Yes, I was joking on twitter, in case anyone gets the wrong idea, about Kerry being bullied. Kerry Ellis is pure gold dust, and I would never bully her in the studio or anywhere else.
But after all this time I think I have an instinct for how far as a producer and arranger I ought to be pushing her to break new ground. Actually we’re pretty good at pushing each other now – challenging everything, which is a great way to be, recording new tracks. For Kerry, the years of utterly devoting herself to a life of singing have, is the ultimate artist, and that incredible voice is now deeper, sweeter, finer, and more awesomely controlled than ever. So working with that awesomeness is something I could never take for granted.
Making new music is a place where all the tools are familiar, like your favourite garden spade, with time-worn handle, and yet there are always new borders to dig – new perennials to grow. We have planted a fabulous new tree this week. Strong roots, from a couple of the world’s greatest songwriters (no – not me), a stout and handsome trunk rising and spreading into strong and unforgettable lyrical branches, culminating in luscious fruits of passionate vocal and guitar performances on the spreading canopy of this story told in song !!! OK ? !
OK … enough gardening metaphors. But I feel massively grateful that I have this stuff to feed my soul, and cleanse it of the sadness and anger and disappointment that I’m often on the verge of drowning in, as we (in Save-Me) plough on out there, trying to persuade certain people that they shouldn’t be behaving despicably to animals.
So today was a good day of good work, and, no matter what comes from it, a reward in itself. In fact I think most of the great things in life that involve the pursuit of excellence rather than money are at their peak of wonder in the process, even more than in the end product. So really I thank God that I am fortunate enough still to be able to devote a day like this to being creative for its own sake. God ? Thanking God ? I hear you. As a physicist, am I in danger of compromising my credibililty ? Well, I discovered this quote earlier this week from Jacob Bekenstein, friend of Stephen Hawking and truly one of this world’s greatest theoretical cosmologists of all time. He said:
“I look at the world as a product of God; my job is to figure out how it works.”
Wonderful. And there he says it all, as far as I am concerned. How could there be any conflict between God and Astronomy ? To me, all the arguments about science and religion being in conflict are wasted time. I don’t believe either one has anything to say about the other. Interestingly, I have met scientists who regard Enrico Fermi as something of a God, because he discovered Entropy – the measure of disorder in the Universe – and the fact that it always increases. It’s a gloriously all-pervasive concept which for physics students is such a revelation that it almost in itself justifies years of study in crowded lecture theatres. But Bekenstein – remember the name – used this concept to make a discovery if anything even more Universe-shattering … that Black Holes also have increasing entropy and in fact are not so black that they can’t radiate energy. Hawking, initially skeptical of Bekenstein’s belief that the Laws of Thermodynamics still applied in the vicinity of a Black Hole, was the man who eventually tied up the whole idea, and was able to predict what this radiation, now known as ‘Hawking Radiation’ would look like.
But I digress.
We, in the world of Western Capitalism, are immensely privileged to have the opportunity to enjoy pure art and pure science, if we manage to detach ourselves from the idea that what matters in life is money and power. Why do so many of us miss that opportunity ?
Well, that’s it for amateur philosophy for today, folks.
But I’ll be back !
Have an excellent Bank Holiday weekend … and do remember to smell some roses.
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