Saturday, 25 August 2012
A hammer and a nail
It's been a while. Sorry. Broken computer stopped play.
But here's a little challenge for you. What does this picture show? No prizes for guessing, but I'll let you know later in the post.
I now have a lovely new computer on my desk and it's far more clever than the old one and very beautiful. So now I have no excuses! Except.......
Except when the tide is falling back to low first thing and there's only me walking that first strip of mirror sand. Except coming home from work on the top deck of the bus, when my pen takes to the high road across page after page and the words nearly make me miss my stop.
Except when there are beans on the table fresh from the stem and a bowl of warm berries and you notice there's still some grit under your nails as you slice the bread and open a beer anyway. Except when there's music to be drawn from the dark heart of an instrument, right here, right now.
You know me. Given the choice between sitting at a desk or sitting on a beach, there's no contest. Not having a computer at home has been an odd and interesting experience! It coincided with the luxury of having a spell away from my day job, time I'd planned to focus on the big project I'm working on. Except, having reached a point with recordings part-edited and grant application partly sketched out in an on line form, not having the computer put a spanner in the works big time.
So, it felt as if all this time had other plans for me - hanging out in the Internet cafe being one of them! But also walking the beach, gazing into space, writing on the bus, tending my allotment and picking lovely courgettes, beans and berries. And, as you can see from the picture above, getting to the heart of some new music.
Congratulations if you guessed what the photo shows. A prepared piano. This is basically a means of turning a piano into an orchestra of percussion and gongs. So this photo shows the inside of my upright piano, with added nails, nuts, bolts, screws, cork, plastic, spanners, wire, tin foil, coins, clips, and anything else that you can find in that kitchen drawer where you put useful stuff that you know will come in handy one day. Gravity plays a huge part in this. It all works so much better if you use a concert grand where even a piece of paper laid on top of the strings can create wonderful effects.
Anyway, here's a clip of my prepared piano to give you an idea what doing such things can bring.
It's great to be working with such a sound palette. Such sounds are going to feature in the big project I'm in the middle of.
There have been some inspired writing moments as well these last few weeks. Eric has kindly included a new poem of mine over at his 5 part collection Ode to blue. If you haven't taken a look at his blog Cerulean then head straight there. There's lots to browse, so make a pot of tea and sit back and enjoy. It's one of the best themed collections I've seen in a long while.