March 23, 2018

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6.27)

The figurative meaning of the New Testament Greek word for ‘worrying’ (μεριμνάω) means ‘to be pulled apart in all directions’ or, as we would say in contemporary parlance, ‘to go to pieces’. Which is as close as you get to describing the psychological experience of excessive anxiety. We can’t think straight, and are distracted, and divided within ourselves. It only takes one worry of sufficient magnitude to put our whole life in disarray. Our phrase ‘What’s the use of worrying?’ is a distillation of the biblical text, in some respects. Worrying is unproductive. It’s not going to make you live any longer. Indeed, if anything, it’ll shorten your life. The context of Christ’s rather acerbic challenge is a sermon about God’s provision, given to those who were learning to rely on him for everything and in every situation. He’ll put food in your stomach and clothes on your back; he’ll cover all of life’s basic exigencies (and, by extension, provide much more besides), Christ assured. Why? Because God is fully aware of your needs, and values you above everything else that he’s made. As such, and for those who were only now beginning to grasp the full implications of faith in thought and action, worrying was not only absurd but also wrong, because it betrayed a fundamental lack of trust.

7.45 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Studiology.  I’m committed to completing The Talking Bible album by the end of the Summer vacation. Conceivably, this could be another double CD. The decision rests upon my ability to resolve the 40 minute+ composition, which compounds the sound of every disc in the Scourby Bible set. This will be a significant challenge. Back at ‘Men as Trees, Walking’, I jiggled samples in order to obtain a more precise fit in, on, and around the beat. Some samples fell into place like jig-saw pieces, others needed a fair bit of kerning and encouraging:

11.15 am: I could hear it no longer. Next on the screen was ‘Bartimaeus’ –  a composition with attitude. Eminently danceable. (And I do sometimes dance, when no one’s looking.) I’m tempted not to tinker too much with this one. The vocal text has an entirely uncoordinated relationship with the beat. But it works like a dream. The ear connects the two in a beguilingly irregular manner.

1.30 pm: Having been unable to fix a software problem that prevented the drag n’ drop of files, I reinstalled Adobe Audition CS6 and uploaded the ‘Double Blind’ material. This composition isn’t going anywhere, presently. First, I carved up the recordings into sections corresponding to discrete statements or phrases. These, then, would serve as mobile building blocks with which to construct the narrative sequence. The texts are both taken from Matthew’s gospel, and relate two stories about a pair of blind men and their encounter with, and subsequent healing by, Christ (Matthew 9.27–31; 20.30–34). The earlier account takes place in Galilee, the latter, after he had left Jericho (where Bartimaeus’ eyes had been opened). The two accounts are identical in some respects, but distinct in others. 4.00 pm: Construction began. When you don’t know what to do next, then, do what you’ve done before … and gradually advance it into new territory.

7.15 pm: I was eager to complete the narrative sequence before the close of the evening:

I reviewed my index for the historical period during which Alexander Scourby undertook to record the whole Bible, orally. The project was begun and completed in July 1964. The significant events associated with that month were:

2 July: The Civil Rights Act was enacted in the USA
17 July: Great Britain conducted a nuclear test in the USA
18 July: The Race riots in Haarlem, USA, spread
19 July: The USSR conducted a nuclear test
21 July: Race riots in Singapore break out
24 July: Race riots in Rochester, USA
28 July: The Ranger 7 space probe is launched towards the Moon by the USA
31 July: The Ranger 7 space probe takes 4,316 pictures before crashing on the Moon

So, together with blindness, there are the themes of racial conflict, nuclear conflict, and technology need to be integrated into what will prove to be a heady mix.