To Better Days!

I woke up earlier than usual, with a calm and clearer head, my IQ shot up by 10 points and I looked forward to the day. I felt as light as a feather, the heavy burden that’s plagued my existence suddenly gone .

Without realizing, I started to clean my room, tidying every nook and cranny. I wear nicer clothes, I comb my hair. My mother and I get along a whole lot better.

I sing more often, with more ease, with more control, like I’m flying with my voice. A burst of energy radiated from within and I am charged with motivation in my craft.

The Problem was gone for good. When I pushed The Problem away at first, it stubbornly stayed, implanting itself with promises and smiles… and even piquing my pity.

It all wore away with the mental tornado it was brewing within that would harm me, and even my family and my friends. That was the breaking point. I couldn’t fall into it anymore.  It was more harm and no good.  Then I had to make it ugly, I had to make it official. Now The Problem is really gone, leaving the orbit of my world. It’s residues stay though, serving as reminders of the haunting past and the lessons with it.

Troubled souls are best left alone. Don’t try to be a hero. There’s better things to do. I learned the hard way.

Me? A Negative Nancy?!

The other day I was informed by a former close one (with whom I severed the ties with anyway) that I was negative. In fact, unbarably negative. I was quite dismayed because I genuinely could not recall being anything but positive. But then I recalled another close friend from years ago making a similar complaint. Maybe they were onto something? But then it dawned on me that these were the same people who attempted suicide.

I decided to analyze myself anyway! I listed the subjects of my conversations as a start. Hm… I like to talk about the wonders of music, books I’ve read, character analysis, local politics and culture. Then I analyzed my blogs and I find them to be a pattern of praise and complaints (as most critical writing may come across that way).

These weren’t subjects I could share with those ones closest to me because it was no interest of them- which is why I probably started the blog, I had so much to say but nowhere to say it to. When I tried with these former friends, I didn’t really get a response. They never went to shows, doc screenings, public meetings or demonstrations with me, ever! Even when I pleaded with them! So then I asked myself, why did I carry on talking to them if I didn’t even enjoy their company?

Some people are like parasites, you don’t really want to hang out with them, but you aren’t going to be rude and push them away either. But since they have been rejected by others, they take this as a sign to stay, and you tolerate them, then you get used to them. Then you realize you’ve wasted your time. Oh my! Why haven’t I realized this before?

I’m not a negative nancy, I’m the pushover who needs the strength to say ‘fuck off’ before having to complain about it. I have the right to enjoy my free time and talk to people I actually like. Sometimes the answers are so simple it hurts!

In university, I met a lot of cool people, and I wish I pursued their friendship more, but the older you get the harder that becomes. Regardless, I am still in casual speaking terms with a lot of great people, and I should be very grateful for that. How I wish I went to their potlucks, demonstrations and fundraisers! Oh well, there will be more! And there has. Lately, I’ve been speaking to some levelheaded musicians and journalists. And with the projects I’m working on in the near future, there will be more cool people on the path! I’ll be making more docs, writing more articles, and writing and playing more songs!

And I have the freedom to do so! I’m not on jail, or addicted to heroine, or live in an oppressive country! Life is just great!

The trouble with folk music…

In the past few months, I got really lost in the world

I wonder what Mick Maloney has to say on the subject

I wonder what Mick Maloney has to say on the subject

of folk music, cramming as many songs as I can in my head, memorizing as many tunes on the mandolin.

I consult as being the official go-to for scores of all tunes. But unfortunately, not everyone sees eye to eye with this.

When playing with others, I discover they tend to play different variations. They don’t use scores, nor do they read any score at all! They learn by ‘ear’. An oral tradition of sorts!

This I discovered this fact to be the fundamental difference between folk music, and classical music. Classical music demands every note to be followed. Classical musicians work tirelessly to emulate the original sound while folk players add their own variations to their folk tunes passing it down to future generation players who also make it their own, so on and so forth until the tune doesn’t sound remotely close to how it originally was composed!

Some people find this to be the charm of folk music, but it bothers me… profoundly. It’s maybe because I come from a formal background, where everything has to be official and written on paper with no detail spared.

Apparently my whole approach is wrong. I’m in fact not supposed to sit and practice the tunes. If I want to learn them, I must try to play along with the musicians on the fly, with a skillfully trained ear. It seems like a cool talent to have, but it also seems rather… loose.

You can say you are able to play by ear, but you can’t capture every little detail! Naturally you add your own spin to the song, taking away the spirit of it!

I could try to have an open mind, but I just can’t bring myself to it. I’ll stubbornly play the songs as they were originally meant to be played, and the fellow players will eventually just have to learn how to play by ear with the official scores as set out by
… I hope that’s not bad etiquette…

Why Jerry Springer is the best television show!

People always give me flack for watching this show using the same arguments against it- it’s trashy and its low class. But one thing you can’t argue is that it’s honest.  When we see impulsive behaviour like a guy punching out a guy, or a woman snatching a wig, we are watching human nature at its rawest form. This is possibly one of the best shows to have ever been on television!

The Jerry Springer broadcasts a side of life we always ignore- the impoverished, the mentally ill and the uneducated. These guys are hardly on television because of its somber tone, but only Jerry Springer can bring the marginalized side of our society in an entertaining easy-to-digest sort of way. The light humour doesn’t ask the viewers to relinquish all their pity, rather it brings about exposure to a dire problem.

As for that argument about Jerry Springer not being classy, I strongly disagree because unlike ‘classy’ people,  Jerry never judges his guests. Ever. No matter how outlandish or unusual their behaviour is, he never ridicules or embarrasses them in anyway. Some may argue that the guests embarrass themselves, but perhaps it appears embarrassing because we chosen to ignore people who act up.

Jerry Springer once said that all these problems, be it affairs, prostitution, tranny deception are prevalent in our society, it’s just that the higher up we go in our society the better these ‘problem’s are hidden. I agree.

There are no secrets with Springer, the guests on the show are free to act however way they want, as lude as they can be, no sugar coating of civility and manners . It’s the only time on television where we get to see genuine everyday human nature. Television shouldn’t only be used to broadcast the pretty and rich elite!

The other argument I often hear is that the show is staged, its fake only because “nobody acts like that”. Well of course it’s hard to believe people could be so outlandish, but did you ever consider that the rough circumstances in these peoples lives makes them so that they have nothing else to lose? They don’t care what you think. I’ve ventured to the crummy side of life, living in a ghetto and working in a dive bar and I know a genuine down-on-luck folk when I meet one. And nothing comes across as anymore genuine than the guests on the Jerry Springer show, for that I love it.

The difficulty of being a lady musician

I’m concerned about the lack of women in the local music scene!

The only women I see are the bartenders and if there are any ‘musicians’ that do come, they are ‘singers’ or at best three chord ‘singer songwriters’!  Where are the female drummers, bassists, and guitarists?  Once in a blue moon there are female musicians and I grasp onto them and beg them to stay so much! But they don’t come back!

I’ve tried to think of the many reasons as to why this could be. Maybe female musicians are not too keen to linger around bars with all the dudes. Maybe female musicians do not feel accepted? Maybe they do not have the confidence? These were some of the repercussions I had when I started out.

There are many unspoken troubles a female musician has to face.  For instance, it is so hard to find people to jam with. The dynamic tends to be a close one and guys tend to abuse it. How can a female be comfortable jamming in a room alone with a guy if she has this understandable fear sitting in the back of her mind?

Then there is also the problem of not having enough role models out there.  It’s barricaded by a front line in the music industry- sound engineers, technicians and dj’s who are all men!  Even at the record store and instrument stores most of the sales people are men.  I had a friend who once told me not to go to Steve’s music store because they are not too fond of women and beginners. The music industry is surrounded by men!

To break into this circle to the actual production side of music is quite a feat!  How often have you heard of a record selling female producer?  I can’t even think of one.  Once in a while we hear of a bassist in some band, or a keyboardist, or a violinist, but its not ever equal or remotely close to the number of men!

Ya that blows. But I won’t let it deter me, nor will I use it as an excuse and be lazy with practice. It’s just a mere observation and hopefully things will change, and it slowly has…