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CONTEMPLATION...


As so often these days, I've been gathering my thoughts about the journey from there to here. 'There' being sometime and somewhere in the distant past and 'here' being something surprisingly foggy, undefined and in a state of flux. I'd imagined that at this point in my life I'd have a clearer picture of who I am and where I'm headed, but the picture, when I attempt to tune it in, is blurred and slipping like the black and white images on my father's home made TV set that he built for the Nelson family in the 1950s.

It's a day to day existence in many ways now. A kind of soft-focus blur. Information coming in from different directions in time and space, a bombardment of accumulated experience, a miasma of memories, recollections, dreams and stuff. All the way from there to here.

How to make sense of it all? How to frame it in some tangible form through the medium of music? I think this is what I've been trying to do for many years, even from before I could play an instrument.

My instinct has been, from a very young age, to understand the clockwork of life. The windings and unwindings of personal experience, and how that might relate to the wider scheme of things.

But, is there a 'wider scheme of things'? Or nothing but random juxtapositions, happy (or unhappy,) accidents? Fortuitous coincidences or Karmic fates? How far do our personal choices, our individual temperaments, go towards each of our ultimate destinies? Luck? Privilege? Education? Intellect? Social status? Or none of these? Is it possible that, regardless of birth, regardless of social and cultural background, that we can find our way ahead, by instinct, intuition and some kind of vision that holds true, regardless of the chaos and immorality that seems to curse our world at the moment? How do we keep our decency and freedom in the face of adversity and ignorance?

All questions that I can't answer, at least here and not in any absolute sense. Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the brain and short circuits the path of thought. Rationality only goes part way to answering these questions. Mind, not brain, is needed to understand. A clear, unburdened mind, a pure, untainted, focused mirror of reflection. But how few of us attain that in its purer sense? Not I, for one.

Anyway, I really didn't intend to embark on this course of thought tonight. I just wanted to talk about how Emi and I are finally getting haircuts tomorrow when our friend Steve Cook will be coming over to do the hairdressing stuff at our house. He was supposed to do this last week but, due to train strikes, couldn't make it. Both of us desperately need Steve's expert attention to our 'coiffure' at the moment. I'm beginning to look like Wurzel Gummidge,'

Also wanted to bring attention to the great children's book illustrators of the past...particularly Alfred Bestall and Frank Hampson. The work they put into their illustrations was phenomenal. All hand drawn and coloured, no computer help, just painstaking handiwork and careful observation. Amazing now, more than ever...



© Bill Nelson 2020

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