Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Thank you for the music

As I’ve mentioned before (stop yawning at the back there…) I suddenly have a lot of work on.  I’m tackling three projects simultaneously but I must be the world’s worst multi-tasker - even drinking a cup of tea at the same time as remembering to breathe properly is a challenge and frequently results in messy snorting episodes and my pallor turning a frightening shade of blue.  So I’ve got myself into a right pickle about how I’m going to complete it all on time and to several clients’ satisfaction.  I think (worry) about it and I dream about it and that’s when I’m not actually doing it.  I worked on Christmas Day and I worked all day today, it’s relentless.  I do love what I do, I know I’m lucky and it’s “not a day down the mines” as Mr SDS relishes in reminding me  -  but as it’s  all I do and I have to rely completely on myself and whatever small degree of creativity I can muster, it makes me very anxious at the same time.

However, there’s one thing that really helps.  I have a little CD player under the desk in my shedio, safe from stray paint and spilt water, and the difference it makes having music playing while I work is incredible.  I wonder why that is?  What is it about music that is so therapeutic yet so motivational?  It keeps me calm (it doesn’t have to be calming music – none of that new age windchime whalesong ’n’ waterfalls stuff; upbeat and noisy works fine for me).  It lifts my spirits (although admittedly I don’t listen to Radiohead…) and it distracts me from everything else so I just feel in the here and now, as if I’ve gone into a special room, not just physically but also inside my mind, sealed off from every other aspect of daily life. 

It's while I'm painting in my shedio that I listen to music the most, so right now that’s a lot.   The CD player may be humble but with my PC about to draw its pension – so old it’s a wonder that its Windows aren’t mullioned – I sometimes have difficulty with web-based listening.  Youtube frustrates me with its streaming (it would take ten minutes to play through a Napalm Death number, you know what I’m saying)  and I daren’t load anything big for fear of my hard drive melting like a cheesy toast topper.  It’s always great to hear something via a blog - especially on recommendation by cultured aficionados with good taste (yes, you!) - but it’s still transitory…   It's no wonder I always come back to good ol’ physical CDs. 

So it was with delight that I opened my post the other day and found a compilation (I can’t get used to calling it a mix) that a friend had put together.  This friend (a cultured aficionado with good taste, of course) and I used to swap tapes, going back at least a couple of decades now, and I think we know each other’s musical background, preferences and fixations quite well.  It’s been a while since a fresh new selection came my way and the timing was perfect.  I slipped it into my modest machine in the shedio and from the moment the first track kicked in I was off, painting happily away, soothed and at the same time stimulated by more music.  Unfamiliar songs lifted my spirits, a few familiar voices kept me calm.  Long live the compilation CD, especially when it’s both a surprise and full of surprises - and your friend understands you!  I may get my work completed on time yet.

Crayon Fields: All The Pleasures Of The World
(one of many cool choices)

10 comments:

  1. Whilst I don't envy you working Christmas day it's back to the wage slave office for me in the morning and I don't get the longed fpr release of playing music sadly (why they don't like it I have no idea - its a class thing I suspect, there was never any problem blasting out music when I worked in a factory, but no, we have to pretend to be serious when we're in a building with suits...) - So I have to rely on music in the car on the way in and there really is nothing like a good hand picked selection that you didn't select yourself. I'm rather hoping for something unexpected in the post just to take that edge off - you never know ! keep on creating though, don't let us lot distract you !

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    1. I hope it wasn't too bad going back today...
      I like your point about music in offices - I would've loved that but I do have a tendency to subconsciously absorb words I hear and then automatically say/type them by mistake - could just imagine sending that important email to the boss without realising it included half a Ramones song...
      Hope you receive a hand-picked selection very soon and can take the long route round to work in the morning!
      ~ And distractions from "you lot" are always welcome :-)

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  2. Ah, the glory and the wonder of music - so indefinable. I know exactly what you're saying and cannot fathom the souls of folk who can happily live without a constant supply of tunes. As for a great compilation - a sheer delight. I do yearn for the days of the old trusty compilation TAPE, mind you - those were the things. Keep on listening, creating and grooving. I'm also with you totally on Radiohead.

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    1. Ah I'm glad you know what I mean (well of course you do!) I still have a soft spot for those compilation tapes too and wish I'd kept some that I've been given over the years. I'm hanging on to the CDs now, anyway - there's a lesson in there!

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  3. Yes, the treasured old C90 mix tapes from a friend whose tastes were similar - but not the same - as my own... and the fact that my car stereo would chew them all up at random intervals... the fact that they wouldn't last forever was part of their great charm and the excitement of listening to them!

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head there: tastes that were similar but not (completely) the same, yes that's what makes them even more appealing and exciting. When it's from a friend whose tastes you really appreciate and respect, you're always more open-minded too and ready to lap up something new, I find.

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  4. Two recommendations from me... I seem to becoming an old Folky (yes I've spelt that correctly!)...

    Lau - Race the Loser
    Sam Carter - The No Testament

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    1. Thank you, you 'old Folky'! Well I'm not a very folky girl but a really good song can transcend a genre, can't it? - and I know there is some great stuff out there. I shall check those out; I did hear something by Sam Carter a while back and I was impressed.

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  5. It's not often that you'll find me quoting a politician, but when I read the following, it amused me and brought me scurrying back to this post to share it with you.

    'I couldn't imagine a day without music. It relaxes and stimulates me in equal measure and I hate the sound of silence - the concept, I mean, not the track by Simon and Garfunkel.' Charles Kennedy.

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    1. Thanks for that - who'd have thought it? I wonder what he listens to (whaddya reckon: Cradle of Filth?)
      I must admit, though, that I DO love the sound of silence (as well as of music) and not the S & G track either... Sometimes I just need complete nothingness!

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