Not so Undercover. But back to the Book that Wrote the Life.
You all thought this was a cop out. Didn’t you? You probably believed ‘she’ was too lazy to flog a book so she wants to distract us, getting her book to tell stories. Tall stories.
Has anyone thought what the new resurrection of the story teller, the spoken word, the poet rapper, the performance poet, might indicate? The spoken word. Logos. in the beginning was the Word…and the word was…
It seems there is a return to the Theatre like Epidaurus and all those other acoustic marvels where poetry and dramatic art drew crowds, and bequeathed us, England rather immortally through our Bard, every term still used, comedy, tragedy,dialogue, character, metre and chorus. We all use these in books, in music, and think in dramatic terms in how to arrest and hold attention. Dramatic art is bred in the bone, but what very few know is the recent evidence that DNA is the proto-language, with syntax, sequences, homonyms and pages, read like a novel. How else does a leaf distinguish itself from a stem, except by awaiting the chapter called leaf, and being summoned on stage…’your solo now, read distinctly… take it away…’ Each cell has the whole script, so reading out protein lines puts when and where centre stage. Even DNA has story telling skills.
I hate to do an ‘I told you so…’ but Involution as a thesis is not surprised at this return to early art through stories, it has appeared itself to suggest that Mankind as a whole has returned to origins, so it is good to be part of, and demonstrate what it claims to expose. S’cuse us while we take a bow.
Story telling, the most ancient art and means of advance, is establishing itself as the ultimate spontaneous culture by which we change and challenge one another. That is what lay behind settling my ‘Careless Talk’ blog at the fringe of the marketplace and hoping some might gather round to listen and in time to speak. As yet I can not promise an audience chez moi ( everybody is so busy negotiating and selling, clever ways to sell other things, mostly) which makes the generosity of this invitation to introduce music doubly generous. I only have a story to tell, and nothing to sell. I do admit it is a big story.
Today I am invited out of the glare of the Marrakech market square to take a glass of mint tea in the shadow of Roz Morris’s ‘The Undercover Soundtrack, as a guest to talk about what music contributes to my writing. It has contributed a great deal, but the one thing I failed to mention on her blog ( it seemed a tad ungracious) was that music took up the podium of life and for many years prevented any writing at all. Instead it brought my feet back to earth but essentially left my head in the clouds. Practice, bows, scores,strings and instruments, and endless travel to expensive maestros meant time to listen to a great deal, but damn all composition of my own until later and distilled through the pipette of memory. A bit like soaking words with an infusion of saffron: pricey, coloured and often dangerous but then exotic words are only exotic if unfamiliar. On the whole I am for making more of them familiar, to give more options and different keys, but I know I play with fire. Another consequence of Involution is the demand for simplicity and minimalism. Good in theory but sometimes a cuisine minceur, pretty on the plate but unsustaining, hungry an hour later. Please do not mistake me as serious,(long words plus Beethoven means serious? Why?) I feel like one of those Buddhists setting fire to another kind of saffron.
Someone once said that it was obvious I had never suffered because I used too many words, and much too easily! It is one area where I quarrel with received opinion that one must be very parsimonious with words. I can quite see that too much confusing spice cancels out, and discrimination is the essence of the pinch to apply, but oh the sweet economy of finding le mot just. ( Another taboo transgressed, but who said we had to stick to one tongue and why is it lazy to use another?) Breaking all barriers would make a for a profusion of nuance…I love German for its effortless emphasis, French for its precision, English for its limitless evocation, and Afrikaans for its irreverent comedy. Why deny any a place in the sun? I wonder if Russian is as poetic as Russians claim themselves to be. Now they are serious!
Those of you never visited by music except turned on and off by a switch have much to be thankful for. I just do not want you to think I am as weighty as my aspirations suggests,(or that Beethoven is all I care about- you have not seen me jive to a penny whistle) because like you I am only a story teller.I just would like the story to manage what music can, and change the DNA spiral of science. To shimmy up between those mirror coils and explode in the brain. So really what I am saying is music lies deeper than words, but the tumbling waves of words sometimes can knock us off our feet and dump us on a different beach.
I want mine sometimes to do that. It does not have to be serious.