Monday, July 16, 2018

Can Gentleness Be Overrated? Today, I think not!

 There has been overshadowing of my spirit this week but I’ve written about that in very small print above – inperceptible to the naked eye I hope - and now will persevere in telling a different story.


I had done a very good job of hardly drinking any alcohol over the last two months. I didn’t like the balakans that it let into my aura – dark entities that embed plausible but demoralizing thoughts in your mind that quickly depress the vibrancy of all your cells, from head to toe. Also I was on a pretty successful health drive, no bread, no crisps or processed sugar and taking a full complement of supplements in case I was called upon to do something heroic. 

However, I found that one or two drinks really fuelled my feng shui reshuffle over the couple of weeks. I painted the gate, the low wall, the front door, I got my paintings back and up, I moved the piano, I forged a path into the office. The long sunny evenings and a glass of Guinness or whatever I had making the jobs fifty thousand times more enjoyable. A real occasion. It came to an end, when I was down at the plaza (the 24hr garage where I go on line – no wifi mayhem for me at Harmony Hall, thank you!

It was like divine intervention. One friend rang and said pick up a couple of beers and meet me in the woods for the surround sound Dark Side of the Moon experience. I hadn’t even drunk the beers, I had just taken them to the counter and they had already disorientated me. I left my laptop on the array of chocolate bars and went home. Three whole hours later, I at last wondered where the laptop was and raced back down to see if it was stolen or rescued by staff. Not only was it there, safe and sound, but I bumped into another friend who said that there was to be an end of term concert on Friday – four days later. 

The concert
Typical me, I picked up the pendulum and asked, should I take this opportunity to get the Chopin Nocturne up to the best I can? Yes. How many times would I need to play it in order to carry it off? 45. So that was the end of the boozing and dancing and writing and gardening, it was simply play, practice, repeat, study, experiment. I played it with the intention of heart and that was quite beautiful, like melting icecream. I played it with the intention of accuracy and that really stepped it up a gear. I tried also consciousness and unconsciousness and the latter was far superior – the conscious application, I had given the piece, moved to a new realm of presence and familiarity and left out all the conscious thoughts that used to trip me up, like ‘this is going well’, oh no, this bit coming up is difficult, I hope I do it justice’ etc.

I was also giddy with it, the idea of being able to record it on garage band as a before and after the new tuning. Tomorrow, the piano will be tuned from 440 hertz to 432 hertz but I have written about that excitement before. It also turns out that C sharp is another universally important frequency and number 272.  So playing that nocturne in the key of 272 on my 432-tuned piano is going to be a game-changing and life-changing, if subtle experience. Feel free to report back if you notice any external changes in me, or my perspective!

On the Friday, I woke up with a fraught heart. I couldn’t do any practice as I’d already bent the ear to much of my flat mate and our other friend who was staying was really holding out for the 432 tuning before being open to listening. I oscillated inside, thinking ‘it’s my house, just brazen it out’, but instead I drove to Kerry – 4.5 hrs there and longer back, with just 1hr just on Valentia. I borrowed the keys to the church, like the old days and snook in to play my piece 3 times – yes the 43nd, 44thand 45thrun throughs I needed. It sounded like the Exorcist or some such horror movie sound track on that harmonium – organ that you have to pedal to get a sound out of!! 

I played at my friend’s wedding there about 15 years ago and that’s what got me back playing. Memorably, I had rung a teacher in the golden pages and asked would she listen to the hymns and she had replied, I’d love to, I start back in September. To which I had said ‘can it be today or tomorrow, as the wedding is this weekend?!’ I was also the celebrant at another friend’s wedding there 2 years ago so the place has always been significant. Oh yes, and this is the day when I first clapped eyes on the boy who was to be my first love, when he came in to dance when they heard the organ going!  

Castlecomer Academy of Music Concert 

I arrived just as Seamus was reciting some of his poems from his newly released book about his and his family’s coal mining past. Where Seamus Walsh's In The Shadow of the Comer Mines can be found They were so moving and his voice so brilliant, I was sort of instantly gutted. 

My performance went well, some beautiful moments, nice partnership between piano and player, good walk on a long rein…etc etc (these are the comments I used to get on my dressage sheets, when I was competing in dressage on my horse so I thought I’d translate them over for the occasion!)

Then someone did an unbelievable recitation of the interviewing of ‘Bird’ by the bishop and the gardai, from The Field. So brilliant and funny and what amazing accents and ardour.

The party continued with lots of songs on guitar and some really lovely singing and the few that couldn’t sing or wouldn’t told us why and we were all grateful and highly entertained.

The Dog Adoption Day

I have been to so many animal orientated events and this is the first I think that was genuinely buzzing with adults and children, all mesmerized by the puppies and Oliver the lurcher and the whippet, the beautiful white german shepherd pup and wonderful brindle trusty hounds. People were spilling out on to the pavement and all the brilliant Protecting Pound Dogs crew were there, filling in forms and taking names for adoptive families to get ready with a home check. I asked one little family whether they were thinking of getting a dog and the woman said ‘oh yes, that’s why we’re here’. Dammit, it was so refreshing to hear that enthusiasm rather than the wiggle-out-of-it ‘oh no, one day I’d love a dog but this that and the other’ 

I held every dog and puppy in the place that wasn’t busy being cuddled by someone else and did energy healing. I cleared their past, any cruelty, near death experiences, their fears, their health issues and cleared a way forward for the forever homes, love and affection they deserve.  
Highbank Organic Orchards 
How wonderful to see Rod and Julie Calderpotts, two of my favourite people in the whole world, and drink strawberry water – the frequency of which must have been positively intergalactic, considering the topics we covered. I still haven’t told them that I want to change my name to Calderpotts as it is just the best name ever and so reminiscent of the game Cludo and so intrinsically cheerful in its annunciation!

I nearly got polytunnel plastic but instead got a thorough insight as to how the plastic must be measured for the assembly of the thing and so it was back to the drawing board to get more accurate dimensions. It is really a beautiful tunnel already. Golden mean in its geometry and good feeling scale. I always prefer these things before the plastic goes on sadly. It was actually the same with the house; I loved the starship enterprise foundations and would have been happy enough just living on that landing pad without all the faff of building a house on it.

Hothouse Flowers and The Riptide Movement

Castlecomer might not be a festival destination in your minds yet but wow, that was a great night and line up. Even the earlier bands were resonant as anything and just the right volume to enjoy sitting on the bone dry grass and chat a little first but these two bands were mesmerizing and such flipping command of their instruments. I thought Peter O’Toole, for example, the bassist was there just as eye candy perhaps but they each did a solo when they were individually introduced and what a bunch of pros! Vocal songs etc all very different but so inspired and funny and accessible. Same with Riptide Movement. I thought they might just have one or two good songs and your man’s voice might have been reverbed up during recording but no! What a good singer, lovely quality of tone and brought every new song to life right away. Every song except ‘It All Works Out’ was new to me!!  

I have finally discovered the merits of an epic DJ. Last night a DJ saved my life from a broken heart…well, that was in the olden days. This guy was catering for a new generation of people with a concentration span of 15 seconds, who crave stimulation and continual distraction from any mention of heart or connection. He would start with a tune, some old some new, just the 10 second classic hook and then descend it masterfully into a killer beat. After another 15 seconds he’d wind it down, leave everyone wanting more and mix in the next unforgettable song, again just the hook and then descend it down into another killer beat. No two were the same and no one was less brilliant and energizing than the last. It must have taken him months to put togother a set like that and he was enjoying himself too, taking selfies and snippets of the crowd and the crowd was heaving. So I learnt something, that if you get it right, you can dance for 2 hours straight, maybe 3 and still be engaged.

I also learnt, don’t wear flip flops as everyone’s too drunk to mind each other and I spent the time, trying to avoid losing a limb or toe. Not much violence, good security and only a very disturbing vodka and orange cordial drink served up at first. Real congratulations and thanks to everyone who made this week’s music and animal happiness possible, including me. On that note, I better go and feed mine, or they might start thinking about moving to greener pastures!

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