William's Study (Diary Of A Hyperdreamer)
Tuesday 22nd January 2008 -- Morning
A difficult diary entry. My stepfather George, who had an operation for cancer several months ago, is not well. After his operation, it was thought that the problem had been eradicated. Then, a few weeks before Christmas, he was re-admitted to hospital after suffering a further health set-back.
After a week in hospital, where various scans and tests were conducted, we were given the depressing news that the cancer had returned with a vengance and that George was beyond the reach of further operations or treatment.
We're all deeply saddened by this and are feeling particularly helpless, 'though we're all trying to encourage him to take as positive an attitude as possible. I still believe that the mind has a tremendous influence over the body and that life can surprise us with quiet miracles.
Nevertheless, the news inevitably brought a dark cloud to the festive season and it's impossible to ignore that George's condition has deteriorated since.
As well as thinking about George, I'm very concerned about my mother who is, by nature, a worrier. I'm doing my best to be supportive to them both but I have to admit to feeling helpless and inadequate. I won't go further into the situation here in this public web-diary as it's a very personal matter. Of course, it's impossible for me not to at least touch on the situation. I'm not particularly good at disguising these things but I am, as you may have realised, struggling to find a way to convey matters which are, at core, quite painful. George is at home at the moment, very fragile, feeling terribly ill some days and slightly better on others. It's these better days that we're hoping will allow him some respite from the illness.
I suppose that, in terms of chronology, the above news should have been part of my previous diary entry and, in fact, that was originally the case...but I then thought it best to wait until after Christmas. So I removed the relevant paragraphs and decided to wait until now to document developments. Actually, I'm not even sure if I should write about it at all but the emotional impact of the situation on day-to-day life will, I fear, be impossible to disguise.
So that's it.
A different subject: Christmas now feels long gone, as does New Year. Already, 'though it's still only January. Time accelerates, pushing into 2008 with a restless violence dulled only by the lingering, self-inflicted hangover of seasonal over-indulgence and fruitless escape. I spent the 'holiday,' (is that really what it is?) in a kind of stupor...the usual desperate chasing after more innocent times, but this all too soon abandoned to the dubious charms of oblivion. It's a kind of seasonal psychosis, common to those of us inclined towards a dark disposition and cursed by the weary accumulations of years. But, there we go...anything to keep the beast at bay.
In an attemt to counterbalance all this, I've plunged back into the whirlpool of work in search of creative solace and satisfaction. I'd begun to re-work aspects of my 'SILVERTONE FOUNTAINS' album before the Christmas break but have now virtually abandoned all but four or five of the original 16 pieces of music I'd selected for it. As a result, I've recorded 15 brand new pieces for possible inclusion on the album, 'though not all of these will make the final cut. Consequently, there are more than enough abandoned or 'left over' pieces to fill this year's limited edition Nelsonica convention album. In fact, the connvention album may have to be a double disc set this time. And why not...it is the year of my 60th birthday after all. A good reason to push the boat out, I think.
As for 'SILVERTONE FOUNTAINS,' well, I think it's one of the richest sounding, most complex instrumental albums of my career, but it has innocence, spontaneity, charm and melody too. It pulls together the stylistic traits of the last half-dozen albums I've recorded but does this in a manner that I hope will shine new light, (and shade), on the music.
The album also contains one of the trickiest, retro-hip, jump-jive guitar instrumentals I've ever committed to a recording. It's part of a piece which develops, out of the blue, from a reflective, melancholy meditation on transcience to a fast-paced, joyous collusion of mind, fingers and strings. The piece is called 'Young Dreams, Whirled Away'. (The 'whirled away' part of the title referring to the aforementioned speedy guitar section.) This piece, for me, provides one of the album's highlights.
Overall though, the album is a heady mixture of dreamy melancholy and ecstatic celebration. It is, (arguably), a slightly more demanding or challenging listen than the original album I'd assembled under the 'Silvertone Fountains' title last October, but all the better for that, in my opinion.
Having said this, there's nothing overtly 'avant-garde' about it, just a gentle twist of sound here and there, a faint suggestion of the surreal, a faded dream wrapped up in silver filigrees and golden clouds of buttery guitar. Whilst on the sunject of guitars, there's quite a nice selection of them on this album, the most featured being my Campbell Nelsonic signature model, my Eastwood Airline 'Map' guitar and my newly aquired Peerless Monarch archtop, plus a touch of Gretsch twang and a sprinkle of Telecaster bright-spangled shine, (this last courtesy of an instrument on generous loan to me from my friend Johnny Moo).
There are still adjustments to be made to the track selection though. I've today come to the conclusion that two of the tracks, maybe, don't sit as neatly into the overall feel of the album as I'd like and I might yet replace these two pieces with either a couple of the original album's tracks or even switch on my recorder again to create two more new pieces. I'll decide about this over the next few days or so.
Meanwhile, Emi and I are driving over to Wakefield this afternoon to visit my mother and George.
POST SCRIPT: Things have changed since writing the above, a few days ago.
I originally hoped to post this entry much sooner but was planning to take some photographs to include with it. Circumstances haven't allowed enough time to do this and now the situation mentioned above in relation to my stepfather George's health has become even more critical. I'm just about to drive over to Wakefield again but this time to a hospice to which George was admitted this morning, (29th January). A 'phone call from my mother, a short while ago, informed me that things have deteriorated dramatically, even though George has been fighting the condition to the point of exhaustion over the last few days. There's not much more I can say at this point, so I must leave it at that and hurry over there.