Monday, April 19, 2010

living in a gursky world....

So, I'm standing in a Gursky world; a deserted, hanger-like 'local hardware store' near closing time staring dully at a chaotic galaxy of wall-plugs, which is slowly moving in and out of focus as the happy pills I'm taking for a sudden re-occurrence of sciatica create a soft edge to my vision - almost (but not quite) counteracting the constantly changing spiderweb of electrical spasms that are pulsing up my lower back whenever I move from the hips to turn at look at something instead of rotating my entire body, locked zombie-fashion, to change my field of vision. All I need to do now is gurn a bit and groan to complete the effect of being a renegade from Night of the Living Dead

How could things get worse? I slowly become aware of the badly amplified tinned musak being piped, in an echoing, almost indecipherable state, around the store. Of course, it's Elton John singing I'm Still Standing.... sounding like the nasal, arch temper tantrum of a spoiled and successful multi-millionaire affirming his 'wretched' life of shopping hasn't broken him. The hook is followed, like Beethoven's 'Hammer of Fate' , with a tripartite avowal of the aforementioned fact...."yeah, yeah, yeah.." Three affirmations taking up half the space in any hook is a confirmation that the lyricist is in fact Dead On Arrival in the world of the creative. And then it got stuck in my head for the next three days.

Reading back through that, I can sense that I am quite ill-humored at the moment, but flashing back to a couple of weeks before, everything had started so well.

After a week walking the coastal path in Devon over Easter, I was well back into things - composing, upping my mileage, practicing... we were sitting by the wood stove (bit of a cold snap - almost lost the spuds we had just put in) watching the sunset and listening to re-mastered recordings Rubinstein play Chopin in his prime; hiss and all. It's all just incredibly moving, in a way that a lot of technically better modern performers don't quite reach. Everything seemed possible after a couple of riojas.

But now here I am, twitchy back, happy pills, plowing through all the freshly arrived coursework as the semester has finished and now it's the annual sprint to finish in time for the award boards. Missed the long audax rides I was going to do, no more zazen, and had to stop playing tenor a couple of hours a day- I am just halfway between two seats at the moment, trying to play standards after a long period of modal playing, and trying to bring in a fresh vocabulary into my more traditional playing; I tend to have two separate hats at the moment, which feels increasingly false. It's exciting and frustrating at the same time; The Great American Songbook (all respect) tends to force me back into a somewhat tired sounding bebop-based vocabulary instead of being able to approach it in a no-mind fashion. Soon.

Still, I got to ride as a motorbike marshal for the regional pro bike criterium (the only way I'd ever be able to keep up with them; that's me on the guzzi in front) .... a good laugh