Friday, November 09, 2007

No doom and gloom today

I think I better lighten up the mood a bit here today. Enough gloom and doom economic and political prognostications in this blog of mine, at least for a day or two. Today, I'm going to write about things that please me. Boring, I know, but there is a lot of good in this world of ours, alongside the stupidity and evil we see every day, so sometimes we just have to settle back and enjoy the good things in life.

I jam once a week or so with another guy about my age. We've been doing this now for a couple of months. We get together in my music room at home, unpack our guitars, and forget about everything else except our music for a couple of hours. Things seemed to click more so than usual this week. We sounded pretty darn good. Because neither of us play from notes and basically just follow each other's lead, depending on whose musical choice we are using that night, it took us a few weeks to get a feel for the playing style of each other and to be able to anticipate what each is going to do next. We appear to have reached that stage and I'm enjoying the experience.

What music do we play? My friend has written some songs and some snippets that may grow up to become songs one day, and we work on them sometimes. Sometimes, he will simply lay down some background chord progressions and I will improvise to them, sort of a jazz/blues mixture. We also do a lot of old (really old) material, my versions of things like Makin' Whoopee, Lover Come Back, Birth of the Blues, and other stuff dating back to the first half of the twentieth century. They don't make melodies like those any more.

Some of the best music ever came from very stressful periods in our history, like during the two world wars in the last century. That should be no surprise, because while it is difficult to pour out our hurt and frustrations to others directly, if we wrap those same feelings in music or poetry, it is somehow okay. Music allows us to express ourselves. It also allows us to lose ourselves in the beauty of well-crafted lyrics, or more importantly (to me, anyway) beautiful melodies and harmonies.

I have written some songs too, but I am saving them for future sessions. Right now, we have plenty of material to work on.

I realized not long ago that some of the things I have enjoyed doing over the years have not gotten much attention from me lately. Photography, for example, is something I have neglected. I used to take a lot of photographs and even developed black and white photographs myself. Now, with digital photography as easy as it is, and no messy chemicals to worry about, I should be taking a lot more photographs. I should be reading more too. I already read a lot, but it is mostly about investing, economics, politics, practical stuff, and I miss reading purely for pleasure. Gotta try to squeeze that in somehow.

It all boils down to one thing: not enough hours in the day, doesn't it? Perhaps, I'm just very inefficient in the intelligent and productive use of my time. I'll have to work on that. Perhaps the first item should be . . . no more naps. I wonder how long I would be able to keep that up.


  1. Totally down with the "not enough hours" position.
    You must be quite busy, I noticed you haven't been by lately. I love music as well, and have you ever had the experience of listening to one of your favorites, and hearing something you never heard before?
    In my case, it's High Hopes by Pink Floyd, and a lot of the reality the song talks about (much like When The Tigers Broke Through.

  2. I think one of the best, most restorative things one can do in life is to sit and make music for its own sake. Yeah, it's great to make money at it and to be a pro and all that, but that ties one to schedules and commitments and puts another entirely worldly set of constraints upon what should be just free expression and a relaxing battery re-charge. Good on you and your friend for taking time to do this - it's an important thing for your well-being.

  3. Letting yourself do what you love... priceless.

  4. Galt: I have been very busy recently but do drop in on my blogging buddies as often as I can. Sometimes I just don't leave a comment, but I do appreciate your take on our crazy world. You sound as though you have sorted things out admirably and are at peace with yourself. That is good, and something we should all strive for.

    Phlegmfatale: Do you mean that I should give up my dream of playing to tens of thousands of screaming fans and to have women throw their thongs and panties at me as I play... er, never mind. I just had a mental image of size 18 grannie panties flying through he air at me and it pretty much confirmed to me that I best be satisfied with doing just what I'm doing.

    Jean: Now there's something for your poetry wizardry -- a delusional old man and his wacky preoccupations. I love the way you make the complex things about and around us into beautiful simplicity that we can truly 'grok.'

  5. Atavist, just for fun, I mentioned those songs (by title)you cited, to some young neighbors (well, in their mid twenties).
    They looked at me as if I were from outer space. Had no idea what I was saying.
    I wonder if their parents might have recognized them?
    Size 18 panties? How come you know ladies sizes? Hmmm.

  6. Catmoves: Their parents or even grandparents. I'm 62, and I only know of these songs because I became fascinated with music from the decades before I was born (1945) a few years ago, and began to really appreciate artists as far back as Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Fannie Brice, Ted Lewis and then on to the big bands in the 30s and 40s and of course the jazz of the twenties and ever since.

    As far as the panties go, I'll never tell. I'm just guessing that that is a fairly substantial size.

  7. hmmm... I will add that to my list of ponderings.
    Thank you for the compliment.

  8. You young whipper/snapper, Atavist ... how about Gene Austin? Got to admit that The Green Mile, our last house rehab and our current location has spurred an interest in that era. I have even found parts of a Model T carcass which I hope to hodge-podge back together as a rusty static relic someday.

    I agree; WWs, the Depression and other times of great adversity seem to bring out the normally hidden best in our human nature.

  9. Lin: I just downloaded a couple of Gene Austin MP3s. I had never been aware of him before but he certainly fits the crooner mold. Cool stuff! Those old cars are rapidly disappearing and it is a good thing that at least some are being restored, even here where I live. The favourites for restoration seem to be models from the fifties, but I have seen some as far back as the twenties as well.