25 February 2011

My three chords are coming along quite well. My secret is my safe practice technique.

Oh, I read my book of poetry and decided I was very pleased with it. I don't feel I can claim ownership of it per se, but if I dissapear, it will remain.

22 February 2011

Last night I walked up Mt Ainslie from home. It takes a couple of hours and it quite exhausting. I decided to do this every Monday night and definitely recognised a few people on the trail from last week. It is not actually relaxing, because I march quite manic up the hill, but it is supposed to be exercise. It is satisfying after.

I finally made a short book out of my poetry and gave away six copies yesterday to friends and acquaintances. Here I was worried about which poems in which order and the first thing someone did was open it a random. When I told them that it was meant to be read from the start they said, "Why can't I open it anywhere?" So that is lesson one, I can not expect people to read it from beginning to end. For that matter, I can not expect people to read it at all! Another person said, "Why is the font size different? It feels like you are shouting at me in some poems?" I was just trying to balance the pages out, because there are a few really long poems, but they are mostly short.

19 February 2011


In the morning, I followed the wind;

but it only showed me the leaves


Now I watch the clouds haste across

the evening sky to an unknown land.

I imagine they too are hoping to see

your face wherever they go.

Just like me.

Episodes is pretty funny and worth downloading. It had me laughing manically at 2am anyway.

16 February 2011

Playing the guitar is way harder than I imagined. Getting the fingerings seems really unnatural and the angles are weird. I will need to become one with the instrument to understand what it wants to do. That is a good idea. I have three chords to practise and the ends of my fingers are getting tougher already. I will give it one month and observe my progress before buying a piano. I might get a piano anyway, but the goal is to be able to compose and sing my own songs.

The singing is going really well and choir is giving me more and more joy. It just took me a while to realise that being a bass was not all about being really low all the time. The other thing is really listening and feeling how the part fits in the song as a whole and then it gets a bit easier too. Then it is possible to forget what you are doing and actually sing a song rather than just make a sound! Being a bass is a blessing because quite often we sit on one note and this can be quite meditative. Listening to Mahalia Jackson as I write this and what a voice.

It feels like I have not written any poetry for a week or so, except I did write this on the bus this morning:

Everything turns to tears,
That is why I am laughing.
Everything turns to laughter,
That is why I am crying.

I am sure that I have said that before. I do have time at the moment to try and collate my poetry and make a book even. My concern is editing, not from the point of view that I will need to change any of the words, but grouping and choosing what qualifies for inclusion. I have started writing short stories about the people I meet, but this is such a small town that it will be hard not to pick the characters out with a bit of effort. Still they are pretty funny, so I will work that out.

15 February 2011

I now have a guitar, but I really need some lessons. At this point I am one third of the way to knowing three chords. I know E. But I can't even work out how to use the clip-on electronic tuner that the salesman used in a second to tune a string. Crazy. My neighbour will hopefully be my teacher.

13 February 2011

Strange Weather

I joined the Strange Weather Gospel Choir recently. The name is a combination of the following songs:

Eric Dozier is leading us for the next six weeks. We had a six hour workshop yesterday and learnt a lot about gospel, slavery, the civil rights movement and MLK. It was amazing, if exhausting, and I can't seem to remember any of the songs. We didn't use printed music. I filmed some of it, but unfortunately just how out of tune I am is alarmingly audible, otherwise I would post the video. I am struggling with being a low bass. I never thought I was a bass and it is hard not to start singing other parts, but listening is the main thing.

So I am listening to the Blind Boys of Alabama and Ray Charles today. Ray Charles took the melodies from the church and made songs like Hallelujah I Love Her So to much scandal. Vincent Dorsey added a blues and jazz feel to church music. I think that was the story! The video about Precious Lord is worth watching.

This is a real cool song too:

Last night at the multicultural festival I danced to a collective of Sierra Leonian drummers. It was sweaty work. I played some djembe too. I also met a guy who said he would invite me to talk about poetry on local community radio.

On the topic of strange weather, it feels like it has been raining all summer.

12 February 2011

Mt Ainslie

I wrote this poem walking down Mt Ainslie a week or so ago. I marched up listening to the whole of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5 in E Flat. Glorious music for marching. And listening to classical music with trees is wonderful, I highly recommend it as a pastime. Try Vivaldi's Four Seasons if you like, a suggestion potentially lacking in imagination, but it really works. Those dudes who carried gramaphones into the jungle had the right idea, except for the shooting the elephants bit.

Walking down the hill - for it ain't much of a mount - I took a side path and played my new flute. I have only had it two weeks I think, but I am getting better at making the sound I hope to hear. There was a fairly epic improvisation on top of Satie's Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes in my living room the other night. The neighbours barbecuing in the courtyard did not complain at least. It is all about embouchure, which just requires regularity. (It took a while to work out how to spell that - google thought i was looking for umeboshi plums.) Anyway, the poem:

At evening
The sun pours
Orange pink
Into the cup
Of the hills
And I dip
My pen
Into this
Glorious ink
To compose
A letter
To tomorrow.

This is cool - my photo and poem on the RiotACT.

05 February 2011

I believe in the Heart of One,
Says the gentle rain;
While the song of the storm
Remains unsung.