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Thursday, August 21, 2003

Jackson Pollock's Jazz Mag

Gertie finds my allergy to jazz extremely funny. As he garners the last vestige of his public school self around him on sunny afternoons, he’s often found in his flat playing something akin to a cat wandering up and down a keyboard while he nods appreciatively away. I don’t get jazz; it’s noise with people clicking their fingers along trying to divine a beat. Each instrument is played to its own tune. Then they stop and one of them has a middle eight of aimless nomadic playing so everyone can catch up and off they go again until someone goes “Yeah...”

Jazz is the live performance version of Jackson Pollock’s art. I do worry about him; how can one man gain artistic presidency by locking himself in his shed with a leaky paint can? There he is, about to paint on his enormous laid out canvas when the bulb goes. “Ack, m’boyo!” he cries (for in my brain, he has a very strong Welsh accent) as he crashes about in the dark, leaky paint can splashing all over the canvas. Slipping around in the mess, he accidentally knocks the hamster out of its cage, which proceeds runs this way and that all over the hessian as he tries to hit it on the head with a paint brush in order to stun it. Then the phone goes and he’s trying to find that, catch a hamster and find his way around in the dark, all with a leaky paint can when his wife finally arrives with a torch to find out what’s going on. His wife asks him what’s going on, and he sits back with his fag and says “Well, this is art innit, boyo?

Well no. Not really. You can’t get away with calling a shambling mess ‘art’ - and god knows that bloody awful BBC drama Strange was trying for the past year. So it was with great surprise that the wife invited me to a jazz club last night. I told housemate Ian I was going, and he looked suspiciously down his rifle at me and while I thought it was because of my reluctance to admit jazz as an art, it transpired he thought it was a euphemism for ‘another gay thing’. He’s an odd one, that one, but I really like the sentiment.

Anyway, I’ve never been a huge fan of live music - I like Girls Aloud, for goodness’ sake. I also find it impossible just to sit and listen to music; it should be an accompaniment to something you are doing like writing or drawing, to accent the mood than overpower it. Perhaps I’m just bitter that I don’t live in a movie, full of incidental music and dance numbers. There was a wonderful time when I was in a car with the incidental music for Speed on, and the orchestra delighted us in getting more and more excited every time we overtook someone.

Still, the wife persuaded me to go in another one of his up-hill struggles to educate me, something that really appears to be going the wrong way. He has almost given up trying to show me the wonders of the world, and how beautiful the flower is and the joy of a well-cooked meal, and rather has started to come down to my level and enjoy Sabrina The Teenage Witch a little too much. I said that I’d meet him half-way but it seems daft for me to try and be learned as it looks ridiculous, and just simpler for this Gia-like Earth father to come down to my level of glitter and cakes. And his impression of Salem is really quite startlingly accurate now, love him.

Anyway, we went to see ‘Barb Junger‘, as the tickets politely informed, at Pizza in the Park. I recall Barb from singing backing on several Julian Clary hits of the nineties, and was very pleased to find she was a delicious entertainer in her own right. She was entertaining and worked the audience not just for laughs but on a subtly emotional level and I found I started getting more out of the songs than if I was just half-listening to them, much to everyone’s surprise - and not least my own. My only problem is music aficionados seem to get a whole lot more out of these things than I. In the middle eight, they close their eyes and bob along with the tune, smiling occasionally. What is going on?! What are you doing? Are you getting messages beamed to your brains or something? Is there something going on under the table that the management should be informed about? Yet still, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up more than once for once not under the duress of hair gel, and Barb really could belt out a tune.

Perhaps it was the wine, perhaps it was just the mood but I really quite enjoyed myself. Perhaps there’s hope of turning me into an arty bonne vivant yet.

We’ll just see what the next Girls Aloud single is, shall we?

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