Friday, 23 September 2011

Mainly of Music and Laughter

In the late morning my daily constitutional took me to the house of my good friends, Dave and Tina. Twickenham is looking wonderfully golden in the September light as the colours of the leaves turn and I find myself hoping, as in previous years, that strong winds and rain will not crash the party and strip the trees prematurely. The bare branches of winter certainly have a stark charm when the air is crisp, but the diverse palette of autumn demands to be savoured as it develops over weeks.

It is interesting to note how different people bring out different facets of ourselves. Time spent in Dave and Tina’s company invariably draws The Joker and The Musician out of me, with minor turns by The Impressionist. Even when we talk of serious things (and we do), jokes or ribaldry are never far away. I originally went for coffee, but it turned into two leisurely coffees, followed by soup and salad.

I have played quite a bit of music with Dave over the years in church settings and he has had a long and busy career in many musical fields, both in live performance and in composing for TV and advertising (the old PC World jingle was one of his). In recent years he has been gigging on acoustic guitar, accompanying his daughter Jem, a very gifted singer/songwriter, and they are about to set off on a month’s tour of the German-speaking countries and Scandinavia supporting Bob Geldof. In November they go back for a month of club dates in Germany and Austria, this time playing longer sets on their own.

I am telling you all this because my blog is about daily life and a significant part of this particular day has been spent with friends of whom I am very fond, enjoying some laughter therapy. My other purpose is that you should hear of Jem Cooke, who has a talent and a passion for music that should be bottled and dispensed by the NHS in the interests of our collective mental health. At the moment our North European cousins are getting the message, but she will be back gigging in the UK in due course. In the meantime there is much to enjoy on her website. The X Factor can be diverting, for sure, but Jem is the real deal.

You may of course want to make music yourself. On this website you will find a neat little intuitive tool for having some fun. A good stress-buster, I have found, although my wife did not agree when I was trying it out yesterday while she was concentrating on some work.

The other bit of news is that I have started reading a book about novel writing. The first exercise is to complete the sentence: “The day after my eighth birthday, my father told me…”

Wish me luck.

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