Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The music is embedded in me

Yesterday I re-watched an Australian-made movie called Three Summers, which takes over three summers at a fictional folk music festival in Western Australia.  The main character plays the theremin.  One of his character traits is that he's passionate about music.

"Music isn't something you choose.  If you can just drop it, you never had it."

--Roland, Three Summers (movie), 27:42; found 11/28/18 (May've already logged when watched the movie the first time, half a year to a year ago)

Roland:  "You girls are great.  You're really, really talented -- and music's always gonna be in your lives, there's no doubt about that.  But you have to ask yourself:  its it your vocation?  Is it the only thing you want?" 

Girl:  "Yes."

Roland:  "Then you have to make music for itself, not because it'll get you a hit.  You have to know that even if, after a lifetime of playing, you never get that hit, you'll still believe you made the right choice.  [...]  There's a band playing tonight -- an Afghani folk band.  My guess is they're unlikely to ever get a hit, and they probably know it -- but still they play."

(Three Summers (movie), 1:10:45; found 11/28/18 (May've already logged when watched the movie the first time, half a year to a year ago))

That made me think about my own relationship to music.  Over the past two decades or so, I would for literally months without touching a guitar, bass, or keyboard -- but then when I did get around to it, I would spend a few hours noodling around and enjoying making music, just for the inherent enjoyment of it.

In my youth I was in a band with my cousin and my roommate.  After the band broke up, I wasn't single-minded enough to do the "solo" thing -- although this was pre-internet -- so maybe I might've marshalled my forces a bit more if I'd been able to post some music online and mount a webpage.

But:  over the two months I've made an effort to make playing music a daily part of my life:  I have a small hand drum under my desk that I'll play for a few minutes before or after my evening session of typing on the computer (checking e-mail, etc.); I have a tambourine in the front passenger seat, so that when I'm stopped at traffic lights I can play it like a hand drum; and I received a small synthesizer for my birthday, which is about the length of the span between my outstretched thumb and pinky -- which I play on a near-daily basis during the week, on the "train" portion of my daily commute (it has a headphone jack).

And whenever I play music, I feel... good.

I have a substantial backlog of songs to record -- which I always say is better than the opposite:  tons of time, but no songs in the queue.  One of these days I'll sit down and record some of them.  And some-someday I'll sign up for some online song-hosting service, and try selling downloads of my songs.

I'm unlikely to get rich from selling my songs.  But I enjoy playing music; writing songs; and recording songs.  I earn a living from my "day job" -- so I'm happy to just be involved with music on a personal, informal basis.

Music makes me happy.

Yup.  :)


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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Basically have all the tools I need

I took the day off work today, partly "just because", but also because I had to burn off some excess hours.  Dropped the kids off at school, watched the (oddly long) awards ceremony (one of my sons received a "high achievement" award for the semester), and then left around 10 or 10:30am (I don't remember).

Among my wanderings, I stopped off at Carba-Tec for the first time in about a year.  They sell machine and hand-tool woodworking tools -- for woodworking hobbyists, not the "hardware store" types of tools:  so, medium- to upper-end.  For some reason -- maybe because they sell Japanese-style saws, chisels and handplanes -- they also sell Japanese cooking knives.

I confirmed something interesting: there really aren't any additional woodworking tools I need -- or even particularly want:  I've reached saturation.  Any tools that I need to accomplish the sort of woodworking that I like to do, I already own.  So, really, I just need to log more shop time -- not accumulate more tools.

(Exception:  a old-style, 1-2 person crosscut handsaw -- for sawing more efficiently through larger logs.  But there's no urgency.)

Similarly:  even though I appreciate a good-quality cooking knife, I really only use four knives: a chef's knife, a Japanese cleaver-like vegetable knife, a paring knife, and a modified paring knife for coring apples.  And I already own all of those.  So even though they had a number of nice-looking -- and reasonably-priced -- Japanese knives... I don't need 'em.

Upon further reflection, I don't really need any more musical instruments or recording gear.  In a lot of ways, it's more interesting to operate within the limitations of my equipment.  And I have a simple recording interface; a few inexpensive mics; an acoustic and an electric guitar; an electric bass; an inexpensive synth; and various pieces of percussion.  That's really all I need to record any of the songs I've written. 

So -- even though it's fun to browse online ads, trawling for musical bargains -- I'd be better served by applying that time to actually recording -- or at least, playing an instrument.


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