Updated: Sep 23, 2018
I hope that readers of this journal will forgive me for sharing a melancholy moment or two with them. I'm feeling the burden of the years a little more than usual at this point in time for some reason or another.
There's an element of my being that has never aged, or, at least, never completely grown up.
Yes, I forget things that I'm supposed to be dealing with this week, but remember, with astonishing clarity, things I did 50 years ago. The vagaries of the brain/mind interface are deep and mysterious.
The impermanence of life is something that we all have to accept. And accepting it is one of the basic tenets of Buddhism. I've often said that I'm the world's laziest Buddhist. In fact, I don't truly know if I'm a Buddhist at all. But, I find that Buddhism provides me with the most pragmatic and satisfying way to deal with the problem of existence.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, who knows? It's all speculation and degrees of belief and 'faith.' We choose our path according to our individual lights. Realism is not, in general terms, one of our strong points.
I'm surrounded here by guitars, the tools of my 'trade', such as it is. These instruments hold memories, and implications, of past times. They take me back to my beginnings as a guitarist, and in a wider sense as a musician. Those stumbling, fumbling days when I wrestled with my old Zenith archtop acoustic guitar are still vivid in my mind.
The Zenith was the instrument that my father had bought for me, second hand, with the hope that my earlier interest in playing a toy plastic guitar might spark a more committed interest.
It was quite a big guitar, a beautiful dark sunburst archtop if I remember correctly. It had a label inside the 'F' hole that acted as a certification that the guitar was approved by Ivor Mairantz, a well respected session and jazz guitarist in the late '40s/early '50s. I found it difficult to play after the toy Elvis Presley guitar I'd received as a Christmas present. But I did my best with it, though I became frustrated with the physical difficulty of holding down its thick, heavy strings.
But later, on meeting a school friend who was equally struggling with the vagaries of learning to play guitar, I found a shared cause, another nacent guitarist on the path to somewhere or other...
This school chum was Ian Parkin, and we bonded on the subject of guitars, and, step by step, with the help of records by Duane Eddy, The Ventures, The Shadows and other, less well known names such as 'The Spotniks' and 'The Fireballs,' found the inspiration to continue along the path to a musical future.
And here I am now. Still besotted with music, with guitars, with the look and sound of them, but also wide open to so much more...
My infatuation with guitars has led to a broadening of music in general. Guitars only play a small part of the journey, albeit a very important one. They're my initial trigger in some ways, but just the starting point perhaps.
Music, in all its varieties, all its colours, textures and styles is right at the heart of what I attempt to do creatively.
Now I've wandered far away from what I originally intended to write about in this journal entry. Perhaps I'll elaborate further in a later journal.
But for now, that's enough...
Here is a photograph of Wakefield's Kirkgate area in the early '60s. You can just see 'Websters' music shop where, every lunch time, escaping from Ings Road Secondary Modern School, Ian Parkin and myself would walk to stand and stare in Webster's window at the guitars that were on display there. No Fenders or Gibsons, just British and European guitars, Burns, Fenton Weill, Eko, Hagstrom, Broadway, Watkins, Vox and other now obscure brands. But that window seemed like magic...