Sunday, July 4, 2021

What was THAT about..?

 There I was, finally (finally!) about to start writing on here again - just very gently - and something came along almost immediately to derail my train of thought.

How long has it been? This quasi-edifice I constructed - it disintegrated so long ago now that my regular involvement in it almost feels like another life. I have never lost interest in B's music, though my listening has waxed and waned over time, and I never entirely lost the intention to resume writing about it; but as one year bled into another, and my life seemed to be falling apart around my ears... then rebuilt itself (or allowed me to rebuild it)..., I just never got round to doing anything about it. The online "scene" around free jazz and creative music - which had subsisted for a few years in the mid-to-late '00s - had dissipated little by little anyway. For whom would I now be writing, other than for myself? etc, etc, round and round ad nauseam...

... and then I found I had a few things I wanted to set down after all, so with the annual occasion of the Birthday Card to prompt me, I planned to cobble together a couple of posts. 

Within a couple of days of stating my intention to do that, I went online to recheck a detail on Restructures, and - got a bizarre error message. The site, purportedly, had been taken offline. I thought at first this had to be some sort of mistake, or perhaps a hack. Quite apart from anything else, I had only just been using it a few days earlier (the Braxton discog itself had not been updated for some time, but of course it was still a goldmine of useful info, and every so often I would find myself clicking through it again). It was - right there. It couldn't now suddenly be gone... I had not been in touch with Jason G. for years, but I still had a contact email for him, so dropped him a very quick line, not knowing if he would ever see it. Within a couple of days, I had a response: there was no mistake. He actually had taken the site down.

The precise reasons for that are not something I feel I can go into here, because it's JG's decision and his business. But what he told me came as a nasty jolt, and shook me up a bit. I did some digging, and I think I found what it was that had led him to do as he did. I would have to say: I would not draw the same conclusions from it as he apparently did. But, again, it's his decision and I have to respect that.

What it leaves me wondering is about a sort of "anti-synchronicity" surrounding this blog, and the intentions it represents (or more specifically, "this blog, and the intentions my involvement with it represents", since it was not actually my blog to begin with). I go all that time without posting on it more than once a year, rendering the blog little more than a sort of dusty memorial to itself; and then, I decide at length to resume posting on it, and almost simultaneously, this happens. What the actual fuck? But then, when I really started to think that through, I began to realise that this was just the latest reiteration of something which first cropped up years ago.

Several times, blockages appeared which made it hard to work on this. Most notably, I found myself inheriting another collector's carefully-amassed treasure-trove of live recordings... at a time when I could not possibly hope to give them even a fraction of the attention they deserved (and at a time, for that matter, when I no longer even owned a cassette-player). Previously, I had been gifted a complete set of B's Tri-Axium writings and his Composititon Notes - and had not had time or space for those either. There were several other obstacles of similar stripe, at several points along the way. With my own attention having moved away from such matters, I had forgotten about them. This latest cosmic irony with the Restructures site, and the consequent loss (to everyone) of the Braxton discography,  got me remembering all over again.

There are schools of thought which make much of coincidence, and there are those who say that when one discovers one's true vocation or life-path, it's as if all obstacles just melt away. What, then, am I to make of this? Have I created all such energetic blockages myself? Cos if not... it seems I am being told -have repeatedly been told - to steer well clear.

That feels wrong, though. I suspect that the "lack of cosmic path-clearing" can be traced directly back to B's contacting me for the first time, saying that he hoped his doing so would not interfere with what I was doing. It wasn't his fault... but it did. That's all down to me, though, and my long-established inability to see things through.

I may never see this through properly either, and I certainly have long since missed the opportunity to make it into what I originally hoped it would become. But... does that really matter?

I still intend to post, pretty soon. I just needed to have this little argument with myself, before doing so...

Friday, June 4, 2021

Birthday card... with a difference


Another year, anoth- ah now, hang on there. 

Naturally, as always on this day, I want to take the opportunity to wish Maestro Braxton a very happy birthday. I mean, of course I do! But while I'm at it, I want to make - well, I'm not even going to call it an announcement, because unless McC pops his head in, chances are nobody will see this anyway; but after vaguely threatening a few times over the last few years to resume posting, I'm actually about to start doing precisely that. Within the next couple of weeks I shall be writing a bit about the Thumbscrew album (what do you mean, "which one?" - take a wild guess), and a bit about the New Haven box on Firehouse 12. I shan't be going into rabbit-hole detail on either one - quite apart from any other considerations, I have still only heard half of the box - but I do have a few things I wanted to say about them and, dammit, I'm gonna do it. 

The fact that nobody is likely to read such posts isn't really a problem, indeed it may positively be an advantage at this point. And even if it isn't, I'm going to write them anyway. Non-spoiler alert: the New Haven set is absolutely astonishing. 

That's it, for now. Except to wish the main man:

*"@"*Many happy returns of the day*"@"*

C x

Thursday, June 4, 2020

75th Birthday!

On the one hand... Maestro B. probably won't thank me for pointing that out. On the other... he can hardly get away from it! I imagine there will be plenty of well-wishers, only too eager to help him celebrate reaching such a milestone. (In some parallel universe... I'm involved in whatever celebrations end up taking place. In this one... yes, well...)

So, just in case you happen to be casting an eye in this direction, sir...


 - Glib though it may sound, I genuinely hope you enjoy your day - and any special arrangements which have been made for you. With very best wishes for now and the future, from an absent friend... c x

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Another year... another birthday card

Every year - well, for the last few years anyway - I find myself posting one of these and thinking (among other things) that another birthday has come around very quickly, and that surely this time I have more to say: to explain what happened to the blog and why; to detail how I lost touch with Maestro B, how I felt I had let him down; and so on and so on. Whether it was - ultimately - self-preservation which stopped me from rambling on, or just plain old inertia, is unclear even to me, and no longer even remotely important.

What is important is to say, once more: Many happy returns of the day, Maestro! Your continued existence is a reason to have hope, in these dark-and-rapidly-ever-more-darkening times... I trust that you are enjoying your (academic) retirement and that the well of inspiration will never run dry. (As if...)

***Happy Birthday!***


(In case anyone is wondering ... whenever they see this... I am quite well in myself, much more stable and contented than I was a few years ago... and one day it really is likely that I will resume writing. When I do, it goes without saying that I will resume writing about Anthony Braxton's music, since that remains a subject close to my heart. For the time being, I read a lot and write pretty much nothing... but that too is a phase, and will not last forever...)

Monday, June 4, 2018

Birthday card

Well now. It seems pretty safe to say at this juncture that I am now only doing this for myself (and there was always a strong element of that to begin with, as others have noted over the years) - but let's pretend that Maestro B. is reading this, and that others may be too...

Happy Birthday sir! The sentiments are heartfelt, even though it has been a long while now since we spoke. Life moves on, and I trust it finds you well, and that your (academic) retirement gave you the time and space you craved.

For myself... I am in much better shape than I was. Having long struggled with a negative mindset and a complex set of emotional challenges, I almost let these consume me entire; but that was a couple of years ago now, and I feel a very different person these days. I am much more positive and much better equipped to cope with what life throws at me (which is just as well...). Freed from a very narcissistic mindset, I am finally, generally content - even happy, at least in my family life. [The diagnosis in 2013 placing me on the autistic spectrum turned out to be the saving of me, although it took a while for that to filter through... little did I know that I was such a walking cliche..!]

That's about it for now - I still listen, always, to music; I still listen to your music. Nor have I given up altogether on the idea of writing about it; though it seems very obvious now that anything I do along those lines in the future will have to take a very different form from what went before. Still - (...)

Many happy returns of the day!

C. x

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Invisible Birthday Card

(... invisible, as in "no-one's going to see it anyway")

Well, I covered off last year some of the reasons why this poor blog had disappeared into oblivion - and I will be coming back to this, but not today.

Today, Maestro Braxton is 72 I believe. He won't see this, I'm pretty sure, but just in case he does...

... I would like to wish you Many Happy Returns of the Day, Sir, and may your muse(s) smile favourably upon you. It may yet interest you to learn that this poor excuse for a blogger is still among the living and (contrary to all rumours and expectations) sane.

There will be more to say of these matters, in due course...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

why there was no birthday card this year

- such was not my intention (of course), indeed i had briefly picked up the laptop on the morning of the 4th to think about what i was going to post... but this was the problem, right there: when i wrote earlier this year about my artistic projects, these had included one as-yet-still-unrealised piece which i could see quite clearly in my mind, and which i was already planning to dedicate to maestro braxton...


- problems with seeing things through, with making good on my plans, promises and intentions

- problems in dealing with people, always, always... albeit with rare exceptions (and should these not become more common in adulthood, not rarer? how have i marginalised myself to such an extent?

-  and suddenly, this year, nothing but problems everywhere, in pretty much every area of my daily life, nor with solutions apparent to any of them; the increasing (self-fulfilling) isolation from other people, from society, from even those (relatively) close to me, means too that i have become cut off from most possible sources of solace and support; and, finally, the unique set of circumstances which mean that the particular artistic project i undertook has changed meaning before my very eyes, and the (possible) continuation of it now looks very different. (no, this bit will not make sense to the reader: the reason the project itself has become difficult to continue is also, precisely, the reason why i can't go into detail about any of it here - but basically it involves another person's privacy and sensitivities besides my own)

so... inertia won out... and a downward spiral quickly commenced... and the knowledge, above all, that with this very blog i have  managed the remarkable reverse alchemical transformation of gold into lead, having had originally enjoyed the backing (very much so) of anthony braxton himself, and having finished as so utterly anathema to (at least some of) the tri-centric foundation that they only ever included the blog in the first place because b. himself insisted upon it, and then took the next chance they got to be rid of it. all that time and effort - and all i succeeded in doing was driving everyone with any serious interest in b's music away. how to remain motivated, knowing that?


so... the writing stuff just didn't work out, for all sorts of reasons; the artwork is in stasis... and may or may not be resumed, now; (almost) everything in my life is in such a state of flux at present that i can't say anything much with any certainty. i am sorry that this is the way it worked out, but that's how it seems to have ended up - that is the hand i am now sitting here unable to fold, so to speak - and that's why this no longer feels like an appropriate place to be carrying birthday wishes, or anything of the sort.

for the time being, as i needed to spell this out, there are no plans to continue the blog; but i will keep it open, in the hope that the work i did put in can still be of value, even if people will have to discover it from outside the "official channels". in happier times, plenty of people contacted me to say they had found my writing helpful in listening to b's music, and that sort of value (in any critical analysis) is inherent and will not fade.