“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” (Carl Rogers)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Fourteen) - and Review

Not this kind of snow, not the good snow
Learning about snow and how I will never ever be near that stuff again, I don't remember the last time I felt as bleak as I felt 3 days after last week's - admittedly enjoyable! - excess. Hope had gone, clarity had gone, I felt alone and lost - was grateful for a timely warning to look out for the come-down so at least I knew what it was.

Brrr snow is cold indeed.

On the plus side, waking up feeling normal again the day after was phenomenal, energy, focus, gtd - wheeee!

Sometimes things just happen when the time is right, rather than being able to make the time right for them to happen. Last week, when I had time put aside for being 'free' and 'creative', I had taken some notes with me towards, essentially, a person-centred song - I decided ages ago that I would write a song for every chapter/main theme/significant something of my thesis - and did nothing about it, didn't even look at it/them. One night in the last week, I started to knock something up and it started to come together, I processed it overnight and got some improving ideas, took it up again the following evening and I must say it feels pretty well finished. I am moved when I sing it, so I know it's real and I feel connection with Carl Rogers for some more times in my life! I might play it on monday at the pub/folk circle in Cleethorpes, along with my version of Dave's version of fuck you fuck your money (not original title)...

Wilkie Collins' Woman in White, the terrible closed-off lives that people had at that time due to the awful dead weight of sex and class power over people's lives - it made painful listening, I just wanted to say 'for fuck's sake, just tell him to go and fuck himself' - but of course, they were bound by those invisible ties of power. And we still live to a smaller extent in the same world, we are their inheritors and every generation has to fight against that kind of power over which humans still crave.  Talking of which, just fuck off with your royal baby shite. When I was in Lundon - and that was a week or so ago, mind - I happened to walk past the designated hospital for this everyday tale of parasitic people and there were grown men and women dressed up in union flag suits with posters saying some shite like 'we can't wait' or 'we pray for a girl' or some utter shite. Surely, the word 'oleaginous' was invented for these slimy fucks crawling all over the privilege, power and wealth that the aristos took hundreds of years ago and cling on to like barnacles - and having to listen to 'serious' journalists discussing the 'implications' on the radio... I can feel a news blackout coming on.

An article in The Guardian about Symphonic Soul inspired me to seek out some of the albums I hadn't heard before - and I've been listening to this stuff ever since! Amazing bands who made amazing music: Blue Magic, The Chi-Lites, The Delfonices, The Dramatics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Manhattans, The Moments, The Spinners and the Stylistics - so much beautiful, heart wrenching music, too much to single just one out, but here's one anyway, The Delfonics Theme, with an extract from the article to rightly build it up, talking here about Thom Bell, the arranger and producer of many of these lovely works of art...
The music writer Barney Hoskyns is one of the few – aside from all those who bought the records – to acknowledge Bell’s daring, breathtaking arrangements. “The records Bell made with the Stylistics, and with the Delfonics, the Spinners, Deniece Williams and others, are surely as close as soul music ever came to the subtlety, complexity and sheer beauty of Bach or Mozart,” he wrote in 2007, describing him as “the pre-eminent genius of symphonic soul”. So props to Mr Bell, who reaches some kind of apogee on this track from the Delfonics’ third album (from 1970), the Sgt Pepper of sumptuous sorrow – opener Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) isn’t even the best track, which should give you some idea of the delights therein. The classically trained Bell brings his full arsenal – piano, harp, woodwinds, strings – to bear on this achingly slow, sepulchral near-instrumental. And when the vocals do start, they are the quintessence of yearning, a choir of near-castrati. 


It really seems an age since my last review of these reasons to be cheerful - I'm still very happy to be doing this, it feels like such a positive act, of beating off despair with directed energy. So, in the interim, I've listened to and blogged a little of Respighi and his homage to Botticelli, walked another section of the Viking Way, captured a little more of Freedom to Learn, tasted a word salad, deepened my experience of gardening, bade Mr Thoreau a fond adieu, discovered a wonderful monthly guitar/singing/warmpeople/drinking arena, built up another protest song and written a thesis song, reconnected with old friends in London, learnt that though the drugs might work, it's not always in a good way - and I suppose through even all of this, I have made and am making significant progress on my big writing project. Happy Fly!


  1. AND just to add to the list, I am sure I am not the only one that is touched and inspired by your journey/process/being/becoming ...
    What is more
    even the seeds in the garden are only waking up greeting the day because YOU felt inspired to plant them.

  2. I should have met you many moons ago! Still, this moon will do me :-))


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