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Right now, I am waiting... waiting for a carpenter.  And I don't mean Jesus.  (In other words, this is not a post about how many days are left until Christmas...)

No, I am waiting for a modern-day carpenter who is supposed to be working on the bathroom...

[*knock knock* Haha, just as I was typing the above, he arrived.  Now that he's ensconced in the old salle de bains, let me continue...]

Anyway, what I was about to say was that waiting in is not so bad.  It hasn't really snowed here (unlike the entire rest of the UK, which is currently covered with a layer of snow thick enough to rival the inevitable set dressing in all the Christmas ads on TV, which most years do not reflect the view outside the window).  It is, however, COLD.  I have a fire blazing away in the stove, and am drinking Pu'erh tea.  It is curious stuff: in some ways it tastes rather like dirt, but good dirt. >_<  It's oddly pleasant, and I like the ritual of making 'proper' tea in my nifty little Chinese mug, which has a china infuser that sits inside it, a lid to keep the contents warm, and a separate receptacle (with its own lid) to put the infuser in when the tea is brewed.  I bought this tea in the most wonderful tea shop.  There, you can sit all afternoon being given all kinds of teas to try - time seems to stop, or at least slow down - it's almost hypnotic.  You begin to wonder what exactly is in the tea. ;-P

They showed me how to make this kind of tea the 'proper' way - the first lot of hot water is just supposed to rinse the leaves, and is also poured into the tea bowls to warm them.  You don't drink that, and it's poured away as slops.  After that, more water goes on to the tea, but again not for very long.  With care, a small amount of tea leaves can be re-steeped many times (although steeped gives the wrong impression, it's not English-style five-minute-brewing).  The idea is to appreciate the unfolding flavours, the evolution of the delicate character of the tea...  I can't say that I have the well-developed palate necessary for such things, but there is honour in the attempt at any rate! XD

Anyway, passing the time with a nice cup of tea is... nice. ^_^

[Ok, carpenter has gone again - off to buy materials for tomorrow...]

I am also listening to an album that I've been trying to get hold of for ages:

Charles Hayward, Abracadabra Information

This is Charles Hayward, scarily amazing drummer, of many and various bands and projects including This Heat.

The album contains some of the songs which I heard Mr Hayward perform live at RIOfest '09 and later at a very small gig in Exeter.  He AMAZED me, and I don't amaze easily.  I was vaguely familiar with This Heat but not with Hayward's other work, so I wasn't there with any specific expectations.  His RIOfest performance was on one of the mornings, and I was really tired after a late night and lots of talking.  Suffice to say... he BLEW MY MIND.  It was a total onslaught - a barrage - a fusillade - of - ???  Words fail me (rare occurrence! >_<), and the recorded version doesn't give you even 10% of the live experience.  Vicious, precise, controlled, passionate, really angry...  It's quite common to encounter 'pretended anger' in music, acted out passion, but it really felt like he meant every word of the lyrics he was singing, shouting, wringing out of himself like bile.  It was like a howl of rage at everything that's frustrating, stupid and cruel about modern life - the empty scrutiny of CCTV, the empty words that pour out of newscasters' mouths, the shiny desperation of people trying to keep up with the pace of the Information Age.  Information, that is; not wisdom.  No insight, only data.  Charles sang, beat the finely-tuned precision-focused utter crap out of the drums, and operated a loop pedal, and occasionally played a child's plastic wind-instrument-with-keys-thing, whatever that's called. XD  The first song was just him at the piano, and if I recall correctly it was about some guy stalking some woman... but not in an obvious, hackneyed way.  Actually creepy, and affecting.

Well, to cut a long story short, his performance woke me up good and proper! :-)

Not only that, later on that day I actually got to meet him!  I didn't say much (I'm not great at conversation at the best of times, least of all with People Who Impress Me!), but did make sure to thank him for the performance earlier.  He seemed genuinely pleased to have been thanked - even by some random ignoramus like Yrs Trly - to the point that he went right ahead and thanked me back in heartfelt fashion.  He shook my hand and said that it meant a great deal to him to have people come and hear him play, really listen, and appreciate what he was trying to do.  I suddenly had this flash of understanding about how important the audience is in the process of making music.  Kind of like that old philosophical chestnut about the tree falling over in the forest, does it make a sound if there's no-one there to hear it... et cetera.  Music becomes something else when people actually turn up to listen to it.  Hearing the music is an essential complementary process to its composition.  But of course, that is almost meat for another post, so I won't follow that path any further here! >.<

Mr Hayward turned up in my neck of the woods not long afterwards, doing a gig in a tiny little club in Exeter.  I decided to go, the memory of that blast of honesty amidst the warm-and-fuzzy festival atmosphere fresh in my mind.  The music was just as amazing (and I was much closer to it this time!).  Mr H was wandering about freely before his performance, but I didn't march up and pester him.  'Bothering people' is something that bothers me. >_<  Anyway, I had intended to buy a CD afterwards, but they didn't have the one I wanted.  Since then I've looked for it in vain.  But today, an email list I subscribe to came up trumps, with a link to a legal download (also available from emusic.com). ^_^  So, now at last I have a 'virtual souvenir' of one of my favourite musical encounters. :-D

...And if you like thought-provoking words and MAD DRUMMING, I recommend Mr Hayward to you without demur!  If you get the chance to see him live, grab it!

Ok, end of burbling (with sighs of relief all round!). :-)


( 3 confidences — Confide in me... )
Dec. 1st, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
There are drummers, and then there's Charles Hayward. Excellent musician who deserves much more recognition.
Dec. 1st, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! :-) I definitely need to hear more of his music.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 2nd, 2010 09:29 am (UTC)
YES, that's it!! Knew it began with an M, but couldn't quite remember...

I don't think I ever had one of these but I do remember enjoying bashing the hell out of a 'Pixiphone' (sort of a play-Glockenspiel with no 'black notes', so that every tune you tried to play sounded faintly off...). :-)

Objects like these must be every parent's nightmare!! XD
( 3 confidences — Confide in me... )

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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