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)
(one of many cool choices)