Music is such a large part of my life, so it is both sad and surprising that my performance of it is so lacking these days as I put priority on other things in my life. I think, generally, that this is a mistake so when I get the opportunity to perform I generally leap at the chance. If I do so from a sense of guilt or a sense of joy is debatable.
Silence is a rare commodity in my life because at nearly every second of the waking day, I listen to some music. If I don’t have it glaring through the loudspeakers of my little stereo system, I have it banging on in my Grados, or I have the iPod and the ear plugs. Sometimes Mark comments on this with a question: don’t I ever just want silence? And the answer is…. not really.
Silence is the state where there is nothing going on but the constant voice in my head jabbering on about this and that, and if you feed it music it shuts up because it has to listen and interpret the music. It’s like its food. Give it to the voice, and it is busy stuffing it into the gaping, hungry hole of its mouth. It shuts up, and don’t ask so many damned questions or make so many comments about things.
Sometimes I wonder if what I seek is actually being numb, non-questioning, non-commenting. Is the state I seek some Zen-like state where there is nothing that need to be asked or reacted to? I don’t know. Music seems to be the tool to go near that place, and so it plays all day and all evening, in one form or another.
This thing times two, or times ten, is when I get to perform because it seems like not only does the voice shut up, but I become like a different person as well. This is something that Mark has commented on too. He thinks that seeing me in the street doesn’t give any evidence of the charisma I have on stage. I am not sure if this is a flattering thing for him to say or not, but I have noticed that I feel different when I perform. I’ve used the analogy before, I think, but I tend to think of that other person as Stage-Colin, as opposed to the quiet non-verbal Bookworm-Colin. The Stage-Colin has a lot more swag than the bookworm-Colin. He can chat with and tease the onlookers, which the bookworm-Colin can’t. But then that makes me think, is the blog-Colin a mix of the bookworm and the stage one? Or is this a new persona? Am I turning into the United States of Colin?
All this is of course a reflection of what happened last evening when I, my guitar, and my voice had a chance to perform because when the opportunity presents itself I grasp the opportunity to sing like a drowning man might grasp a flotation device. Summer is parties. Summer is friends. Summer is sitting in the middle of the freezing dripping country-side with five-six people watching the sea ebb and flow. And summer is a guitar-plonking out the details of the human condition in lyrics and tone.
It is the limit of my venue these days, trying to retain my musician credentials by entertaining friends with my singing. I don’t know if I should regret that, or celebrate it. I’d love to be on a stage. I’d love a big audience. I’d love to make my vibrato reach all the way to the last row of seats. I’d love the applause. But the single comment from a friend about “you should sign up for X Factor, mate” have to suffice as evidence that I still have it, and that I’m still good enough.