clearly I can, and have. But the crunch is: When do I have to give back what I have taken? I've taken too much, and not given back. That's why I feel this way. The other day my Dad sent me an email. It was long and wordy. He was concerned that I wasn't fulfilling my potential. He told me that my cv had too many gaps in it (he has never seen my cv) and that employers would "look elsewhere" if I did not appear to be giving them what they wanted. I replied telling him that I was thinking of going freelance, and that I was interested in alternative forms of therapy for treating mental illness like depression and anxiety. Not something I can really tell the jobcentre, but my dad did psychology for his degree way back when he was in my shoes, so I thought he'd understand. I gave him no indication that I'd found a career - how could I? - but I suppose it proved to him that I haven't gone off my rocker yet. Although the scary thing is if I had gone nutso, he probably wouldn't find out about it until it was too late. The only difference between the 'drifters' and the 'freelancers' is that the freelancers have a plan. They know where they are going. I am not business minded, never have been, but I am not stupid enough to believe that I can get better by myself. I neither want to join the rat race, nor do I want to be beaten by it, but I'll have to pick my self up and move if I don't want to be trodden on by it.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Krzysztof Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima

I'm not going to to comment on the music for now, but this is some new material that has reached the humble workings of my ear, and no, I didn't know what the word 'threnody' meant. Right now I'm thinking about mental people and oddballs. More specifically Temple Grandin and her inspiring speech on autism, found here: http://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds.html. It's trying at first. She leaps from one idea to another at something like the speed of light, but she does have a point; namely that all ways of thinking are necessary to make a better world. The reason for a personality clash between two people is often because of misunderstanding and misconception. That clash does not have to rule out the possibility that the opposing forces could come to harmonise over time. It interests me how all the different minds link together. Past experience determines how we think and feel. Can't change that. Not out of the question to learn to get along on some level though, like pieces in a jigsaw. In my view the causes come down primarily to -- 1) Genetics 2) Family background/Environment 3) Ambitions (1) is Darwin, Dawkins and the like i.e. the fact that when we look to our parents and ancestors we find that our physical attributes were passed down to us from them, as well as some of our personality traits. Grandin suggests that as we get older, move away from home, meet new people and try new stuff, there's potential for our personalities to change a lot. Scary. A bit like when you meet someone with a strong regional accent and you find yourself mimicing it. As we adapt to a new way of life we come up against the trade off between social ability and contemplative ability. The moment when the thinkers come out of their cave to view the social butterflies in action. They begin to think, "I want that," and for better or for worse they leave the darkness of their bedsit, strewn with takeaway and fad magazines, to swap that time for the company of others. (2). Whether that's right is another issue all together. Should that nerdy bespectacled dude who excels at maths but not at telling jokes learn from the 'in' crowd? Maybe. Instinct warns that natural is best, but sometimes it is satisfying to break down these mental barriers that set up for ourselves. Depends what you're after though. (3). The truly ironical thing is, just by considering taking a new course in making friends, the nerdy sociophobe would have to take more 'thinking' time to weigh up the pros and cons, because if he didn't he might not realise until it was too late that it was the wrong course of action. I don't consider myself to have autism though apparently we are all in some ways autistic. Severe autism can be a very real inability to associate properly with others. I've read that it is a type of hyper sensitivity, like when we hear a noise that's too loud or shield our eyes from the light. This was the point that Grandin was making. These people have to trade off their brain time for the right reasons. You can't force someone to be more social or to feel more comfortable. It has to be genuine, but those real moments are hard to find.

Venetian Snares

Venetian Snares can only be described as classical drum and bass. The immediate collision between two opposing musical approaches.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Domenico Scarlatti

Last night I watched a man smoking out of his attic window. It was therapeutic; the way he inhaled deeply before blowing out the smoke in a long straight cloud. He was a non-smoker as a rule, but was smoking a discrete one for peace of mind. Perhaps he waited for the dust to settle after a family feud. I had a strange feeling that he knew I was watching but didn't care. When the cigarette was done he stubbed it out and threw the evidence out the window. It made me think of back home in my mother's house. I had a window looking out over the walls into other people's gardens. I'd occasionally see people washing and cleaning, or even the next door neighbour chatting idly with some friend or relative, but it was never interesting. I wasn't connected with it, and there was nothing to see. This was different. This was a man feeling down on his luck. And somehow. My feelings mirrored his. It made me feel less alone.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Spiral Navigators - Sharrow Festival

The Spirals have come on leaps and bounds since their humble beginnings. Once confined to rehearsing in cramped up rented housing, or dilapidated (and not very well insulated) practice rooms, they are now the pinnacle of psychedelic space rock. Already hot on the festival circuit, with Alchemy and Sonic Rock Solstice to name but a few under their belts, the Sharrow festival -- delayed from Summer to Autumn because of the weather -- is the latest stage to be graced with their psychedelic presence. At this point, any unfamiliar readers will be asking themselves, "Well, okay but who really listens to sixties psychedelia these days?"..............................The answer is quite a lot. It never went out of fashion to listen to Jefferson Airplane, though a worrying number of the younger generation will naturally think of that song by Justin Bieber when I talk about 'Somebody to Love'. A solid combination of guitars, bass, and drums is pretty hard to fault though. Songs co-written by Crying Eagle and Cosmic Andy were interlocked with blinding rhythm guitar, entrancing bass and beautiful vocal harmonies all effortlessly backed-up with Loon's solo improv guitar and a tidy new drummer, who admittedly I know not, but who was very decent. A cracking job by all. Hats off.