Sometimes you surprise yourself. You work on something for a while; it’s good. But then you collaborate with someone and something unexpected happens. Flamenco triplets turn up in a straight 4/4; a new cut builds momentum where there was a lull; Random chord injections, resolve and make sense. Suddenly the thing takes off and flies!
Does it mean change? Yes. Does it mean dealing with the unusual? Yes. Does it matter? No. The thing is better than when you started. So it was today with something we dubbed a frankensong – made up of bits of old songs strung together differently put together over a new drum and bass combo. It took an unexpected twist for me that evoked Tex / Mex, Lucky Luke style horse-race through tall stone columns and cacti.
It’s like being physically separated makes us more disciplined at the music. That sounds unlikely, but the advantage of it is that what we hear, in the end, is most important. If we were in the same room would it be the same?
Certainly it would be harder to play what we’ve made, as we’re all using effects and multiple tracks – rather than playing a single part, we’re mixing fx and double tracking, improving what we’re capable of.
And it’s freeing creatively, and better bang for your creative time. One drum and bass mix can lead to two or three – wildly different – interpretations. It also allows for creative difference, I guess, so there’s little need to worry about the creative choices. I suspect we’re all too old to care anyway.
So how did we spend day 12?
Metting each other in brief moments around the house. Filling up the rubbish bin. Cleaning, working. Is it weird that we’re enjoying it and all getting along? Even the dog was well behaved today!
For your viewing pleasure, an old episode of Lucky Luke; originally French, great voice acting and more political than I remember.
Sunday, it was Sunday. I have to keep reminding myself what day it is.
We stacked more wood, I did some work. A bit of garden and work outside. A shared lunch, chat with a neighbour or passer by from a distance.
Later, after getting the Multitrack input working yesterday, I sat down to record some audio for a new track that had come through. I ended up doing two different versions, one in D major, one in D minor. I was concentrating on the headphones and saw a little message pop up that Matt was here.
That’s odd, because its 10.30 at night, and mat lives a half-hour away. I carried on. It turns out someone was at the door. It wasn’t Matt, but a stranger.
It was a bit of an emergency: a mate had done a runner. Door guy had walked from Stoke and had almost tracked his mate down when his phone ran out of battery. So he needed to charge his phone. He seemed genuine enough. As I went to get a charger and an extension cord to reach to the front door, my bubblemates needed an explanation. They kept telling me to shhh for some reason.
First I got the wrong charger, then the right one, then I got him a a glass of water. Bubblemate brought a chair. My mind was thinking about social distance, surface contact and all that stuff, but we couldn’t not help, right? In the end he only stayed maybe 10 minutes, tops. He found out where his mates were and was off again.
It was all a bit odd, but one of life’s little adventures. Hope he found his friend.
I went back to the tracks, and then it was 2am. The next day, I wrote this up and retro-published.
So how did we spend day 11?
The day after the clocks go back is always weird. I had a nap in the afternoon; it felt like there were two days in one. We did more outside work as the sun went down, then dinner, then a good chat with the family locked down in Christchurch.
We still haven’t had to venture out – we’ve had nearly everything we need delivered to us. Groceries, a computer, and today, a large pile of wood. Four cubic metres, and some kindling.
So that’s what were doing this weekend. Stacking and piling into the woodshed and building some cover so the wood can stay dry. We’ve also got a pile from last year that will need to be moved.
I’ll mow the lawns too and we’ll get rid of some of the greenery we cut down earlier in the week. Still on feijoa patrol and found another dead rat. It reeked. Didn’t retch though!
Had a call with a friend whose partner is a doctor. Co-incedentally they were also dealing with a rat. Living in a small community this pandemic is a massive burden. If one of the staff in the practice gets covid they basically have to shut down for a couple of weeks, which puts even more pressure on the other doctors and practices in the area. Much pressure, and hard on families of the front-line staff who have to worry about their loved ones.
So how did we spend day 9?
We’re getting the hang of it. Slow days, small tasks often. Inside jobs, outside jobs, slow progress. We’ll try again tomorrow.
On twitter there’s a #formalfriday. I joined in today, going hard: I wore a shirt with a collar!
Hmm, it might be time to kick it in the guts Trev – everything’s busy and backward and slow and fast. When in doubt, reboot!
A busy work day, but a bit late as the files came in around 5pm. Re-cut one piece, moved things around a bit, and oh, finesse takes time. WFH on a laptop means working in a very small area of the screen too – so you end up a bit hunched and squinting.
After another awesome meal (roast chook and spuds) settled in with a beer for a session on jamkazam. And you’re thinking – oh cool, live online jam session, laying down a groove, seeing where it goes … Well dear reader, the modern day jam session isn’t a squealing tune up, it’s an hour-and-a-half of tech support, Zoom, and what’s app, and no resolution.
We did though eventually get closer to a fix – ninjajam. So that will be the task before the next meetup.
How did we spend day 8
Still dealing with the ‘tidy up’; it may take some time.
It was just like the old days at Sawyers Arms Road. Well, it would have been if I was in the garage. Two of the three of us were. We used to jam and write and never, ever drink in a tin triple garage out the back of a flat where countdown is near Northlands.
We’d record there to, and send the tapes (!!) off to our drummer, who would visit once a month when we’d all play together.
This time around the drummer sent the bass and drums tracks through and via the wonders of the internet we managed to cobble together everything we need:
Slow start, but it got busier and busier. Teenager decided it would be a good day to Kondo the room, everything that doesn’t bring her joy is now spread all around the house – ensuring it doesn’t bring anyone else a single speck of joy either. All the transfer stations and charity shops are closed…
Stir fry rice for dinner, and discovering that the peril of getting beer delivered in the groceries, is that you drink it …
I saw this on twitter and it struck a chord. There’s massive social and economic change ahead; the carnage will be painful but it also gives us a chance to rebuild differently.
After Christchurch there was massive engagement with the city rebuild. The Share an Idea campaign (where anybody could put an idea on a digital wall like a sticky note) drew over 100,000 suggestions. Never had the city seen civic engagement like it. Sustainability, green city, with good public transport, a city that worked for its people, was friendly for all ages and innovative – that was the overwhelming desire. Unfortunately, the government of the day stepped in and said ‘yeah, nah’. Their blueprint got the go ahead – a conference centre and a stadium were the anchor projects.
Neither are finished yet, more than nine years later. And sport and tourism are in the toilet thanks to the virus. Even the magnificent Tūranga, the public beacon of hope and ideas also known as the library, is now closed to the public. At least that will re-open and be used for another 150 years.
But something else changed after the earthquakes. People reviewed their lives. Many changed career, moved suburbs or towns, went back to study, or started chasing their dream of writing, or singing or building or inventing or whatever. The knowledge that life is all to short and precious got replanted in thousands of people who all decided not to wait for ‘some day’ and just get on with it.
For this emergency, the rebuild won’t be of buildings. It will be of the economy, and of social conventions. Who are the essential workers? Should we pay them properly? Do we need to have offices? Why don’t we go back to the old days of neighbourhood shops. How we work will fundamentally change – people will see possibilities and new approaches will spring up.
My hope is that we reset some fundamentals, that the relentless growth and exploitation of late stage capitalism is replaced with different imperatives. There’s already talk of a Universal income. I’m all for it.
So how did we spend day 3?
I had cereal, did some work, and watched a rat climb over the fence and die while I was on a phone call. Later the neighbour phoned to say he’d laid some posion.
I cheered when I heard Ashley Bloomfield got the day off.
Other than that it was a fine day, so normal chores. Cooked a nice casserole with rice (the red wine vinegar with the beef kind). Watched a silly movie.
So by the end of day 2, it was suggested we watch Why Women Kill as the Friday night entertainment!
Jokes aside, it’s a good watch, the continuity is well done between the three stories. We’re not getting on badly at all!
I’m doing three or four hours of online meetings and am getting busier. It’s now school holidays, so that will change the dynamics a bit. We normally travel in the holidays and had planned to this time, but that’s all off now.
Other things are getting done around the place. I built a wood shelter – corrugated iron roof and all. I got halfway through the raised garden bed before the lockdown, so need a bit more soil / garden mix.
So how did we spend day 2?
A later than normal start, quick breakfast. Lunch was a roast! On a rainy day with thunderstorms, it was awesome. Oh and the guttering outside the porch needs clearing!
Want to hear a joke? Sure… Quarantine. … I don’t get it … Sorry, it’s an inside joke!!
I’ve been through emergencies before – earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunami alerts – pretty much the works. But never anything like this. One-third of the world is in lockdown. One-third!
It’s frightening, and the speed and severity of the spread is still dawning on some people, and some countries, around the world.
And yet I feel prepared. A few years ago we decided to be a little more self-sufficient. We’ve got solar power with battery backup, emergency water to flush the loo. There’s reliable drinking water – chlorinated to kill germs, electricity, internet. Herbs in pots and a little garden. Supermarket supply will be ok. The announcements gave us time to get ready, to digest the information and to prepare.
I’m lucky that the work I do can mostly be done online. I’m thankful to be on islands at the edge of the world, relatively safe and isolated. Our government has done an excellent job putting in a large economic rescue package and handing out money fast.
That’s brilliant, and I sincerely hope it will be enough. The world certainly won’t be the same after this. I’m fairly sure the state of emergency will last longer than four weeks; the recover certainly will be years. it’s likely many businesses will fail and potentially industries too.
It feels eerily familiar. The uncertainty, the anxiety and the slowly sinking in feeling of the scale of the event. In 2011, we were all mostly completely unprepared. The shock was sudden, dramatic and devastating. The economic aftermath is still going for some people; insurance companies denying and delaying to this day in some cases. People outside of Christchurch didn’t really appreciate the toll that took.
Duing the fires in Tasman in 2019 there was a build up over a few days to a very large scale emergency. The anxiety was wondering how much the situation would escalate, and which way the wind would blow. It was an incredible effort to be part of, hundreds of people from all over the country. There was very little damage to houses, and almost no loss of stock. Miraculous, really. This feels similar, but exponentially bigger and I’m not certain of any miracles.
There’s memes going around saying our grandparents had to go to war and save the world; we just have to lie on the couch and watch TV. The joke has a grain of truth, but conveniently forgets the human cost of having to go through the war itself and the social and political measures put in place either side of it: massive spending on social housing, hospitals and health care, mostly free education, universal superannuation – all the things we are so proud of today. The popular historical line is that it led to a great sense of fairness in NZ the 50s and 60s; fairness that the baby-boomers got the benefits of.
Whether that’s true or not is a different story; certainly New Zealand has massive inequity in the 21st century. And perhaps this is a chance to reset towards that perhaps this is the great leveller, the event so unthinkable we reset our entire society around new values. I hope so.
It’s the end of the world as we know it; I feel fine
How did we spend day one?
We shared a cooked breakfast – toast, bacon and banana – shown here in deconstructivist style. I should have served it on a plank.
Then one coffee, one hot chocolate and one tea.
We cleaned up, had device time, did some work, some schoolwork.
We did chores and later watched the usual briefings: Director General of Health and later Jacinda.
We had meat and three veg for dinner, then walked the dog, keeping a safe distance from people we saw. A papillon got a bit friendly with our dog, who steadfastly refused his attention. We kept our distance from those we saw along the way. One neighbour took his glass of wine for a walk.