#MondayMotivation

This will be a blog on the move.

I practice music every morning, and did so this morning for a short period but we planner to head out to my parents and that means time to travel. Traveling makes me think because, well, most of the time you are stuck with that.

In some situations you can play music on ferries or busses, and I have, but to me writing works better. It’s like you are already doing something so anything you add is a bonus. And you’re stuck there for a while so don’t worry about being too keen.

What I want is to perform more, which was recently inspired by the story of Ed Sheeran. Now I have performed lots already, but I want to do more especially with my keyboard which is fast becoming my second primary instrument. I learned guitar as a early bass teacher told me I should learn a chord instrument and my mom’s nylon string was around so I started learning, accelerated when I told the church choir I had started and then the guitarist quit, putting me alone in front of a congregation (along with singers). They were a forgiving audience 😏 but it did help to get me ability to play and change chords fast happening.

Even with all that though, and being a bassist, I could never really get into crazy levels of playing, or taking it seriously. I wanted to because I knew I should but it was like a less comfortable bass to me so soloing and really fine playing has never really happened.

Playing keys really didn’t become a thing until almost a year ago now (I had one around for multitrack attempts, a la Depeche Mode) but never actually tried to play a song solo and sing. Naturally I knew C major. Not altogether hard to find, that one.

More recently I have fallen into a once a day pattern of putting something out there. I’m still on the bus as we speak and between parent’s and work I imagine this will be today’s.

Kind of fits with the sleepless one before. What would you like to try? Take some time when you are next stuck in traffic of any kind. Note apps are just amazing for this.

“You dream of something and it’s a thought. You write it down and take action on it and it’s real” Anthony Robbins

Today’s music will be this one I just rediscovered of Scott Walker of the Walker Brothers. I think last time was Scott as well but I thought I would add his hit.

Click here!

Cheers!

Tom

☺️

Advertisements

How to build your creative castle

You can hear Potter’s Theme in the mist as we circle your castle rising above the morning’s fog, it’s spires set against perhaps some fading last star.

Ok, so where do you get started?

It’s about the 1%. No, not that one percent, this has nothing to do with money.

No obligation and no salesman will visit.

This means if you improve something just one percent a day, what is the difference after a year? It’s not just 365% because not only does it stack on top of the numbers but also you will have days that you lunge forward.

It’s a little like going to the gym. Just showing up is half the success. Anything above that is a bonus. Same here. This is why the castle idea. What is a castle really? I have a really pretty one featured there but take a boring one.

It’s a bunch of walls. What are walls made of? Stones. Lots of stones. Some are not that big. One stone after another stone after another stone. The workmen didn’t go…ugh, these stones are boring and it won’t work anyways. They just kept adding stones. Eventually everyone complimented them in their pretty castle.

Same here. People will see your creation and marvel at it, but only you will know the stone after stone that put it there. Plus, like a castle, there is something nice about the fact it took so long. You have built it up over years and it won’t fail you. It’s sturdy and even you are a little impressed by the whole thing.

So when you see your endeavor before you and it looks so impossible just think, today…I will put down what stone I can find. Tomorrow may be a bigger stone or smaller, but I’ll find one then too.

🏰

For today’s music, I just got into this guy and so I had to share some of it. This is Scott Walker who was apparently a huge inspiration to David Bowie.

For the first track from this album click here!

Enjoy!

Tom

πŸ™‚

What to do when you’re tired

I like to put in about 4 hours each morning but last night probably had less sleep than that. So what to do?

Practicing technical stuff seems a bit pointless as I’ll be practicing mistakes. And yeah, I’ve definitely had that experience of being too awake to sleep and too tired to spell the word “the”. It can make you feel really forlorn and frustrated so what do you do now?

Step back. Explore.

This is actually a time that really works wonders. Don’t beat yourself up with a) trying to sleep when that won’t kick in and b) get upset that you’re performance isn’t up to your ace level when of course it couldn’t be.

For me this morning it was playing through songs I hadn’t heard, working on an original idea I meant to do and then just finally going for a walk. I mentioned walks before and one of my favorite things is to get totally lost (I bring my device with data if it’s bad lol) and listen to music. Treat it like an artists date.

And that’s the gag here. You don’t have to be in “Fine Arts” to enjoy this. Explore your world in something you haven’t done for a while. You’ll get a second wind soon enough so enjoy this off the beaten track crazy moment. Be like a kid that’s stayed up too late and it all feels different and exciting. Take photos, go through old boxes, check out the books and niknaks at a Thrift store. Go up that trail you always drive past and wondered what’s over there.

Be over there today.

πŸ˜‰

Today’s music is a really cool Jazz standard by Chet Baker called Alone Together.

Click here!

The arts – unmasked

Early Salish Carver

Did read the recent Twitter run about Geoffrey Owens? He was that guy from the Cosby Show that someone photographed working at a Trader Joe’s.

Or what about those local bands that have yet to go huge and end up on Jimmy Kimmel?

Like that relative you have you is still writing the same novel?

Isn’t talent meant for just those you see in mainstream media?

Ok…by now you might pretty much realize where I’m going here…the answer is no. ☺️

We’re all Geoffrey in a way. I work as a cleaner and I’ve worked behind multiple counters as well. For a year I did go full time thanks to some funding, but that didn’t stick as rules changed (I swear, and yeah, it sucked).

While being a bassist and writer I have been lucky in one way though, and that’s that I consistently have interacted with other creative people and seen what they have been doing, getting a taste of what’s out there, even if it’s just here on Vancouver Island.

From Native artists like Roy Vickers and Alano Elzerza to the Black Angus band to the Eighty Sticky Fingers show in Colwood BC that represents local artists and potters I have consistently been surprised by what’s out there and of course with the very medium you’re reading this from, I have uncovered more.

And it isnt… here’s the thing…”not as good as it’s not famous or whatever”. It doesn’t work that way. It’s like espresso. Someone tamping a perfect shot produces a better drink than…brace yourself…the machine that does it fast at your local Seattle giant chain. The latter just has gone that direction with it. It’s like when I was young and I (embarrassing..) asked a local jazz horn player why he didn’t put out an album like Kenny G.

I don’t have the hair..

Alano Edzerza of North Vancouver.

And that’s not to run down Ariana Grande or Ed Sheeran… they’re excellent at what they do too…truth is the arts is just that…it’s a craft and these are the craftspersons. The very doing of it is part of the joy and beauty as is the fact that it is not easy, that it is not necessarily lucrative involving a Hollywood tycoon with a cigar.

Victoria Jazz Festival

So I suppose the take away from the Geoffrey situation is to see what’s going on in your own home town. Got some extra white on your walls? Make them pop with local art where not only will you have some nice color but you might have a story of actual interaction with it’s creator. That’s one of the best parts. When we do a Cookeilidh gig we end up answering questions about things like Woody’s Irish flutes that are handmade from African blackwood which is incredibly dense and are cut precisely from an old original.

While we are discussing local music, I can only wrap it up with this example. This is the late George Essihos who I did take a lesson with once and his bassist who was pretty much the most influential teacher I probably had. Don’s pretty good too.

πŸ˜‰

Listen here … https://youtu.be/2u4AEvgFDcc

And yeah, see what’s happening in your local arts community. From stage to film, visual arts to music and beyond I can strongly say you will be richer for it.

😊

Tom

Not all who wander are lost

One of the best things I have discovered is literally one of the absolute simplest, walking.

It’s strolling in the city or hiking in the woodland but it’s really that same thing. It’s the way you discover the world around you the way nature meant us to.

It is a great simple way to burn calories as well, with a brisk walk bringing your heart rate close to a target rate. If you don’t feel like jogging or don’t have the equipment for cycling or cross country skiing it’s always there. It is low impact and it is great for battling anxiety, bloating/nausea (it works like a mother burping you essentially) and of course you can mix it’s exercise qualities with doing actual errands. What barbell can pull that off?

There is also the creative element. There’s always more streets to go down and places to explore (don’t venture into people’s property…they don’t like that…I know, right?) and this is always great for being inspirational. I have definitely worked out ideas in walks and there’s also that liminality quotient of bringing you out of your comfort zone and into the experience of the world.

Locally you will get to know your way around which is great and one of my favorite things is combining that with a pair of headphones. Any of the music that I’ve been recommending on this blog would be awesome, as would your favorites, but for today’s…

Here’s a classic Tom fav from a classic album…

Today’s track is Depeche Mode – Freestate

Open your mind – Freedom’s a state

😊

Tom

Quiet Thunder of the Creative Soul

It is so easy to believe that talent is reserved for a special few, ordained with a cosmic birthmark, and that this world the creative is theirs alone.

Not only is this wrong but that the world of creative thought does not belong to the world of the arts alone.

Marketing is said to be a modern art form (and I don’t mean the artist who supplied the company with those nice stock images), and that like every form it has to creatively adapt to a changing world. The “our brand is whiter than the competition…look!” days ended ages ago.

When you walk into any business from a cafe to a car dealership, sure you’re taken with an attractive product, but the way things work, or what makes this place different stands them apart. (Positive attitude helps in these cases of course, but even that comes from a form of ingenuity)

From my time in pitching ideas to producers, other writers and networks, it is the idea, the creative twist that is key.

I remember listening to a favorite musical artist and for a large portion of the album it was just the band jamming. Now it sounded good, but there was not much spectacular about it. It was a band jamming through chords with a guitarist going for it. I’m being probably harsh here but I remember hanging out in a record label head office in downtown Victoria ages ago and watching how the owner would give a new CD a few seconds to get his interest. If nothing stood out, out it went. Like me, and most listeners, he knew a good guitarist can play that way, a drummer and bass can set a groove, but if all this and the song doesn’t go somewhere special, it’s just nice packaging. What’s in the package?

**Industry Insider!!**

Ok, it’s not that amazing. A pitch document to get the ball started on a show, is basically one page with a “logline” or “elevator pitch” at the top that does it in one sentance. The latter being the notion that if you were in, let’s say NBC and some top cat got on with you (and you were super confident too) you could explain your cool idea before he got to his floor.

You got three minutes. Go.

As you can see from that, how fancy you write, or jam over a B flat diminished chord, or can brew a coffee or whatever it is isn’t going to help.

It’s having that idea that sets you from the pack. One favorite show from back in the day was Early Edition. It was back in the nineties (I know, it was a simpler time πŸ˜‰)

All about the cat, bout the cat.

I remember thinking you could almost see the one page and the logline.

It’s about a guy who gets tomorrow’s newspaper today.

Just that. Like Lord of the Rings with the one ring, that idea is the little motor that just keeps purring ( badum pum pish!) and everything around it just gives it packaging.

Speaking of bands, Stewart Copeland said that with the Police

It became clear that Andy and I were just nice packaging for Sting’s songs.

So just because you just have an idea but never did this or that on the technical level, you are not out of the running. Those technical things you can get around. You can get creative with that too, creative with creativity. You can even hire out for someone who can help you find that sound. They will want to get it for you as they want to be hired back.

It just takes one idea to rock the world.

Bring your thunder.

Got up a bit late today so I admit I reverted to an old working music classic (also good for driving, resting, though if you’re tired while driving this wouldn’t work lol)

R. Carlos Nakai – Canyon Trilogy

If you haven’t heard this CD, it’s become something of a classic. Recorded in the Grand Canyon, it is Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai, playing alone and creating beautiful ambient spaces with the canyon’s natural reverb and delay.

My parent’s discovered it in Tofino BC on Canada’s Pacific Coast and it always takes them back to that favorite place amongst the ocean and wind swept forests.

Enjoy!

Cheers πŸ™‚

Tom

The Fools Paradise or Wise Man’s University

Before you go crazy wide eyed, no this is not where I woke up this morning. But there certainly are those who live this way or even more simply. This image was taken from the monastery quarters of a Californian brother.

The title which got me thinking was taken from a very different but also minimal living condition. It came from an incarcerated man in the “Doing Time” episode of commonspace on NPR.

He was describing life on the inside naturally which, though already worse than many of us can imagine, can from that point continue two different directions.

Starting my blog like I’ve been pushing for each morning, I run into both the work of people who dwarf me by comparison, especially with fiction material. I like doing fiction but for some reason I’m less drawn that direction. I also see sign posts on the way here past bass stuff which lets me know how there are people behind me and plenty way, way out ahead. Hell, you can find kids who seemed to have gotten through that whole “first word was mom” thing and then started in on doing what you do, but better.

You get impressed but at the same time, wonder what you should be doing.

You should ignore those sign posts. Be the brother who immediately heads out to work his garden. Be the man who makes his jail time into the wise man’s university.

On the inside, the outside, or on the grounds near the cathedral, it always goes two ways… up or down.

Now I can’t imagine a monk cracking a beer and being belligerent either.

If you have a clip of that, Id watch it, but seriously…there is two great quotes in Latin from one monastery that, even if you are not religious, might resonate. They have a similar theme.

Work is faith made visible.

To pray is to work and two work is to pray.

You could sub pray or faith out for “love” or “hope” as well.

Now most of us are not on the extreme side of a brother’s life either, and as such there is certainly more moments where Instagram gets involved (I’m guessing if there is WiFi in the cathedral office, it isn’t as heavily used as a downtown cafe, but hey, I could be wrong) but it’s something to think about. Our life can be that wise man’s university. It’s less glamorous, and signs around can dissuade you from any studious activity, but I think there is a security in it.

It’s rhythmic, each day keeping you strong, and giving you paths to quiet roads you never knew existed.

Music wise this morning was lonely day – lofi hiphop mix. I also started listening to early Queen. I like listening to where major artists started and hearing what might have began the engine. My band started as instrumental Celtic and few vocals, and is now ten years later this fast tempo project. Not that I’m putting us alongside Queen but it’s interesting with them or the Police or whoever you listen to, discovering how they morphed into the present state.

It’s all choices.

Oh yeah and one other thing I found on NPR that is just crazy but actually cool…and random…is the Study With Me (2.5 hours) Real Pomodoro Style!

This video is, no kidding, you studying next to a girl named Jamie who uses a study time method. She’s dressed conservatively at an apple mac workstation. After 25 minutes there’s a place to pause with a video of what I can only guess is her cat.

Hey if this works that’s cool. I remember being a full time student and I know how time is such a factor that it’s just out of control.

Have a great day!

Cheers!

Tom

😊

Retrospect

Since I’ve gone past my first one hundred posts and one hundred follows it does make sense to look back.

This really kicked off between a Uvic school thing and the Ollie and Emma project. I actually just flipped back and I yeah it’s been a heck of a journey to this point, with many posts I’ve forgotten about but I definitely have a sort of theme which is creativity, specifically talking about it. I don’t think it hurts that me and my mom are the weird creative types that talk my dad’s ears off whenever we are in the car, not just about this subject but generally.

Back when I was first self employed as a writer/pitch writer/musician I had all this extra morning time before I’d head to the shared office so I began just researching creativity since to me that was my product, plowing through almost every book in the library. There’s a potential blog for later… favorite books on creativity. Got three in mind all ready, but I’ll leave it for when I can really compile it. Considering this subject can get sometimes…well…”artsy” I want to make sure I’m actually giving you guys something I’d value. There’s so much fluff out there that I want to contribute a little more than that, or at least make it entertaining. Even voyeuristic into what I’m doing. Hey, totally cool. To me that’s like we went for coffee and you asked me questions. I’m a ADHD goofball like I mentioned before so I’d probably give you a moment by moment play by play of my morning if you let me.

Best not do that.

I also (here I go…lol) like the idea of this thing called tompogson.com (which makes me seem like a weird golf caddy clothing line) being about an overarching experience of being a creative spirit. From where I write this I can see most of my music gear, writing, books and even the visual art stuff I mentioned yesterday. There’s no rule stating what you are or are meant to be. One of my favorite little quirks of the band Depeche Mode was that for ages you never saw them on albums and not only did the liner notes not say who played what, but they’d flip the order of names around so for months I thought the singer was Alan Wilder. (nope.) All creativity is your playground and you can just experiment.

Though in a music situation you do feel safe behind your main instrument. Safe isn’t a bad four letter word or something. You can jump from safe to the deep end and back. Safe can get you to the edge.

Now jump.

Ok, I’m going way too global metaphorical axiom wacky now.

Have a great day guys and thank you all for reading this and going on this journey with me!

Ooh! One idea I had was I could put it what I was listening to this morning, since I usually work to music. Now it’s usually Low Roar or Harold Budd so I’ll start with L.R. but I can make it kind of a fun thing to add something different each day (it will be stuff you can work to so less on the metal side for me. If that works for you then that’s cool 😎

Because We Have To – Low Roar

Cheers,

Tom

Me, I’m not talented!

Something happens when we get older, and when I say older I mean over the age of perhaps 12.

You may have heard unfortunately some people decide your artistic ability (which I’ll say two things too 1. I’m sorry that happened and 2.They are incorrect) and just generally we start absorbing what we are the rules of the creative world and genuinely believing these are set in stone.

It’s all intimidating and I can definitely relate from actual experience. The first time I actually held a bass guitar was hilarious for this. I wandered into a music store over to where the basses were and looked up at the fancy Fenders hanging above me.

“Hey, can I help you?” Came from my right where a twenty-something salesperson stood.

“Umm…yeah,” I said picking a first instrument “Can I try…that one?”

“Yeah, sure man!”

Now, I was about twenty myself so this guy probably thought I had played lots and lots. Well, I played tambourine in a church, but that wasn’t gonna help me as this thing I had “air bassed” a dozen times was suddenly before me. The salesman looked down at me fascinated as I looked at the bewildering bass neck of lines and dots and wires.

I played three confused buzzy notes, probably like the ukeleles we had to play in grade 7.

“Phht!” Came from the salesman as he walked away amused.

No seriously. That happened.

I love it because to me it was like “welcome aboard!”. Also it almost gave me a sense of the importance of wanting to take this seriously. I didn’t buy from that particular salesperson, my first bass and amp coming from a music store in Sidney that’s no longer there.

But my point is, I know only too well how intimidating it is to get you from where you may be to actually doing it. I worked on some visual arts not that long ago and it is crazy how expensive some gear is, which is fair enough but still unfortunate to me as it could be one of those things that makes a novice go “ok, it was a fun idea…”. Don’t let it happen. I started with a cheap bass and a tiny amp back then. Andy Summers, the guitarist from the police, said it perfectly.

“A guitarist is expected to be able to just pick up an instrument for the first time and play like the universe is crying, laughing and singing all at the same time, and it’s just not true. We all start with those same scales and build day after day, working slowly and methodically from the possible to the impossible.

A drummer I knew back then gave me my first music book and my first thing was the c major scale, played really, really slow for days.

Speaking of the band The Police, one of the early reviews of the band was…

If they could get a better singer they would be a band to be reckoned with

They were talking about Sting by the way. So considering that, if you’re not blowing people away (including yourself) then you are in good company.

When Ricky Gervais created his character David Brent that started his acting career, he admits that he was constantly just messing around and trying things out. This is the essential of creativity. You quite literally “play” and try stuff. Get your pen/pencil/paintbrush/pick/fingers/drumsticks/(???) moving and see what happens. After that you can pick what you liked from what you did and expand on this.

Scott Adams said this too. Creativity is the nonsense that comes out. What you keep is the art.

So ignore that voice that says it’s for other people. Be like Cartman here…

“Whatevah, I do what I want!”

πŸ˜‰

Cheers,

Tom

The Room of Oog part 2

So it’s been a while so I’ll do a quick recap…My name’s Cece, I’m Tom’s girlfriend and on the first floor of the building is something really crazy. It’s a room that actually says “Oog” on it’s door. Seriously. Look.

I saw it for ages and then one day, while doing laundry (right next door) I found a key behind a machine that said “Oog”, put two and two together and ended up on the other side of the door. It went from boring as it was a storage thing to very interesting as it lead to another unlocked door, a hallway and this suite that’s actually under the building. The suite looks like somewhere Austin Powers would have lived with a slight purple tinge, lava lamps and autographed photos on every wall.

Seriously, it’s like a thrift floor exploded in here. Where I left last time, I was sitting on a white leather sofa and Bengal tiger rug, near the old TV and a floating white crystal ball.

The TV looks like it was from 1963 but on the table, no kidding was a big and even a little heavy remote control. I aimed it at the TV and hit power. On it’s antique TV stand I watched it spring to life on what looked like a program guide.

Some were in English but lots weren’t with a little flag next to the number, and there were just hundreds of them. I flipped through them, down and down and down until I just gave up and hit one, admittedly that wasn’t English but I didn’t recognize any shows anyways. I just wanted to see if it worked I guess. I still felt like the owner was gonna interrupt me, but seriously, besides the power being on and the weird crystal ball in the coffee table spinning slowly and undulating white steam, it looked empty for years. Oh yeah and the place was spotless for what it was. Only clued into that recently.

What I saw looked like a sitcom. It was three mid twenties girls and three mid twenties boys who were getting ready for an evening. The language from the tv was strange, but then from the crystal ball I heard it.

“Come on Petro, you should pick one too,” said a tall fellow to his two friends as they walked around what looked like a video store and corner store rolled into one.

“I don’t watch videos. Who rents videos? Do we even have a DVD player?”

“I can use my laptop and a cable-thing. Seriously, this is like the most popular vintage store in Odessa and Nadiya wanted to do this.”

“Oh…so this is about Nadiya,” chimed in the third curly haired guy.

There was a ripple of laughter on a laugh track.

“Vanda…what?”

“You know. Nadiya… Videos,. I’m with you Anton ” Vanda smiled.

“That’s great Vanda. Guys it’s my first dateish thing. And I need a video that is cool, but doesn’t lead to no conversation. So…ok, here…Eat Pray Love.”

“No, too obvious, how about…the shades of grey thing” said Petro.

“Obvious and possibly awkward,” Vanda.

“That’s his style,” Petro quipped.

“Hey!”

Then it was over to girls, where they were getting food and back at the apartment…

“Wonder how the boys are doing?” Said who I learned was Liliya.

“I told them maybe 7 pm here. So it should be a while yet,” said Nadiya.

This went on for sometime, like a show does and it got pretty good until finally we got to a scene where Nadiya and Anton were on the balcony and it was just driving me crazy. Anton was sure that Nadiya actually like someone totally different, not even at the party and Nadiya thought he was trying to let her down easy but neither was sure because they knew that the other was a nice person and it’s so easy to mistake that for thinking the other was cute.

And after years of Ross and Rachel I just couldn’t take it…

“Oh, you like each other! Just kiss you weirdos!”

I hadn’t even noticed that when I began with the “Oh” the white smoke from the ball had filled the room. I was no longer sitting on a white leather couch with a Bengal tiger rug. No I was on a porch in Odessa, Ukraine. Not even a sound stage like I was in their filming the show. Nope, this chick was in the logic of the show “Forth Floor”, standing in front of Anton and Nadiya, who both looked at me stunned.

“Hello? Are you a friend of Alina’s?” asked Nadiya.

“No, you must be Vanda’s girlfriend. He said you were from…well…where are you from?”

“I’m Native, but…not to here…anyways…it doesn’t matter..” I gave up on asking them how I got there. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t know either “You guys do like each other. And you should totally kiss. I just realized I’m probably speaking Ukrainian right now. That’s so crazy. I’m gonna leave you both to it. But definitely kiss, definitely…”. I walked off the porch, past four other stunned people who I just smiled and waved to and then out the door.

I went down the hall and turned the corner and that’s when things went Misty.

I was staring at the vintage TV again, white smoke dissapating into the coffee table around the crystal ball. I looked up to see that Anton and Nadiya had just kissed.

I sat there with my mouth open.

Well that was interesting.

To be continued.