April 25, 2018

6.15 am: The air was cold but the day, dry. I jogged the Llanbadarn Fawr loop, stopping-off briefly at the church; (it always seems disrespectful to race through churchyards and cemeteries). The 2-mile round trip takes me 22 minutes to complete. I need to improve on this time significantly. Tomorrow, I hope to run the Promenade loop:

7.15 am: Breakfast and domestics. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: Off to School to prepare for another PhD Fine Art Skype call. The topic: improvisation in music and visual art:

10.00 am: Email catch up and preparations for the 11.00 session on ‘Self-Reflective Writing’, for the PhD Fine Art contingent. This is the second class for a first class student contingent. I’d set no boundaries regarding how much of my preparations would be worked through during the morning. My objective was to go deep rather than wide on this occasion. The postgraduate students’ contributions were astute, generous, and open to inquiry. We’ll each have to give so much of ourselves for these classes to fully yield the fruit that we’re all searching after. 12.30 pm: A pastoral tutorial.

1.30 pm: Back at homebase, I listened to ‘Aitchay’: the third ‘hymn’ (for what else could these compositions be) in the new suite. The work is strong enough (and long enough) to hold its own either as an album in itself or, at least, as a CD in a multi-part publication. There were a number of teaching admin tasks arising from the morning’s delivery that needed my attention. ‘Enn’ ends the suite with an unresolved conclusion. This is appropriate, given the circumstances that lie beyond the substance of the compositions.

3.00 pm: I’m too fond of hibiscus:

3.20 pm: In preparation for an interview with Dr Chamberlain about my pedalboards this evening, I tested the functionality of my arrays. I’ve no idea where this conversation will lead. ‘That’s the way I like it’, as the song goes. All ship-shape! And so they should be. I’ve worked hard to make these boards rational and reliable. Teaching admin burbled away in the background.

4.00 pm: Back to the text for the new suite. The more I play the compositions back to myself, the clearer their significance becomes. Chance music or aleatoric music throws up possibilities that the composer would not have conceived of themselves. That’s to say, I’d no idea what four speech recordings by two people, slowed down 20 times, and played together would sound like, until I heard the result. In that respect, the work feels like it was made by someone other than myself. At the same time, it’s clearly my work – the pieces have many hallmarks that are evident in some of my other, more deliberate compositions. Creativity is fundamentally a mysterious process. In part, it’s a supernatural phenomenon. And these works have exceeded any expectation that I’d had for them, by many miles. Moreover, they both encapsulate and reflect back to me the sense of passion, intensity, happiness, desolation, and strangeness associated with a period in my life wherein providence and paths of two people intertwined in a remarkable way.

7.30 pm: You have to have the right type of shoe to work a pedalboard: something slim and hugging, and soft under the sole, so that the buttons can be felt:

Dr Chamberlain arrived with his video camera and a list of questions with which to interrogate me regarding guitar pedals and practice:

We talked for over an hour about boards, arrangements, power supplies, cables, foot choreography, purchases, sound modification, influences, intentions, and methodology. Great fun! Two little boys in a toy shop.

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