Thanks to Susie Deane for showing me this, and thanks to friends who loan me books, to librarians, and to independent booksellers everywhere.
Now that is what I call timeless technology. I have many happy memories of visiting second hand bookshops when travelling round Australia and buying books to read as I travelled. I did not have to worry about buying batteries to use with them and carrying them around everywhere also helped to build up my physical muscles as well as my mental ones. It added a new meaning to being weighed down by words!
I like what C. S. Lewis said of books: ““You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
I also have a soft spot (it’s called a chuckle muscle – yet another muscle books help exercise) for Groucho Marx: “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
Words bring us the sublime with Shakespeare’s eloquent plays and the ridiculous with the plays “what I wrote” by Ernie Wise, one half of a famous British double act Morecambe and Wise (who, although they are no longer with us, still cause us to exercise our chuckle muscles today). You might think it is a strange example to use a long dead British comedian to illustrate words but thinking of travelling around Australia reminded me of when I was in the middle of a cafe in the Outback in Australia 10 years ago. I was trying to explain the ongoing popularity of Morecambe and Wise to a Dutch couple I had met. Around us in every direction was the red desert and the only other person sitting in the cafe was a lady in the far corner drinking a coffee. I explained to the Dutch couple about how familiar the M&W jokes were in England and went through one of their routines and was just about to say the punch line when the lady sitting in the far corner suddenly said it for me in a Canadian accent. She looked at my astonished face and simply said “they are big in Canada as well.” The power and humour of our words can long outlive us and Morecambe and Wise books are still on sale today.
It is hard for independent booksellers to compete with the online bookstores and e-books but here is a very recent story about one independent bookshop in Yorkshire who used the internet to bring in local people to buy his books and help save his store. Which shows just how much people love real, physical books.
Kevin Ainsworth |
January 20, 2014 at 01:17 PM
The more I listen to Feather & Bone the more I enjoy it. The Mountainy Singer certainly scales the heights! (I don’t know why but I love that phrase ‘Mountainy Singer’).
A while ago I wrote in a comment to one of your posts that wisdom is female and that we should be shouting it from the rooftops. So imagine my surprise and amazement to read in your album notes for ‘O Virtue Sapientiae’: “Wisdom has three wings... she circles, circling...”
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather (& bone)! Forget about “shouting it from the rooftops” because you were singing it from under a very acoustic roof many years before I said it. Americans like eating Apple Pie but, as an Englishman, I shall go and eat some good old fashioned Humble Pie.
Anyway, Wisdom may have circled, circling but she certainly circled down upon your choice of songs. I can imagine that you had a very large number to choose from so judging by the fact you chose this one, and from the power and beauty in your voice as you sing, I guess that wisdom was, and is, very important to you.
Proverbs 31, the last chapter, starts with proverbs from King Lemuel’s Mother. Now that is female wisdom! Then, saving the best to last, it finishes with a beautiful appreciation of a woman. Unfortunately the writer ran out of ink, or papyrus, or both, otherwise Proverbs 31 v. 32 would have said “Wisdom is female and Laurel is female so yea, verily, Laurel is wiser than Kevin.”
‘Hymn To The Muse’ is another interesting song and the big crystal bowl certainly had a strange effect on me when listening through headphones!!!
Listening to those songs made me think that it would be wise to muse on creativity and wisdom. I have a Joint Subjects Degree in Drama and Religious Studies so know a little bit about creativity and Bible knowledge. I also know that knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
Wisdom can be a gift but it can also be found bumping along on the bottom of life. It can be gained through bad times, and experiences, and pain, as well as good times and joy.
Moses had a privileged upbringing in the family and court of Pharaoh. He saw and learned firsthand the knowledge of what it took to be a ruler. Yet it was the years spent in exile, as a shepherd, that gave him the wisdom to be Israel’s leader as they travelled through the wilderness.
Joshua had youthful enthusiasm to enter and conquer the Promised Land yet it was 40 years spent travelling through the wilderness that gave him the wisdom to lead Israel to victory when they did finally enter and had to trust God for victory over Jericho.
Joseph’s years spent in captivity gave him a far greater wisdom and appreciation and love for his family and brothers than he had shown when he lived at home with them.
David had a youthful victory over Goliath that changed his life for the better but it was the years spent on the run and fearful for his life that gave him the wisdom to be one of Israel’s greatest Kings and start a bloodline.
Saul was a very clever scholar who knew the scriptures and was probably destined for great things within the Sanhedrin until the road to Damascus experience changed his life and his name. As Paul he then experienced persecution and near death and periods of captivity, along with the joy and fellowship of being a Christian. Yet those experiences helped give him the wisdom to write the amazing letters of the New Testament which have changed and helped so many lives in the generations since then.
Wisdom has just circled off and the muse has landed on my other shoulder.
You have an amazing musical talent but what underpins it is a tremendous gift of creativity. I see it in your performances and I hear it in your singing and I read it in your writing and see it in your thinking within the writing. Whatever you do you are using that gift of creativity with which you have been greatly blessed. To you creativity is as natural as breathing.
It is sometimes hard for a creative mind to realise that other minds do not think as it does. Other minds do not see the same things or make the same connections or come to the same creative conclusions. But that is what makes each creative mind unique and able to create new things not done before. You could have done the safe thing when you had the chance to do Feather & Bone and controlled everything in a sound proof studio but as a creative person you could not do that. You had to be creative and take the risk when making the record. Listening to the album now I suspect your creativity was working full time on the day of recording and you came up with new, and better, ideas on the day itself. I also think that your creative leadership inspired the others on the album to produce some amazing work. Of course, this is all supposition on my part but tell me if I am wrong...
I think you will understand when I say that this only started off as a short comment expressing my enjoyment of Feather & Bone but has grown in both the thinking and the writing. I hope that I have been positive and encouraging in my comments because your creativity and talent is appreciated and greatly enjoyed.
Besides, I am simply being a wise man and following the advice of the very last proverb of all. Proverbs 31 v. 31: “Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.”
PS ‘Hymn To The Muse’ – as a very creative person do you have a Laurel Musé...?
Kevin Ainsworth |
January 29, 2014 at 10:56 AM
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A singer's singer, and a song's best friend.