before they made a sound

Yesterday favourite food combinations at street fair, mango with chilli. Noticed 8 policemen and thought the usual critical thoughts about bullet proof vests. Approached the oldest looking one and asked if they used them when he started. No he said people used to buy their own. Didn’t feel like the right moment to reveal how much cooler I think it is in England without guns on the cops. Helped the young girl down the street, the one who often makes things up, try to find the cat she lost but it wasn’t true. Thought more about the birthday present I will get my partner that won’t be right. Must give up caring about whether it’s right because among all the possibilities there is also one little quiet lonely hiding-in-a-corner possibility that this could be the right present. Made a sandwich based on latest thing I saw online. It was better on Youtube. When I agreed to let my daughter watch Smurfs movie she put on the white shoes with heels, ready for audience participation. Worst musical moment of the film was hearing Tutti Frutti in a candy store (some film executive thought cute), a cover version that debones Little Richard. As irritating as Madonna remaking Swept Away. Waited more than an hour for the opportunity to get my hands covered in grease and get oil spilled on my clothes at Bike Pirates. Totally worth it. Favourite band at the street party was 7 old guys, drums, trumpet, accordion, accordion, accordion and accordion. Before they made a sound they were the best.

guilty feelings

Friend overseas wrote to say she streamed my cd 3 times. According to her I probably earned a dollar in revenue. She is appreciative not stealing music, prefers streaming, wants to convey her pleasure and no guilty feelings and likes knowing I make money. That’s fine, making money is making money but it doesn’t have anything to do with making music. Awkward when people project onto me I am about being a cash register and just as awkward when judged for having made a dumb financial move, choosing to be an artist. Neither opinion has anything to do with the real point of it. Would the world really be pleased if Van Gogh and Bach quit earlier because sales didn’t prove their worth?

the yellers

People sometimes don’t speak English well and certain people think the way to respond to that is to speak English back louder! Even more distressing when the fluent English speaker displays that behaviour in foreign countries.
Couldn’t understand time signatures when a teenager, nobody explained it efficiently despite my ability to play fast or complex. Could imitate what I put my mind to. Other kids already musically trained tried giving me the low down on time signatures. They heard whatever rhythm I played tried to explain it, they would start with 1/4 notes – what the hell they were talking about? Boom I was lost.
What does it mean to say a note is a 1/4 note? Isn’t it an entire note? Shouldn’t that be a whole note? Didn’t we just play it? Why then call it a 1/4 note? They would say there were four 1/4 notes. What does that mean? Exactly where are these four 1/4 notes and why aren’t they 100% a note never mind being 25% of a note.
Once I got to music school the idea was explained again. Finally understood; like given the key to a sports car. They meant how many beats repeat and you could even manipulate that. Pow – I was in 5, 7, 3, 9 or 4. I wrote a song later called Bhopal trying to play a blues form in 5 just because now it was possible to imagine time signatures. Made a new song from the rhythm of Train in Vain by the Clash because I loved that rhythm now could manipulate it. Pow pow pow.
Teachers have to love trying to find a way in to the mind of the student, have to have the humility to reconsider how they themselves talk about things that is if they get something special out of teaching. Otherwise they should stick to tried and true methods of yelling meaningless equations.