Unconventional love

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It took me a bit to come up with an unconventional love for today’s prompt after going through the discussion about love a few days back.  Love for people and pets is considered understandable fair game that no one would question you for and so anything outside that box is naturally going to seem strange.  There was the runner up of the characters I create but as someone who is putting them self out there as a writer that seemed a bit cheesy.  But at the same time so does this as a musician.  I can only suppose that cheese is inherant within this subject.  As a barista a love of coffee…same.  As a man love of women…I probably should just leave that one alone.  You get the idea.

So I chose headphones.  It’s not naughty by any stretch of the imagination.   And no, I’ve never walked around listening to naughty noises.  Though I could see the surreal quality of listening to amore secretly while taking public transport to return bottles.  I think it would get old fast and I would probably prefer podcasts or music in its place.

But with that extreme concept aside it does show the reason I enjoy them so much.  Within those speakers you have total freedom to create a world of enjoyment that is tailored to what you want.  It’s a wonderful chance to explore something new while you are already in transit, feel the comfort of something heard before, or stay dialed in with local radio.  I know when I use to do Janitorial my connection to local talk radio made every bit of difference as I didn’t feel quite as disconnected to the rest of the world.  These recent ones are Bluetooth so I can also make phone calls from them, though this isn’t always best as you do get to look a bit strange talking like that, but people can suppose it is Bluetooth.  I have also used my headphones as I mentioned before to “test drive” music I have created, taking it out of the home studio context and setting it against the world outside.  As a cleaner I have also spent loads of time with, well, what use to be books on tape but is now podcasts, downloads and things that end with “this is Audible.”

You can use them before work like audio caffeine to get you going. You can switch to a soft playlist to slow things down again.  Another unconventional love I nearly used was that of public transport actually because when you get a decent spot (which is what failed this title as it is not always possible) you can use headphones to create a insular world of quiet ambience and with another honorable mention, my 300 page notebooks, you can use this world to create while you are already on the go.  I created not only ideas this way but entire characters have come from these moments in the back of a low floor double decker passing Uptown on the way to Craigflower and Tillicum where I use to live.  Longer the ride the better.  With headphones on and my Memo app (yet another) I planned my entire last move while supposedly “stuck” on a BC Ferry returning from Christmas holidays.

If you listen to music this way it actually spurs you to discover more music as you naturally want to expand the range of what you hear.  It is where I discovered Karl Pilkington and the Ricky Gervais Show, headphones on, cleaning my way through a newly renovated office.  I also listened in that same place to Sol Stein on writing, which I can’t praise highly enough.  Between those two gentleman’s work was quite possibly my drive to create comedy because a year later I was on the set of my first film shoot.  That film didn’t work out, but my present project with Cheri Jacobs continues to build towards completion.  It’s called Ollie and Emma and if you haven’t seen that yet, please check us out on one of our social media platforms.

Our WordPress blog
Ollie and Emma on Twitter! 
Ollie and Emma on Facebook!
And Instagram too! 🙂

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Cheri Jacobs and I


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Ollie and Emma - The Series

Created by TomPogson.com

Windows

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Do I see the forest or the trees outside?  I’m in the city so with a number of moves it’s really the same sorts of views.  I only ever had one that wasn’t other apartments and that was the basis of the little moment had by “Jack”.  It was a low ceiling basement suite of a century old house.  I still loved that little place.  The home of my old film project was based on that place.  It had a windowsill so wide and deep it could almost work as a single sized bed and it faced ground level so when you looked up you saw the light of the sun blazing amongst the tall blades of backyard grass.

Now it’s a different patchwork of life beyond the walls.  Some are lit, some are faded in the light buts it always still the same maze of a world that is only viewed from that spot.  In the place you sit at the end of the day it’s like the world makes that degree of sense that lets you sleep.  All the troubles can be moved away far enough, the world quiets down to a flicker and somewhere in that maze of sunlit grasses, the hope lingers in the sweet topsoil.

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Postaday – Online me versus me…me

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Diy U2...think Lemon. ..

How much different our we than our online persona?  One thing I’ve been trying to do more is just have fun with these mediums as opposed to be in sales mode because naturally there is that side to this which is about presenting a sellable something.  In the same way as a pop star of the eighties the whole mystique becomes a different mask than you actually are and feels like it lives a different and very interesting life.  As a musician I’ve yet to be on a hilltop with the long flowing hair I don’t have, playing a screaming bluesy solo through a amplifier that’s never seen but is somehow there.  There’s no patch cord either but it just works.  And the tone is fantastic up there!

The real me is very driven but fairly shy and not super assertive.  I’m probably the hardest on myself and I’m right now waiting for allergy season to kick which it has since I can remember.  For work it’s like Wayne’s World…i have the extensive collection of nametags and hair nets.

Online me is definitely more confident.  I’ve learned to be more prudent with what I say but somehow I’m less afraid to try silly ideas out and I use that to seek ideas throughout the day for things like this.  But yeah there is always that feeling that online me is way more cool that I am.  I find I’m more on here and Twitter than Facebook these days.  Facebook seems more like clutter whereas Twitter gives me the ability to find our about my hometown and other things I wouldn’t have known of.  As Ricky Gervais said though…online me does have more of a swagger.

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

So much time spent…

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Life long joy.

     This favorite little thing in life goes back so far that I’ve forgotten when.  Somewhere in the 80’s, back before I noticed girls or had my first 8-bit Nintendo game I found this in the house.  There was no planning or plan with borrowing it from dad’s office and using a blank tape.  I remember using the q – tip to try and clean the tape heads with alcohol.  I remember my fascination with its mechanism and the fact that I could record myself doing little skits and singing songs.  Like any child with a favorite toy it was me, cross-legged in front of the recorder, holding down play and reverse to make that screeching sound that everyone hates while I scanned for the intro.  Eventually there was a second machine which had the high speed feature.  Novelty of making myself into one of the Chipmunks lasted for a bit.

The use of the machine lasted to today.  There is something about the solid reliability of tape that digital can’t match.  I’ve used multitrack digital but it always feels like I get lost in the engineering role.   I’ve used tape 4 track of course, and had so many Type 2 tapes for this but what I remember is doing a really lofi song recording with two machines recording over and over until the first track was like a distant echo.  Every detail of that magic machine was a curiosity.  The smell of its speaker, the buttons I never understood to use.  Something about the recording process was so interesting as well, which I still find in the recording process.  When it’s recorded it’s like the songs enter their own universe with strange phantom sounds and foibles.  Mix tapes of songs are like a musical diary. 

Oh and with the band…yeah I’ve got a couple tapes of them (switched to digital more recently out of convenience but am considering returning)

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The library.

And as a kid who also liked things like Robotech and Tron there was this idea when creating any kind of battle.  It’s supposed to be a gun thing from Star Wars.  It just looks like…well…two pencils and a tape.

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You may fire when ready...

Those days are past but the use of my tape recorder still remains as the primary songwriting platform to this day.  The tapes of songs are great as they can’t get lost somewhere in the bowls of a hard drive, just somewhere in my desk.  I still have the Walkman that after recording a multitrack song would take it for a “test drive” walking through Cook Street Village with headphones to see if the song felt right outside of the home recording environment and see what I could change or add.  And of course, for anyone who knows about my band Cookeilidh or the blog post on being a celtic bassist, yes…i still have where it all started…with an extra whimsical ” o ” 🙂

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Still plays

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Created by TomPogson.com

The art versus the artist

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Joy Division by Anton Corbijn

I could have just as easily put up a image of Robin Williams, Charles Dickens or Vincent Van Gogh.  Creativity doesn’t necessarily have to come from a dark place to be worthy of exposure.  Sometimes artists are in their best place when they create their best work.  An easy example of this would be A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.  Miles and a group of incredible players went into the studio with only a few basic sketches of ideas and improvised what would soon be a classic.  I know for myself that being in a miserable intoxicated space doesn’t usually produce my best work (naturally I’m not going to place myself alongside these artists.  After watching Jaco Pastorius – Modern Electric Bass I always feel like the tribes least talented and clumsy Neanderthal.)  It is very likely that some of these struggling iconic figures were in their most lucid when they created their work. 

I don’t know if forms of mental illness create artistic genius.  I have known many extremely talented people who don’t have any visually crippling ailments (though not all ailments are as easily seen).  However there are plenty of examples you can find of genius residing in people with mental illnesses. 

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Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War 2 struggled with depression, coining the phrase of the “Black Dog” that would visit him.  This image immediately brings forth the sound of another great Englishman (me and U.K culture again, I know…)
Strange version of Nick Drake’s Black Eyed Dog
Maybe it boils down to what Anthony Robbins said that the two things that move people are either inspiration or desperation.  Some success stories come from things fallen in place from a love of something and some come from the push of pain.  I personally believe that the main source of talent is a love for what you do that makes you pursue it daily, vigorously with your full mind and spirit.  People who suffer from mental illness often have grown up with the concept of struggle being inherent to existence and so perhaps their persistence is only amplified.  Perhaps the pleasure from the what they do (which doesn’t have to be necessarily in the arts) helps these people escape from their black eyed dogs.

But in response to the postaday prompt which I read today, I personally don’t look for the struggle or think that it means the art is better or worse.  To me the art and the artist are separate things.  The art is the body of work like any job done by a master’s hand.  The artist is the fragile master behind it, the craftsman with calluses.  The work lives on in the stars.

Created by TomPogson.com

Morning person

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taking time to review the possible

I am a morning person convert.  I have done years of late shifts and music related things that naturally swing the other way but these days I tend to start earlier without honestly getting that “you may not speak to me yet” thing which others seem to suffer from.  Something interesting happens.  I’m still productive but not in my usual ADHD way.  If I’m up and working first thing it’s as if that action alone actually has a soothing quality so I can put my plans in sequence.  It’s a bit like showing up a little extra early for work.  You can ease into full speed.  Giving yourself that little extra time before the day is the best thing possible for your stress level because it makes those necessary waits into something less frantic.
Early morning in Victoria is one of my favorite things as well.  On a day off, really treat yourself to it.  Go for a walk downtown in the early morning.  Stop by a cafe where you aren’t standing in a line up looking at the value deal options.  Wander about the cool of the streets strewn with shadow and sun down to the harbour where the sound of the water below the causeway is the loudest thing you hear.
Early mornings don’t have to be about work.  They can be meditative.  Maybe let’s use the word reflective.
Or just nice.
That’s it.
Mornings can be nice.

Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Writing prompt : the walls

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They sprinkle around the place, changing with the years like my life is marked by sections.  It’s an apartment in the morning before a shift.  I’m hardly a wealthy man but I’m less and less tolerant of posters.  I had one in a bathroom with a part torn for the light switch.  Far less acceptance of white walls then.  I accept them now.  The change in the sky colors against the bare slate of the bedroom above our heads.  It rumples soft peach over the folds of the strewn sheet.  It’s a good place to have coffee.  I need to go.  My cups almost empty.  Later today is laundry day.  I’ll have lots more to say about them, hung up like soft soldiers in the failing light.

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