William's Study (Diary Of A Hyperdreamer)
Thursday 14th February 2008 -- 9:00 pm
My stepfather George passed away during the early hours of 30th January. Less than 24 hours after being admitted to the Hospice in Wakefield. Emi and I drove over there, as mentioned in the previous diary entry, but George was sedated, barely conscious and breathing with difficulty when we arrived.
The deterioration in his condition from only two days previously was quite shocking to see. There were a couple of extremely fleeting moments of recognition from George but it was impossible to ignore that the disease was in its terminal stage. He died sometime around 5:30 am, surrounded by his family.
George's funeral was held at Wakefield Crematorium just over a week ago. A short but well conducted service which included music of George's choosing. Afterwards, the mourners gathered at Holmfield House in Wakefield Park for an informal buffet. George's daughter Jennifer, over from Australia where she lives, had assembled a laptop slide show of photographs from George's life. It was placed on a table for friends and relatives to view.
George has gone now and nothing can change that but my mother Jean is left to face the tribulations and lonliness of widow-hood and there are serious concerns that I need to help her with.
Emiko and I have driven over to Wakefield to support her almost every day. She's beginning to find her old resilience and strength again but it will be some time before she can discover a new path in life.
She will be 80 years old this year and has health issues of her own to surmount but, despite her soft, generous and non-confrontational nature, she's a pragmatic, intelligent and aware woman, and certainly not one to give up the ghost. Nevertheless, at this point in time she's terribly vulnerable and needs time and love to regain her sense of self. I'm feeling the responsibility of caring for her keenly, particularly as my younger brother Ian is no longer with us.
I've missed Ian even more these last few weeks. This sad situation has really underlined his absence. In many ways he was much tougher than me and his no-nonsense attitude would have been a tremendous asset during the last month or so and particularly in the weeks ahead. But the Nelson clan is not large and I'm now the only remaining offspring from the original union of my father and mother. Of course, my mother has grandchildren, (and let me just put on record that Ian's two sons and daughter have been wonderfully supportive of my mother during her latest bereavement). And mum has a wonderful great-grandson in the form of Luke, (my eldest daughter Julia's son). But, as the only surviving offspring of Jean and Walter Nelson, I guess I'm very much central to my mother's well-being. Poor mum, stuck with me as her only son. I make a pretty poor 'head of the family,' being generally hopeless at dealing with my own problems, but, whatever my shortcomings, I must do my best to help my mother through this difficult time.
Awareness of mortality and the brevity and fragility of existence has been with me for much of my life but it has increasingly and painfully been brought into focus these last 18 months via a whole series of bereavements, both of family and friends of family. It inevitably casts a shadow across my own life and emphasises the need to work diligently at my music whilst I'm still able to. Morbid to think that way, I know but think about it I do (and probably far too often than is healthy).
Music making has taken a back seat to recent pre-occupations but I have managed to maintain some sort of momentum by working late at night after returning from Wakefield.
I've fallen behind schedule with the 'Silvertone Fountains' album, which I'd hoped to have made available by now but this hasn't neccesarily been a bad thing as I've had time to re-think aspects of it. I think I've finally settled on its ultimate form after several atttempts at it. It is, as of today, a 15 track album. Here is its track list:
1: 'BEAUTY RIDES THE LAST BUS HOME.'
2: 'THE FABULOUS WHIRLIGIG OF NOW.'
3: 'AUTUMN DROWNS APPLES IN GOLDEN TIDES.'
4: 'SILVERTONE FOUNTAINS.'
5: 'LA VIE MODERNE.'
6: 'SLOW CLOUDS.'
7: 'HAPPY IN MY HELICOPTER HAT.'
8: 'DECEMBER WALTZ.'
9: 'THE WORLD SLEEPS LATE ON NEW YEAR'S DAY.'
10: 'YOUNG DREAMS, WHIRLED AWAY.'
11: 'SPEARMINT AND MOONBEAMS.'
12: 'WE VANISH AT SHADOWFALL.'
13: 'THE BELLS OF VILLEFRANCHE.'
14: 'FISH ARE DANCING IN THE FOUNTAIN OF DREAMS.'
15: 'SHOWER OF SPARKS.'
There were so many tracks left over after I'd made the above selection that I decided to create a second, companion piece album which I've titled 'ILLUMINATED AT DUSK.'
I intend to release the two albums simultaneously shortly after Easter.
The track list for 'ILLUMINATED AT DUSK' is as follows:-
1: 'SWITCH ON THE SKY, LIGHT UP THE STARS.'
2: 'THE VIEW FROM MOUNT PALOMAR.'
3: 'DANCE OF THE LUMINOUS DIALS.'
4: 'THE VENETIAN CONJURER.'
5: 'A SPIRIT MAP OF MONTPARNASSE.'
6: 'ANGELS OBEY BELLS.'
7: 'NO MEMORIES HERE TO MAKE YOU SAD.'
8: 'ART IS MY AEROPLANE.'
9: 'SILVER SAILBOAT ON SAMSARA SEA.'
10: 'SPRINGTIME COMES A' DANCING.'
11: 'THE VANILLA SUMMER OF MR. WHIPPY.
12: 'FRANKIE UKELELE AND THE FIRE IN THE LAKE.'
14: 'THE ETERNAL FASCINATOR.'
15: 'THOUGHTS WITHOUT FRICTION.'
16: 'SUMMER OVER SOON.'
17: 'LITTLE KISSES WRAPPED IN CHOCOLATE.'
18: 'ILLUMINATED AT DUSK.'
Packaging artwork is almost complete for 'Silvertone Fountains' and just begun for 'Illuminated At Dusk.' Mastering has yet to be done for each album and I need to book my good friend John Spence at Fairview Studios to accomplish this. The two albums offer 33 new pieces of music but there are STILL several pieces left over to be used as possible Nelsonica 08 album tracks. No doubt by the time autumn and the Nelsonica convention rolls 'round, I'll have a few more out-takes and misfit tracks to add to the list.
For now though, 'Silvertone' and 'Illuminated' represent an intense period of work that began last year with the now abandoned 'Frankie Ukelele' project. This is a very rich and dense seam of music which will, I hope, reward the diligent listener for quite some time to come. For whatever reason, (and the reason is beyond both my control and understanding), music keeps coming down the pipeline and, despite all the work I've done over my career, despite all the previous music I've recorded, I'm still searching for creative satifaction...But it's hard won. Maybe I'll never find it but I'll keep on trying until I can't try any more. Very little else makes much sense to me in this world, more's the pity.