And two ladies walk in and shuffle around with the waiter in tow, trying to decide on their destination table. They chose one close to mine, just a metre away.
It’s always interesting how the proximity to others will effect or not effect my writing flow.
Sometimes, I purposely don’t look at people, not more than a passing glance as they approach perhaps, so that I don’t have a detailed visual of them and thus can find it easier not to be distracted by them.
But sometimes, a certain voice, certain conversation - either it’s dynamic or content - will be hard for me to completely ignore.
A part of my brain analyses what I hear, the nuances, the emotions in the voices, the dynamic of the interplay between the players.
In this case, right now, these two are not overly distracting. They are reasonably somber and self contained. Some people do a bit of showing off in public - which I find irksome - others are more relaxed, discrete.
What I did notice though - without so much listening to the content of their words - was the ebb and flow of the conversation - the way that they each influenced each other’s mood and response.
It made me realise how any pairing of two people is going to be so completely different, depending on the individual energies. And how, if you were making a film, for example, the chemistry of the two players is so crucial. I suddenly realised just how much difference it makes. In the direction of the interchange, the dramatic levels, the mood.
They are talking a little softer now and with a more flowing to and fro.
Wait. No. One has gone silent for a while.
I like that. Means they are reasonably comfortable with each other. I can detect forced conversations and they are not rhythmically as pleasant. The slight unease is palpable.
I am not listening to. the actual sentences being said, their voices are of a reasonably low register, so it is almost a hum I am hearing.
I think it may be mother and daughter. I am not going to look. Sixty/forty it is, though. That kind of dynamic. One voice is definitely younger, the other offering advice like suggestions, it seems.
Other sounds I can hear are the traffic outside the window behind me, a low volume pop song from the far corner of the room, the shuffling of the sous chefs at the bench to my left, an occasional ‘bing’ from the bell when a dish is ready.
Some random snippets of conversation coming from people passing by outside. Cutlery crunches. The low hum of a bus engine. The clamouring lid of a large pot. The scrape of a wooden chair leg on the concrete. The tap of the espresso handle from the barristers corner. Plates ringing as they are stacked. Another chair is pushed along the floor, this time more vehemently. A small motorbike passes by, then another.
I have been studying music production for the last year and a half now, so I realise that I have been training my self to listen with more acuity. To accurately pick out select sounds and frequencies and to pay attention to them. This is part of what I do when making a song.
I just finished a new one today. It’s not mixed yet, but the main body is there. I like it. I like most of my new songs immediately after they are done. Generally speaking your latest is your favourite. Not always, though. Sometimes you will luck out and make a really beauty that stays at the top of the list for three, four, five songs forward.
I haven’t written much in these journal entries about my musical production. In some ways this is because it is so special to me. It’s a whole new area, a completely new domain for me to learn about and explore, create in. So I have kept it kind of sacred, been silent about it, not wanting to quantify or examine it because it is still precious and fresh. I haven’t wanted to dissect or discuss the process - just to get on with it and into it.
But now, after having finished probably fifty or sixty original tunes, I finally feel ready to release three or four into the world - make my debut as a musical artist.
I can listen to them and feel happy with them, that they represent who I am. I have by no means mastered the art of song production but I have found my own way through it to the point where the sounds that I am selecting, refining and juxtaposing into a coherent piece are an authentic representation of my feelings, my head space.
Through a mixture of dedication and focus, daily application and experimentation, I have found my groove, eased into a style that is uniquely mine, a sound that pleases me in it’s inventiveness and it’s sonic signature. And there is a coherence in the most recent pieces, the ones that I will release, that unites them harmoniously, even though they are individual tunes. This is a good thing, what I have been patiently aiming to achieve.
So, I am now almost at the first level of being a music producer. My first representational works are nearing release. It is exciting.
They won’t change the world. My expectations are realistic and humble. For me, the greatest pleasure is in the production itself. What happens with them, where they go and how they interact with the outside world is not up to me and quite honestly, is not my concern. I have been an artist and a writer of prolific output for four decades now and have yet to have even drawn the average of a standard wage from my creations if you add up my time spent and materials outlay. Whatever early fantasies I had of making money, or even a basic living from my art output, have dissipated completely. I am not being defeatist, just realistic. Self promotion has never been my strong suit. I like to just get on with making new things. It is likely, I could have been more financially successful if I had put the time in to translating my stuff into money, but it is not in my nature. So be it. So, I hardly expect any dollars flowing in from songs - not at any stage. And I am totally cool with it.
I am dedicated to creating new stuff. That’s what I do. Everyday. It’s what I am good at.
The ladies are still here, chatting away. They are slightly more animated now, aloft with their second caffeine shots.
I completely zoned out of them for a while there, when writing this. That’s what happens. That’s what I like about writing, making art, making music. That detachment, that immersion.
The blissful escape, the transcendence. Worth far, far, far more than money.