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.