Agricola, Casino Royale, Chris Cornell, Edward Elgar, He Makes His Messangers Winds, New Voices, Reiner Knizia, Skyfall, Soundgarden, Superunknown, Tigris And Euphrates, Why Should We Not Sing, X Factor
I had a tough day yesterday, one of those where I wonder just where it is all going. The truth is, of course, that everything is going well, that performances are lined up and that there are whispers of further commissions along the line, but it can be difficult to see the bigger picture when the journey is taken one step at the time, and it can be tricky to discern whether progress has actually been made.
I also felt acutely yesterday that maybe my style is just too solid and conservative to be relevant, even though I think my music is pretty well put together, but changing my voice for the sake of changing it would be rather foolish, I think. It is hard not to be pulled in these directions, though, when there is such a cult of youth in composition, so many competitions, grants and scholarships closed to those over thirty, so much publicity given to the “new voices”, as if all the ideas suddenly fall out of our heads when we hit 31.
It may well be that singers who hold on into mid and older age buck the trend, for there the body is very much the instrument, but to say that the brain atrophies at age thirty is palpable nonsense. The music I am writing now is far, far better than the notes I was churning out in my twenties, even if my opinion of it is more realistic, more detachedly critical. However, the trend in everything these days is for the young, for the overnight sensation. Personally, I am a fan of building engines to take one through into maturer years, always have been. Get rich slow, if you will.
The tidying of bits of He Makes His Messengers Winds goes on into today, although it will be done in the next half an hour or so, and then, emails sorted, I shall dive back into Why Should We Not Sing?, for I really think that I can get onto the homeward straight with this before lunchtime, and, in fact, need to do so in order to concentrate on a couple of other projects. Then I shall down tools for the afternoon and prepare myself to go and see Skyfall tomorrow by maybe catching up with Casino Royale or something similar.
After what I think it is fair to say was the disappointment of Prometheus – too clean, too modern, too CGI – I hope that Skyfall hits the mark, although Adele will have to be going some to top Chris Cornell’s theme from Casino Royale. I don’t know what Chris’s chosen poison was at the time, but, even despite his voice not being on top form, there’s something special about You Know My Name, and I particularly admire the way that the chords in the chorus have the Bond theme hidden within. Clever.
Chris is back stomping the stages of the world with Soundgarden, the greatest band to come out of the whole grunge thing in the early 90s, and, yes, I include Nirvana in that statement, Soundgarden’s Superunknown quite the magisterial achievement in the album realm. Never seeing the ‘Garden live is one of my regrets as an aging rocker, and it’s rare indeed that the dark side of music excites me any more, but when I hear the new ‘Garden single I get a little tingle, especially when they refrain “I’ve been away for too long”. Amen to that, and who would have guessed that even gnarly old grungers can even get better with age? Take that, X-factor!
After a brief hiatus I also managed to blow the dust off a board game yesterday evening, playing (and losing, of course) a session of the magnificent Tigris & Euphrates. It is hard to explain just how great a game this is, probably my favourite of the lot, maybe just alongside Agricola. Although the rules are complicated upon first read, it is actually quite simple, but these basic mechanics open up a whole world of possibilities, one which I have yet to master enough to win, it seems. It is yet another fantastic design from the master of gaming, Reiner Knizia, another person who gets better with age. Heavens, there is a pattern emerging here, and maybe I should not feel downhearted after all.