Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm Mixing The Stir Fry Sauce With Black Bean Dressing


 I wrote a little thing about what money means in music a few days back. 

Music, ephemeral - it's never lost on me after doing a show, say, that people just paid for something that's already gone. And, I guess, you have to be married (or something like it) to understand how little even financial success can appear when seen through the eyes of someone not in touch with their/our humanity - who isn't actively part of the exchange being described here. 

So, for comparison, this guy's practicing (what I call) the ancient European art of using a 15-letter word for "mop" or something:
I suspect that many readers of the Telegraph find annoying the preponderance of many artists's liberal, left-wing views, but it's worth remembering that the superstar, highly-paid musician is a recent phenomenon. Before the 20th century to be a successful musician was merely to be one who was employed. A few such as Liszt, Paderewski and several singers had phenomenally lucrative careers, but they were rare – and Liszt gave all of his money away, travelling by choice in a third-class rail carriage. 
In most situations a musician was like a cook, someone brought in to provide a specialized service; and even when the more celebrated ones were offered a place at an aristocratic dining table they were often seen as something of a performing monkey. Fast forward to the 21st century. Someone was telling me only the other day that when playing a concert in an English country house a few years ago he had had to arrive via the servants's entrance. I rest my case, "but not on the Queen Anne desk please". 
Robert Mann, a founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet and its first violinist for 50 years, told me that he never passes a busker or street musician without stopping and contributing some small change. He sees them as colleagues – less successful ones perhaps, but still 'comrades'. And my piano teacher, Gordon Green, believed that musicians should be paid less than refuse collectors because they were doing something they enjoyed and which carried its own reward. 
Whether such socialism is foolish naivety or heroic idealism is a matter of opinion, but what is certain is that, however many CDs are sold or tours sold-out, the soundwaves themselves are free. Musicians, at their best, have kept this insight alive, reluctant to grasp or exploit something so fragile, so universal – like the natural beauty of lilies in a field: "Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" … as one 1st century idealist put it.

He was carrying on that way, long before that part, but - yep - that's what it's like.

Everybody knows.

And I was born into it.

As an atheist - AND a black conservative - I'm the world's cockroach, traveling to Tinsel Town.

But I, still, plan on changing not only how we speak on race but our our whole vocabulary.

Maybe - one day - even witnessing my very thoughts, proudly being spoken in German.

I can hear it now,...

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