After a few weeks of 10 hour days in the studio peculiar things start happening to you.
You develop a sensitivity to sunlight and have to wear shades when outdoors. Flare is a word you no longer associate with trousers from the 70’s.
You think in bars…walking down the street, counting steps to the station….
You find that you are able to survive on a handful of almonds, chocolate, coconut water and 1 hour rest.
Note that I did not say sleep but rest… for when you lay your head on a pillow and close your eyes what happens cannot be accurately described as sleep……thoughts from the day cascade around your head… “should I put that harmony in 5ths of 3rds….?….does that tritone substitution work during that last verse…… Do I really want that sound on the bass…?”
And then the thing that is cause of most concern is the day off. You look forward to it then, when it arrives: You. Can. Not. Un………..Wind. You promise you will not work on music, that you will enthusiastically join the land of the living and do “normal things” like clean your house, have dinner with friends, gardening… you promise your loved ones that you will engage in non music related activities with relish…..
but, ooh la la… it feels awkward…. the mind wanders…then you realise….you miss the studio… aaahhh!!
I’ve been a fan of “uncle Bob”, as he is known in my home, for many years. Recently I watched “MARLEY”, the new documentary made about his life story. It was incredible to watch. Emotional, insightful, exciting, inspiring. I learned things about him I had not known before. For example, he was able to bring peace during a time of serious political tensions in Jamaica such was his popularity and influence. He endlessly strove for peace, love and unity amongst all people. He was able to bring two opposing political leaders on stage during a concert and get them to hold hands as a symbol of peace. I could go on and on but I’ll let you watch the documentary instead!
Of course, he is only human and was not perfect. I have yet to meet someone who is. He had a wife but had a mistress on the side. Sometimes he wasn’t always the most present and loving father (sounds like a lot of men I know!).
Well, the next day i was speaking to an acquaintance about the movie. I said I felt Bob Marley’s life story was incredibly fascinating. His contribution to humankind was so huge and important that his life story should be taught in schools. I should mention now that this acquaintance was white.
"NAh" she said in a backwater nasal tone " He was sexist weren’t he?"
I gasped. She could see my shock.
"Mind you" she said, quickly trying to redeem herself "They teach kids about Martin luther King and he was sexist too, so maybe…"
Somehow I managed to collect my thoughts and form a coherent sentence despite my rage.
"Well" I said " In school you learn all about Henry viii, who, judging from the fate of his 8 (or was it 7 wives) was no suffragette. Sir Francis Bacon, Christoper Columbus, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini etc etc, all these men were no doubt sexist. And on top of that they were racist and imperialist too, so why do we learn about them in school? What good deeds have they done?”
She had no words. She fumbled some kind of justifiction for her remark but we both knew it was in vain.
And so, steady as we go, the struggle is not over
BUT, to Bob Marley, Martin Luther King and all the other visionaries who have come before:
We will get there
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