March 23, 2020

And a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3.5)

Sunday, March 22 (Mothering Sunday). My mother, Blackpool, 1954:

The broadcast from Lambeth Palace was a little self-conscious and starchy. The camera hadn’t enough to see; the participants needed lapel microphones. I found worship difficult. TV is a medium of spectacle rather than of participation, in my experience. The more the Church of England engages in televisual services, and the more I watch them, the better we’ll adapt to our respective roles, no doubt. Nevertheless, I appreciated the provision:

Monday. March 23. WFH: DAY 5. 8.15 am: A communion. 9.00 am: A review of this week of the term ahead and a rummage through a significantly lighter inbox. My aim was to maintain one-to-one tutorials, wherever possible, dispatch epistolary encouragement, whenever necessary; and plan my working timetable to the hour, as a matter of principle. This is not a time to drift. Determinations can be strengthened; ideas consolidated; the back of new projects broken; achievements scrutinized; and new skills acquired, over this period. I’ll not have time on my hands.

I’m blessed with a lovely garden. It will be my consolatory ‘safe’ outdoors and exercise yard in the weeks ahead:

10.00 am: Today, the composition was mixed over headphones for the first time. I aimed to bring balance and order to the mix by spreading the samples across the stereo field, arranging them in depth, and ensuring that each sample is clear and not obfuscating any other sample. (‘Acoustic distancing’, as it were.) This would not be the final mix; that would be essayed only when all the other compositions in the suite are completed.

Brexit sowed the malignant seeds of division and disunity within the constituent countries of the UK, and among families and friends. Perhaps the Coronavirus will draw us back together, as we fight a common foe. I’m grateful that the UK is still within the exit transition period; we haven’t entirely cut ourselves adrift. At a time when our Government’s pronouncements on this crisis sound like a cracked-bell, many European leaders have, in stark contrast, taken firm and decisive action. The UK needs their wisdom, resolve, and solidarity right now, as we did in time of war.

1.00 pm: ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ My new Power Supply Unit arrived. Normally, I’d not bat an eyelid. Even small expressions of normality are prone to make me excitable these days. The parcel was deposited on the doorstep (as though by the fairies). The courier had vanished.

1.30 pm: After lunch, I was back under the cans. ‘Don’t seek to improve that which already works well, John!’, my inner-tutor (intuition) advised. 3.00 pm: Cans-off. It’s advisable to check your handiwork against the real-world acoustics of the studio monitors periodically.

4.30 pm: I could no longer hear either the composition or the mix. (Listening fatigue.) There were other projects beckoning: a book proposal; research for said book; new sound equipment to master; and recording techniques to explore. These will be engaged in rotation. All will come into play not when the world returns to normal (because it won’t), but when the struggle to define a new way of life has begun.

6.30 pm: Practise session. The Gibson Les Paul was on the guitar stand this evening. 7.30 pm: Eventide:

The final session of the day was set-aside for collating links to reviews and tutorials related to a newly-acquired sound sampler.

A reflection upon the end of one thing and the beginning of another:

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