can’t help myself but count the flaws

It’s the middle of the night and I’m meant to wake up in less than 6 hours, so this is just typical of me, but I have an urge to share and so here goes.

ONE: I wrote this poem last week called “in place of a love letter”, so please go read it and let me know what you think.

TWO: I finally got two rolls of colour films developed yesterday (man that was expensive!) and I’ll start to slowly post them up, but here are two of my favourites:

Sunday Ritual #1 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

Sunday Ritual #2 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

THREE: PLAYLIST. The main thing about this playlist is that I will be seeing 7/9 artists below next January at Laneway Festival. So, hell yes, yes please! This is definitely one of my favourite playlists that I’ve made so far, even if I say so myself.

 1. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow
I love this guy’s music, and more importantly, his lyrics. I sound like such a bitch, but do you know how rare it is to find an artist to have decent music and lyrics? I guess that’s mostly what it takes for a band to be in my “top” list – amazing sound AND lyrics. I’ve been listening to his album on repeat and repeat and repeat. I seriously just can’t stop listening. This is an amazing album opener, so I thought it’d be a good place to start a playlist.

2. Still Life – The Horrors
I’ve already seen The Horrors before, last year, but I know that next year will be better. Last time, I was stuck in the photo pit (chasing these photos, by the way) and so I just didn’t really get the chance to soak them in completely, since I was rushing around the Big Day Out like a madwoman on a tight schedule. Plus, with a new album under their belt this year, I’m curious to see what the mix of their set will be – how much older stuff they’ll play, and if so, which songs. For some reason, this song reminds me of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. It’s a key thing, probably.

3. Asterisk – M83
Was saying to the boy the other day about how I can’t believe I ever fell out with M83. I guess it was during a time of my life where I needed something livelier – less shoegaze, post-rock sounding, I suppose. But obviously I’ve fallen back in love with them, and this will always be one of the top songs for me – it’s such an in-your-face contrast to the rest of this album, I love it. Might want to turn your speakers down if you don’t want a fright though.

4. All Alone – Toro Y Moi
Another song off Toro Y Moi’s latest EP was featured on my last playlist a while back, but I just love this EP too much. I seriously hope that he plays this EP in its entirety when I see him. It’s the perfect getting-tipsy-off-beer-and-dancing song for a summer music festival. Seriously, seriously digging this shit. If anyone comes up to Auckland for it and sees some girl in blue Docs jivin’ to him, that’ll be me.

5. Go Outside – Cults
This link goes to the MTV-made video, so the grand intro isn’t actually part of this song, but the video is just too cute, so watch it! It features Dave Franco (brother of possibly if not my only celebrity/actor-crush-figure, James Franco) and Emma Roberts (an actress in her own right, I suppose – ahem – aka Julia Roberts’ niece). She’s three months older than me, but I swear, she looks so young! Or maybe I just look old. Crap. Anyway, it’s an adorable song as well, and I can’t wait to see Cults either.

6. Broken – Disco Inferno
Definitely not seeing Disco Inferno next year (in case you didn’t know, their first album was released the year I was born), but it’s a nice song nonetheless. And very “Amanda-ish”, as the boy would say.

7. Funeral Day – The Mint Chicks
Sadly The Mint Chicks aren’t about to play together again any time soon (as far as I’m aware), but Kody and Michael have teamed up with Bic Runga to form Opossom who are playing at Laneway, so that shall be an eye-opener, as usual. I got nostalgic whilst driving home with the boy from uni today and put on the Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! album and instantly felt like I was 16 again. All those nights spent quoting the Mint Chicks in txt messages, the high school years of unrequited love, teenage angst, and going along to their shows just to thrash about, and hope like hell that Kody doesn’t fall of the latest stack of PAs or railings that he’s decided to climb. Ahh… good times. By the way, even though it’s 5 years old, I still love this album to death, so if anyone wants to listen to it, the whole thing can be streamed from here.

8. Within and Without – Washed Out
I wonder what on earth Ernest Greene will play at Laneway. I don’t care. He’ll be in the afternoon rather than night – most likely – and hopefully I will be experiencing a nice relaxed buzz with my favourite hand holder tightly holding onto me. I find Washed Out’s real name funny – Ernest Greene just sounds like… such a great blank and neutral sounding pseudonym to publish a book under, if you know what I mean? It’s even more amusing to me because my English students are revising The Importance of Being Ernest for their external Cambridge exams at the moment.

9. Crystalline – Bjork
The drum(machine) breakdown at the end is like an ear orgasm. No, multiple. I just wished that it was drawn out longer, but I guess this way it’s not over done. Ahhhh, why couldn’t I have seen Bjork now rather than all those years ago when she was just a visual and sonic spectacular, rather than something I actively listened to and vaguely understood? Wasted youth, I say. I’d say the same about seeing Sonic Youth as well, if I had just seen them even 6 months later, the experience would be completely different. It’s funny how these things work.

I think that with the best bands and artists, seeing them live always makes me fall in love with the more. Even if I already adore their music already. Now how to become one of them?

Is there anything as quiet as a night alone with you?

OH NO: Half way through writing this post my site went down because the webhost had to reboot the server since it was overloaded. Once that was done, I backed up my database just in case, and then tried to synchronise all my files (to my computer, to backup as well), but I had checked the wrong settings and instead of syncing my computer with my folder online, it did that backwards, so effectively half of my files were DELETED. So I’ve just spent the past two hours restoring all my photos from up until October of last year. SO MUCH FOR GOING TO BED AT 11pm FOR ONCE. What was going to be a nice blog-before-bed experience turned into a nightmare. Oh my goddd. This is what I had written before this all happened though:

This is my umpteenth time being left home alone to fend for myself, but for various hazardous reasons, this time is also going to be the most challenging three weeks ever. Judging by my productive rate of five tasks in seven hours, I don’t know how on earth I’m going to get through October – aka jazz assessments and assignments. The only things of note that I’ve managed to accomplish today are: attend one hours’ jazz piano class at uni (was 7 minutes late, too… which is always helpful), put petrol in my car, did the grocery shopping, scribbled some things down, and most excitingly of all – fussed over the Laneway Festival lineup announcement. I’m not the excitable-hype-hype-HYPE type, so I won’t jump on the band(rambling)wagon right now, but let’s just say I’m very pleased and thoroughly looking forward to it. And no doubt I will post playlists again soon.

I think this is about to become a mini documentation of “how Amanda battles procrastination and juggles domesticity” for the next three weeks, until mum returns. It’s not that I don’t ever do the dishes, put on the laundry, clean the bathroom, cook three meals a day, put out the rubbish, feed the cat, let the cat out at 5am, clean the litter box, vacuum the house, collect the mail and deal with bills – nor does it have anything to do with my abilities to do so – it’s just that usually they’re (okay, rather unevenly) split between mum and I, and suddenly, in the busiest and most stressful three weeks of my whole year, I also have to do all those things, all by myself. Sounding like a spoiled brat aside, I think the biggest hurdle for me in terms of all the things I have to do is that I have to do them alone. Cooking for one just sucks. So does doing the dishes alone, without someone to chat to or share a cup of tea with.

Also, I tend to start going a little mad when I’m left for long periods of time on my own. Even if nothing is actually wrong, my old depressive and anxious spurts just come back to haunt me, if all I have for days on end at home is the cat to talk to. Maybe that’s where the “crazy old cat lady” stereotypes come from – because being alone with only the cat to talk to really doesn’t help with the escalation of madness. Gah.

Needless to say, I was more the overjoyed when the boy decided to bring his studying over for a couple of hours and let me cook him dinner. I’m sort of offering open dinner invitations to friends now, so as to have someone to cook for. I doubt it’ll actually work out too often because I have hockey two nights a week and I tutor on two evenings as well, but what the heck.

To round off such a messed up evening, here is an amazing song by Twin Shadow, who the boy and I are going to see on our almost-one-year-anniversary next January at Lanway. I love the video that this person has dubbed over the song though, it’s scenes from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – two lovely lovely lovely films that fix so magically, so perfectly. It makes me gush, and I hate gushing, so there we have it. Reminds me that the boy and I need to finish watching them together. Oh memories… of one fine evening’s attempt to watch them, haha.

Click here for the video (the person who made it disabled embedding, gah!)


You know that something inside of you, Still plays a part in what I do, Always I’m here for you. I think that if we were all we had, That’s more than most people ever have, anyway, Oh anyway, you can stay here

PORTISHEAD IS COMING TO NEW ZEALAND!!! And I think I am going to cry/die a slow and painful (but beautifully painful) emotional death when I hear them on November 10th. This Friday, 9am, I know where I’ll be – logged on, buying 2x tickets to guarantee the boy and I a sentimentally-charged evening in three months’ time – whilst simultaneously trying to finish my composition. According to my account, I’ve listened to Portishead 369 times in the past seven days. It’s largely been driven by sleepless nights and the constant urge to dip into the pool of feeling that they bring me.

I really need to get out of this blogging-a-huge-post-once-a-week pattern, but it’s been really hard to break when my week days just seem to run into one another. And then there’s the Sundays, where it feels like my entire week has caught up to me. Today I woke at 1pm and then proceeded to nap the rest of the day, to a soundtrack of TV-noise and cooking going on in the kitchen. I wish my composition assignment that is due 30% of my Arranging & Composition paper would just write itself. And that these songs I’m meant to have memorised by Wednesday would miraculously wire themselves into my brain, electronically. If only.

Stressful rantings aside, this is turning out to be quite a photo-clogged post. Things I have done lately:

My sister was cleaning out the depths of her “stuff in storage” at the back of her wardrobe, and I found some of our old toys. Beloved animals, in varying ages of sentimentally old, or detachedly new.

Earlier this month, Liv took these photos of Flakey and I when I was napping on the couch. I didn’t know these existed until I caught her looking at them a few hours ago!

Isn’t he cute, squished up against me, aww.

A very talented fellow-female-bass-player friend of mine invited me around for dinner the other night. She cooked amazing lamb racks and even made delicious dark chocolate and banana tart that was served hot out of the oven and accompanied by ice cream. Divine, just divine. So this is how amazing she is “before”, and hopefully we’ll soon find out how good her cooking will get as she leaves in two days’ time to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris!

The beloved, tucking in my oldest, oldest beloveds.

A “before” shot of my hair. Then I dyed it. And ran out of hair dye. And had to use many, many more bottles.

Tequila shot, courtesy of an old friend.

The “after” colour of my hair. I think once the roots come out I’ll change the colour up again. I don’t know why I haven’t dyed my hair in the years since my blue/purple tints or red streaks phase. Oh wait, that’s because 1/ I’m too lazy and 2/ I’m terrible at dealing with my hair. Thus I never brush it. Ever. And it miraculously looks fine.

Liv and I, outside dear old jazz school at about 3am, after Friday night turned into Saturday morning.

Following this, I froze outside as my feeble knocks on the boy’s door took far too long to wake him up at 4 or 5am as I was seeking a warm bed. And for the sake of my obsessive documentation, the rest of Saturday happened as follows:

– Won my hockey game 2-1, after we were scored against, we worked doubly hard to bring the score back to our side; I didn’t play very well offensively, which isn’t very helpful for a left winger (at one point I got sandwiched by the goalie in front and two defenders slamming into the back of me), but I did better than usual defensively which was good.

– Went to a friend’s house for Hell’s pizza, wedges, Saporo and far too much fizzy drink and ice cream. It was good catching up with everyone, what with all the changes we’ve gone through, yet seeing how little we’ve all changed underneath it all.

– After some debate over the situation I watched the football with the boy in the end, seeing Liverpool off to a clear 2-nil win over Arsenal. Don’t even get me started on how obsessed with Liverpool the boy is… I’ve been a bit of a fickle football watcher over the years, but maybe I’ll settle my alliances in the end. In the meantime, I’m disappointingly glad that I didn’t stay up til 5am watching the All Blacks’ defeat. Damn I’m nervous about the Rugby World Cup. Most especially because it is going to be happening RIGHT HERE, very, very, veeeery soon.

And now, for the playlist. I can’t stop making them, seriously.

1. Rock On – Love Inks
A cover of David Essex’s ’70’s hit… and actually, now that I listen to the original, it’s not bad at all! The song is definitely growing on me (both versions!) but the problem is, I feel like it’s a buildup to essentially nothing. I think the good contrast is that Love Inks’ version is obviously more contemporary, without the cheesy backing instrumentals. I love the bass hook though. Damn, caught out bass-line-lovin again.

2. Atlas – Battles
Bring back the memories, baby. It’s becoming more evident with each and every new playlist what my “3 playlist habits are”. Or perhaps more like “3 music affinities” are. Those being: bass lines, duos, and sentimental connections. The last in particular, for obvious reasons, has lately been especially evident in my subconscious choices of songs that are “relevant” to the boy and I. And I don’t tend to notice until I get to this part of the playlist making process where I write a little about each song. Anyway, about the song itself, it’s old (by that I mean 2007, I think) and it’s what people liked to call “math rock” – a label which I have never understood because there are resemblances to other bands or songs that wouldn’t be classified as “math rock”… so what the heck. Also, this song rather reminds me of Animal Collective, both sonically, and memory-wise.

3. Scared – Albert Hammond, Jr.
I haven’t listened to Hammond’s solo stuff for ages, but had a random urge to, today. And for the first time, this song stuck out to me, although I’m not really sure why. You can definitely hear his distinct Strokes guitar sound on this song, whilst the song itself doesn’t as such. I just think it’s a really sad, sweet song, and the lyrics are so lovely that I crammed some of it into this post’s (very long) title!

4. One More Empty Chair – Blood Red Shoes
I think I’ve discovered what my subliminal theme to this playlist is – sick, sad love songs, or something like that. It started with the last song and runs through for the next few tracks too. I’ve loved this band for years, but I haven’t listened to them very much lately – until this week. It started off a desperate need for some good old familiar music to sing to in the car, and from then on I’ve virtually driven to them all week. 148 plays in the last 7 days, tells me. This song is off their album, Fire Like This, that was released last year. What I’ve always loved about them that’s been consistent throughout their backlog of EPs and this album also, is their handful of stylistic distinctions: 1/ they’ve kept their accents, rather than sing in an “Americanised” way; 2/ they have a knack for repeating key lines of lyrics in songs which makes it really memorable, without getting old; 3/ for a duo, they’re pretty melodically and harmonically busy – it’s not just here’s the melody, with guitar and drums underneath – they both take turns singing and harmonising over one another, and I’m sure on the record they’ve dubbed in extra vocal tracks too; 4/ I just like their lyrics. Whilst it’s mainly nothing too deep and terribly simple, it’s the simplicity that makes it all very blunt and snappy – straight to the point. A very precise and painfully relatable point.

5. Gladhander – Stripmall Architecture
The only reason I ever listened to Stripmall Architecture is because Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom are two-thirds of the force that was Halou. I most especially love love love Halou’s “Stonefruit” and “The Ratio of Freckles to Stars”, and wondered what the heck they were up to these days. Apparently making very similar yet very different music. Although it’s no Halou, dreamy vocals are still there, and so are the thoughts and sentiments behind the songs. Isn’t it sweet that they have the same initials, now that they’re married?

6. Be Brave – Love Inks
It’s a cute song! I know that “vox, gat + drum machine” doesn’t sound particularly promising, but just think of what lads with macs have been doing these days, haha. So I’m looking forward to when their new EP comes out, which is soon.

7. Pagan Poetry – Björk
I saw Björk live in 2008, and she absolutely blew my mind. At the time, I had tried really hard to get into her music but just really didn’t know where to start. Call it musical maturity, perhaps, because earlier this evening when a hopefully-soon-to-be-musical-collaborator told me to listen to her Verspertine album, I “got it” straight away. And funnily enough, all the songs that they had said to be their favourite off this album were also the ones I was immediately screaming, screaming in my head and then outwardly raving about. Where the hell were my listening ears, all these times I had on and off tried to listen to Björk?! This song starts off rather Japanese-sounding (to me, anyway; its the instrumentation and the intervals chosen, but I’ll spare the musical analysis), and then goes on in growing intensity until she breaks out with “I love him I love him” repeatedly, followed by the heart-breakingly whispered, almost chanted, “She loves him she loves him” and “This time I’m gonna keep me all to myself/She loves him, she loves him/And he makes me want to hand myself over”. Ahhhhhh! I just die a little in every way. It’s so beautifully written and sang. It’s so subtle yet intensely powerful. And it really fucking hurts listening to this song, because it so precisely portrays a very particular feeling that I have felt and been through, and it’s like a bittersweet punishment to listen to it. Sweet because it is so goddamn beautiful. But bitter because of the half-healed wounds that her voices seemingly just peels at, like a continuous, scrutinising scratch on a scab that’s neglected to heal completely. And I fear one of these times it will come right off. For the record, those other favourite tracks off this album are: Cocoon, Undo, Sun in My Mouth and Unison.

8. The Worst Taste In Music – The Radio Dept.
A dreamy, bittersweet song (note: recurring theme of this playlist, right?!) with lyrics that basically suggests guy likes girl, but so does some other guy, said other-guy happens to have “the worst taste in music”, and if the guy “didn’t know this [he’d] lose it”. Yup, that’s about it. Dreamy, swoony layers over a subtly-relentless beat. Oh what love does.

9. Silence – Portishead
I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again – PORTISHEAD IS COMING TO NEW ZEALAND!!! Okay, I think I can breathe now. I can’t fucking wait. It also means summer holidays for me. This song is just a killer. The boy decided to point out the obvious one day (alright, that might be a bit unfair, I did ask what particular reasons he had for liking this song, because, you know, I like to ask things like that…) and point out the unexpected elements of this song. Like say, the end-

Something like a phenomena, baby, You’re something like a phenomena

It’s about to be my 20th birthday. I have mixed feelings about not being a teenager anymore, and it’s scary considering I was still 19 when I went to the supermarket this afternoon and once again didn’t get ID’d for buying alcohol! Earlier this evening, I went over to the boy’s house “for dinner”, thinking it was just going to be another fun but casual dinner. Turns out, they had cooked me a feast of lamb shanks (done superbly with probably the same recipe as mum, score!) and fresh brownies out of the oven with fancy ice cream on the side for dessert. It was such a sweet, sweet surprise, if I wasn’t so takenaback I probably would have jumped and given Donna a hug! I probably should have. Ahhhh. Anyway, I’m still in awe of how nice it was, to whip me up a hearty family meal to celebrate my birthday for me, when my family are away – I will never forget it. What a nice way to round of my teenage years.

Sooo… I decided to spend an afternoon (which turned into evening, which turned into all night) digging out old photos from my years of being a teenager. This is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done because – in case you hadn’t noticed – I rarely post photos of myself. And when I do, it’s usually ones I’ve taken, or got other people to take under my strict strict instructions. So what is beyond that “Continue Reading” link is actually hundreds of photos (mostly of me) showing my transformation during the ages 14-19. There are gazillions more photos somewhere, but I don’t have access to mum’s stash of photos at the moment, so I also don’t have any one hand from when I was 13. Regardless, even if no one is that interested in what little-Amanda looked like, I had a LOT of fun doing this, recalling so many events and memories that I had long forgotten about. I’ve posted things in order of age, and almost in perfect chronological order, so be impressed. It’s a little funny turning 20, because in New Zealand it’s not a big deal like 18 or 21 is, but in Taiwan, 20 is a big deal. It’s like NZ’s 18th and 21st birthdays mashed together, sort of. To put it in perspective, I can’t renew my Taiwanese passport on my own without a parent’s signature until I turn 20 tomorrow. Which reminds me I really need to get onto it.

Looking back, I’ve obviously grown up a lot throughout my teenage years, but I’ve also stayed the same in more ways than I had expected. I’ve done a lot of things that I’m proud of, but also a lot of things that I’m not. But I’m pretty happy where I am right now, and I’m just trying to look towards the future optimistically. And if you know me at all, you’d know that I’m not generally an optimistic person. Like… how I have to spend 13 hour at uni tomorrow on my birthday… I’m sure it will turn out fine though. Also, the exhibition opened yesterday, and I’ll probably post the official photos in the next entry, but there are photos of the gallery at the bottom of this post!

Oh, and you may be surprised to find that I hardly look different at all.

Age 14:

Taken at the house I “grew up in”. I wish my hair was that long again.

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Baby says, if ever you see skin as fair, Or eyes as deep and as black as mine, I know you’re lying

One assessment down. Eight to go. I think. Maybe I left something out when I counted…

I thought I’d post a photo from one of the longest and happiest days of my life (San Francisco, November 9th 2010), seeing as I’m trying to be optimistic about everything at the moment.

In the next month I will become so sleep deprived, stressed out and high strung that ferry rides will be my bedtime and my fingers will bleed. Welcome to assessment month hell at jazz school – a.k.a. the last month of semester. My face will start breaking out in pimples, emulating aethestically what will be the chaos of my life. Generally, I never ever get pimples, except when I am SUPER stressed out. I don’t mean to brag (I count myself lucky and thank my mother’s genes, to be honest), but I have such nice skin that one pimple is a cataclysmic event, let alone during assessment time when I get up to three. This is too much gross detail, but with me, pimples generally never form or “ripen”, as some people like to call it. They just stay under the surface and hurt like a bitch.

Basically, life is extremely stressful at the moment, and I really really need to step it up and average out my general performance standards at a higher level. It’s so ironic in many ways that I’ve stopped caring about my grades since I got to university. I used to be the sort of person that will get B’s for not trying, and A’s for pretending to give a shit, or the classes that I enjoy, and that was perfectly fine with me. More than fine, it was bloody swell. I always felt like I always got at least 10% more than I deserved, considering I had never done any actual “studying” in my life, to be perfectly honest. But jazz school is a completely different ball game. It’s not academic in any such way, so none of this being “naturally bright” business bullshit comes into play. To a large extent, it is down to commitment, and time spent, but really, it’s about a whole lot of heart.

I finally received my feedback for the jazz combo recital from the end of last term, and the identical raw mark from both assessors on the panel that night had no bearing on my feelings at all. However, I was thoroughly pleased with the fact that their comments precisely reflected my thoughts on how I played that night. The things they thought I did well, and the things they pointed out that needs improvement were all in agreement with how I felt, so that’s really the biggest thing for me. I no longer care about the ABC’s and care mostly about my growth not just as a musician, but as a person. I mean, for gods sake I got something below a B for the first time in my life when I got to university! Nerves, freezing up and mind blanking have been some of my top enemies, and it all comes down to confidence, so I’m trying to work on that.

It’s funny thinking back on all the employers I’ve spoken to in the past who have said that they would happily employ a music graduate for a non music-related job. I remember most distinctly a barrister I had met, with whom I was discussing how I had gone about the most painful decision of my life – choosing jazz school over law school. After chatting for a good half hour, he told me that he thought I would have made an excellent lawyer had I chosen to pursue it; but also that he can see why I didn’t, and the fact that I hold the possibilities of so much more. And I think it’s this obsession with there is something more, there’s got to be more to life, there’s got to be more to me, more to be discovered, more to be devoured, more to be enjoyed, more to be read, seen, photographed, written, learnt, heard, felt, touched, loved – MORE! that ultimately drives me in the supposedly “unconventional” and “creative” realms that I enjoy so much to delve in. I don’t think it’s enough for me to simply aim for a decent paying job, end up with a nice husband, bright children and then repeat the cycle. No. Yes, I want all that, but I also want so much MORE. Having said that, it is terribly hard for me to let go of the “black-clad powerhouse woman of a lawyer with a disposable income, too little time and the world at her fingertips”-type image that I’d spent a large majority of the past decade aiming for. But also having said that, at the same time, I also harboured dreams of being a performer. I still haven’t figured out quite yet the precise sort of perfomer I’d like to be, but I think that there is merit in all forms. And in a larger, more abstract sense of the word, I also don’t think that you have to be physically doing something like playing music, dancing or acting to be “performing” – I like to think that there are such things as literary performances, which is the accumulation of those dashing, inspired moments transcribed into text on paper, rather than in the form of something you sit down to watch or listen to… which ultimately is what a musical/theatrical/dance performace also is: an “accumulation of those dashing, inspired moments”, except executed in a single setting, so to speak.

Anyway, before I ran off on a tangent, the point I was leading to about employers was the list of “qualities” that music graduates supposedly have, or will have achieved. These include all sorts of cheesy, typical-sounding adjectives which you can think of. And I admit, I’d always thought it a little over-repeated for the sake of encouraging young people to pursue a wide range of Bachelor degrees other than the “normal”, “conventional” or “money making” ones that usually come to mind; but funnily enough, these days I think I’m really starting to “get it”. I’m suffering such a bad case of low motivation and general difficulty with “getting on with it”, and I think that’s because in many ways, this music degree is actually indirectly designed to make me a better person – and that is what I’m struggling with. It’s not the actual coursework that I’m struggling with as such (although yes, it’s intense, and yes it’s difficult), but what it takes to do well in this course. You have to be so internally motivated, fight through intellectual, creative, physical and personal barriers just to get through your workload, let alone get good at it. It’s much easier for me to curl up in bed with a text book to cram for a test with, than it is for me to want to stand for hours on end and play until my blistering fingertips really can’t handle anymore bass playing. You have to want to and then make yourself go the extra mile all the time. Also, seeing as I’m self-professed not very obsessed with jazz – yes, I love it, but sometimes I just can’t conjure up the mental capacity for it, even to listen to it – it’s doubly hard for me to want to sit back, and spend hours listening to jazz recordings. By that, I don’t mean put it on and chill out, but I mean to sit there and fully pay attention to it. Over and over. Listening to all the different parts. Not just the chords, but the chord voicings, then the voicings over the particular note choices in the bass line, and the voicings used by another chordal instrument, what the soloist is playing, how they’re playing, their rhythm, time, placement, note choices, chords they outline, chords they imply, time they imply, feel, the groove of the swing… Oh by now my head just wants to burst!

My so-last-minute-I-should-get-shot transcription assessment went well today. Transcribed 64 bars of Hank Mobley’s solo on Someday My Prince Will Come and had to perform to the recording. Apparently my written transcription was pretty accurate, which surprised me. It was so hard to write out something when he plays so darn behind the beat.

Here’s a super lovely track by an amazingly sweet and talent vocalise, Rosa Passos with the legendary Ron Carter:

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