Saturday, 9 December 2017

YesterdayWhenIwasatthePianomyGuitarfelloverputtingitOutofTune -music or performance? eye or ear?

  Yesterday when I was at the piano my guitar fell over and when I played it moments later it was out of tune. The fall knocked some keys. I played some  tunes on guitar later and I was
1. trying to play,
2. talking  about how to perform the song that I was trying to play
3. trying to retune at the same time. I got confused and completely lost my poise, my ear and ability to be in tune.
It mattered to me intensely that I was in tune. Of course it’s part of the humour of the situation that I am out of tune; to the performer’s eyes its funny, the more intense I am the funnier or it doesn’t matter, but to the listener’s ears it’s horrible. I can play to the gallery and make the performance ‘funny’, but I lose it musically. When in doubt make the audience laugh then I am reassured that they like me,  and that is more important than being in tune.

Maybe that’s why that scene in Altman’s Nashville resonated so strongly for me. To recap:

 A wannabe country singer, a young woman, comes to Nashville with dreams of making it big and ends up doing a freebie gig in an almost empty bar except for a couple of bored punters. Midsong, she realises that no-one is listening, so she stops playing, looks at the bored audience, and starts taking off her clothes- a striptease. ( that’s interesting- in my memory it was an empty bar. I watched the film again - it’s a big smoky bar full of drunk men- maybe it’s the appalling emptiness of the scene that has distorted my memory - the emptiness of the room becomes an empty bar in my memory. (3 hours later))

To me, it was the saddest, most humiliating scene. About wanting to perform askill to an audience with a dream of being applauded, recognized, appreciated, but that not being wanted so you go LCD to win the audience. its an excruciating scene. I felt for her. Moving from the musical performance where the ear is most important, to the eye, where spectacle is the most important - playing to the gallery - in her case bored men.


audiences are either ear or eye dominant
- if ear or music dominant  then being out of tune is excruciating.
- if eye or performance dominant, then tuning is irrelevant. As long as the performer keeps the audience on side.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

gripping tensing and holding

Years ago, when learning dance improvisation, when improvising with a partner you were taught not to hold, not to grip- because it was fear driven - fear of falling, fear of momentum, fear of communication and gripping expressed nervousness, desire to control, to own; whenever there was  flow, gripping stopped, constricted, inhibited
"...follow the point of contact, don't hold on, stay relaxed,
no coercion, let go of thought of where to go next, l
let go of the desire to lead and be flexible to what is happening." 
if a fall happens let it, learn how to fall and recover, it was meant to be…

gripping tensing is  wanting to control, own. Desire to grip, to hold has many of the same attributes as  as the desire to copyright and market oneself as a holder, possessor of knowledge, a spasm of tightening, tensing
And letting go, allowing flow is similar to having a  non copyright, open access approach.

I hear stories of people wanting to  copyright things as their own- ways and means of unownable things like kinds of movement, actors training, ways of making music or traditions of training from Tai'Chi to voice work and see how the act of copyrighting, trying to own processes and traditions they have no right to own, prevents flow and prevents creativity. This  seems to inflate the copyright owner into becoming an untouchable expert. In order to copyright it helps to have a suspicious mind- assume that the world is out to exploit you,  the world will not celebrate and acknowledge your inventiveness, your wits, your nous.
Maybe having a risk averse approach inhibits play, discovery and invention?
A suspicious untrusting copyrighting mind
is the same as the tense gripping controlling body
which is the same as the mentality of the little nationalist who is scared of thebig bad world outside, scared of the other,.
Is this what makes someone want to build walls?

Yes, protect what's precious but maybe too much gripping and pushing away is not good.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Maybe all People

Maybe all people who ascend hierarchies and
crave position and power are inevitable liars, hippokrits,
And have to defend positions they don’t believe in
But then most people are hippokritts anyway
whether they know it or not
(Including lil’ol’ me)
Particularly if they pretend the world is totally rational
and makes sense

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Monday, 27 November 2017

Living books

Books are just oblong inanimate objects.
Only when  holding attention of a reader do the thoughts ideas stories and images of a book become something.
There is an old spiritual idea that if there is no listener then music does not exist
A musician without an audience is nothing,
likewise  a book resting forever on a shelf gathering dust does not 
exist.
When it draws the attention of a reader,
when it gets picked out, opened and perused and affects the actions of a reader,
when a book is used, 
it lives.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Still smile


it annoys me 
when people say 'don't worry'
about something that is screamingly obvious 
that they are trying to deny

 I'm not worried 
I can still smile
but I'm not going to pretend its not there

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Holiday in England


It is about 9:15am I am talking to 'Don', the  roughsleeping man from New Zealand for a long long time by the bench near his temproary bench top home by the lake in Regent’s Park  He asked me to go and meet him for a cup of tea later at the lakeside cafe later. I didn’t want to waste time. I had a long to do list that wasn’t that urgent unless I made it so and was thinking this is not a good way to spend my day but he seems fairly jovial. 
I go and have a cup of tea with him later in the cafe by the side of the lake.
He sits down outside.
I go inside and order a tea. 
He comes inside and says’ do you want something to eat?’ ‘No I’m ok ‘ I say, 
he insists and gets me 2 croissant filled with ham and cheese. I can’t say I’m not grateful.

He tells me that he bought a van to live in before he left NZ. It should be waiting for him back in NZ. He hopes. I don’t know what his true story is. Do I care? I sense a lot of what he is telling me is true, even though he monologues constantly. He trusts me. I don’t sense any threat from him, nor he from me. I feel he has chosen me as his confessor
 I ate and sipped my tea as I listened to him monologue: he is a retired professor, 68, I checked out the uni he mentioned: It rings true: he has deep vein thrombosis he tells me when I notice, shocked, that his right leg is purple, the skin is scaly and there is a bloody wound on his shin. Is the flight back to NZ on Oct 30th going to be Ok for his leg? He insisted yes and showed me his blood thinning tablets. Will they let him on the flight? He claimed his leg wasn't hurting, and all was ok. Was he denying his condition? was he likely to be stranded in England?  Compassion? Worry? He seemed to have it all figured out, he insisted and I believed him.
 His sister is in the security services, he tells me, and guards political heavyweights in NZ, both local and travelling. He mentioned both Clinton and Obama. He was brought up on a sheep farm: he talks fondly of his dad, his childhood, he doesn’t mention his mum. He knows a lot about being at sea, sailing from islands in the Pacific Ocean to NZ. He definitely knew how to survive, how to rough it, he was neat, he slept on benches but always tidied away the cardboard he slept on, taciturn and polite, talked about the good people and bad people he had met in the park - he referred this time of rough sleeping in the park as his 'holiday' and was surprised how nice most english  people were here - his impression of the English he had met in NZ is that they were very snotty and distant, not what he had found here, but occasionally when annoyed by the English he resorted to ‘we helped you guys out in the war. And lost a lot of lives.’
He remarked of boorishness and officious little Hitler of some park security  at night. And he berated a nasty woman in the cafe  who told police he might be an 'overstayer' - someone who stays beyond the dates specified in their visa.
He stinks, he thinks it is just his feet but it’s  him, it’s partly why people leave him alone. He amiable, homeless.and smelly. Olefactory self defence. its why I don’t want to go within a few feet of him. He honks. His smell lingers. I still get occasional whiffs. He is going to the barber today to have his beard cut off and head shaved, a preparation for his trip back to NZ on Wednesday 

When underground once and he was scared and didn’t like it, so he came back to where he felt safe: on a bench in the open air possibly the most beautiful spacious place  in london. Location location location! hotel developers would pay lots for a view like that.


The next day, in the afternoon, I bumped into him at Marylebone station looking all clean shaven scrubbed and smily. He hasn’t gone home yet. ‘I’ve booked into the Travelodge’ he said. I looked t him and then asked him round for dinner. ‘I don’t smell do I? I’ve had a shower and bought some new shoes.’
 I didn’t smell anything at the station but when he came round there was an aroma. He struggled up the stairs he said it took him half an hour to get his new shoes on. He seemed disoriented and withdrawn. It turns out I was the only English person who had invited him into their home in his 6 months in England . He told me all his family smell, they have smelly sweat he doesn’t like crowds; he panics and sweats when he panics. Then people notice the smell and look at him and move away, and he is lame and diabetic. He doesn’t stay long,he is awkward but grateful. He mumbles that he has to go. I walk him back to his hotel. I hope they let him on the flight and he gets home ok before the nights turn cold here. He said he is looking forward to going home. Mad? Probably. Bad? No.