Monthly Archives: May 2016

Music Person (?)

face cool flat

(Photoshop)

Music Person (?)

I’m sure we can all relate to the ‘hum’ of a fridge in the background. Or the heating system in the house ‘sizzling’ in some kind of water-meets-air-noise-continuum.

Or perhaps you own a budgerigar and you have become acclimatised to it’s joyful chirp in the background.

In these few examples we have something in our lives that is there, but we drift into only noticing it from time to time.

It’s a strange comparison to make but I had the thought that in a way this is what secular music is in my life.

I’ve listened to music in seasons.

By that I mean, there are times when it is very much in the background. It’s there – but I don’t pay much attention to it. Unless I pay attention to it 😎.

Which means, (if I do listen) a ‘music season’ has arrived. I have decided to notice it again.

A friend of mine enjoys every piece of minutiae on the whole subject of music and pop’s chronological history.

Who said what, when, where and why. What year that song was released, and that it coincided with a Motown classic that was largely ignored.

‘He’ made that single before he made the fateful journey in the plane. That label was established first and many artists released their first single on that label. ‘It’ was number one for five weeks, and was knocked off the number one spot by such and such. And so on… and so on…

While I, in contradistinction, struggle to remember the title of a song never mind anything else, the tune of which may well stay in my head for days.

Again, while I struggle to remember the lyrics and inevitably make my own lyrics up to fit the tune, and ruin the song.

Unfortunately I will sing these wrong lyrics in the bathroom or in transit from one room to another. So that my family end up thinking that’s how the song goes!

Ad nauseam I will incorporate the same made up line when lost for words to go with the tune.

My favourite artists suffer the indignity of me being unable to remember their song titles.

Having found music again about a decade ago (another one of those seasons I go in and out of).

I ventured forth with a spring in my step to start MAN nights (Musical Appreciation Nights). [Referred to in a previous post of mine].

I chaired the gathering of music enthusiasts. And although I hopefully had a few intelligent things to say about the music we listened to – I fear I may have given the impression that I knew more about it than I did.

Because I am a ‘casual’ listener, being more into painting than music.

(It’s the same excuse when failing to catch fish – “I’m a leisure fisherman…”)

It’s nice to listen to those who are into the history of it all, (music) as I am not.

My friend who loves the memorabilia etc. side of it, didn’t fully appreciate the MAN nights when we got off into a subject provoked by a lyric in a song.

He wanted to get back to the surrounding history of the birth or demise etc. of an aspect of pop’s musical archive.

It’s not that this stuff is uninteresting, it’s just that I lack motivation in finding it all out, for myself.

So the chairman (me) was at best a stand-in for someone more qualified, at worse an imposter 😜.

The ‘moral’ of this short post?

Well, my love and enthusiasm for finding out the history of a particular artist/painter and why he/she produced the work they did – doesn’t transfer over into music.

At least not to the same degree, in that, their history is sometimes not searched out, I listen to the song, but hardly notice the title, and also forget the lyrics too quickly! 😐

Unless I set my myself to really listen, which is what the MAN nights were for. To really listen.

Bringing the music from the background (buzzing fridge analogy) and really concentrating on the nuances of the piece.

There is a lesson in this. To REALLY listen to anything demands that we set ourselves to do so. I’m sure there are many things we do not really listen-in on, when many times we should. (e.g. TV advertisements?)

So unless I’m in that season – I guess I’m not a proper ‘sounds’ listening enthusiast – not worthy to be called a music ‘person’.

And I reckon it’s something to do with unfortunately not being able to play an instrument.

Or at least so I have concluded for now. 😎

PS. Worship music is a permanent fixture.

FEEDING BIRDS

BIRD copyjpegBirds (Photoshop)

FEEDING BIRDS

The apple cores from my free hand
hit the path leading through the garden
juicy stain with dam buster bounce
– now they lie in wait

first the familiar
on-high squawk
of inland sea gulls –
the new inhabitants
of former ‘out of bounds’

then – one quick small shadow
flits across the garden
a bird flies and tries
to find a guard post
for safety observation

before contemplation
of a swooping dive bomb
joined by another and yet another
and yet another

the bold and courageous are first to land
various shapes and sizes
with versatility,
but all amok
with noisy self-importance

crow – black with puffed-up menace
when he comes –
the little ones as quickly move away
as quickly land.

now it’s a fairground of roll-up, roll-up
too little for too many
when suddenly the pickings of nibble nibble
are completely gone
as our seagull friends close the party down

no cores any more to be found
swiftly away
full beak swooping all and sundry.

remaining birds go through feeding motions
pseudo feeding
on titbits no longer there.

Hats on

 

hat

HAT’S ON

Anyone remotely interested in this blog will have glanced the fact that I wear 4 hats.
I refer to these ‘hats’ in the ABOUT.
i.e. Person, Parent, Painter, Preacher.

When I wear the preacher’s hat I write in accordance with my understanding of scripture, as a professing Christian – most of my spiritual writings are contained in the Pages part of the blog. (I find it hard to differentiate Pages from Posts in other folks blogs (?).

My ‘Pages section’ is – of course – as seen at the top of the screen.

In my life, all of these hats are worn at the same time, and one effects the other.

I am not a religious person. This in the ears of the ‘uninitiated’ sounds like hypocrisy or at least a contradiction, bearing in mind that I have just confessed to being a Christian.

The religion the Bible wants to draw our attention to, is described in (James 1/27):
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Apart from this verse there is little use made of this term.
(In the New Testament it is used 4 other times + 2 times – ‘religious’).

So along with many other Christian believers my desire is to emphasise ‘relationship’ rather than ‘religion’.

Christianity is firstly and foremostly a message of relationship rather than religion.

When we have a relationship with Christ, and enjoy the freedom that goes with it, we are not bound to rules of outward conformity, that cannot bring internal change.

Speaking in Galatians 4 starting at verse nine, Paul the apostle touches on the freedom that Christ has called us to, by referring to the opposite:

9 But now after you have *known God, or rather are *known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have laboured for you in vain.

Notice without going into a long theological discourse (which is not the point of this post) – that Paul refers to RELATIONSHIP first i.e.- *knowing God – *God knowing us.
Then he steers us away from outward conformity to ritual of the kind that includes the religious observance of certain days.

This is in contradistinction to ‘every day with Jesus being sweeter than the day before’, which is true Christianity, born out of the enjoyment of a walk with God.

In this sense I am not religious. (in the observance of days and other rules of outward conformity).

I esteem every day alike.

Romans 14:5
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Each day, a new day, in which to continue the great adventure of knowing Jesus Christ more. The Bible is God given and indispensable in this pursuit.

There is unnatural weirdness in some people’s estimations and conclusions of what Christianity is about and consists of.

By that I mean, they consider Christians to be a weird bunch of religious people, who live in some kind of cocoon, that keeps them from enjoying life. They consider that it is only a life of ‘don’t do’s’.

This reminds me of a comment someone reportedly once made when asked if he was interested in becoming a Christian. To which he replied: “No thank you I have enough problems of my own…”

.……✭…….

The corporate mentality of the world is the sum total of a hybrid of individuals and their individual mental outlooks.

Individuals hold a lot of mental outlooks in common with others.

Folks form similar conclusions about the important things in life, and find enjoyment and purpose in the same things.

They become persuaded by each other. By radio, television, film and a multiplicity of various kinds of social media etc.

We know that society changes in it’s corporate outlook as time goes by, and there are all kinds of influencing factors that mould our mentalities, whereby we share much in common that perhaps we didn’t a decade ago.

But at the same time there are many cultures that think differently than the eclectic mix of those around them.

This can be the ground for disagreement and extremity – resulting in intolerance etc.

Multi-culturalism is on the increase. And many try to balance tolerance of their fellow man with agreeing to disagree.

This no doubt will always be a rocky road to travel.
Taking us, if we so wish, into politics and party joining of one kind or another etc.

There are communities that suddenly spring up in our world.

Blogging has suddenly emerged out of the hat (I will leave it to the statisticians to tell us the time history of this).

But low and behold some kind of community of communicators has been formed and exists and functions daily in the blogosphere.

If someone wants to give themselves to the study of such a community they will probably discover and express, for us, the common threads that hold it together.

The things we have in common, and the things we commonly share will be revealed in word, as individuals interchange ideas with likes and comments.

Or steer clear of each other by virtue of diametrically opposing views.

The point I wanted to get to in this post is this:

Blogging has to be a re-enforcer of the idea of individuality.
Independence of thought.
The world of the individual.
Where each hold to certain outlooks, views, beliefs etc. and want to share it with others.

The individual.
The ‘I am unique’ syndrome.

This individualism is sometimes worn like a badge of merit.

I find this to be a paradox – individualism is to be embraced and rejected at the same time.

Rejected I believe in the pursuit of godliness, because self is on the throne of authority in our lives.

Embraced in that we all are unique and don’t need to pretend to be anyone else.

On the negative side – slowly but surely the pursuit of selfishness disguised as individualism, creates an isolated existence. And much as it is true that no two of us are the same. Allowed to continue unabated individualism (of the wrong kind) held as a supreme entity is in danger of producing those who are a ‘cult unto themselves’.

They have joined the cult of self to the exclusion of all others.

And indeed life begins with them, revolves around them, is supported by them – and salvation is within themselves to the exclusion of the need to look elsewhere outside of themselves. They look for worship. Scripture calls it worshipping the creature.

Romans 1:25
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

They become their own god.

I’m all for corporate sharing when unique individuals specially gifted in so many diverse ways, honour and appreciate each other.

Nevertheless let us recognise that we will not find all answers within ourselves without searching for and referencing a higher power initially outside of and beyond our human limitations.

To think otherwise is a great deception.

So yes, we are all unique. But we will never be so advanced as to not need the Living God.

So let’s enjoy our individuality and individual contribution, but let’s not look for salvation to the after life in the so called ‘finding of ourselves’ within.

You have already found yourself, now we need to find Jesus.

(We interrupt this ‘broadcast’ to acknowledge that many will not agree with the Jesus Factor as the only answer. I’m glad to let you know that it is not my ‘individual’ opinion here espoused but that of the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 of the New Testament.)

In this post I have worn the Person and the Preacher hat. It is my desire of course to reach you with the preacher hat on.

(But we can also be friends as I wear the painter or parents hat – Oh! not to mention hopefully the Poet’s.😎)

ACQUIRED APPRECIATION

 

teaar pull cast illustrati only this

Illustration – (pencil sketch with photoshop additives).

ACQUIRED APPRECIATION

There are few artists who go beyond their own individual characteristic contribution to the ‘canon’ of art. (No one as they say ‘has it all’)

In fact they are known for the particular style they have forged, and though capable of flowing in other styles, they are usually known for a breakthrough in taking us somewhere else. (e.g. Picasso, Braque, Gris = Cubism)

On their journey they have experienced or tried many of the established styles that have gone before, but a positive restlessness spurs them on to find new ways of expression.

Most times this new found way of expressing themselves is not initially appreciated – and so we have the Van Gogh syndrome.

We refer to Vincent because to most he epitomises the rejected, misunderstood, suffering artist. This can be romanticised to an extreme of course but is largely true.

It is true also that such expressions as ‘an actor’s actor’, ‘a painter’s painter’ and so on makes reference to the fact that they are sometimes best understood amongst their own, fellow artists.

Those who do not engage in the process of making art perhaps wonder what the purpose is, of some of the conversations artists have with each other.

If I went to a plumber’s convention – I would sit dumbfounded at the exchanges of conversation and lectures taking place. I am totally ignorant regarding plumbing. And of course I have no desire to even begin to engage in the process of learning or understanding it.
And I guess many are similarly demotivated when it comes to going beyond the surface appearance of a piece of art.

And in many ways they do not need to.
Our emotional response to a piece of work is all we need. The proverbial ‘I know what I like’, is fine.

But what swung opinion from rejection of Vincent’s work to acceptance and veneration, often measured in society’s eyes by the number of zeros accumulated in monetary terms?

It took time, yes, for Vincent to be ‘recognised’ and honoured, after he left the scene of time.

Society ends up reluctantly agreeing with the analysis and ‘monetary establishing’ of the artist’s reputation, that comes as a result of the opinion of a conglomerate of art pundits, critics, dealers, museums, galleries, taste-setters – art historians et al.

Reluctantly – for those who really haven’t studied or examined the artist, but realise that a ‘fuss’ is being made about their work – they conclude ‘they must have something’.
So they are swayed by the majority and they too pay lip-service to the praise dished out by the ‘experts’.

Afraid perhaps of seeming ignorant or not clued-in enough – they feign agreement with the genius verdict, at the expense of what they really think.

For most artists the doing of the work is their chief motivating factor.

And in the absence of the appreciation of others – they fall back on the fact that – compulsion to create – overrides any lack of interest from others.

But we must recognise that just as every artist is different in style – so every human being is different in what they like or don’t like.

So I guess what ‘appreciation society’ we belong to, is determined by how many members are accrued and whether they get to know that each other exists. (In order to form the society)

For example as far as I know there is still an appreciation society for the art of Laurel and Hardy.

Enough folks, perhaps further enabled by the internet got to know that each other existed and so Laurel and Hardy’s name and art is celebrated amongst their enthusiastic followers.

Mutual appreciation is such an important part of life.
Veering from our subject I write on the need for human appreciation in one of my page posts by that title (see above in header list).

We can’t get away from how much this is part of our lives i.e. – love and appreciation.

In music appreciation – I find that unless I am immediately impacted by the work of the artist – I will usually (but not always) refrain from investigating their sound further.

I used to chair (Chairman Meow 😎) a night we entitled MAN nights. An acronym for Musical Appreciation Nights. At these nights we would each bring a CD of a piece of music under a given theme heading.

Each would play their piece in turn, and afterwards we would all share what we perceived, appreciated about the song, what we thought it meant etc.

At the end of the evening we voted on the best contribution of the night. (Not allowed to vote for our own song).

I am just reflecting on those enjoyable evenings, as often the conversation would pleasantly stray in many other (non-musical) directions.

But the fact that certain given songs would win the vote must educate us in some way, with regard to certain art – gaining appreciation it perhaps did not have going for it – at the beginning of the evening.

But as we listened and shared opinions – a persuasion other than what we perhaps initially held came our way.

Teaching us surely to try to give every artist a chance, be open to their contribution and thus appreciation can grow and might even, reach a place where we want to collect or own their work.

Winter

OPEN GATE NEAR HELENS TOWWERTHE OPEN GATE (Pure Watercolour)

 

Poem

WINTER

It was a cold day
bright sunshine in open sky
leaves had fallen – leaves were withering
trees were calling to winter:
“Let’s see what you’ve got”
flowers long gone in retreat
sparrows and other such birds
went their diverse ways
dogs barking at owners walking
children playing – parents watching
cyclists pushing hard at risen wind
walkers walking in power
‘swing those arms and
set that face like a flint’
papers blowing
receipts long forgotten
“It cost that much? – where’s the proof?”
eight year olds – soaking socks
in remaining puddles
‘catch their death of cold’
as scolding grannies take them by the arm
to escort, and support, overdriven legs
home to home with report to mother
teenage couple arm in arm
then arm over shoulder and waist
quicken their pace heading home
as it is dusk
to watch a nature programme
and relive their day
in the great outdoors
Farm hands in drab garb
grab a bite to eat
as they too retreat
to separate homesteads
their day of all mucking-in
complete
A few cars pass and greetings
exchange by nod or wink
while the local bus
dead on time
has no passengers
getting harder to see now
all are in quickening pace
as conducted by the nip in the air
all will live to fight another day
against the encroaching
winter doing it’s thing.