In memoriam: for Dad, who died, suddenly, on this day twenty-seven years ago:
Dad considered himself to be ‘a nobody’ – invisible and without significance beyond the sphere of his family, friends, and workmates. To me, he was, and remains, the most influential man in my life. He taught me the virtues of modesty, gentlemanliness, friendship, neighbourliness, loyalty, and not taking oneself too seriously; and the dignity of manual labour, tools and materials, and being just ordinary. Often, I’d catch him standing in the back garden and looking up at the Arael mountain, and wondered what was going through his mind.
8.00 am: A communion. The cold air pushed through the window frame and blind and circled beneath my desk, chilling me from the knees down. I prepared myself for a sally into town, to pick up prescriptions and make preparations:
The wind had picked up; it felt like a repeat of Siberia Mk 1, a fortnight ago. Shoppers shuffled in heavy coats, masked behind scarves and hoods, and focussed on getting things done and home quickly.
10.15 am: A cup of tea over preparations for the days ahead. 10.45 am: Studiology (and a second cup of tea). On, then, to the reconfiguration of the turntable and mixer array. (‘Pare down. Pare down, John!’) Maria Chavez, whose work with abstract turntablism I greatly admire, reduced her rig from two to one turntable in order to assert more control over fewer elements (in essence, one deck and a mixer). I took a leaf from her book:
1.30 pm: After lunch, on the bench, I confronted what had been Pedalboard II. My problem has always been how to create an easily assembled/dismantled pedalboard for the Eventide modulation, delay, and reverb units. I use them, sometimes at my hands and, at other times, at my feet. Adaptability was the call of the hour. (To be continued …):
On discipline. It should be:
- hard to acquire;
- worthwhile acquiring
- a necessary acquisition;
- relevant to one’s practice;
- enabling to one’s practice;
- regulating one’s practice;
- responsive, organic, flexible, and growing;
- fulfilling and enriching;
- appropriate to one’s personality;
- not an end in itself.
Mastery, craft, rigour, knowledge, expertise, wisdom, and dexterity: these are among the hallmarks of artists (visual, musical, and textual) whom I most admire. They practise assiduously; impose restrictions upon themselves and their work; have clear and articulable criteria and values by which to self-assess it; and get measurably better at what they do throughout their careers. Discipline is not a substitute for imagination and good ideas. But without it, the other virtues ossify and never realise their potential. There’s a great deal of difference between working within self-imposed limitations and being limited.
4.00 pm: Snow, sunshine, snow, sunshine …
5.00 pm: An end.