Category Archives: Music

In which Japes has an Interesting Day..

It began with almost oversleeping!

This was not good – fifteen minutes to wake up isn’t enough!! So, apologies to the two people who tried to engage me in chirpy conversation on the platform at Main Station this morning, I genuinely was not awake enough to be capable of polite conversation.

I get a later start, and an earlier finish on a Thursday. This does not mean a slightly later journey though. It’s one of my days for going to Smaller Site for work, which is a stop after Larger Site stop… and trains only stop once an hour at Smaller Town, but half hourly in Larger Town. So, I meandered to a coffee shop, for a very large mug of coffee to assist the waking up process, and to while away the 40 minutes or so before I need to be on site. Those with whom I work will give no leeway for me being in oversleeping, not awake, grumpy mode. (Shame I have to be considerate to them in same mode…)

Once I was fully caffeinated, I made my way to work. On Thursdays I am prepared for anything, and normally need to be very alert for the five hours or so I’m with this group. They are delightful, but volatile.

To my delight, and surprise, the most unstable of the lot has found a project that is fully engaging his attention, and the morning past by without incident, as he was totally engrossed in producing the work not only in the format required, but going way beyond the minimum. Oh joy, oh happiness!!! Official, written recognition of this took place. He was utterly gobsmacked, we were delighted to be able to do so.

The afternoon produced more surprises. We found ourselves in a room with a piano!! We only needed a room with computers, the piano was unexpected. Two of them, including young Mr Unstable, made for the piano like bees to a honey pot. They did pick out recognisable tunes, so we left them to it, as the rest settled. Then, I kicked them off to work, and I started to play….

It was somewhat of a revelation all round. I haven’t played a proper piano for months, but l can always manage one or two things regardless of how in practice I am or not. There were serious dropped jaws all across the room, as Fur Elise emerged.

As a method of getting work completed this afternoon, it worked like a charm! Every half an hour or so, if work had been done, then some more snippets of music from the Japes’ repertoire were played (A bit of showing off with Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata, Debussy’s First Arabesque and Golliwog’s Cakewalk). At the end of the session, three of them had not only completed their work, but had remained receptive enough to learn to play, by ear, and me telling them what to play, the first few bars of Fur Elise for themselves. Including my young man of the morning who astounded me by continuing in engaged, engrossed, charming mode.Yay!!

I’ve been send home to learn two songs of their choice, and definitely not mine, but as neither is hard, it’s fine, We’ll use them in the lesson next week!! (The joys of downloadable sheet music… I don’t mind paying a minuscule amount for music for a one-off occasion!)

Shame I had to come home to deal with the utilities company, with whom I am not best pleased. I am calm now, but was not. I will from henceforth, take monthly readings, as I’m not going through that ridiculous conversation again.

I seem to be more exhausted now than if I’d done a full day at work!! There is some serious thinking to be done as a result…

Not what I meant to do today…

but, I feel considerably better than I did lying in bed this morning, not wanting to get up, and definitely not wanting to go to church and to the annual meeting.

So, I didn’t.

Which didn’t sit well with me for much of the morning.

However, I decided to go and get me a new cable for connecting my laptop to the router. The one I had still worked, but had a broken thingy, was slipping out really easily, and after a deeply frustrating time yesterday trying to watch an episode of Morse, ( getting adverts every time the cable slipped, the internet went down and ITVPlayer started again,) deemed a new one a necessity, not a luxury!

In wandering around the purveyor of electrical items, I chanced upon the music playing devices. Normally, since I’m still in the late 20th Century in such matters, I’ve not been investigating these items. At the moment moving into the 21st Century, musically speaking, is a far off dream, to be fulfilled after a number of other more essential dreams have been attended to. Anyway I can play CDs on the computer is what I have always reasoned.

But, a little CD playing machine, with FM/AM radio, and an iPod dock, was sitting looking lonely, with a 70% off price tag. Taking it to a very reasonable £19.99… After a little dithering, plus the realisation pay day was coming up, and I was, for once, still reasonably solvent at this end of the month, I succumbed. After, it had all I required, and more. I’m not bothered about DAB radio, I’ve had the use of one, and preferred the sound of FM. And, should my dream get fulfilled sooner, rather than later, I’m prepared!!

It is so nice to be playing my CDs again, and it has restored my soul more than I could have believed.

I will go to church this evening instead!

For the curious, and Ian!

It would appear I really do possess a lot of hymn books.

  1. As One Voice (Australian RC)
  2. Baptist Hymn Book (UK – 1963)
  3. Baptist Praise and Worship (UK – 1991)
  4. Scottish Psalter and Church Hymnary (1920 – Tonic Solfa, split pages version)
  5. Church Hymnary 3rd Edition (1973)
  6. Church Hymnary 4th Edition (2005)
  7. Come and Praise (BBC Children’s Hymn/Song Book)
  8. Come and Praise 2
  9. Common Ground (Scottish Ecumenical book – 1998)
  10. Common Praise (Hymns Ancient and Modern successor – 2000)
  11. Complete Celebration Hymnal with New Songs of Celebration (1990)
  12. English Hymnal (1906)
  13. New English Hymnal (1985)
  14. Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (1950)
  15. Hymns Ancient and Modern New Standard (1983)
  16. 100 Hymns for Today
  17. More Hundred Hymns for Today
  18. Hymns Old and New Anglican (1996)
  19. Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New (2000)
  20. One Church, One Faith, One Lord (A Hymns Old and New book – )
  21. Hymns and Psalms (Methodist UK 1983)
  22. Irish Church Praise (1990)
  23. Junior Praise 1
  24. Combined Junior Praise (but not the most recent!)
  25. Laudate (1999)
  26. Mission Praise (1984)
  27. Mission Praise 2 (1987)
  28. Mission Praise Combined Edition (1991)
  29. Combined Mission Praise (2005)
  30. New Hymns and Worship Songs (1996)
  31. Sing to God (Scripture Union Children’s book 1971)
  32. Songs of Fellowship 1
  33. Songs of Fellowship 2
  34. Songs of Fellowship 4
  35. Songs of God’s People (Church of Scotland supplement to Church Hymnary 3 – 1988))
  36. The Source
  37. The Source 2
  38. The Source 3
  39. The Source 4
  40. Spring Harvest 1993
  41. Spring Harvest 1998
  42. Spring Harvest 2004/2005
  43. Spring Harvest 07/08
  44. Songs of the Spirit
  45. More Songs of the Spirit
  46. Songs of the Spirit 3
  47. Taize Chant book
  48. With One Voice (Australian 1977)
  49. Youth Praise 1
  50. Youth Praise 2 (Books of my Youth in the 1970s!)
  51. Numerous odd small collections of strange provenance!!

And in the Christmas Department

  1. Carols for Choirs
  2. Carols for Choirs 2
  3. Carols for Choirs 4
  4. Carol our Christmas
  5. The Christmas Source
  6. The Oxford Book of Carols
  7. Bethlehem Carol Sheet full music book (Don’t ask which one, I can’t remember!!)

It can be disputed I don’t need all the Mission Praises, but they did mess around with the music arrangements from the originals to the Combined editions, and the Combined editions are just too big for sensible use!

It could also be disputed that I don’t need the 100 Hymns and More 100 Hymns for Today, as they are in the Ancient and Modern New Standard (Which is an abridged version of Ancient and Modern Revised, + the two 100 Hymns supplements. Common Praise is a completely new book…) but, keys have been altered… and I like to keep them all!!!!!!!!

An alternative use for a Laundry Basket

My Laundry Basket makes an excellent repository for hymn books when the mood takes me to do some more work on the Japes’ Ideal Hymn Book and Grand Index of All Hymn Books. This is a long term project, one only I’m likely ever to see, and the “All” is a bit of an exaggeration, as it’s really the books I have in my collection… which is over 50. Um, maybe I do already have quite a lot of what is in print and available in the UK!

It all began when I was playing regularly in church, from  books I was less familiar with, and expanded when I started moving around the variations of the Anglican church a lot, and to be known for having a certain interest in the subject. I’ve never been easy to categorise either theologically, liturgically, or musically.

So, as I’m up to date on chores, and other matters I’ve neglected of late, I’m playing with the hymn books again!! Such fun.

Rebalancing

I am making the most of being in a getting on and getting a life mood, so as I am not satisfied with the work/life imbalance, I am seeking a new job! So, that’s four job applications gone in the post now, and I will keep on going until one of them yields a job.

As a little light relief, I am indulging myself in a task I’ve been meaning to do for years, which is a grand cross referencing of my hymn books. OK, I’ve made a start! I’ve played for several churches regularly over the years, and have in that time acquired a large number of hymn books, of all kinds.

I’ve also dreamed of making a Japes “Preferred Version of Hymn” book.. I seem to have at least ten (or more!) different versions of some of the most popular hymns and songs, and it’s just getting too unwieldy to cart around five  hymn books for six hymns. (I’m a deeply mistrusting organist…I’ve been caught out too often not to be.) I am amenable, and will play whatever I’m asked, as I’ve no truck with temperamental musicians who can but won’t. The Lord knows, and understands my inner dark mutterings at having to play songs I’d rather were cast into the pits of darkness for ever more and purged from the collective memory, but which are still sung! Occasionally I am rewarded with more than one per service from the Japes’ Ideal Hymn Book.

Japes’ Ideal  Hymn Book? Not yet in existence! It would be somewhat idiosyncratic. I am nothing if not eclectic in my musical tastes. We might not agree as to it’s contents, and it would be an on-going work in progress.

Now, do I think I need to liberate my laundry basket for it’s intended purpose, rather than it’s current purpose of keeping all my books being indexed together? Or just buy another laundry basket?

The Room I Do Not Like and The Rearranging Thereof…

I think I’ve come up with some solutions for myself. It’s to do with work stuff being visible all the time – I seem to have an awful lot of work stuff at home.  I am needing some way of making it accessible, but invisible…at the moment it’s accessible and all too visible.

Anyway, for now it’s much tidier and is bothering me less than it was – and some of the solution might well be to utilise the one piece of furniture that is currently under-used. The sideboard.

I also need to be making the music book case for just that. Music. Then… after a year with little or no music in it, which is a first for me, (I looked at the music category of this blog – music scarcely gets a mention this year! Unlike other years.) moves are afoot to rectify that. Which has involved some seismic internal re-thinks.

Whilst I’ve been settling into a complete new way of life, all my energy has gone into work, the minutiae of daily living and dealing with the emotional consequences of my decisions… there’s been no energy left over even for the things I love doing or even the people I love being with! None what so ever. I don’t think I’ve ever been such a recluse, or so lacking in interest in things that formerly I loved doing.

Now I seem to have come up for air, and have begun to Get A Life again, the things I’ve put on hold this last year are beckoning to me again. Reading, writing, creative liturgy, music, and friends!

One of the worst bits of all the church difficulties I’ve been having has been the lack of even wanting to play or sing in a choir in church… in fact, the times I did just exacerbated the problem. But, then I got into an interesting (well, it is to me now) downward spiral of “If I don’t want to play in church, then I don’t deserve to be playing at all.” Mad, but true.

With a bit of perspective, what’s more accurate is that I’ve had little time to practice, (due to aforementioned Work and Daily Living and Lack of Energy for anything beyond those essentials) and I’ve not been playing at the church I call “mine”. It would appear when it comes to church, I don’t make a good jobbing musician. I need to play at my home church, or only occasionally somewhere else. Not be off every other Sunday elsewhere. Too frustrating on too many counts… especially when finding both church and music difficult! (It’s still not a good idea to go back to the church I used to go to,where I’ve done quite a lot of  occasional Sundays until recently, for complicated and new reasons.)

So, I’ve been playing again. But without putting the pressure on myself to be practising to be a useful musician. Just playing for the joy of it. Not pieces I’ve been able to play in the past, and not pieces that need a full size piano (as I only have a keyboard – but a good one) – they will have to wait until I can afford a piano again.

So, have I created a prayer space? Yes, I have.

Am I getting a social life back? Definitely.

Do I like That Room any more… possibly not, but I’m making friends with it!

Mystified

I remain mystified by the subject of gardening.

Having spent the morning on a long over due exploring of the garden, as well as the gardening equipment left here by my landlady, and finding out the lawn mower works, but the strimmer does not, and neither do the shears, I am in awe of those who actually like gardening. My kind next door neighbours gave me some helpful hints, and lent me some things to assist me until I can meander to the shop to purchase said useful items! I don’t think it was just relief I was going to do something about the wilderness my back garden had become. (We have also established that the fence that is falling to pieces is theirs, not mine, but none of us are too perturbed at the moment – though maybe when Littlest Neighbour is more mobile a sense of urgency about it may emerge!)

Luckily, I did only agree to keep it tidy, and it certainly looks much tidier than it was three hours ago.  Not bad for someone who has just, in the middle of her fifth decade, mown a lawn for the very first time.

But now, I am going to reward myself with lunch, then Band Practice.

Is it time to worry about me yet?

Some time ago, the CD part of my music playing device died (yes, that’s three pieces of technology died on me in quick succession, boiler, printer and CD player) and it didn’t seem that high on my list of priorities for replacing. If my printer hadn’t also decided to die, I might have replaced the CD player with some Christmas money, but, alas, a new printer definitely took priority.

I did find myself missing my CDs, though, especially during the run up to Christmas, and my usual radios stations of choice were playing wall to wall Christmas Carols. There is only so much of that I can tolerate before committing radio rage, especially in the fortnight I was playing an awful lot of them myself. I was wondering just what I could do about it when I was reminded I did possess a computer and CDs could be played on that… Cue a deeply blushing Japes, who had completely forgotten about this option, and the option of ripping CDs to the computer. (A newly acquired skill!!) Which also cut out my other reason for forgetting about my laptop’s CD playing capacity, the wobbling of a CD in a laptop balanced on a lap….

So, a happy evening was passed a few nights ago creating myself some playlists.

But – I seem unable to let myself have them in anything other than alphabetical order. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Church and Music

Organ playing is going to be interesting tomorrow. Right Knee has turned several interesting shades of purple, and has the kind of large scab developing that is going to be irresistible for picking purposes in a few days time. Moreover, Right Knee currently does not like being used for its main function of bending the leg. This makes things like sitting with feet neatly on the floor, the process of standing up, and playing the pedal board of the organ somewhat interesting!

I can also envisage the getting on to the organ stool process being even more entertaining than usual. It’s a high stool, especially for someone who is short of stature, and somewhat rotund. It’s achieved with the aid of another chair next to the stool for balancing purposes. I can only be grateful that I normally do the process of getting on and off the stool at moments during the service when most people are occupied with other matters! And that wearing jeans to this church is perfectly acceptable.

I am, however, weakening on a weekly basis in my resolve to find a new church! I do have good reasons for needing to do this…and one in particular. My failure is partly because this particular church is such a good one for me, for now. Partly because my main reason is incomprehensible to anyone but me, and God, (and even God seems to be on everyone else’s side at the moment in this matter) and the main reason I’m giving seems to most people (which isn’t my main reason) not a particularly good one at all. However, I am genuinely not keen to spend significant chunks of Sundays hanging around for buses, if there’s a reasonable church closer at hand. It would also be good for me to be going to church and not either playing, or reading, or intercessing, or helping on any rota, or being anyone other than me for a little while. Trouble is, at this time of year, I find it hard to say no to requests to play, especially when I know the church, and how hard it can be to get anyone to play for Midnight.

This all needs rethinking in the New Year!

A series of mishaps..

have caused me much anguish this week, but after a day flitting from department to department, and leaving a letter for the person who’s collecting the post that comes here for church and the usual occupant of the house with all possible names for me, so official post for me would not be returned to my place of work, (which earned me a reprimand for not giving them my correct address – one that was retracted as soon as I explained what had happened and assured them they did indeed have my correct address. You had to be there to get the full effect of the horrified and sympathetic looks as the tales of woe unfolded… it did mean they were very amenable to sorting their earlier errors which added to the series of mishaps!) or indeed any other post going astray, which I had blamed on other circumstances.

My day was not improved by the inter-campus shuttle bus having a new driver, working on a schedule which was not the printed one. Which left me stranded for an hour and a half, and meant I gave up on getting to small campus, as I was already later than intended owing to the other mishaps being sorted.

Then, there was the Sunday Musician’s Rota. I wasn’t going to fight that one – I knew I was playing, I wasn’t late, I knew what the rota said, but there’s a long, long, long standing problem with a particular musician and when there was accusatory “But, I was always going to be here for this service, I don’t know how you thought you were playing.” Well, I’m not in the mood for sorting it when I’m not going to be around for more than two or three more weeks. So, I left to go home…which had upset one or two people. Apparently, I should have stayed.

I think I need a holiday….