A blur, a distortion, everything is normal, a conversation suddenly interrupted by a subtle change. You don’t realise at first, but you can’t focus and you imagine it’s the temporary blindness you get when you inadvertently stare into a lightbulb, oncoming car headlights or a brain-stripping LED. However and perhaps obviously, the natural light of a candle or the bright flaming coals of a fire in the hearth doesn’t leave an imprint on your retina, it doesn’t attack your eyes, it soothes, then comforts you, strokes your brain, although brain and stroke in the same sentence might not be the best choice of words.
Soon you realise that it’s not temporary, it’s the optic nerve under pressure, something is happening between your neck and the back of your head, your shoulders and your cranium. It’s the equivalent of frosted glass, fog, smoke, mist, steam, you can’t see through it, there’s a figure somewhere in there but it won’t come into clear view. Then you know that all you can do is wait and hope that the peak is low and the direction is positively downward, returning to normal with only a dulling, a grey cloth over the light, a deadening, muted.
Today the diamonds didn’t come, that’s unusual, today it was the disconcerting disconnection of reality. I was talking to Jed, I told him I needed to take a break. I sat in the corner on the couch dimming the light with sunglasses, lowering the volume of the speakers before deciding after all the sourness of Gunk Floyd, that some other music, soft and melodic, might be more appropriate, Scott Matthew’s latest, Skin (2020), sweet in the distance.
It took longer than expected to clear, patience and stillness, eyes closed and an hour passed, unexpectedly, there came numbness in two fingers on the left hand and part of the nose, but still no diamonds. So it was sit back down, more patience, waiting, waiting for the clouds to break. Eventually, they did, two green tablets and fizz and a slow rise back down. It was odd today, it might have been lack of sleep, moving anxiety, Ariel anxiety, travel, projects on projects, but as long as the arc is just blur to quiet to calm to mellow return then that’s relief enough.
I got back to Jed and wrote a chord sequence that just fell out from nowhere. It was moody, evocative, unusual in arrangement – Space Summit Jed will turn it into something great. It was late by now and tonight is the Super Bowl. In Minneapolis, sessioneer Fred explained some rules. Rihanna at halftime with a thousand dancers, the music spectacle is more sporty than the sport. When did sport take over music?
Music today was the experimental, arty, intellectual, jazzy prog of Henry Cow, the only thing my brain wants after it’s taken me somewhere uncomfortable, it regains comfort with complexity, it is after all the brain. Appropriately called Unrest (1974), it was the second album, one of three with artist Ray Smith’s ‘paint socks’ on the cover.