(Dis) Connect.

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Many many more weeks of lockdown have passed by in a bit of a blur if I’m being honest. Health continues to grumble along keeping the days uneven and the feeling that progress and life have stalled a bit …… but I imagine everyone feels that at the moment from time to time (or maybe all of the time!?). It’s easier to get a grip and “buck up a bit” on some days more than others which is not to say that I’m stuck in a cycle of constantly being a misery chops …… more that I think that of late there have been a few more misery chops days than previously. The mind and body are seeking a bit of respite but currently there is none to be had …… so I’ll resume muddling along for now and grab ahold of the good days whenever they come along. The above picture is of Burghead beach in Moray and was taken by Donald E. Ross. I get lost in the ebb and flow of waves connecting, disconnecting and then reconnecting with the sand.

There have been lots of things to get stuck into though. Rehearsals and open sessions with Sonic Bothy have been happening with live captioning as I hear very little useful audio through online platforms. We’ve chanced upon an amazing captioner, who besides captioning words, talks, meetings and conversations vividly describes sounds and music in the rehearsals and sessions for me. Think madrigal and word painting and you’re just about there such is the depth of her descriptions! I had first worked with this particular captioner with Drake Music in the last while and a few weeks ago she had the “delightful” task of captioning my first ever webinar about words and music and ending with some Dada voice work stuff. Humour seems to creep into most things I do and she said she could hardly type through laughing so much. So that’s nice. And webinars …… ooh that was a challenge I hope never to repeat for at least a year and a half! A good challenge and way out of my comfort zone. I think it’s the being “out front” thing which I find most difficult which probably sounds a bit weird because I do perform from time to time but being on a stage I can do while public speaking is akin to sitting on really hairy prickly cucumbers …… on purpose!

Can you believe that it’s actually June …… where the flamingo did May go!? That’ll be that blurring of days and weeks thing. And does anyone else feel as though they have done not that much at all in the past 10 weeks!? As if the time passed blankly looking at the wall or something …… in that good timing of stuff that sometimes happens I’m nearing the end of a two week online workshop with Imaginate which looks at you and your practice and works gently through a series of tasks which have an unexpected way of actually making you think about things in a non-scary and fairly deep and meaningful way. It is gently bringing me back into the present and kick-started a mindfulness practice which had abandoned me so far during lockdown. I’m using the word gently a lot ……. can you gently face things? I hope so. That’s what I’m aiming for …….

Besides the really scary webinar task we also had a question to respond to at the Drake Music artist residency this last month which asked us to ponder on the themes of “connect and disconnect”. As I feel quite disconnected a lot of the time anyway owing to my own shortcomings in personality and a propensity to hide I wondered what it would be like to spend a couple of weeks engaging online as much as I could and so I turned up to every captioned webinar and talk on music and disability arts and Covid possible. Was it illuminating? A lot of them were awfully interesting to be fair so that was quite good! By the end of it I was talking a bit in them, trying to contribute but not feeling comfortable doing so. Did I network or find a voice? In reality it just confirmed what I knew before in that I’m rubbish at this sort of stuff and that doing more of it in a way I was uncomfortable with wasn’t going to make me any better at it. So I’ll probably go back to being quiet in these online gatherings but will try my utmost to be an active listener! It was really interesting to “be out there” a bit more though and I’ll certainly continue with that albeit in a quiet way.

I’ve had a nice commission for a new song come in and I’ll waffle on about that more in the next post. I’ve also applied for 2 things which may or may not come through but it seems important to keep trying at least a little bit. I did write a fair few lyrics in May although so far they haven’t come together with music yet in any pleasing way so this month I have a song without words. It’s about connecting and disconnecting and is called (funnily enough!?) …..  (Dis) Connect .

New projects & staying still …

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So I was just about to enter a month of mad travelling and work but have suddenly found that I’ll be staying still for a while together with a lot of others in these odd times. Have been meaning to write in here for over a year but haven’t found the spare moment until now. Wonder what else I’ll catch up with ….. those 6 bags of paperwork need sorting for sure. But also wondering if this will be a good time to “catch up with stuff” and to “check in” generally with life and with people.

Another reason for actually getting around to writing here is due to a new residency with Drake Music in London. There are 3 of us, each with widely different practices who will be working sometimes collaboratively and sometimes on our own projects under the umbrella of the residency with Drake Music during 2020. We started on 5th March at Drake Music’s offices based at Rich Mix and now, just over a week later find we’ll all be working remotely. One aspect of this residency is to document the experience and I think I’ll mainly be doing that here. I haven’t actually stayed still at home properly and for more than a week since last September. Heck, I know I’m not the only busy person on wheels on this here planet but it also struck me how lucky I’ve been with opportunities lately.

Drake Music have set us a creative challenge to get us started and working together …… we (gently) interrogated members of the team about what it means to work for the organisation and other useful things and these interviews will form the first creative response which we’ll present in the guise of a podcast. I’ve not done a podcast before …. one of the main guiding forces in this residency is to be challenged and to do things creatively and collaboratively that you might not have done before. To sort of move out of your creative comfort zone if you will. I get a nervous wibble in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it ….. I’m not sure “wibble” is a proper word but it perfectly describes the sensation. I think it’s a combination of “Yay” and “Eek” ….. I’ve also not had a website before but I’m going to be adapting this blog into that while at the same time trying not to put my face out there too much and bore the pants off everyone!?