Sunday, January 31, 2016

Daniel C. Corban

A few weeks ago my friend Daniel died, by his own hand. It's taken me a while to be able to consider writing a few words about him.

Daniel was a writer, a scholar, a songwriter, a poet by vocation and by nature. A natural eccentric, angel headed hipster, one of the bohemian men of Sydney's Kings Cross, one of my people. 

I haven't investigated his death. I don't want to know. Something went wrong, something broke, he wasn't the first good man to choose his own way out. Whether this was a considered choice or an accident of mental illness, I guess I'll never know. It doesn't matter now.

I'll miss a mind that always understood, a brain that stored more information than any other I've encountered. I'll miss a tough guy who never employed a physical threat, no matter how he was provoked. I'll miss an authentic individual. I'll miss talk of cooking, talk of cricket, talk of life and love, talk over coffee and cigarettes, and then some more talking. I'll miss my friend. 

It can be difficult to reconcile with the idea of suicide. I can't imagine the pain for his loved ones. Daniel spent some of his forty years addicted to heroin. He'd beaten that, so why couldn't he beat whatever it was that caused his final decision?

I guess if Daniel were here we'd shrug our shoulders and laugh, "none of us are going to live forever mate, fancy another coffee? My shout . . . ", but he isn't here, and there won't be another coffee, and we'll never talk together again. 

I'm crying as I write this, and laughing, knowing Daniel would have written it better, and knowing now it is still too soon to think about it too much.

There was a brotherhood between us, we'd both been broken hearted, broke, both paid a price for following our own paths, but our paths met, so I rejoice in the time they ran alongside each other. We both lived knowing that none of us are going to live forever. I mourn the passing of a fellow traveller.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

King Edward I And The Welsh Bards

After taking Wales under arms, King Edward I rounded up and slaughtered all the bards, to ensure that their poems and songs of Welsh valour would not raise the spirit of rebellion. The king justified this as an act of war.

If you're a musician, sometimes feel you are pissing into the wind and have no influence on your society and culture, this tale of barbarous murder might be of some solace.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Album

My friend Jem Collings and I have a new album nearly ready for release. It's a new sound for us, we'll publish it under a new band name. That name is yet to be decided.

Lots of synthesizers and electronic wizardry, flute and saxophone, all very chilled and easy to listen to. I'm pleased with the whole affair. We just have to settle song titles, song order, band name and album name, so it should be finalized  in four or five years.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Duo

Next week I begin rehearsal with a double bass player, a unique duo of a big instrument and a small one. 

We call it double bass in Australia, I believe it has other names elsewhere, it's the orchestral string instrument one size bigger than a cello. This instrument makes an incredible sound, rich and deep, the perfect foil for a flute. It can also be quite percussive, it is a giant drum in a way. I play with a percussive edge too, the combination has the potential to bounce along as well as create beautiful harmonies.

I like odd arrangements of instruments like this, it compels the players to use their instruments in new and interesting ways instead of just playing their traditional band roles. It also brings new life to old material, gives the audience a fresh sound. 

My collaborator in this venture is a young musician, Danielle Jones, an experienced, well travelled player. I reckon the male/female interaction works well in a duo. It's funny that most would expect the flute player to be female, the bass player male, we're beginning from an interesting place. 

If anyone has any brilliant ideas for repertoire for this duo I'd love to hear them. The plan is to begin with some jazz standards, then venture out from there. We don't have any set ideas, any tunes we think we can swing we'll have a go at. The aim is to create an act that can play at jazz and art festivals and venues as well as pick up regular work playing background jazz at posh parties. 

New ventures are exciting. I've had this idea tucked away in the back of my mind for years, I can't wait to get it started.


To book this duo e mail kentparkstreet@me.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Carl Gustav Jung On Authenticity

"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are."

Carl Gustav Jung


Jack Kerouac On Authenticity

"Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."

Jack Kerouac


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Epiphany, Or Something

Over this last weekend I experienced one of those moments that you hear about, read about in biographies, a moment when the clouds clear and all becomes apparent, the truth so obvious that it seems incredible it remained a mystery so long. 

If I had to sum up this one moment in one sentence, and as a blogger I feel it behoves me to do so, it might go like this. I thought I was a commercial artist posing as an arty wanker, it turns out I'm an arty wanker posing as a commercial artist.

I've never been into popular music in any way. I didn't set out to play pop music when I started, I don't want to play it now. Apart from the handful of songwriters who raise pop to an art the rest of it is astonishingly stupid, nursery rhymes set to wallpaper. Tasteless wallpaper. I want nothing to do with it, or with the sharks who run the show. Somehow I've been sucked into that show. It's time to get out again.

What I do want to do is create beautiful music. This means I will make no money. So what?

So what? The top floor bedsit is the natural habitat of my people. I don't care if I never see the inside of a restaurant again, the music in those places is always too loud anyway. My love life will be a disaster, no woman loves a poor man, but my love life was a disaster when I was rich too. 

Being poor allows simplicity, and simplicity is the essence of beauty. Being poor permits time to daydream, to wander, I really don't mind being poor, it's other people who mind me being poor. 

This weekend I realized that I can create beautiful music, so why would I do anything else?