ZONES

Exhausted, but not yet ready for bed. This hour after partner and child have retired has become a treasured space. Sometimes I write, sometimes spin a record. Often both. 

Right now, Tangerine Dream are soothing me with Stratosfear for the hundredth time.

If I can raise the energy I’ll go for a walk. Takes effort, this deep into autumn. There is a feeling of ‘should’—for mind and heart and to get back into the body after being in others’ lives all day. But I probably won’t, tonight. Bed beckons.

Waking, inevitably, I lift my head and see the green numerals of the old clock radio on Cal’s side. I always hope it will be later than it is. The dream of longer sleep. Perchance to have a wee. The delights of middle-age, wherein restful slumber becomes a mythic quest. Unending, never fulfilled. Imagine a time when your bladder made it through the night. Is there a country song about that?

There’s an app on the computer dashboard for clocks. Pick a location, anywhere, and  it shows you their time. I have a few set up. A local one for reference and one for the UK, where Cal is from. I know the time difference, but always get confused when daylight-saving cycles shift gear.

Much harder for North America. Different zones. For simplicity’s sake I have two, east and west. The calculation is trickier and not self-evident. My American friend told me she subtracts a day then adds eight hours. But is that east or west? Sometimes I delete the clock and re-install it so that when I pick the city the hands spin backwards to the intercontinental time. Right now, it’s coming up to 7:00am in San Francisco, ten in DC. Time zones to represent my blogging friends. Do I presume too much? Some feel like friends, for sure. Others are more cautious acquaintances. I’d like more, and more depth, but I don’t want any more. Friendships require work, energy, input. Tonight I’m depleted, headachey, chardonnayed.

Sometimes I post a comment and get an immediate response from Portland or Boston. It always feels pretty cool to have this little dialogue across the world in real time. My grandparents used to mail three-inch reel-to-reel tapes to family in the old country. A conversation measured out in months. I remember a bunch of aunts and uncles, the men in suits, standing round a microphone my grandfather had plugged into his open reel deck. He positioned them around the homemade mic stand and did a practice run before the real recording. Bess, take those beads off, they sound like static. I always thought they became more English when they were compiling these stilted messages to their un-migrated brethren. Thinking about the destination of the magnetic tape erased years of Australian twang. Or maybe it was that tot of sherry. Sweet.

Tonight, I could suggest skyping or face-timing to one of my blog friends. What would they sound like? Would I suddenly become more Aussie? G’day mate. Just so they weren’t in any doubt.

I won’t be suggesting a link-up though. They might be disappointed in me or I in them. And we’d have the same laboured conversations about the seasons or differences in word usage and secretly snigger at each others dialects.

Almost out of tape, so signing off now. Love to all of you over there. Hope to plan a trip soon. Enjoy the warm weather!

Time to go clean my teeth. Maybe there’ll be a little orange dot on the bell by the time the ablutions are done. Instant like-ification. Maybe even a comment. But I won’t engage now. I’ll be in better form in the morning, with a coffee, though my respondent will probably be at lunch or dinner or asleep.

Tssssss…

IMG_5628

STILL A WAY TO GO

It’s been a lean time at Lonely Keyboards this year.  Same over at Vinyl Connection, though I’ve managed to create the illusion of activity by raiding the ‘work in progress’ folder and cobbling together a few thin ideas. But not much, and not much satisfaction.

Today I spent quite a while toying with the idea of writing a Vinyl Connection post on a female artist, it being International Women’s Day and all. But why do that today? Isn’t it a bit patronising to roll out this post as something special? There’s disquiet in featuring a musician based on gender, and discomfort in ignoring something this important: the right to—no, the requirement for—equity, fairness and respect.

The avalanche of disclosure of the opposites of those rights—inequity, unfairness, disrespect—makes it uncomfortable to speak… and even more uncomfortable to stay silent. What’s a bloke aspiring to decency to do? Oh, poor me, privileged middle-aged white guy living in comfort and safety. Boo hoo. Awkward feelings. But my (female) partner sent me a text, devoid of irony (I think!) wishing me Happy International Women’s Day. Sent it to our son, too. I like that; there’s something joining about her inclusion. Something blokes could maybe learn from.

So I listened to some Suzanne Ciani, pioneer of electronic music, and ran some ideas in my head. But didn’t type.

Sat down with a lunchtime sandwich and recalled I had watched only a quarter of the highly regarded documentary on backing singers, Twenty Feet From Stardom (trailer here). Resumed from place last stopped and instantly became engrossed; challenged, moved, outraged, more. Why haven’t I heard of Lisa Fischer? Why doesn’t everyone know Lisa Fischer?

You could say the same for every other woman featured in the film. All gave (and continue giving) their all to the artists they support. Wish I was that generous.

Afterwards, pottered around Vinyl Connection. Changed the banner, noticed I’m one click away from 1200 followers. A lie based on rolling followers from another social media platform into the count, but I’m vain enough to swell a little. Hey, look at my following. Fans! I’m front of stage, hanging cool at the mic. Ah, fan-tasy, you minx. (Yes, I know. That was purposeful irony).

I noticed a new follower had come through. Someone called Rich. Financial boast or name?

Even though I don’t automatically follow those who subscribe to my blogs, I usually check them out. Both interest and courtesy. Mostly it’s a quick assay of content and (if I’m being honest here) writing style. But in the aftermath of the massive surge at Lonely Keyboards after being featured on ‘Discover’ I also sometimes remove and block followers. That’s rare, but has been relatively straightforward. For example, here is a gambling/betting site in Arabic. No thanks. Here is one preaching religion using the time-dishonoured weapons of shame and fear. No thanks.

Mostly I just let it go. Each to their own, I reckon. And following my blog doesn’t award you anything much, as far as I can see.

So I checked out Rich’s blog. It’s a blog by a man, aimed at men. About lots of things that men are interested in, apparently. Looking good, getting rich, keeping your woman in her place. I felt queasy after just reading the post titles. The only one I could bring myself to open was ‘How to deal with a fussy girlfriend’. I won’t pollute your day with any further description of this shallow, misogynist, regressive, hateful shit. As I type, I can feel my eyes burning with tears and my gut clenching with rage.

Part of the anger, the despair, is about how this sequence unfolded today. But that’s every day for many—maybe most—women in the world. Equity, fairness, respect. Still a way to go, then.

Perhaps I’ll post on Suzanne Ciani soon. Her music is interesting and overlooked (surprise!). But not now. Right now I’m off to delete Vinyl Connection’s latest follower. Happy International Women’s Day, Rich, you poor, poor excuse for a man.

IMG_5205