Monday, December 15, 2008

Dolittle Sporadical... (01)

Gremlin Done Got Ma Song - Nartmean?

The following scenario might ring bells with you. (They're making me deaf, you know..)
You fall for a song. If it's simple and good enough to require no fancy dancing, you think just maybe you could D.I.Y. You have a stab at it and - yes! O frabjous day! Callooh, Callay!
So - you deconstruct it, absorb it and rebuild it as a little part of you. Rather like turning streaky bacon into acne, only a bit nicer. Perhaps more like watching Gene Kelly dance, and turning the memory into a wisp more elegance in your own walk.
You play it 'til it dances too. Then you think your pals down the club might enjoy it as well. Just to be sure, you dance with it a few more times until you're both Wonderfully Tired, and soon you take it out to play.
Club night. Your turn. My new friend and I will dance for you.
Then comes that scratchy, sniggering, mean little sound from under the table. It's the Gremlin. Gremlin doesn't like you dancing. He enjoys seeing you fall flat on your face. Out with Gene Kelly, in with John Sergeant.
No, sod you, Gremlin. I can do this.
Gremlin says no. Gremlin has ways of making it no.
There's the lost chord trick. Perhaps there's a slightly unusual sequence of chords in the song. At home, you persuaded them to tumble 'neath your touch like a stoned nurse in a distant summer meadow. (Oh do stop it, Dolittle - why must you torture yourself so?..) He plucks the middle clean out of your train, and the rest of the sequence falls like a house of cards. Plop plop ploppity plop. The vicious little sod's way ahead of you. You very hate him.
Perhaps you can hastily nail together enough cards to carry on. Don't worry - he has more in his bum-bag..
There's the Evaporating Word Game. He generally likes to let you get a little way into the song, then he'll take a zap at a few. And they're gone. Like rounding a corner to revisit an old home, and wallop. Some bugger's demolished it. There's just a gaping hole, a wisp of dust and the muttered (exasperated expletive, four letters, rhymes with "luck". Which is running out.) I'm getting cross now, Gremlin.
One more trick. (He has plenty, but you're probably getting the gist now..) It's Frighten the Fingers. Your head doesn't seem to be panicking (though the room is getting a little woolly..) but suddenly your fingers clearly are. Your head still knows which chord you want them to play, and how to make it, but your poor wretched finger are now locked grotesquely in a rabbit-in-the-headlights impression. And now you just want to cry.
Why, Gremlin, oh bloody why? Is it Karma? Have i been that bad? Well alright, yes, obviously - but I thought I'd been punished already. (See the scar tissue, Janet. Bloody hell, John..) Besides, it's not just me, is it? He creeps right round the table, doesn't he? And you never know quite when he's going to get you, do you? It's Hallowe'en all year...
(Mummy, I've scared myself again. Save your whimpering breath, Dolittle. Mummy's ashes just don't seem to care..)
So what can we do about it? How might we play Splat the Gremlin? Smear the door and window frames with turmeric in old lard or some such? Ritually sacrifice a bailiff? (There come from the same place, you know..) Dance naked upon the table, smearing each other with holy baby oil? ("K.Y. Jelly - for the woman who married for money..")
Oh, for pity's sake, Dolittle. I'm not telling you again. Your eyesight's bad enough already. Besides, on second thoughts...
Thus and so and that - in conclusion: I dunno, innit. Hey-ho and on we go..


Still awake, Dolittle? - O.K. then..

Re, the Greene King's post, Nov 24th:
Notwithstanding the appalling image which I risk conjuring by speaking of "Berry" and "The Rhythm Method" in the same sentence, I am sufficiently pernicketily inclined to opine that it is not the actual pulse of the piece of music, nor even subtle variations in its frequency, which gives the music its groove, danceability or general boinginess. This is surely achieved by cross-rhythms and syncopations weaving themselves through and around the basic pulse. (This mayor may not involve the whacking of a Hi-Hat. It doesn't really matter. No really.)
Unmitigated Pulsing is generally a Bad Thing (as every Nun no..) When urgent and rapid - as may be winced at when thudding from (a) night-clubs or (b) Young Person's Twatmobiles - it merely engenders (a) youthy mating rituals, or (b) James Dean memorial driving. Both are to be avoided like the Poison Toad (-no names, no pack-drill...). When more ponderous (and even very slightly varied in frequency..), it leads to that Marching business, which is even more sinister. Only syncopation can set the toes a twinklin' and the ass a-shakin'. (Do you read me, Founding Father?..)


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't argue with a word of it even if I understood a word of it! Syncopation will do for me. I was motivated by conversation with the original syncopator Paul. I wanted to say kind things & yet give room for everyone's opinion. I think we like to feel stimulated by the music. It might be to dance, cry, laugh or just run away. It's interesting because it depends on yer conditioning as to what will work & when. The brain in expectation, conditioned by its experience. I happen to like all those contrapuntal strand of Trad jazz. However, I don't like Mainstream or Modern jazz a bit. I am simple. I need a structure to fool around with. If there isn't a structure…. BJG

BJG said...

Oh dear Dolittle your performance pains were never better delineated. It's like being given a jigsaw with missing pieces, or being told a joke without the punchline. My how the Almighty must laugh as we struggle to deliver gold from a pile of - well lead. Most blame their "nerves. "I was so nervous" they say." Yet we all have nerves in our body. They go along with our bones don't they?
So why Dolittle, does it happen so, and why do we subject ourselves to this frequent torture?

Freud would have at its core a sexual frustration or more. It's just something else that we find ourselves not good at, yet we must keep on trying. A sort self flagellation. A masochistic pleasure or public annunciation of inner guilt. Our decline starts with the change in acoustics of the new venue. Here we decline to put our right ear to the guitar lest we look even more quirky than before. Yet at home in private, in between the scratching of my various itches, I do that all the time. Indeed if I could only find the potion of Alice I would shrink myself sufficiently to actually live inside my guitar. There I would be safe from the world whilst I picked the strings from within whilst secretly reading the words where no-one can see me. The sound would be awesome.

Nevermind Dolittle that isn't going to happen for you as soon as it will for little Lynda. Paul has not a chance and Ken, why he would still want his mandolin and his dinners. I will build for thee a portable broom cupboard within which thou can hide while you play us a perfect home recording. There, does that help?