April 6, 2018

I’ve been touched by the messages of well wishes received via this site, social media, and emails regarding my recent bout of anomalous health. Empirical tests continue to indicate ‘normal’ readings, which is reassuring. Advisedly, one should always begin on the premise of the worse-case scenario and, then, works towards more innocuous causes. I suspect that whatever is taking place inside me results from a confluence of factors. These need to be identified and dealt with both independently and in relation to each other. Meanwhile, I continue to pace myself. Work is its own therapy and rest, its counterpoise.

10.30 am: The ‘moon’ verse extraction had reached Isaiah. It’s a slow, laborious, and repetitive process. Never back away from a difficult or discomforting task. Often, the nature of great ambition requires the artist to not only exceed their own limits but also those of their peers and predecessors. Therefore, venture where others never had the sufficient courage, vision, and determination to go. There, you may touch what’s never before been handled, think what’s never before been thought, and accomplish what was considered to be impossible.

In order to break with the routine, I reviewed the ‘Blind’ tracks that were in progress. I’m fully persuaded by them. The Moon composition is likely to be called ‘The Lesser Light’ (to which the satellite is referred in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 16), and the composition that references the nuclear tests, which took place in July 1964, is likely to be called ‘Wisdom is Better than Weapons of War’ (Ecclesiastes 9.18).

After lunch, I was in the minor prophets. These are small books and, as such, difficult to navigate when searching for a particular chapter and verse therein. I continued to review material in progress when I needed to punctuate my activities.

4.30 pm: Into the New Testament and the homeward stretch. Many moons in the Book of Revelation, as one might anticipate.

While cooking dinner with one of my sons, we talked about the death of my parents and the process of grieving. I recall taking two distinct journeys in this respect. Grieving commences once you become aware that a loved one is dying. Mam died over a period of several months. This allowed my father and I to slowly come to terms (as much as one does) with the prospect of inevitable loss. Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. As such, all my grieving took place after the event.

7.45 pm: Job done. I strung together the individual ‘Moon’ samples into a continuous string. This will form the fundamental compositional material.

April 5, 2018

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3.5)

In the Old Testament, the ‘heart’ refers to the seat of a person’s inner-most being, including their conscience, emotions, will, ratiocination, and understanding. So, in at least one respect, it overlapped with the functions of the mind – the domain of thinking (and also of understanding, in some senses of the word). Heart and mind were, therefore, not as far a part as we place them today, culturally. They overlapped. In this proverb, the heart and understanding are both distinguished and interrelated. Wholehearted trust in God implies that we fully yield our desires, feelings, plans, and grasp of what we think is going on in our life to him, in the belief that he has our best and highest interests at heart, acts with compassion and integrity, shepherds our comings and goings, and promises to help. (And he always keeps his promises.) In short, we trust him because he’s trustworthy.

Our understanding is God given. But it doesn’t necessarily provide a true representation of reality. The knowledge that informs our understanding may be either partial, incorrectly interpreted, or erroneous. So, we daren’t make important decisions based solely upon it – particularly, if we know that we don’t know the full picture. God does; he sees everything, including the future consequences of our choices, and will determine his will for us accordingly.

Tuesday. A virus (possibly) put pay to the day. I could do little other than sit in the rocking chair and ruminate upon life and its present challenges. By mid afternoon, I was flagging and took to bed, where I slept for the next seventeen hours. Wednesday. Was I over the hump? With background ME, I’m always reluctant to make the call. In the studio, I began to capture the unamplified sound of the stylus as it tracked across several Scourby Bible vinyls. In July 1964, when the recording was made, the USA launched Ranger 7. It was the first probe to record the lunar surface. Over 4,300 photographs were transmitted back to the Earth. I was recording the surface of another round object:

Today. I’ve been recording the surface of only those verses (51 of them) that mention the Moon. Over the headphones, the edits in the recording (some of which are a little cack-handed) made, presumably, in order to excise muffed words or lines, are evident. The sonorities of the capture aren’t consistent. Some parts feel variously warmer and more moderately reverberant than others. Occasionally, the drone of a passing vehicle and noises in the studio are audible. I still don’t know where the recording was made.

I stood in the sunlight which poured through the studio skylight. It soothed my body with a warmth that seemed to penetrate to the marrow and the soul. Only sunlight has this capacity:

After a period of respite, I moved forward with my ‘moon’ search. 3.00 pm: I was in the Psalms. There can be few otherwise mundane research processes that are so rich in their performance. A discussion with Crimson Guitars has begun regarding a new and better bridge for the RF Custom. This may be less of an ordeal than I’d anticipated:

In the evening, I made some initial considerations regarding a keynote paper that I hope to deliver in October.


April 2, 2018

When she awoke from her dream, he was gone.

Good Friday. 6.00 pm: So, there was I, in A&E (again), having seen the out-of-hours GP earlier, anticipating an ECG and a blood test. During the day, when I’d undertaken a major spring-clean of my studio and study, my blood pressure began to spike (again) and I experienced mild discomfort in my upper chest, neck, and arms. Those symptoms were enough to ring the alarm bells. As I waited at the hospital, a woman who had been bitten by her cat, which had brought three rats int the house, entered feeling feverish. She was followed by a distraught mother carrying a far more distraught child in a blanket. (The joys of pet ownership and parenthood.)

Bronglais Hospital is exemplary. I was seen immediately. The tests were clear or, at the very least, inconclusive. I’d have to under go further examinations in the future. Something is amiss. (My instinct tells me so.) I’m not overweight, eat healthily, exercise, have a reasonable cholesterol level, and don’t drink or smoke. However, many men in my family have died of heart failure and comparatively young (that’s to say, a few years older than I’m presently.) So, I’ve no grounds for complacency.

Saturday. Following the physicians’ orders, I rested up while periodically Googling my condition (a practice that should be undertaken advisedly) and, in particular, the side effects of the new medication, which I’d been prescribed a few weeks ago. I may be onto something. Sunday. The Easter morning service was not going to happen for me. A profound tiredness dogged me. But I savoured my splendid isolation at home. Easter booty:

I’ve a penchant for expensive as well as cheapy chocolate. I suspect that the latter connects me to my youth via the taste buds. Most of it is unhealthy, but the same makes me happy nevertheless. There’s more to life than physical well-being.

Today. A slow and deliberate movement into and through the morning. Reflection and contemplation were the focal activities. An extended communion. Mid morning, I took up my Crimson RF Custom [Custom] guitar, and gave it some TLC. Lemon oil to the fretboard:

The process of cleaning restores both the guitar and the guitarist. I rested and thought in between bouts of activity. Should I go for a bridge upgrade on this guitar? It’s the only guitar that I own which has evolved over the years. The instrument has been adapted to changing requirements. On, then, with the Godin Freeway – a model of guitar that I first saw in the hands of John McLaughlin: