June 30, 2018

12.15 am: A ‘dream’ on the cusp of sleep:

In the wall that the two peoples had built – tall and wide – to keep them apart, there was a gate called Gamaliel. It was heavy and solid, and bolted on both sides. The peoples had agreed that, on the first day of every month, the gate would be unlocked. Neither was obliged to push it open. But either could, if they so needed. The gate had been provided to alleviate the sadness of all the other days in the month, when they suffered self-imposed isolation. Later, as the far deeper silence began to descend, Gamaliel Day (as it was known) would have an even more profound importance for them.

Thirty-one years ago today, my mother died. She was 60 years of age; one year older than I am. I’ve always appreciated that she’d died young; but now I know how young she felt:

8.15 am: A communion. Every computer crash has its casualties. iTunes was the victim on this occasion. It’ll require a total rebuild. However, I can now reimport the music at 128 kps, rather than that at the standard mp3 compression rate. (One can make a virtue out of a predicament, on occasion.) 9.00 am: Now where was I, yesterday, before the crash? Finalising the lack two tracks for I. Nothing. Lack. I was on ‘catch-up’. Then, a problem with my A/D interface emerged (post-iOS reinstallation. (Sigh!)) I found a fix; but I suspect that this might be a recurrent instability on every boot up. (‘Be optimistic, John!’) One of the hardest aspects of mixing is equalising the relative volume and apparent loudness of the tracks comprising an album. There’re batch processes on DAW software for this purpose. But I prefer to trust my ears.

Back and fore. Back and fore. From first track to the last; from last to the middle; from the middle to the first. I made minor adjustment to spikes in the frequency and harshness along the way.

1.40 pm: Off to town, walking along the shadow-side of the streets (very me), for my Saturday shop and sustenance. One day, if I last until retirement, I’ll spend much time writing in cafes. This is a lovely town in which to amble. One of my phone apps insists that my ‘home’ is the School of Art. I can’t yet persuade it otherwise. Perhaps it has a point, though.

2.40 pm: Back at homebase, I dug into one of the still problematic track mixes. As I’ve said before, I’m not a perfectionist. But I do have a sense of what’s right and possible. I need to be able to hear the track on playback without wincing. Shortly before 4.00 pm, I was getting close to my quarry. I’ll need to replay the whole album in several day’s time in order to assess whether I’ve settled the matter.

My mother died in Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, around 10.20 pm on June 30, 1987. In my diary I wrote:

I said grace for our evening meal. I prayed that she might die. A moth was in the kitchen. I walked around the back of the house to open the backdoor and let it out. The phone rang. … It was a starry, warm evening. 

 

5.20 pm: ‘I long to know again the solace of your palm pressing light upon my ear.’*

 

 

 

 

* For JIH

 



June 29, 2018

8.00 am: A communion. I’d had a restless night on top of the duvet in minimal attire. The heat. The room. It cooled around 3.00 am. I awoke feeling exhausted and dehydrated. 9.00 am: (‘Running late, today, John!’ He’s a task master, that one.) Iced-water to hand, I began to re-adjust and equalise the volume levels for the I. Nothing. Lack. tracks:

It’s very tempting to reconsider the entire mix of a track on returning to it after several month’s absence. In the intervening period, my ear has changed. I hear things … feel the weight and balance of the constituent elements … differently … more organically. The current trend for remixing 70s progressive rock albums arises from the same realisation. The examples that I’ve heard aren’t necessarily better than the originals. Some, where the stereo field is more considered, certainly are. But the initial mix is, for me, as much a part of the character of the music as the notes. And this is what I hear at the back of my head, even while listening to the revision. There’s one example of crude stereophonic separation that I adore, however: Cream’s ‘I Feel Free’. I wouldn’t want it to be changed. The approach is of its age. Perhaps, too, it reminds me of the limitations that I was under as teenager when recording my various bands using a reel-to-reel tape recorder, one channel at a time (in order to overdub).

11.00 am: The MacBook that I was using suddenly an catastrophically froze. I’m a firm believer is learning to repair your own kit, whether that be computers or sound equipment. So, I took the plunge. I’d a professional technician visiting to this afternoon to help me with my ailing iMac in the study. But I would sit with, and learn of, him as he worked. When in doubt, reinstall the iOS. The laptops need a little additional RAM too. While various computers upgraded, I photographed the studio interior for the PhD student who’d interviewed me yesterday. They’re interested in my working environment. I cleared the floor of pedals, and the walls of remembrancers:

After lunch, I proceeded to monitor the computers’ progress. I’ve learned not to say ‘fixed’ before time. The studio is now walkable again. The temperature outside was around 27°c. But with a light breeze. A mercy:

My computer tecky arrived at 3.00 pm. He’s Russian and has an endearing accent, like the celebrated by Mr Chekov in Star Trek. Out went the Sophos antivirus software, Office 2011, and a variety of other background programs, some of which appeared not to have any relevant function other than to slow down the machine. Thereafter, operations were far more zippy.  Having learned from the tecky, I applied the knowledge to all of my other machines. This was not how I’d expected to spend most of my day:

6.00 pm: I undertook dinner duties in readiness for the return of my younger son from his adventure, on a delayed train. My other son is far from me. The computers are all functional and, now, far more efficient. A day well spent in that respect. But I’m now behind on my schedule.

 

 

 

 



June 28, 2018

7.45 am: A communion. ‘I’m pushing myself harder now than I did thirty tears ago’. I read this quotation in a running magazine at the physiotherapist clinic yesterday. The author was an 83 year old man who regularly competes in big marathons. His testimony chimed with my own experience of work, as an academic and a practitioner. I’ve never laboured so hard. In part, this is a consequence of what the job demands of me; and, in part, of what I demand of me. In school, I didn’t work hard because I wasn’t confident that I could achieve anything worthwhile. (I wasn’t lazy, I was lacking.) Then came the change from above. The last thing I want to do, as retirement floats onto the far horizon, is slow down. My body may be a bit clunky at times, but my soul, heart, and mind are more sharply defined, self-knowing, and resolute than ever before. I’m making up for lost time; and these are the best of times; and even better is yet to come:

8.45 am: I’ve been planning a remix of ‘The Kind of Weather We Had Yesterday’, from the I. Nothing. Lack. suite for sometime, as well as to adjust the volume of all the tracks, which is presently too high. In respect to the former, the walking bass line (derived from the amplified sound of a car that was accelerating outside the chapel during one of the services) required accentuation. This, in turn, required a patient and tedious rebuilding of the fundamental melodic unit, section by section:

11.00 am: I was closing in on the balance that I’d always had in my head, but not in my ears. Every change implies another change, implies another. (This is an axiom of life.) The samples of Macmillan’s preaching had to be realigned with the, now, more insistent starting beat of the ‘jazz’ accompaniment. 11.30 am: off to School for a discussion with an MA inquirer:

2.00 pm: I was interviewed at home by one of our PhD Fine Art students about my practice. They fielded questions that I wouldn’t ordinarily ask myself. The outcome was illuminating for both of us:

 

3.00 pm: I continued to work on the revised composition until 4.30 pm, when I walked through the sizzling streets to the Old College for an MA tutorial. I’m looking forward to temperatures around 6°c in a few week’s time:

7.30 pm: ‘Kind of Weather …’ was finalised before the evening was out. Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements and ruminations:

  • If you cannot choose between two courses of action, then don’t. Do both, together.
  • Some artists have a knack of turning wine into water. Good ideas are squandered in the wrong hands.
  • If you can maintain a course of action for a week, then, you can do so for a month; if for a month, then, a for a year; if for a year, then, for a lifetime. Therefore, maintain your resolve and don’t look back.
  • Confidence is not a feeling, principally. Rather, it’s a recognition that in having overcome significant challenges in the past you’ve been prepared to take on the problems of the present and future, successfully.
  • If you bury the past before it has died, history may rise to haunt you in the future.
  • Solutions aren’t guaranteed. But difficulties are.

‘It’s so hot!’ (Some Captain Beefheart in the background.)

 

 

 

 



June 27, 2018

Over the past months, I’ve been intrigued by the narrative of Elisha and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4.8–37). She’d been practically helpful to the prophet – in effect, providing him with B&B. As a gesture of thanks, the prophet asked her what he could do for her. She had an elderly husband and dearly wanted a son. So Elisha promised her one. And God delivered on it. But when the child grew older he suffered what could be construed as a brain aneurism, and died. Even Elisha was taken aback, and utterly perplexed by this providence. What God had allowed seemed so cruel, almost sadistic, and without interpretation. The woman was in more anguish now than she ever had she been while childless:  Elisha said: ‘she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me’. Why did God give something only to take it away, and so soon? Elisha, however, raised the son from the dead and restored him to his mother. We aren’t told why this course of events had to take place, or whether an explanation was ever given to Elisha and the mother (‘Diary of Departures’ (May 12, 2018)).

7.00 am: A lie-in. 7.45 am: A communion. 8.30 am: Postgraduate admin: tutorials and workshops to arrange, emails to post, and PhD inquirers’ consultations to confirm. There were also a module feedback mail-shot to be prepared for posting tomorrow, and a computer repair to arrange. It’s the little things that prove to be, for me, the most taxing.

At this time of the year, and largely only at this time of the year, I suffer from a severe ankle oedema. The condition is inexplicable (or else, it may have many possible explanations). My theory is that it arrives coterminous with the pollen dispersion and heat. Outside of this period, it’s set off, in a milder form, by allergic reactions to certain foods, which I can avoid. My immune system can’t cope with additional assault. I’ve upped my magnesium supplement, adopted a regime of periodically elevating my feet, and, today, began soaking my poor ‘lil footsies in a basin of ice-cold water. (Static paddling.) This’ll be a good preparation for my forthcoming holiday in Iceland too. ‘Oooh! The cold!’:

The students are right, I do have a somewhat manic and intimidating stare. I should smile more often.

10.15 am: I reviewed yesterday’s work on the ‘One Day’ composition. It stands up. Perhaps each phrase sequence could serve as a textual ‘backbeat’ for each composition comprising the suite. In effect, this would be the reverse approach to that deployed in ‘Blind’. Before moving back to ‘Write Up the Vision …’, I listened again to the explosion that will introduce ‘Wisdom is Better Than Weapons of War’. I’ve yet to determine way of reducing the length of the whole, but I do know how to divide it into five pieces (corresponding to the number of nuclear tests that took place in July 1964). Each would be 9 minutes and 36 seconds long, as they stand. My motto is: ‘Do what is doable first’. That’ll clear the way to see what’s presently undoable. In my mind, I was thinking: ‘Remember “Image and Inscription”‘.

There were features of the mixdown that, when stretched using Adobe Audition, reminded me of effects that I’d developed by entirely analogue means in my mid teens, when I first became interested in manipulating sound. The opening of ‘Robert Fripp’ (1976) (below), composed when I was seventeen years of age, is a case in point. I’d also improvised an electric guitar work for one of my other guitar heroes, Les Paul, during this period (1973–77). It’s included on an album of experimental juvenilia entitled The Last Things:

Abertillery (1973)

 

I was struck, on listening to it again, by how early-on some of my characteristic sonorities, conceptual strategies, and methodologies had been established. ‘Ion on Iron’, for example, isn’t a world away from ‘The Lesser Light’, which I’ve completed only recently.

11.20 am: While the 2.06GB file of the total Bible mixdown (sounds like a dub track) was being prepared, I unbucketed my feet and moved to the table where ‘Write Up the Vision …’ was in progress. I unlocked the file folders to the recording. Some, curiously, had remained unfastended. (As in other dimensions of life, what you’d considered closed from may not have been locked in the first place. Therefore knock on and push at every door that you encounter, even if an opportunity doesn’t appear to present itself. You never know who or what will open for you.)

After lunch, I carved up the whole bible mixdown in readiness for whatever is to come. 2.15 pm: Off to town to attend a sports physiotherapy appointment and deal with my aching Achilles tendon. Claire the therapist has magic hands, and clearly communicates what’s amiss and how to remedy it. (Her drawing skills need a bit of work, though.) She promised fiendishly difficult exercises at future sessions. I’m up for that!:

She’s cleared me for a return to moderate running, and walking over volcanic ash.

3.30 pm: On my return home, I received the good news that I’d secured the funding for my next CD. Full steam ahead, then! That’s the fastest application turnaround I’ve ever experienced. Back to ‘Wisdom is Better …’ . ‘Image and Inscription’ was based upon the sonic adaptation of the data-bent sound derived from pictorial engravings, and recordings of a commercial engraver and voices engraved in to vinyl. This present composition has only the vinyl recording as a source for interpretive sounds. In this respect, both it and the album have most in common with the R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A (2015) CD. ‘Wisdom is Better …’ will, I’d conjecture, owe it’s sonorities to ‘Image and Inscription’ and its methodology to the Evan Roberts wax cylinder CD. A hybrid, in other words. I began looking for salient biblical verses on wisdom and weaponry.

7.15 pm: I finalised the initial verse search before addressing my iMac’s post-iOS update stability problems. I needed to export my iTunes music folder to an external source so that the whole computer can be wiped clean and begun again. Any sentient biological entity with a past to erase would covert the prospect.

 

 

 



June 26, 2018

Mizpah

6.15 am: ‘Good morning, John!’ Ablutions:

7.30 am: A communion. 8.15 am: Pressing on! All three of the final compositions for The Talking Bible were now in progress. I returned to ‘One Day’ to finalise the process of word/phrase extraction before the collaging phase could begin. The current high pollen count presents a challenge that I could well do without. First, I played ‘hunt the minor prophet’. Looking for Amos:

10.20 am: The extraction was complete. I’d accrued a great many words.

Discouragements come like wasps through an open window in the summer: they can’t be either stopped or ignored. To a large part, what determines our response to the curved-balls that life throws at us is our experience of, and reaction to, difficulties in the past. With hindsight, some discouragements were mere phantoms of problems, others were genuinely headaches, but taught us a great deal about either ourselves or the nature of problem solving. Few were insuperable. And hardly any did us lasting harm.

10.45 am:  Before returning to ‘Write Up the Vision …’ I wanted to experience the outcome of assembling the words that I’d extracted to form Martin Luther King Jr’s most famous dictum: ‘I have a dream’:

I was hooked. However, the construction of the sequences was problematic. Some words at source elide with one another to such an extent that its impossible to remove, say, an ‘an’ from a phrase and for it to be still intelligible in isolation. Single syllable words are best harvested from the beginning of sentences. The discontinuities in the vocal inflexion and dynamics, due to the words having been assembled together outside of their original context, enhanced the musicality and strangeness of Scourby’s delivery. This was a bonus. I’d noticed a similar phenomenon in relation to automated train announcements:

By 5.00 pm, I’d constructed the principal quotations by King using Scourby:

7.30 pm: Ironing kit put away, I regularised the word sequences, equalised sample volumes, and adjusted overall EQ. I’d got further with this than I’d expected, today. How these would be used in the context of a composition was anyone’s guess. Which is how I liked it. I couldn’t, then, lean upon a past model. New solutions were required.

 

 



June 25, 2018

Reach out!

Sunday. Following church and a lunch consisting of warmed-up leftovers, I headed to that part of the beach which is between the pier and the harbour wall. The sunlight reminded me of San Francisco. I’m sentimental about this part of the town; it summons some very happy memories:

I wanted to test the performance of two Røde microphones and their respective windshields while recording the lapping of water at the shoreline. My latest ‘toy’ is a miniature shotgun microphone designed specifically for video work. It’s unidirectional and monophonic. It’ll be incorporated into a portable iPhone/iPod based recording system for use when I’m in the move. This needs to be as versatile and easy to set up and operate as a digital camera: a practical means of audiography:

Before returning to town, I visitied my habitual watering-hole. (I needed some perspective and hot chocolate.)

After dinner, I watched a pop-corn movie while simultaneously holding a WhatsApp conversation with my younger son about its merits and failings. As the evening light declined, my eyes and heart turned upwards to him who ‘is a very present help in time of trouble’:

Monday: 6.45 am: A little house work before a communion at 7.30 am. 8.15 am: A review of the week ahead, diarism, computer repairs, holiday notifications, and medical appointments. 9.45 am: I reviewed the grant application that I’d substantially completed on Saturday. 10.40 am: The Aural Bible III projects on my John Harvey: Sound website required further text to situate the works within the broader context of the project and to explain the biblical referents. In the background, I listened to the final masters of Nomine Numine.

I’d received some useful and immediate feedback in the morning on the draft submission of the grant application. The necessary extensions were drawn up in response.

3.15 pm: Nomine Numine was published. I wrote in the notes to the composition:

The quartet felt as though it had been composed by a creative intelligence that lay outside of me. At the same time, it was clearly my work: the hymns had many hallmarks that were evident in some of my other, more deliberate compositions. The quartet expresses something of the intensity, happiness, consolation, desolation, and strangeness that was felt when the providence of God and paths of two people intertwined in a remarkable way.

The work baffles and intimidates me. I feel as though it has something to tell me … something that I’m not yet capable of understanding.

5.15 pm: I was on dinner duty:

7.30 pm: I continued writing additional text for the compositions while entering into correspondence with the convenors of the Visual Theology I conference. My paper is tentatively titled ‘”The Hearing Ear and the Seeing Eye”: Transformative Listening to the Biblical Image’.

 

 

 



June 22, 2018

Thursday, 7.00 am: Morning:

As I was about my ablutions, I caught a radio article that discussed the problem of grade inflation at UK universities. In essence, too many first-class degrees are being awarded. The rise in number has been coterminous with the period since students began to be charged tuition fees. (‘Money is the root of all kinds of evil.’) Students want bangs for their bucks. Now, that’s a principle of which I approve. However, they cannot buy attainment; it has to be earned. A good degree is awarded rather than sold. At the School of Art, a first-class mark, whether it be given for attainment in an individual module or for the degree overall, signifies excellence. And excellence is relatively rare. So ought to be its recognition, therefore. Today, both universities and schools are under pressure to call silver, gold and bronze, silver. When I was a student, departments could go for years without ever awarding a first.

Another ‘issue’ (read ‘problem’) facing universities, which was brought to light at a meeting I attended yesterday, related to the relationship between staff and their research students. It can get too cozy. Some PhD candidates are apt to form an emotional bond with their supervisor. It can lead to a sense of dependency and exclusivity, such that the they’ll not countenance being taught by anyone else. Moreover, the supervisor risks losing their critical distance and capacity to say the difficult thing, when needed. Of course, friendships frequently emerge during what can be a protracted period of intense and searching one-to-one tutorials, during which both parties necessarily yield a great deal about one another. (This is particularly so in the field of creative art research.)  Its not a marriage, but it is a mutual commitment to a successful outcome.

9.00 am. The house is silent and I’m alone. Now I can sing, dance, and play the guitar very loud for the next few days. Most importantly, I can begin and end recording the backing tracks for ‘Write Up the Vision …’.

Friday, 8.00 am: Having made trial of the acoustic and recording set-up yesterday, and given initial consideration to my grant application, I was now in a position to begin recording proper (once the various, tedious updates were installed). Time moves more irregularly when you are living on your own. But I’m a creature of habit, and maintain the intervals for meals and tea breaks with tiresome regularity. Very British. Very me. No one has ever been able to rescue this boy from that habit.

One of the components (likely or not the tube-based preamp) in the set-up was picking up a radio broadcast. The seagulls were unusually lively in the morning, too. And, all of a sudden, the traffic sounds seemed louder.  (‘Close the Velux vent, John!’) 10.00 am: OK. I decided to go for it:

 

I needed to ensure that the speed of writing remained reasonably constant throughout the process. To this end, I deployed a visual metronome running at 66 bpm. On with Chapter 1 and verse 5, take 1. Each verse would be recorded as a separate file. Each letter of each word would be written separately and distinctly, following God’s instruction to the prophet to inscribe the message plainly, so it it could be read easily and swiftly. The first take had too much ‘barky’ dog in the background, bitty bumps caused by the movement of furniture on the table, and distracting mechanical sounds made my the process of writing. Isolation was called for. In the end, I removed the stethomicrophone and lavalier microphone, and repositioned the contact microphone towards the end of the pencil. The latter doesn’t pick-up any acoustic information in the environment, only the vibrations of the pencil’s carbon tip on the paper – which is all I wanted. (Simplify. Simplify!) Take 2.

Over lunch and a bowl of noodles (a treat), I was struck with the realisation that there were two other compositions that could be components of The Aural Bible III project: The Remnant That Remaineth (Brophy and Harvey, 2017) and my recent ‘astro-musical’ piece, which I’ve renamed When the Morning Stars Sang Together. (The title is taken from Job chapter 28, verse 7.). Along with the unpublished Nomine Numine, the three pieces share a drone-based structure:

For the first part of the afternoon, I updated the website presentations for the two works. The text would need some adjustment too. (A job for next week.) A review of the on-going reconstruction of this website was also undertaken. It’s getting there. 3.45 pm: I bounced to the School, to check my mail and take in the sunshine:

4.30 pm: Home. I wasn’t getting very far with my sound writing. However, the execution would take far less time than the set-up and experimentation had done. It was on its way. I reviewed a remix of The Remnant that Remaineth before dinner. The original rendering felt a little too tentative. There’s an air of confident defiance about it now. And I hear details to which I was previously oblivious.

 

 

 

 



June 20, 2018

5.30 am: Up! I could wrestle with my night’s bouts of sleeplessness no more. 5.45 am: I reckoned on the business of the next few days. By the close of this day, I hope to have extracted the relevant words and phrases from the Scourby recording and begun uploading the material for Nomine Numine. The latter composition is the second response to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales‘ memory archive event, and the second part of my The Aural Bible III project:

The final part of the project will be the CD that’s presently under preparation. Tomorrow, I’ll begin recording the ‘Write Up the Vision …’ text. I’ll have the house to myself until Monday, and the requisite quiet for acoustic recording (seagulls, lawnmowers, ‘supernatural’ trumpets, and raindrops permitting). 7.30 am: Breakfast and communion.

8.30 am: On with the extraction, and a review of the two suites from the third part of the series – generating new graphics and adjusting the descriptive texts along the way.

11.00 am: I walked up Penglais Hill to the Institute of Arts and Humanities meeting room to confirm the PhD monitoring reports. This was my last examination board of the academic year. (Big ‘sigh!’) I learn a great deal on these occasions. Our bunch come out of the wash very well:

After lunch, I extended and modified the text for Nomine Numine in preparation for upload and release over the next few days. The two parts of The Aural Bible III project need to be in the public domain in advance of the submission of a grant application to fund the production of the new CD. My intent was to upload both the sound files and text and then live with it for a few days before publication. One ought not rush to release. The problem with uploading large files to a streaming site is one the size limitation. The four parts that comprise Nomine Numine needed to be rendered at 48000 Hz and 16-bit. The reduction in definition robbed the sound profile of some of the bass and mid-range frequencies. (The ‘image’ felt flatter.) These were restored by a little intelligent mastering:

7.30 pm: I returned to the text for I. Nothing. Lack. As it stood, the description felt bloated. I’d made a more concise stab at it for the forthcoming issue of the Aberystwyth Ego. The copy would serve as my guide. In the background, I reconfigured my social media sites (FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter, principally); some of the privacy settings and filters had come unstuck and required attention. Recent updates have undone some of my previous decisions. (Apologies to all who have been effected as a consequence.) I also needed a quote for the production of the new CD. Letters were dispatched.

 

 

 



June 19, 2018

7.45 am: A communion. 8.30 am: This week my postgraduate teaching was assigned to today. At the Old College: the residue of a either wedding or a Christening (including ‘The Arm’):

9.00 am: The first of the day’s MA tutorials. 9.30 am: My second appointment needed to be postponed to the end of the day. The occasion gave me an opportunity to catch up on the day’s admin at a local cafe. 10.00 am: Onward and backward to the mothership. There’re times when we must take time to talk together as staff about the vicissitudes and uncertainties of our lives. After all is said and done, we’re only human.

10.30 am: My email deposit oozed postgraduate admin. Some magisterial Jean-Baptise Lully in the background, to ease the passage. (Music is my caffeine.) 11.15 am: That set to order, I began the annual sift and jettison of paper and files that wouldn’t be needed on the journey into the next academic year. I enjoy casting off. (Practical housekeeping.) I was drawn into the Discourse: Reynolds to Rego exhibition in the School’s double gallery; the first of many trips, I’m sure, to enjoy the modernist prints especially:

After lunch, I held an informal discussion with a PhD Fine Art inquirer:

For the remainder of the afternoon, I conducted MA fine art tutorials at the School and Old College until 4.45 pm.

7.15 am: An evening of bitty tasks: emails, website revitalisation, computer problems, and further extractions from the Scourby recording. One day I’m going to play the discs from Genesis to Revelation.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s encounters:

  • To fail is to understand the nature of success.
  • No one can have given you the answer, because only you can formulate the question.
  • What is it about a black and white photograph that appears to cast the subject into a past that belies its historical moment?
  • We teach out of who we are, so that the student can be who they are.
  • Let the snow fall and lie, before treading through it.
  • You’ve been floating upon the pond, now go to the well and draw water from deep within it.
  • Sometimes a tutor, sometimes a ‘priest’.
  • It would be like cooking and never eating your own meals.
  • Confront the unknown.
  • If you have a sense of direction, don’t assume that you know your destination also.

 

 



June 18, 2018

Grief leaves us in darkness (Address, funeral service of Jean Curwen (June 18, 2018))

7.45 am: Breakfast:

8.30 am: Two objectives today: 1. To make progress on the ‘That One Day’ composition; and 2. To compress and subdivide the length of ‘Wisdom is Better …’ . I began with the latter. This would be the simpler technical operation but the harder conceptual strategy to resolve. The length of the whole (the superimposition of all the sides of all the albums) stands at 48 minutes. This is disproportionally large in relation to the other works on the CD. I don’t want to impute to the composition the status of being the major work on the album. Q: What would be the rationale for shortening the source material? This has to arise out of the structure and divisions of either Bible or the mode of recording. It cannot be arbitrary. No solution was forthcoming. Often, the regulating idea arises when I’m attending to another composition. So …

10.30 am: I addressed the day’s first objective instead, for now. Looking for an ‘are’:

There was no way of hurrying this. I had to listen to a great deal of recorded text before discovering which chapter of the book I was in. The quest amounts to locating a second within up to 40 minutes of text.

2.00 pm: I attended the funeral of Jean Curwen, a member of Holy Trinity Church. I’ve lost count of the number of services that I’ve attended during the last few months. We’ve lost eight members during that time. Her husband and surviving daughter delivered a very considered and constrained eulogy. Jean was of a generation which prized courtesy, politeness, restraint, and modesty:

2.45 pm: On with the word extraction and fielding emails as a distraction. I was half way through the process. By the close of the evening session, I hoped to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Reflecting on the first of the day’s objectives again: I should consider permutations of speed.

7.10 pm: I ploughed on through Exodus, Leviticus, and Proverbs. When I arrived at Isaiah, I just dropped the tone arm on the record and hit chapter 17, verse 51 first time. The law of averages, I guess:

j

 

 

 

 

 

 



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