February 17, 2021

WFH: DAY 32/LENT 1. Morning:

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: MS Outlook has an unhelpful way of marking ‘unread’ mail as ‘read’, when items above or below it are clicked. Thus, everyday I have to review the preceding day’s deliveries in order to check whether there’s any outstanding correspondence that requires a response.

I’m not persuaded, Facebook. You may care if I leave you, but only as one among a mass exodus, which will ‘rob’ you of images to harvest (legally or otherwise) in the future:

9.00 am: On with the initial read-through of the PhD thesis that I’ve begun examining. (In the background: Steve Lacey and Derek Bailey, Company 4 (1976.) I’m filling-in the background (by way of sound illustrations) to Ben Watson’s Adornoite Marxist perspective on the guitarist Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation (2014) — which is my current bedside book.)) 11.00 am: The reading was complete. Thereafter, I made notes on my first impressions and tested some of the text’s pdf links. I wondered whether, with the increasing use of referrals to external, digital content, paper-based theses will soon be a thing of the past. I yearned to be elsewhere today: walking through the galleries of the British Museum and Tate Modern; looking over the Thames towards St Paul’s Cathedral in the late afternoon; and sitting in a Japanese restaurant on a London side street, before a bowl of ramen. Today, I better appreciate those simple pleasures that made my life the richer.

12.00 pm: The weather was fine and I didn’t have a teaching itinerary today, so I was free to take my stroll at my convenience. (I’m a man of routine; I run like clockwork. It’s both a virtue and a vice. Breaking with my established schedule takes a great deal of effort and self-justification. The tree-cutters had been at work all morning on the avenue. By the time I’d arrived, they were busy shredding branches:

The ‘bayou’, which we’d enjoyed for months, had drained almost completely. It’ll be missed. That water-world had been both magical and consoling: a place where you could dream of being elsewhere:

1.00 pm: I had a bowl of packet-ramen for lunch. (Well … you take what you can, when you can, don’t you.) 2.00 pm: There was space in my schedule in which to review my album’s mix over headphones. Final adjustments to each track’s arrangement of sound across the stereo field were begun.

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: Five tracks down and twelve to go. Neither composition nor mixing and mastery get any easier or faster to accomplish, album by album. It’s, for me, an embarrassingly slow process. I’ve neither developed shortcuts nor quick-fixes. Each CD, and every track on each CD, demands something from me that I don’t have in coming to it, but must acquire before leaving.

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