It’s been quite a day….and it’s only 3.30pm. One of those days when you feel like you’re in one of those dreams where your feet are running, but you’re getting nowhere.
In fact it felt like this all week, really.
The car door (driver’s) got jammed and would barely shut. The wash house door to outside was opened for delivery of a washing machine (the old one broke). The hinge came away and the door wouldn’t shut. With the help of a kitchen knife I managed to shut and lock it. The electrician came to fix an air conditioner. They went. Then the washing machine wouldn’t go and I noticed the power filter wasn’t working in the fish tank. Fuses blown. Electricians came back. Hopefully it’s fixed now!
Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits helped restore some peace of mind as I did the dishes.
Their music took me back. (I’m not a fan of ‘old gold’ hits on a radio station, but I do like purposefully picking out a favourite album and letting it wash over me – without “$9.99″ ads, “Jono in the mornings” and “$5000 FREE if you….” …I get little ratty, quickly, with commercial radio and tv these days).
The wind is blowing, unseasonally. It’s supposed to be summer but it feels like autumn today. For me, autumn reminds me of a fire in the fireplace, and long peaceful uninterrupted afternoons spent composing at the piano. I don’t regret one single minute of the time I’ve invested doing this over the years – and I’ve spent many, many hours composing music. When I wasn’t fishing here:
Peace – piano solo (live in the studio).
Here’s a piece I composed a while back. I made this video of me playing it live, in my studio, today. This is the title track from my piano solo album Peace.
The album plays for 60 minutes. It’s very chilled all the way through. It’s my current fav album to put on headphones when I want to relax.
I’d like to compose right now, but other things are calling me. “Paint a picture; are you going to do a cartoon video this week? Podcast episode tonight? You need to do a timetable for your piano students for next week…” The list goes on.
I have to say I miss those uncomplicated afternoons I spent as a twenty and thirty something, sitting at the piano.
I think maybe I spent so many hours in that dreamlike creative state, I permanently programmed my brain to be ready to go there at will.
If I don’t, I get titchy.
Here’s a painting
No plein air seascape this week. Today was windy has heck. It would’ve been next to impossible, painting outside. I did this painting about 1987. I remember I following my nose as I painted. The idea I had in mind was: this is what goes on during the act of music composition.
Perhaps the 2 characters represent the left and right side of the brain. They are both wearing one of my shirts which I used to wear at the time.
If you’d like to view my seascapes there’s both plein air and studio (realism) painting and prints available here:
During covid lockdown, for 40 odd weeks, I got busy creating free music and art content and posting it online. I’m glad it helped some folks along, especially all those kids that chose to tune in and draw with me each week, while listening to my piano music on YouTube channel Pete pascoe Music and Art. That was cool.
Now I’m at a crossroads of sorts.
Do I carry on with a cartoon drawing video each week? Or should I do ‘turn about’ with a music video…this blog I’ll do weekly – and the podcast. The Hazy Line (Memoirs) blog…I might do one every few weeks.
Song and A Chat Podcast
In each episode, I attempt to give you an insight as to where the featured song came from, what it’s about , etc.
This episode’s song, however, is an elusive fish. It’s more about the feeling. It’s an ‘observation’ sort of a lyric, delving into deep archetypal sort of undercurrents that go on between male and female energies. It talks about dance and dramas that seems to happen to most of us as we find way along in our lives, keeping eye out for a potential long term relationship….
I guess it’s about how things tend to sort of come together naturally if we allow them to. That said, it’s a complex business and has been studied – and agonised over – since forever.
Perhaps I’ve just caught a feeling, managed to weave that into some lyrics and floated them on a tune without really answering any questions.
An image that comes to me each time in the third verse is: looking in a window at a brightly lit old inn, somewhere near the sea. It’s late in the evening, and there are reflective men in there, perhaps catching their reflections in the window as they cast their thoughts back over the years…
If all this sounds sort of mysterious, well, it is. And that’s the essence of any art. The thing is, if it rings true as you are writing, then it’s worth completing because if it’s true to you as a composer, it will ring true to the listener.
See if this song stirs any feelings for you (It starts at 8min 15seconds in).
Before and after the song rolls, in amongst the serious business of analysing a craft, I talk about the week I’m having, some of the things that are going on. Plus there’s a memory here of a gig I played in a restaurant where some bread rolls became airborne… All good fun. It’s great to be able to relate some of these funny things that have happened to me on gigs and otherwise.
I’m starting back teaching piano lessons in person at the primary school (where I normally teach as a contractor). I’m not ready for public transport, but that’s my only option. I’ve enjoyed not commuting these last 9 months. Truth be known, the thought of heading back out into the world is quite daunting.
So this is the moment where I catch my breath, before I dive back in. I don’t think we are through this Covid thing yet. Given the choice, I’d prefer to keep my head down for another year. But that’s not what my bank balance says and that’s not what the prime minister says..I have to go back to work – in person. Also, my young students have had enough of online lessons. fair enough, they’ve done well.
What I’ll do is I’ll look at the positives and be grateful. I’m very lucky: it’s wonderful to work in a great school with excellent students.
I’ve written on average a song a month at the school, between lessons, over the last ten years. Since Covid, I’ve only written a few ( plus some piano solo pieces). I spent my time and energy on the aforementioned online content and painting a seascape each week ( in between teaching half my piano students online – about 20, weekly).
I managed 3 outdoor gigs in January, but gigging is a long way off being a viable way to make income presently. Entertainers, musicians are just not welcome in venues too much yet. Fair enough.
I want to play live concerts online , but I don’t have the right gear. I want to animate my cartoons to make music videos , but I don’t have the gear, and I want to make video courses but the phone (camera) memory is full.
All of this frustrates me no end, but I know I’ll find my way through this year one way or another. I’ll find ways to finance these projects .
I’m really enjoying listen to the band album, The Roughest Cut. I’m stoked with how the songs came together on the evening we recorded (that’s right -all done in a couple of hours, back to back), we approached the session as if we were playing a gig. Here’s the set list
Here’s how I made the cover. I cut the letters out of a magazine, going for a ‘lo fi’ look, to match the recording process. This pic has an early (discarded) version of an album cover.
By keying out the green colour on the computer, I could overlay the letters on images:
The swirling colours I imagined to be our creative ideas interacting. I got them from a photo of a science experiment one of my kids was doing for school. Milk and food colouring…
I’m really happy with the finished cover. The layers work and the overall image is representative of the production on the album. This is an ‘old school’ band. I’m very happy with what we’ve produced.
The music? Sort of Neil Young /Crowded house -ish. Melodic Rock. An easy listen.
You can find it on all kinds of platforms, including spotify: The Roughest Cut
Ok, Here we go… I’ll start by moving the computer chair over (our 2 black and white kittens are fast asleep on the black leather – just as well there are some white paws, otherwise I would’ve sat on them!) . I’ll bring the piano stool over for me and…
I’ll start by creating the piano lessons timetable for term 1.
It’s a new chapter and I’ll get on with it – and continue with this online content, too. It’s all a work in progress, a balancing act.
I hope your week is going well.
PS, here’s the lyrics to the song featured on this week’s podcast…
TO THE SEA Words & Music by P.Pascoe
SHE HAD EYES OF BLUE, LIKE A WINTER SKY
OR WERE THAN BROWN. COULD BE MISTAKEN
BRUNETTE HAIR TO CATCH YOUR TEARS. WHEN YOU CRY
OR MAYBE BURNT RED? IS MY MEMORY BREAKIN’?
EITHER WAY, SHE WALKED A WALK
SHE HAD THE HABIT OF MURMURING WHEN SHE TALKED
HER WORDS OF LONGING AND MYSTERY
AND MEN WOULD ALL ABANDON THEIR PLANS,
DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH THEIR DAYS
THYE NEVER COULD QUITE UNDERSTAND
THEYED TURN AND WALK AWAY. TO THE SEA
MISSING THE DREAM LAID OUT FOR THEM
THEY CHASED A SPIRIT THAT DANCED
JUST BEYOND THEIR INTELLECT, OUTLOOK GRIM,
THEY DASHED ON THE ROCKS THEIR CHANCE
YET SOME HELD TRUE, SAILORS IN THE STORM
TILLERS SET NORTH UNTIL THE END
AND BY THEIR SIDE. STOOD A GIRL. CALM AND WARM
TOGETHER THEY NO LONGER PRETEND
COS IT’S NO LONGER THE END.