Strawberries The Size Of Footballs

I don’t know about you, but I like to have some idea of the size and scale of things.  The familiarity of place and time.  As a kid I used to have dreams where a kind of infinity surrounded me, falling down a spinning tunnel, then endlessly moving piles of things (usually football-sized strawberries) from one place to another, only to see them replaced with an identical amount, also to be moved.   That kind of thing. I always suspected this dream would worm its way into some reality, seeming to be about having no idea of what was happening, how big it was, where and why.

A few years ago, I transcribed around thirty Bill Evans trio performances (every note) for money (not enough). Transcription involves writing down everything that was played on to manuscript paper, which means endlessly rewinding the audio, writing down what you can hear, rewinding again, writing down and filling out and correcting….and then on to the next two seconds.  Some people hear it all first time.  I am not one of those people.  Imagine how effortlessly a baby can thump piano keys with his or her forearms; now imagine trying to find the exact notes and the rhythm they were played in.  Basically it’s quite a lot easier than that (Bill Evans knew what he was doing) and this was my only consolation.

Nevertheless it was what a teacher might call an interesting and informative exercise.  I am not against transcription in principle, a little can be helpful, but you spend your life trying to get back to that first “high”.  And this was transcription overdose, I was Gene Hackman in “French Connection 2”, a dribbling idiot tied to a bed in a yellow-walled room with the Bill Evans trio pumped into my veins.  It was abuse, a kind of paid addiction.

Treading in his footsteps from 9 til 5 (what a way to make a living) put me right in his head.  After a while, rather than merely listening to his music, I saw his hands on the keys, forming patterns that were as familiar to me as they were to him in 1962.  I could have carried on any performance exactly as he himself would have done.  I was operating the robot Bill Evans from the cockpit of his mind.  I was him. The problem was, I was me too, but only just.

Me looking at Bill Evans became Me and Bill, then the subtle change to Bill and Me, and then a kind of eternally squabbling hybrid as one fought the other.  The slow, gradual accumulation of ideas, techniques, feelings and experiences of a piano genius (that’s him, by the way) funnelled down the vertiginous and unending tunnel of my childhood nightmares, then spat finally on to a piece of paper in the most scholarly fashion I could muster.  This went on for four months.

And that’s just how it was with one person.

Now consider a Facebook feed on a typical morning. A video of someone receiving some award, or saving a cat from near death, playing Chopin faster than ever intended or looking beautiful, looking happy or having friends (who are they?), raising crowd funding money to build an entirely new country off the coast of Wales by jumping from a space shuttle, someone just being happy that everything is ok, sad stories with a happy ending, sad stories without one, people marching, someone shouting at a video of someone else shouting at a computer game, life coaches, things you need to do, must not miss, will not believe, should not click on.

There is something about Facebook that makes it look like the diary of a single person. Events appear as chronological, sequential and connected.  The way I read is subconsciously feeding me this information as if it all relates to one huge, unisex experiencer of things. It’s basically one person who is everywhere and is everyone all the time. And then you think, each of these facets of this one big person is a person having that same experience, more cats and more Chopin and more and more….a hall of mirrors full of mirrors.  It is like being omnipotent, like being present everywhere all the time. It is like being God.  God, but primarily in an administrative capacity.  A kind of nausea of immortality grips me, the suffering of a human body that cannot hold a consciousness that infinite.  Wait a minute…it’s the story of Jesus!

Too much?

Anyway, back to Bill Evans. After four months the job was done. I walked away a new man. I walked away a hollow corpse, eaten away by the parasite Bill Evans. I couldn’t play a note, because every note that came out was his, and so I tried to blank him out, and to override this I had to think of “someone else” and how they would play the same thing.  So now there were three of us.

Some months later, with my fragile consciousness restored, I eagerly awaited the publication of my work.  My name on the front of a book!  I would travel the world talking of left hand chord shapes and the benefits of harmonic accountability in improvisation.  I would finally be an expert on something (we still needed them in those days), people would imagine Bill Evans and I after my death, up in heaven on a cloud, talking to each other about Ravel.

Eventually the books arrived in the post.  And they left my name off. Not on all of the books, just two out of four, which meant it was an accident.  A very, very large publishing company made a very small mistake (to them), but for me an identity that had already been breached and overtaken was now finally removed by some editorial oversight of someone who was probably late for his or her game of golf.

I don’t know about you, but in my more melodramatic moods I feel like data is eating us alive.  Like shovelling strawberries in infinity, Facebook requires action (reading, worrying, admiring etc) that immediately requires, in turn, more action (google that word), and on and on.  As the world appears larger on screen, it gets smaller, the impossible microscopic expansion of our immediate surroundings obscures the world around us.  I know this has been pointed out many times, and here is one more.  Sometimes I just sit and put the fingertips of one hand on to those of the other and just see if I can feel a pulse.  Just so I know where I am.  If you do it long enough, it’s actually a interesting and pleasant sensation.

Stay safe.  Watch your self (whatever that is) out there.

“O” is for “On The Dunes” (Donald Fagen).

Donald Fagen has made an art form of cynicism.  Cynicism.  It’s a dirty word for some, an excuse for inaction and unpleasantness, the safe haven of the spoilsport. 

” Don’t you like anything?  Do you have to question everything?”

I want to hit these people, but if you seek an alternative way to channel that anger, Fagen is your man.  Like William Burroughs before him, he is a champion of the cynical, a spokesman for the terminally hard done by.  A heroic figure to those who lack any propensity towards heroism themselves.  The snidey and the grumpy, the world weary.  Donald Fagen takes their doubts and bathes them in luxurious musical complexities usually earmarked for dying lovers in an operatic suicide pact, or for the final triumph of some poster boy’s hard work and kindness in the face of something insurmountable.  In other words, he puts it up on the wall and says “this is what life is about”.

Even more than Cohen and Dylan, Fagen is not a poet, because the words don’t live on their own.  His genius is to shackle his first world problems to music of shiny optimism.  Fagen talks about his  solo album”Kamakiriad”, here.  Of all the albums about people driving bio-sustainable cars across America in the near future, it’s one of the best.  And one of the most striking songs on this album is “On The Dunes”, a wistful break-up song of unparalleled self pity. 

The scene is a beach, and Donald has been dumped there.  As Bill Hicks once said, the beach is “where dirt meets water”, and for Fagen the dunes, the epitomy of sun drenched, air brushed beauty, occupy similar territory:  here’s the opening verse.

“Drive along the sea

Far from the city’s twitch and smoke

To a misty beach

That’s where my life became a joke

On the dunes

On the dunes
(became a joke on the dunes)

Where rents are high

And seabirds cry

On the dunes”

Reading those lines in that grave voice reserved for poetry, they are simply angry with a touch of humour.  (Pam Ayres could read them).  Add the music though, and the brattish repetition of the phrase “on the dunes” (“on the dunes (became a joke on the dunes)” is somehow lifted up into the sophistication of the harmonies.  The music almost acts as Fagen’s confidante, comforting him and us in the hour of need.   Cut glass grooves, the coldness of a hostile world against Fagen’s warm and fragile vocals. It’s a bit too high for his voice and he knows it.  

The melodrama continues in verse two:
“As you spoke you must have known

It was a kind of homicide

I stood and watched my happiness

Drift outwards with the tide.”

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a person Donald.

But the high point for me comes in the chorus, where he paints a beautiful picture of the scene in the first half, and then trashes it in the second half; Bill Hicks style:

“Pretty boats

Sweeping along the shore

In the faltering light

Pretty women

With their lovers by their side

It’s like an awful dream

I have most every night”

His voice here is masterful, full of pain (“in the faltering liiiiiieeeeeeght”) and yet soaring above the lush harmonies that open out purposefully in contrast to the hesitant side stepping of the verse. And then there’s the way he tucks the punchline (“it’s like an awful dream”) away right at the end of the phrase. This part of the song has such an uplifting musical effect that the anger is almost lost in the beauty of it.

 In a long and lingering coda, a sequence of chords rolls around like waves lapping at the sand, the drums and sax conversing sparingly.  Thoughts in the mind of the man on the dunes.  Pop’s short attention span has no space for jazz these days,  but Fagen loves it, knows that jazz can be about more than just macho posturing (“Whiplash” was twenty years in the future).  Here the music goes almost absent mindedly around in a lazy circle, but it never escalates.  Like the lingering shots of  Bob Hoskins at the end of “The Long Good Friday”, or Robert De Niro’s last scene in “Once Upon A Time In America”, things are just sinking in.  And it’s four minutes of an eight minute song.  It takes as long as it takes.

If this is an inner dialogue between words and music, for me the music wins.  Its lush romanticism eventually overwhelms us and him, words dissolving into sound and fading eventually into silence.  If this is cynicism, its the kind that sparkles with humanity and humour and God knows we could use that right now. 

X is for Xmas : Mariah Carey

In 1973, I played the angel Gabriel in my school nativity play.  In 1994, Mariah Carey released “All I Want For Xmas Is You“.  If, due to some kind of time-glitch, we could have met as these moments crossed, we would have had a lot to talk about.  Underneath the veneer of festive cheer there lay a deep seated ambivalence to Christmas in both of us.  I was five, she was twenty five.  Like Shostakovitch secretly sneaking in some musical modernism under the noses of the Stalinist regime, Mariah and I would secretly be sticking a finger to Xmas, me sporting my cardboard wings, her jumping around in the snow.  I, for one, am not fooled by that Santa outfit in her video….more of that later.

 

 

Every December, this song is everywhere again.  Like other Xmas songs, it is mainly used to block out the fear of silence that these obligatory festivities seem to invoke.  Does anyone ever listen to Xmas music?  It’s just on.  All the time.  It’s like tinsel; you put it up, therefore people are in the mood, they are “festive”.  It makes the room shiny and the mind follows suit accordingly.  But “All I Want For Xmas Is You” has a sinister side.  That santa shuffle drumbeat powers a dark heart, the heart of a woman for whom receiving presents has become a dull routine….

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas/There is just one thing I need/

I don’t care about the presents/Underneath the Christmas tree”

It’s hard to avoid the irony of hearing these words from behind the lopsided gait of an Asda trolley full of tat.  And yet, there’s more to come.  She hints that Santa’s duties perhaps extended to more than just deliveries in the Carey household…

“Santa Claus won’t make me happy/With a toy on Christmas Day”

Well, Santa is an easy target.  But really its the music that fascinates me.  It’s easy to see Mariah Carey as the typical plastic balloon animal served up as entertainment but, in addition to her singing abilities, she can write.  This music slips expertly in and out of stability like a drunken reveller avoiding vomit puddles in a suburban street.

It’s important to stress that she was not the first to see the bittersweet contrasts in Xmas.  “The Coventry Carol” is a sixteenth century composition and it veers from major to minor at an alarming rate.  Often music of this period ends on a major chord out of convention (a kind of musical intolerance for unhappy endings) but here even the fourth note slips into a major key before moving straight back to the minor, like a cheap line of coke that wears off too fast.  In short, no one really knew even then whether they were supposed to be enjoying Xmas or not.

So back to Mariah and her disturbing vision.  It all starts pretty conventionally; bells, chords, warbly R n B vocals.  But listen to that line at 0:25…”I just want for my own/More than you could ever know”; on the words “own” and “know”, that note, an Eb, it’s very unstable in G major.  And each time, the melody just jumps back on to the tonic note, a highly illegal move in melody writing.  In board game terms, it’s like going up the snakes and down the ladders.  Over and over through this song, the melody lingers around this same note like scratching a flea bite that only gets worse with the itching.  At 2:39, in the bridge, she lingers on that Eb in the bass on the words “and everyone is singing”, the beat surging optimistically on, the chords reflecting a deep disquiet.  I hear you Mariah, I thought the same in 1973 with my cardboard wings, soon-to-be-lost blonde hair and claustrophobic fear of choirs.  Whilst its easy to respond to this music in the usual way, drinking sherry or grinning at each other, there is a whole other level of emotional richness here.

And what about the video?  Viewed today in all its shaky, grainy nineties-ness, it looks like a cross between flashback footage of a murder victim from a Scandinavian thriller and something the victim of a stalking campaign might find in their inbox.  I made a list of some of the images;

  1. Spinning santa heads
  2. The woods, deserted
  3. Standing alone in the woods, deserted, as the sun rises
  4. Disembodied hand and forearm reaches for something
  5. Holding an incongruous rabbit aloft
  6. Unexplained digging in the snow (where is the rabbit?)

I could go on.  It’s all pretty weird, straddling a line between true love and bizarre fixation.  All I Want For Xmas Is You.  In a box.  It’s a brilliantly double edged sword, a Trojan horse of disturbed emotions smuggled in under the guise of a simple “Christmas Song ” and, coincidentally, one which went on to be the best selling holiday ringtone of all time.

And as I re-read what I have written, I feel a bit guilty.    Because actually I have to confess to liking this song.  I wish I could listen to it more often, but it’s not built for that.  Considered as a piece of music separate from it’s function, it loses its power.  Unlike a dog, a Xmas song is just for Xmas.  This one makes my Xmas a bit more interesting.

 

 

 

G is for Glass

What do Philip Glass, Michael Brecker and Charlie Parker have in common?  They all became “influential”; their music was therefore admired, dissected for easily digestible nuggets of information, and promptly looted.  Music conceived in a long flowing gesture of inspiration can be chopped up like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces left in a pile to be put back together as people see fit.

Brecker and Parker have, from time to time, become synonymous with a kind of jazz “authenticity”, a level of technical expertise, a badge earned.  It is proof of ability, and often impresses, like vaulting over the highest wall at the back of the school playground.  But the way these players put ideas together, the storytelling, the artistry, is often all but ignored in favour of attention to the short term logic of  flashiness, with a sound like wasps in a jam jar, as saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, master aphorist, once said. 

 Imagine, as a point of reference, an edit of “The French Connection” featuring only the car chases.

Glass wrote recently about ownership of music in the Internet age.  If anyone has fiercely protected their intellectual property whilst allowing his “brand” a free rein it is Philip Glass. His gently undulating chords have acquired a kind of omnipotence, on tv they roll out like wallpaper over any quantity of cinematic dialogue, sweeping landscapes or, well, almost anything.  They are everywhere, almost so easy to write that they write themselves.  My god , those arpeggios.  Save me from those arpeggios.  Like Michael Nyman, he looked back to the baroque for inspiration, taking the music’s chordal accompaniments (arpeggios, broken chords, whatever) and promoting them to a lead role by removing, to put it rather crudely, the “tune”.  They are, in many ways, nothing more or less than a box of paints looking for an outline. 

And yet in his early work, Glass focused almost entirely on the rate of change of these chords, or eventual adding of a single note to a repeating pattern, like a Persian rug design that grows an inch if you look at it hard enough.  These alterations were exquisitely paced, dropped like rocks in a sand garden, few and far between for maximum impact. And, for me, it works, a process that is in itself a beautiful thing.  Before he eventually followed his own followers into a bland orchestral mush of symphonic turd polishing, largely of his own making, Glass had something.  He had something so huge it had to be monetised.

Structure is a long term phenomenon, it happens over time.  An effective structure urges you to anticipate and reflect simultaneously, to experience what is to come with the weight of past moments in mind.  It’s like a massage, it gets better if you stay with it, and like a massage, this is not always true if it is clumsily handled.  As time passes, the skill required in maintaining an atmosphere, telling a story, increases.  And whether pre concieved or improvised on the spot, you either stay for the whole thing or you miss its essence.

And yet, in the midst of this strange decline in attentiveness, we have the Box Set.  Netflix, Amazon Prime and others enable us to digest long term structures, and some, like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are extraordinary.  We can digest them in a single sitting.  Or not.

And that’s the key.  We choose the pace of our cultural consumption.  I watched an episode of the “The Good Wife” in my pants a few mornings ago.  If I wanted to I could pause it in my underwear and watch the conclusion in a dinner jacket.  You can’t do that with an opera.  There is a kind of entitlement to our own leisure time tabling, to have absolute choice over which thing on a phone we look at and when and for how long.  Some people in the arts are very creative in addressing this need, feeding it whilst maintaining some kind of artistic integrity.  I am envious of them, and would like some pointers, to be honest.  

In a recent double bill of Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” and “Symphony Of Psalms”, the director Peter Sellars had Oedipus, blinded and broken, walk across the stage in the middle of the second piece, a double fugue interrupted by a clumsy piece of theatre where Sellars attempted to link the impersonal detachment of Greek mythology with the penance of Christian psalms.  And on he came at the end with his stupid trousers,  and silly hair to take a bow, Stravinsky spun in his grave.  But what are we to do?  Keep trotting out the same stuff?  We have to keep busy, reinterpret, find new meanings and connections in a world where time and space no longer separate the events of innumerable lives throughout history.  It’s my personal sacred space that Peter Sellars invaded, but for others he may have brought that music to life.  I can go back to the composer’s recording for my kicks.

Don’t get me wrong, it could be that this is all fascinating, an opportunity for new forms of art.  I know I am old, and it is my inevitable fate to look on, befuddled and bemused, as those youngsters devoted to a new utopia, having grown up with the cloud, fashion it’s silver lining.

And as I sink into season 5 of “The Good Wife”, a twisting, turning, long-game playing legal saga, I hear again those fucking arpeggios again, bittersweet, major to minor, signifying nothing.  Another missed royalty for Philip Glass, taken by some other composer who hired that music rather than owned it.

“Q” is for…

“Q Samba” : Arto Lindsay, from “Mundo Civilizado”

https://youtu.be/JkEMwcm4vbM

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Arto Lindsay.  The geeky, skinny kid at school, scribbling in his notebook when he thinks no one’s looking, or when he thinks that people think he thinks no one’s looking.  Probably just schoolboy crush scribbles, arrows through hearts, epigrams.  Eyes almost upstaged by his owl-like lenses, which are looking straight at you, and it’s a hard stare to look back at.  People don’t.  Prom Queens, though, might take him home in one of those High School movies, people would learn to look beyond appearances, towards new experiences, everyone would learn things and nothing would change.  Music, credits, thank yous, etcetera.

But he’s an eccentric.  A real one, not a muscle boy they put in glasses to indicate intelligence, reticence and hostility to games lessons.  He is thin, thin like he lives on some unknown energy, some ambiguous pulse.  He plays guitar, but no real notes, just a noise, and only when it’s called for. Mostly it just hangs around his neck, as it does on this song.  The weight of it might kill him.

Through the gate, now the path winds to the door, you pass sculptures, perpendicular pagan gods staring down suburban sidewalks, old amplifiers, guitar strings wound around slow growing creepers. Carnival melting into darkness and out again.   It’s taking forever to get to the door.

Shall we listen to some music?  He reaches for a cd, the cover a photo of a woman’s face, or maybe a girl’s, her expression masked by the blood red smear of a rose.  Smiling eyes though; maybe.  A strange, disjointed guitar, Brazilian, lurches into a kind of beat that doesn’t belong where it is, as a voice, half-spoken, half sung, asks:

How do you do that?  

Did you just make it up?  

Is there a special need for that?

Now don’t just make it up”

Not exactly poetry, this is like a kid asking questions at school.  But he grows up fast;

“How do you shake just that and not shake all the rest

Breaking all those beats apart you careless hypnotist”

A careless hypnotist, still thinking about what that implies.  The lyrics feel like they are meaning something, but they sometimes fold in on themselves, like…

You dance like you’re not alone

You dance like I’m not here

Often they seem like a study in a single sound…

Your supple cheekiness

Supreme funkiness

Your sure footedness

And you pelvic finesse.”

But that last line,”pelvic finesse”, what the hell is that?  Animal sexuality crossed with featherlight delicacy?  The music echoes the words, mismatched but familiar sounds, somehow stitched together, a brash and buzzy keyboard flooding the light and sunny samba like chilli sauce in Angel Delight, its line left jagged and raw like the edges of an awkward conversation.  Samba school drums sucked into a lop-sided sample, another piece in the jigsaw of disorder, of musical and verbal memories, those memories that for each person are their own.

Except for the Prom Queen. Tradition dictates that her head must be empty, as she trots home to recount, perhaps reluctantly, some other version of these few short minutes.

 

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Resits. “A.”

Resits are just that, sitting down not for the first time, but again.  Music is so often only listened to once, so I am going to listen again to some records I have lived with.  I needed some kind of structure so I chose the alphabet.  Let’s see if the letters come out in order.  So, as Julie Andrews might say, let’s start at the very beginning.

“A”…is for Cannonball Adderley Quintet’s “Sack O’ Woe” from “Live At The Lighthouse.”

220px-the_cannonball_adderley_quintet_at_the_lighthouse

“…I believe you could call this one funky” announces Cannonball Adderley, a man who on the sleeve of this record is photographed wearing a suit under a parasol on Hermosa Beach.  Never mind the weather, it’s important to look smart.  I used to listen to this on my parents’ Pye Achiphon stereo record player.  It had speakers in the side, four knobs in the middle, and it sounded like these people were in there playing, that if you followed the needle back far enough down the wires you would find them.

Yes, you could definitely call it funky.  His implication though is that you call it whatever you want.  The band can’t wait to get shot of this bottom heavy beat, great though it is, and they really let loose once they do.  It’s as if they are saying, yes this dance beat is fun to play, it’s fun, but fun is not enough.  Over and over, they start with that reassuring chug, but soon they drop it and the whole thing opens up.  I didn’t get it for a while, it sounded like chaos to me.  After all, I was still on Fats Waller (still am).  That was an important experience, to know that people don’t get it.  They have to decide they want to, and they need to be patient.

Cannonball’s opening few notes of his solo are something you could try your whole life to get near.  He is on top of everything.  He can somehow make you excited about knowing he will never go wrong.  It’s easy for him but he doesn’t want you to know it was ever hard.  He slashes his way through these chords like a samurai in an origami workshop.

Nat, his brother, is different, seemingly blowing the cornet as if trying to pop it like a crisp bag.  His melodies are all tangent, visiting the less bluesy backwaters that Cannonball leaves uncharted.  It’s unstable, distorted, courageous.

And then the piano solo.  Victor Feldman is English, and he swings like crazy.  English.  This alone was inspiring to me at the time, squeezing my spots in a Bromley bathroom, but he also brings out something else in the band, a kind of simmering energy where the piano breathes and finds its own space.  Tunes everywhere.

Sam Jones’ bass solo makes you forget he’s all the way down there, it’s just pure melody and more groove, and then the piano just creeps in, just adds something like a pinch of salt in a soup that brings it out without swamping it.  Louis Hayes pushes relentlessly, at every volume and at every level, a kind of artisan drum machine whose repetition conceals waves of variation and the push and pull of arms and legs.  Every phrase, every beat, every line made in the moment, a lifetime’s work.  As the band fades out below the level of the audience, it’s been over 30 years since I first felt what I am feeling now, what was that and how can I do it?

I doubt the cover photo would pass an artwork designer’s discerning eye today.  It’s a shame, because it tells you everything you need to know.  That this band look smart even on a beach.  Regular guys.  They walk onstage, they play, they walk off.  The needle is burning.

 

 

 

 

 

I had a dream this afternoon whilst in the process of trying to write a blog.  I deleted the blog, having bored myself to sleep trying to get it to make any sense, and wrote down the dream.

There are two characters, one of whom is me.  I feel as if I am underwater, and it is not clear if I am visible to the second character, who appears to be a cat made entirely from yoghurt.  I think it is Greek yoghurt, the type of yoghurt that wobbles on the spoon, the type which holds its shape, the shape, on this occasion, of a cat.

It becomes clear that I am going to be interviewed.  I start to feel I can’t make any sound, and start settling in wearily for another one of those dreams.  But as the cat speaks, someone else starts to answer from inside me.  It’s not that kind of heart wrenching, something inside me type of “inside me”, more like a separate entity actually inside me and talking.  In my voice.  The cat, on the other hand, speaks in waves that are somehow felt, not heard…..
Q:    Music..it’s not life or death.  Is it?

A:    Yes, it is life or death,  not mine or yours, but the life of the tune, the line.  Improvising means trusting that less thinking about the line will let it live longer, the way a surgeon shouldn’t think too much about the cut.  Let the knife do its work.

Q:    Who cares about music?

A:    Other music.  Music is like a community of tunes, pieces, sketches, symphonies, trashy pop songs.  They hang out together.  They don’t like being called “trashy”.  They are friends, despite their differences.  They care about each other.

Q:    Why do you spend ages on tiny details?  It’s only a tune.

A:    The smaller a tune is, the larger any mistake looks.  A small tune with a chord in the wrong place,  it looks back at you when you sleep at night.  It tuts.  You fucked it up, it’s not finished you lazy piece of shit, it says.  That’s how you know it’s not right yet.  It limps and staggers like a drunken teenager, pukes on its shoes.

No one likes to leave things like that, I add, somewhat perfunctorily.

Q:    Why don’t you get a real job?

(This cat is smiling, but it’s a smile sensed rather than seen, I hear it in the sneer of his words.  Also, the yoghurt obscures the finer details of his expression.)

A:    I have one.  I am part of a musical team dedicated to restructuring all the sounds in the world. It will take a very long time.  There is no deadline.

Q:    How will it look when it’s finished?

A:    Exactly the same as it does now.

Q:    What is the music about?  What does it mean?

A:    It’s about nothing and it means nothing.  Nothing.  Is it still something if it means, or is about, nothing?

The cat doesn’t like it when I ask the questions….

I wake up saying something which already seems long forgotten, far away, out of sight.

Everything looks the same.