Music and My Thoughts

Warning: I am not a musician. Many years ago, my Latvian piano teacher told me I had the musical skills of a potato. Had I at the time known that Latvia worships the potato, and her comment was in fact the highest praise she could offer, I might be doing something very different with my life right now.

But I had a thought on music, one that’s probably very intuitive: different cultures produce different music.

But even within styles that originated from a very specific geographical / cultural environment, like rockabilly, rock and roll, swing, jazz, etc., they mutate dramatically upon encountering a new culture.

For my example, I’ll use ska, a brassy style of rock&roll-ish music which came from 1950s Jamaica. Here is a classic example of original Jamaican styled ska:

And here’s what happened when it came to Russia:

While it’s a bit early for me to form a conveniently sized theory of musical nationality, and there’s doubtless many more examples I can bring up from different genres, I thought it worthwhile to post my thoughts, because for some strange reason some people want to hear them out.

What do you think about this? What are your imagined characters of different cultures’ interpretations of musical styles?

 

First off, Sorry.

Second, sorry again. I really should have been keeping up, particularly since exams are now two weeks behind and I have no reason to leave the place a derelict convention center for dust bunnies and internet gremlins.

And I might say (I’ve said it!) that I just haven’t had anything to write, but the truth is that I have LOADS of ideas to write about, in or on, so many I can barely keep my head on straight…. I just haven’t written them.

Instead I’ve been using my trusty keyboard to waste my time in videogames like the brutally unforgiving FUI (Fighting Under the Influence) medieval combat simulator Exanima, or the cerebral and pacific, The-Martian-Videogame Space Engineers, as well as the usual and classless timesink of YouTube.

Which provoked a curious thought– that our millenial generation and the one coming after will be the first writers who might credit video games as inspiration for their works. My first stories when I was young were based off my father forcing me to play Doom III to conquer my fears (my Bruce Wayne bats moment, if you will), and for a few years after, tended to contain the same excessively graphic gore and simplistic storylines as their inspiration– mass-market shooter games and Diablo II. They grew in sophistication after playing Bioware’s inimitable Dragon Age and Mass Effect, as well as doses of classics like Steinbeck, and modern commercial fiction in the vein of Douglas Adams and  Terry Pratchett— but it was from those two games that came my two main fiction universes, Lagan and Galaxia.

Now that I like to call myself a writer, there’s a knot of shame when I boot up a computer and immediately gravitate towards my Steam library. “I should be writing stories, not playing them,” I tell myself. “I’m not living the life of the mind, I’m living the life of the button.”

And yet I feel not an ounce of shame when I spend three hours de-rusting a spade.

Granted, computer screens are said not to be healthy for our eyes, and my posture approximates a turtle’s neck rather than a man of backbone, and its few games nowadays which spark brilliant literary epiphanies, and at least a clean spade looks pretty and doesn’t require electricity, but irregardless it all makes me wonder if the life of the mind is not all its cracked up to be.

Not wonder, argue. Of course we should be thoughtful in our daily lives, and not consign our higher faculties to the dream realm while wandering aimlessly through the concrete jungle. But perhaps that is just the thing– to stop living inside our heads, but live in the world. The life of the mind is only a life when the mind is left to freely wander– confined indoors to slave over a keyboard, the life becomes a prison, and we are the inmates, chained by the illusion that a busy mind is a fruitful mind.

At any rate, I’ve talked long enough. Hopefully I’ll post tomorrow.

Or I’ll post whenever I bloody well feel like.