Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1b

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1b

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].
In January 2016 I embarked on my Project 1 Research Pilot Study:
“I began this DCI research study on the 2nd January 2016 not having engaged in a formal academic research project previously. I admit to being somewhat lost as to where to start. Questions that arose in my mind included:
What were the first steps of this Pilot Study to be?
How effectively was I going to perform the dual primary roles of being both the practitioner as subject, and the researcher?
How was this going to translate my practitioner goals into clearly specified finite daily activities that would enable my pilot study to progress along the specified time line requirements of the sponsoring higher education institution?
After all, in my previous music-making life, I used to just pick up an instrument and play it to make music…. Now I was to embark on a pilot study where i need to consider every step of my process?
How was I going to create a creative and music production workflow drawing on the methods I have outlined in my Project Brief Methodology chapter??” (Page 2016b).

Step Two

Organic creative practitioner
I have already discussed that I was an organic creative practitioner, one who picked up an instrument and allowed a creation to organically evolve. I have over many years learnt to be respectful of creative energy, allowing it to flow when it was ready to. I have learnt at certain times in my life, not being prepared for creative energy at any moment in time, could risk losing that creative idea or the energised momentum around that idea. I have experienced periods in life where I experienced little to no creative energy for many months at a time. One particular period I recall I struggled to be inspired to play an instrument, and perhaps not surprisingly, did not write a song in that three (3) years. I was at that time starved of creative energy: I had lost what I usually refer to as, my creative mojo. Csikszentmihalyi (2000, 49) proposes three (3) states that are likely to impede the creative flow state: anxiety, worry and boredom. For me, as someone who was not clear as to his creative practice process, I can not comment as to what factors existed within me at those times to experience such a loss of creative energy. However, in order to avoid such experiences again, I was very mindful of not allowing any event or situation that could jeopadise my creative flow. How was I going to perform the dual roles of both a creative practitioner and a researcher, avoiding a negative impact on my creative music-making practice workflow?
Inexperienced formal research practitioner
Accepting I had little experience as a formal research practitioner, I chose to continue to explore practice-led research methodologies. Despite the predicted challenges I was to face in a dual-role study of my creative practice, the merits of such a research study were clear to me. In a world with a developing DIY intent, I believe such a research study will broaden discussion in the field of social and cultural studies by providing both data and narrative for dual primary role-based (subject and researcher) formal research studies. I accept that for me to realise this research study, it was critical that I could demonstrate academic virtue, rigour and transparency of researcher as subject to avoid bias. As a researcher, I subscribe to Griffith’s view that irrespective of what research methodologies one utilises – quantitative, qualitative ethnographic or auto-ethnographic – the researcher must illuminate their “relationships, circumstances, perspectives and reactions”, making these clear to the reader (Griffiths 2010, 184). One way of addressing the separation of the self, is to ensure there are a diverse range of reflective devices and mediums in order to capture the data, so that these multi-methods can then be used to distil the true data about my self and processes, in order to crystalize the outcomes and conclusions. It is a goal of mine to showcase the benefits and merits of such a qualitative study, particularly within a creative arts field, and therefore to have demonstrated academic virtue (Bridges 2003 in Griffiths, 2011, 183), be considered to have rigour, and guarded against bias, is a primary goal of mine for this KK59 Doctorate of Creative Industries research study.
Therefore in order to progress my Project 1, I thought it would be ideal at this point to establish a structured approach to my research study with the creative outcomes of a cultural artifact (five track EP). Starting at a place I felt comfortable, I deconstructed the creative and music production process, and established a checklist template that could guide me in the creative construction process. This template lists sixty steps across the five stages of the creative and music production process: the creative, pre-production, production, post-production, and the distribution stages. I designed it as a wall-chart quick check to check off the various steps as I progress along the creative and music production process.
The research pilot study process begins…..
Starting at a place I felt comfortable, I deconstructed the creative and music production process from memory, and established a checklist template that I though would guide me in the creative construction process. This template lists sixty steps across the five stages of the creative and music production process: the creative, pre-production, production, post-production, and the distribution stages. I designed it as a wall-chart quick check to check off the various steps as I progress along the creative and music production process. I then created summary Creative and Music Production Checklist text document that I imagined would provide a place for me to journal detailed comments as I progress along the creative and music production process checklist.

onion-layers

This blog series is planned to continue with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1c (Page 2016b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 2000. Beyond boredom and anxiety. 25th Anniversary ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. Research and the self. In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1c Accessed 22nd January, 2016.
Page, David 2016b. QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submissioDLP DCI Project Brief  Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1a Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 5th January, 2016.
– ©David L Page 16/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 22/01/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1a

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Background

The topic of my Research Study is entitled: Contemporary DIY Music Practice and the Practitioner SelfThrough a first-person narrative of my personal journey, critical reflection and reflexive practice, the co-constituted nature of my music practice will be highlighted. As art’s literacy researchers (Griffiths 2010; Franz 2010; Wright et al 2010; Blom et al 2011; Ryan 2014) espouse, a key aspect of a practice-led research study is to examine the degree a creative person can be both practitioner and researcher. Such processes are required as a result in order to ensure a robust and interrogative investigation to occur, and the implications of this dual primary role on the music practice workflow. I intend to experiment in Project 1 to determine what is effective considering my context and workflow. It is predicted that such a mixed-method qualitative study research study would necessitate the planning of a multi-layered data collection strategy equitably across the various stages of cultural production, necessitating the conscious scheduling of time for both personas to practice – that of the creative practitioner, and that of the research practitioner (Page 2015b).

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1a

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].
I began this DCI research study on the 2nd January 2016 not having engaged in a formal academic research project previously. I admit to being somewhat lost where to start. Questions that arose in my mind included:
  • How was I to embark on this journey?
  • How effectively was I going to perform the dual primary roles of being both the practitioner as subject, and the researcher?
  • How was this going to translate into daily activities that would enable my research study to progress along the specified time line requirements of the sponsoring higher education institution?
  • How was I going to create a creative and music production workflow drawing on the methods I have outlined in my Project Brief Methodology chapter?

Step One

Given my overwhelm, I took the advice I received as feedback from my Project 1 brief assessor, ‘David, return to the Project Brief Aims and Objective often throughout your research journey to maintain your research study focus’.
excerpt from Project 1 Brief Project Aims and Objectives
The aim of my KKP59 Doctor of Creative Industries program Research Project 1 is to investigate both my DIY music practice and my self as a practitioner during the process of creating and producing a cultural artefact (EP), developing praxis of contemporary music practice. Such a multi-tiered examination will represent a significant departure from current discussion of music practice (Page 2015b).
My praxis has already developed over Year 1 through a number of incarnations to the current version four (see Figure III below). My praxis version 2 (see Figure I below) outlined four elements of practice that I suspected were likely to be interdependent: music style, technology, location and process. I felt that I needed to layout these four elements to highlight their interdependency, and the non-linear order that they may be considered in the course of my practice.  I had understood my research study was to be cycling around and around the practice (Page 2015b).. 
dlp-music-praxis-v2-20160522-p1
Figure I – Praxis version 2 (Page 2015c)
My praxis version three (3) (see Figure II below) then developed along similar lines to version two (2), however following the realisation of how central my self was to my practice. I realised that my attitude and my previous experience was definitely influencing my practice. The five elements of practice were now outlined in a similar interdependent relationship. Music style, technology, location and process, adding the practitioner self in the middle of the diagram to highlight the significance of self at the centre of ones’ practice.

dlp-music-praxis-v3-20151203-p1

Figure II – Praxis version 3 (Page 2015d)
Upon further observation and reflection, I described my practice and self as being two distinct and yet significant elements. As I continued to observe my practice, and reflect on my decision-making process, I realised that in many ways I had two practices: the practice of my music endeavours; and the practice of my self.
In figure III below, I laid out what was central to my study, my practice on the left (blue section), and depict that manner in which I cycle around and around that practice with the circular lines around the outside of that blue section. Acknowledging my observations and reflections that occasionally I deviate from here, questioning my motivation to practice, I drew a dotted black line from the blue section to the green section towards the bottom of the chart. Further acknowledgement of my observation and reflection immediately following questioning my motive, led me to accept that I then generally spend some time away from my practice, within my self; immersing within my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future. As this process is generally engaged in away from my practice, away from my practice site, I chose to depict this process in a very different colour – pink – and in a separate section, to the right of my practice section. I observed that I would cycle around my self in reflection and questioning of my self, in a relative short time compared to the time I spent in my music practice, before returning back to my practice (black line from base of self (pink) section, returning to the top of the music practice (blue) section.
Having developed Praxis version 4, I now understood that a central aspect of my research study – in addition to the practical and aesthetic choices and decisions I make whilst cycling around and around my practice – was going to be for me to observe, comment and even perhaps describe my motives and share some of the internal dialogue that I often have away from my practice, but as a direct result of having engaged in my music practice. I was starting to arrive at the understanding that whilst this journey into my self would occur as a separate practice to my music practice, it was in the larger picture, part of the same practice: an integrated, holistic presentation that necessarily included both my music practice and the practitioner self.
As this praxis developed, I developed some simple questions that related to each of the elements, that I thought may help me to maintain my focus whilst I was engaged in this research study process:
  • Music style: what I am making?;
  • Location: where am I making it?;
  • Technology and Workflow: how am I making it?;
Occasionally,  I would leave the parameters of my music practice, and consider my motive for practice.
  • Motivation: why am I making it?;
I would then tend to become quite introspective, and consider my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future – relative to my music practice.
  • Self: who is making it?. That is, who am I ?
dlp-music-praxis-v4-large-with-lines-20151203-p1
Figure III – Praxis version 4 (Page 2015e)
As I delved deeper into the literature and considered my practice, I realised both the significance of the elements of motivation and self upon my practice, and the lack of conscious consideration I had made of these in version two (2) of my praxis, and the superficial consideration of the element of self I had made in version three (3) of my praxis. In terms of current literature on music practice, seldom is either motivation or self discussed relative to music practice. Rarer still are studies of practice conducted that include the practice, the motivation, and the practitioner self.
Additional to these simple focus questions, I then developed three (3) sub-questions to my research study question:
  • Research study question: In contemporary DIY music practice, what effect does motive and creative technologies have on creative production?;
  • Sub-question 1: what is the relationship of the elements of music practice within the digital virtual environment. That is, are these elements within my music practice independent of each other, or are they in actual fact interdependent?
  • Sub-question 2:  what is my motivation to practice music?
  • Sub-question 3a: how does my music practice contribute to the concept of my self?, and
  • Sub-question 3b: how does my self-concept shape my music practice?
excerpt from Project 1 Brief Project Aims and Objectives
As the contemporary DIY music practitioner, I will engage in the creation and production of five original compositions, with the theme of each composition being representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning. The practice-led research study will allow the multiple stages of cultural production, from creation to production to release, to be tracked and captured using multiple methods, for the intended purpose of critical reflection and reflexive action by the researcher-self. I will investigate how my EP’s are uniquely shaped through the relationship that exists between: technology, music style, workflow, creative location, and motive in what most now operate within, a digital virtual environment; and, how my music practice contributes to the concept of my self; and in turn, how my self concept then shapes my music practice. Within each of the music practice projects (Project 1 and Project 2), I will be concerned with the conditions that exist, what options are available, what decisions are made, what workflows result, and what output is achieved. I will consider my motive (or motives) for music practice; the outcome (or outcomes) desired, and investigate to determine whether these are in fact typical within the field of music and sound, or whether they are typical of recent motive discussions in the developing discipline of contemporary DIY music practice. I will research, source and if required, develop valid industry-acceptable standards to measure my music practice against. On a more personal level, the research study will explore the degree to which my music practice exists as an expression of the self, and in turn, how a greater understanding of self shapes my music practice (Page 2015b).
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1b (Page 2016). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Blom, Diana, Dawn Bennett and David Wright. 2011. “How artists working in academia view artistic practice as research: Implications for tertiary music education.” International Journal of Music Education: 0255761411421088.
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Franz, Jill M. 2010. Arts-based research. Researching Practice: A Discourse on Qualitative Methodologies 2: 217-226.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. Research and the self. In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1b Accessed 16th January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015e. Figure III– Praxis version 4 image courtesy of David L Page in QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submission draft Accessed 4th October, 2015.
Page, David L. 2015d. Figure II – Praxis version 3 image courtesy of David L Page in QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submission draft Accessed 4th October, 2015.
Page, David L. 2015c. Figure I – Praxis version 2 image courtesy of David L Page in QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submission draft Accessed 4th October, 2015.
Page, David 2015b. QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submissioDLP DCI Project Brief  Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 3 Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 5th January, 2016.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Wright, David George, Dawn Bennett and Diana Blom. 2010. The interface between arts practice and research: attitudes and perceptions of Australian artist‐academics. Higher Education Research & Development 29 (4): 461-473.
– ©David L Page 05/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 16/01/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Post-Production Instrumental Editing and Processing Options

This blog continues a series of blogs on Mixing (Page 2014).
MIDAS Console_looking left
(MIDAS 2014)
As a mix engineer I guess you will receive a tracking session at some point in  which you will appraise the instrumental elements of the session as being in need of some work: perhaps some subtle work, or perhaps some extensive work. Options are available to do this by the spadeful with the very large range of accessible resources available to the practitioner.
However, what you need to do as the mix engineer at that point in time, is to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production instrumental editing or processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect for this production project?  In this example I will focus on one of the essential instruments in contemporary music – the central element of the rhythm section – the drums. However, most of the options I cover below can be applied to other instrumental elements of a session, al be it with different sonic hardware and/or virtual applications.

Sound Repair, Reinforcement, Supplementation, Replacement

Sound repair, sound reinforcement, sound supplementation and sound replacement are terms that I have found aspiring audiophiles use interchangeably. However, they are different, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. I will introduce the essential differences between each, and outline a particular production scenario where each may be employed.
1. The entry level of post-production drum processing is known as repair. The term sound repair is usually restricted to minor editing using either manual or DAW-based editing functions. In Pro Tools, minor editing to drum tracks can be done using a combination of Beat Detective, Elastic Audio or manual editing using the standard editing tools provided, your eye and most importantly, your ear. Elastic Pitch can also be used for minor editing of melodic or harmonic instruments when they are found to be slightly out of tune to the other instrumentation in the session.  Whilst the term editing is primarily associated with cutting and moving audio files regarding timing issues, I include applying audio processing under the category of repair. This can include manipulating the sonic qualities of the audio file in terms of spectral (equalisation, filters), dynamic (compression, limiters, gates and expanders) and time-domain (reverberation, echo, delay, flanging, chorus, etc) qualities via audio processing.
2. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound reinforcement. This solution uses various methods to ‘reinforce the original sound – usually a tone underneath the original signal to reinforce the lack of tone within the original signal. This production solution became very popular in the 1980’s with disco music, which led into the early stages of EDM. In the 1990’s digital reinforcement was used via devices such as a dbx 120A sub-harmonic synthesiser to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies of the production.

DBX_120A_Subharmonic Synth

  • In the current era, external devices are still used such as the dbx 510 sub-harmonic synthesiser as a means to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies (as shown below on right-hand side of 500 series rack). This option can be used for both corrective or creative purposes.

AE Project Studio Rig.20160601

(AE Project Studio 2015)
  • These days this style of processing – sound reinforcement – is usual in many forms of music to use virtual reinforcement devices, such as layering an in-the-box oscillator under the original signal to reinforce the original tone.
    3. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound supplementation. Products such as Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog and Steven Slate’s Trigger were developed to allow the engineer/producer to add sonic texture to the original recording to supplement it/boost it in terms of sonic qualities that were considered to be deficient. These qualities could include timbre, frequency or dynamic envelope. This situation could be due to one of several reasons: due to an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: due to poor microphone placement; poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern a suitable type; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is usually used as a corrective measure, but not always, just to bring the original tone home somewhat more. It would be quite unusual in this era for most productions to have some form of sound supplementation incorporated.

Wavemachine Labs Drumagog 5

Steven Slate Trigger 2.jpg
4. The final level of post-production drum processing is known as sound replacement. Sound replacement involves – as it sounds – the replacement of the original sound source for an alternative sound source. There are so many options available in this era in terms of post-production drum processing options. Drum replacement options such as: Steven Slate’s SSD, Toontrack’s EZ Drummer, AIR Technology’s Strike, and Native Instruments many and varied drum instruments could be useful and suitable for your particular project solution. All of these listed virtual instruments use a sample system to replace the original track’s audio file. The underlying reason to replace the original audio track could be due to: an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: a poor microphone placement; a poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; a poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  an imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern choice for the desired effect; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is primarily used as a corrective measure. it is essentially radical surgery, used in an emergency salvation when all has gone wrong, and no options exist, including time to re-record it in the instance of an urgent project. or used to create ‘demos’ prior to actual tracking. alternatively, with time on your side as a producer, you may choose for the best option: to re-record the original sound source. Whilst this is the most obvious option, there may be external factors that prevent this obvious choice from being a valid option.

Steven Slate SSD5

Toontrack EZ Drummer

AIR Instrument Strike
I expect as a mix engineer you will receive a tracking session at some point in your careers in which you will appraise the drum elements as being in need of some work – perhaps some very subtle repair work, some subtle reinforcement, or perhaps the session will be in need of some extensive work. With the options available in this era, you will need to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production drum processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect? You will have different options avaialble, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at the different stages of production. Whether sound reinforcement, sound supplementation or sound replacement – each level of post-production drum processing offers different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. It is up to you as the mix engineer or produce to understand the different stages of production, the needs of the particular mixing session, and employ the most appropriate level of post-production drum processing in which to realise the desired effect.
References
AE Project Studio 2015’s Rack image courtesy of: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/543739354993444064 Accessed 10th December, 2015
AIR Instrument’s Strike image courtesy of: http://www.airmusictech.com/product/strike-2  Accessed 21st January, 2015
DBX’s 120A image courtesy of: http://dbxpro.com/en/products/120a  Accessed 21st January, 2015
MIDAS 2014 console image courtesy of AE Project Studio. Accessed 29th June, 2014
Page, David L. 2014.  Mixing part 7  Accessed 22nd January, 2015
Pro Tools 12: http://www.avid.com/pro-tools  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s SSD image courtesy of: http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/products/platinum/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s Trigger image courtesy of:  http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/trigger-platinum.php  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Toontrack’s EZ Drummer image courtesy of:  https://www.toontrack.com/product/ezdrummer-2/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog image courtesy of:  http://www.drumagog.com  Accessed 21st January, 2015
– ©David L Page 22/01/2015
– updated ©David L Page 10/12/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings

My earliest recollections of creative practice…..

Due to the ill health of my mother and her need for many medical operations over an extended period, I lived in a very dark house for the first seven (7) years on my life. With the curtains and blinds drawn shut the majority of the time, and bedrooms doors closed, I mostly only remember darkness during this time. Other memories include sitting in a very tense environment, fearful we would be reprimanded for talking out of turn, and disturbing my mother, and; being sat in front of a television screen for hours on end as a way of occupying my attention. To this day, the cartoon Mighty Mouse is at the forefront of my memories.
images                                 (Terry-Toons Comics 1945-1951)
I recall having the sense that my world was a remote place – perhaps on an island – and the main people I knew at that time were my brother, sister and father. I recall a number of big people – not sure who they were, but perhaps distant relatives, neighbours, or the wives of dad’s work colleagues – came and went during that time, assisting my father with daily duties such as preparing meals, I guess cleaning and our care. I certainly do not recall life in our house.
As I grew somewhat – perhaps around five (5) years of age –  I recall spending time exploring the local bushland with my brother and some of the local neighbourhood kids, or my mates from junior rugby. Whilst it was fun exploring, and having new adventures with others,  I do however recall that I was happiest in my own company, constructing things and becoming quite rowdy, exercising my unlimited bounds of energy and exploring my voice.

DLP Youth pictures

Then at the age of eight (8) years old, once my mother had somewhat recovered from her health issues, we moved into a new house in a new suburb on the North Shore of Sydney. The split-level house had its’ main living area on the top floor – bedroom, living room and kitchen – with the garages, laundry, rumpus room and bar kitchen on the ground floor. The blinds and curtains in our new house were literally pulled back. It was a large light and airy house with a large leafy garden, including a massive willow tree in the middle of it. It was a huge garden for an eight year old to exercise and explore, ride his scooter, yell and sing as he continued to explore his voice to his heart’s content, away from disturbing the family. The sea change included my mother playing what became her daily dose of European classical music – Baroque, Classical and Romantic (including Opera). In addition, my mother loved the pop artists of that era: those who performed on the television program of the day, “Bandstand”. In that era, it was one of the few opportunities to view the latest contemporary artists and hits on television. Whilst I still did not feel as though I belonged to anything – to my new school, my new rugby team, or the local neighbourhood kids – my world now had light and music in it.
Apparently, the music resonated with me and before long I was singing along.  I recall having melodies in my head, and I would hum them out, not aware of what I was doing, nor what was to come. I was always an early riser, and keen to get into the day.  I would wake well before my brother, my sister, and my parents; and wasn’t one for lying still. Of course – first things first – I would need to go to the toilet for a pee. [Note: the toilet rooms of that era had tiles on the floors and walls, and were great for reflecting sound].
It was very early in the morning, and I wasn’t in that much of a hurry.  So, rather than standing I would sit, and gaze at the walls.  I recall being fascinated with the light and reflections of the trees (from our back garden) being projected on the walls. I could see the trees bending up and down, some birds flying in and out, the leaves dancing, along with light, up and down the tiles on the walls. I would then start to play with sound, and start to make some noise. Sometimes I would hum one of my internalised melodies; and at times, I would make as many different short, sharp noises with my mouth. Anything to hear sound. I would listen to the sound, and note how the sound could bounce from wall to wall. I learnt to make some sounds stretch out, almost like it had a tail on it, and take even longer to bounce around. I recall thinking how good my voice sounded, in this toilet room. I realise now that I was I was experimenting making noise, listening to the sound bounce off the walls, to the sonic possibilities within our family toilet room, at possibly half past five (5) in the morn. I also reflect now, to realise that I was also possibly becoming comfortable with my voice. Listening to my self, experimenting with my voice, experimenting with what sounds I could make – what original sounds I could make, on my own.
With (apparently) my brothers and sister tired of my early morning vocalisations while on the toilet every morning – while they were still sleeping – my dad suggested I may like to relocate to a new room – into a converted rumpus room on the ground floor of our new house. While I was a little tentative at first, I quickly saw my new space as my own palace. I set up the room with low lighting – lots of lamps around the corners of the room, each with different coloured cellophane projecting up onto the walls. There were usually two or three candles burning, borrowed from my parents many dinner parties, adding to the subdued ambient lighting. Posters of pop culture icons of the day from the local music rag GoSet adorned my walls, beckoning me down a particular path.
Upright Pianola.P2
(My inherited grandfather’s pianola)
My grandfather’s pianola stood at the foot of my bed; alongside an old radio gramophone that blasted out my collection of 45rpms and am radio station hits for many hours of the day. I recall listening to all of the music and sounds that emanated from that gramophone, drawn into another world. I had friends, but with a very protective mother, I found my self spending a lot of time in my palace – my sanctuary – listening to a very wide range of music at every chance I had.
Whilst I loved the sound of the pianola (essentially a piano, but with some more high register tones present in each of the notes), I found the keyboard layout quite complex to understand. None of my family were players (that I knew of). However, I continued to tinker, I experimented but I admit that I never sat long enough, to learn how to play the piano. Over the next few years, my brother started playing guitar. He was cool, part of the politically savvy crowd. He listened to politically inspired music as part of the hippy movement, calling for change to the establishment. I was drawn in – not so much to the message – but to the instrument that seemed to be at the centre of this crowd – the guitar.
The guitar seemed to be far more simple to play than the piano, with its’ chord shapes. My brother was right-handed, and I was left-handed. So whilst I was drawn in, I did not find it easy to mimic what he was telling me to do, to play his guitar. I was frustrated, but my fascination was established. I would spend my time listening to music, sifting through the music magazines, looking at pictures of guitars. Several years later after much – quiet but persistent – badgering, my dad arrived back from overseas with an acoustic guitar in hand, for me.
I started guitar lessons the following week with a local guitar teacher who was teaching my brother. He taught me the notes on the strings, and then introduced a number of songs as a way of learning to play. One of the first songs I can recall learning was: Clearance Clearwater Revival’s (CCR) “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969).
(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 music video)
 This song was followed shortly afterwards with CCR’s latest single, “Looking’ Out My Back Door” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970a).
(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970 music video)
The album that these songs came off was Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970’s album, “Cosmo’s Factory” (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970b).  My brother did eventually buy this album, and therefore I not only heard it many times, I ended up playing the album many times over myself.

Creedence_Clearwater_Revival_-_Cosmo's_Factory.P1

(Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970c).
This album produced so many singles that became popular hits on the radio; song’s that were country rock in flavour, that were predominantly based around the semi-acoustic electric guitar. I loved every song on the album, and therefore I used to played the album – when my brother wasn’t around – with the purpose of studying each and every song. I recall listening to each song over and over, learning to play them, and to try to emulate the guitar rhythm and vocal phrasing.  If I was practicing a particular section of the song – for a example a phrase – I would play it through, and then pick up the needle and play through again, over and over, until I could work out what the phrasing, harmony or melody was. I had also learnt a trick from my cousin in Victoria; putting a coin on the album while it was playing, would slow down the rotating record down, and therefore making it easier to hear the particular phrase I was trying to learn. I experimented for really difficult phrasing, adding the weight of a second coin.

Creedence_Clearwater_Revival_-_Cosmo's_Factory.P2

(Creedence Clearwater Revival 2008)
The following year Paul and Linda McCartney released their first studio album “Ram” after the Beatles had officially disbanded as a group (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971). A single off the album “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” was released and played on AM radio on a regular basis. I recall falling in love with this song instantaneously. The song was 4 minutes 50 seconds long – quite long for the day – and progressed from one style of music, to another style of music. It was as though Paul McCartney had gotten two songs, and joined them together. I recall being fascinated by this arrangement. But most particularly, the production. Listening to the song on the radio I could hear so many elements and textures that I had never heard before in any other song.  I was in awe!. I recall saving the money I earnt from doing my weekly chores, and going to the local music store to buy the 45rpm record of the single (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971).
As it happened, on the B side was another song – more of a traditional pop rock song – but again with an interesting arrangement. This song “Too Many People” (Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971), became the first song I requested my guitar teacher to teach me how to play on the guitar.

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey 45rpm

 (The Beatles Discography, 1971)
(Paul & Linda McCartney 1971 music video)
 In the same year that I had bought my first 45rpm, I heard another artist across the airwaves: the songs of Cat Stevens. I was mesmerised by his craft – sultry vocal tones, accompanied minimally, with an acoustic guitar, and sometime a bass line. The vocal had a lot of – mmm, how could I describe it – a lot of space around it – presence.  The guitar was very simple – a strummed guitar, and a fingerpicked guitar, recorded very precisely, and cleanly. There was often a bass riff present, and sometimes some percussive elements, in light support of the rhythm and harmony.  Often, there was a piano in accompaniment. Occasionally, the central instrument was a piano. Irrespective, what struck me of Cat Stevens’ songs were: the central element of his performances and the productions were – the song.
Cat Stevens was a UK troubadour with a social and spiritual conscience, carrying forth the tradition of the 1960’s confessional singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen. Cat Stevens was soon to be joined by other rising troubadours such as Carol King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne and Don McLean (Greenwald 1992, 58). The songs of these troubadours took me to places that I hadn’t been before. To places that were quiet, considered and contemplative. I considered these songs poetic, in a similar vein as so many of the great poets before them. Their songs weaved words, turn of phrase – lyrics with melody and harmony in simple but cleverly crafted ways.
As a ten (10) year old, I remember thinking to myself – can I? could I? could I ever be able to learn to do what they do? could I dare to consider that I could learn to do what they do? Could I ever become a singer-songwriter-performer as they are? Could I ever learn how to transport a listener to a place that they hadn’t been to before? As they did to me? As they did for me? Could I possibly? Unfortunately though, irrespective of any logic, the seed was planted.  I recall Cat Steven’s influence on my desire to practice music was instantaneous: in terms of guitar playing, singing, songwriting and arranging – to a depth of personal experience that I had never heard before. I saved my pocket money, and a short time later I was holding my first album, Cat Steven’s “Tea for the Tillerman”.

Tea_for_the_Tillerman

(Cat Stevens 1970a)
(Cat Stevens 1970b)
The many songs that were on “Tea for the Tillerman” became the next group of songs I requested my guitar teacher to teach me how to play on the guitar. I spent much of the next year trying to emulate the guitar playing, singing, and feel of these Cat Steven’s songs.
A year later a follow up album came out “Teaser and the Firecat”.  I spent much of that year again trying to emulate the guitar playing, singing, and feel of these Cat Steven’s songs. Whilst I don’t feel I ever arrived at being able to play any of Cat Steven’s songs to my satisfaction, I do trust and believe this particular artist’s influence on my development as a music practitioner was significant. Cat Steven’s style had become engrained into my being; into my soul.

Teaser + The Firecat_Cat Stevens.P1

(Cat Stevens 1971)
(Cat Stevens 1970c)
I continued to progress with the guitar, but found that I had been drawn somewhat back to the piano through the songs of performers such as Cat Stevens. A number of his songs on both “Tea for the Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” featured piano as the central instrument. I wasn’t so interested in learning to play the piano, but would spend hours listening – tinkering and experimenting – to the sounds that emanated from it.
I got a Labrador-cross pup for my eleventh birthday. We looked very similar – in that her coat colouring was similar to my skin complexion – fair with freckles. She and I became inseparable over the next five (5) years. As she grew, she would lay at the foot of my bed with one eye open, almost as if she was making sure I was ok. More often that not, I was occupied with any form of music practice.
  • I would play guitar – strumming the strings, forming chord shapes – and listen to the sounds that would emanate from the wooden body.
  • I was intrigued with how much change in tone could occur with subtle change in any aspect of my playing – such as my attack with the plectrum – velocity or speed, or the actual thickness or material of the plectrum;
  • I would focus on my right hand with the forming of chords, moving the angle of my wrist around the back of the neck. The clarity of the note would change as I did this to produce different qualities of sound;
  • I would try to sing the songs of my favourite artists, trying to emulate the phrasing of the vocal line, the rhythm and harmony of the music playing on old gramophone;
  • I would tinker on the piano’s ivories, listening to the notes as they rose out of the wooden cabinet:
  • I noted how these notes varied, depending on how hard I struck each of the keys;
  • I noted how these notes varied, depending on which foot pedal on the piano I was holding down;
  • I listened to the resonance of the notes as they sang out, bouncing off and out of the rosewood wooden cabinet, after the piano key hammer had come to rest on a particular string;
  • I immersed myself listening to a range of productions via the radio, albums, or 45rpm singles. I was in awe – full of wonder, joy and intrigue – listening to the cacophony of music and sonic textures that played out of the speakers;
  • With every song, I tried to strum out chords on my acoustic guitar along to it; or
  • I would mimic a live performance, guitar around my neck, standing behind my father’s camera tripod, mounted with a bicycle horn on top as my pretend microphone, strumming away to songs playing on the radio gramophone.
  • Yes, I could see my audience, I could hear the audience, I could feel the audience.
These are the earliest recollections I have of my creative activities.

The next step of my creative practice…..

However, at some point, I did work out that I was not born into music. My mother didn’t play an instrument, my father didn’t play an instrument – they were fans. Our house was not filled with our music – it was filled with the music of others. We listened to others perform.
A few short years later, a significant event occurred that led me to put down the guitar for about 9-10 years. This event had a profound impact on my confidence and belief in my worthiness to play music.
Some years later at University, after meeting some musical souls, I picked up the guitar again. But this time it was to be an electric guitar. Over the next few years I progressed into writing, singing, performing, arranging, recording, and playing bass. I also taught music, delved into project management and became an industry advisor.
I spent 3 years in Japan, where I fortunate enough to establish a platform across so many of these areas. I am so blessed for my Japan experience. Japan was so influential in my reconnecting and implanting a music practice flame within me that I still carry to this day.  It was one of the most productive periods I have had in terms of my performing and writing, including recording and experimenting in production. It was a wonderful period for me – one that I hoped would never end. But like everything in life, at some point there were enough taps on my shoulder that indicated it was time for me to return to Australia.
japan_grunge_flag
I arrived back into Australia and evaluated my options. I moved city, up to Brisbane, and made an effort to connect to players in that scene. I chose to refuse to play in the pub scene – blue jean, intoxicated punters, nicotine-filled live scene that contrasted significantly to the clubs and festivals I had played in Japan. Instead, as part of my tithing value to give back to society, I invested what spare time I had to assisting a range of community music programs. What resonated to me here was donating my breadth of experience as a player, teacher, coach & mentor, providing guidance and assistance to social groups that had mostly not had the opportunity of music practice due to lack of opportunity because of either economics, social situation or just the busyness of life.
Boxing Kangaroo
I have always found ways in my life to generate income streams from a variety of sources . My father always (somewhat condescendingly) referred to my creative industry activities as a hobby. Whilst I have been sponsored by the Australian Government at numerous times in my Creative Industries career, I have been fortunate enough to  maintain a professional career to develop my music practice, often overlapping into education, project management, and educational management here in Australia and overseas. After a study period at the Guitar Institute in California’s Musicians Institute in 2006, I returned home to accept an Executive Management role to manage an overseas multi-site educational organisation. Whilst it was going to disrupt my local live playing, it was an opportunity to lead what had previously been a multi-million dollar organisation (now facing closure due to non-compliance and financial adversity) in all aspects of governance and general management (including , stakeholder negotiation, change management, educational teaching practice, staff development and management). Whilst I played a few live gigs during that 3 year overseas posting, I focussed on alternative mediums to be creative musically. This opened the opportunity for the development of my music production skills within the virtual world of a DAW – both in Pro Tools and Logic Pro.
Somewhat ironic, this juncture in my music practice is at the core of my current doctoral studies: Contemporary DIY music practice and the practitioner self.
This blog series is planned to continue with Life is About the Moment. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Australian Boxing Kangaroo Flag Image courtesy of: Boxing Kangaroo  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Cat Stevens. 1971, Teaser and the Firecat, A&M Records. Album
Cat Stevens. 1970a, Tea for the Tillerman, A&M Records. Album
Cat Stevens 1970b music video link performing Wild World courtesy of: BBC©1970   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Cat Stevens 1970c music video link performing How Can I Tell You courtesy of: BBC©1970   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 2008, Cosmo’s Factory, Fantasy Records. Compact Disc
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 2008. Cosmo’s Factory back image courtesy of All Music.com  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970a, Looking Out My Back Door, Concorde Music. 45rpm
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970b, Cosmo’s Factory, Fantasy Records. Album
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1970c. Cosmo’s Factory image courtesy of All Music.com  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970 music video link performing Lookin’ Out My Back Door courtesy of: Concord Music Group, Inc©2009   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. 1969, Proud Mary, Fantasy Records. 45rpm
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 music video link performing Proud Mary courtesy of: Fantasy Records©1969   Accessed 15th May, 2016.
DLP images courtesy of David L Page  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Greenwald, Ted. 1992. Rock and roll: the music, musicians, and the mania. New York: Friedman Group Book.
Japan Grunge Flag Image courtesy of:  Japan Flag  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
My inherited grandfather’s pianola image courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 15th May, 2016.
Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971, RAM, Apple Records. Album
Paul and Linda McCartney. 1971 Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey Apple Records. 45rpm
Paul and Linda McCartney 1971 music video link Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey courtesy of: Apple Records©1971   Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Terry-Toons Comics. 1945-1951. Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse #38-85  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
The Beatles Discography. 1971. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey 45rpm image  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
– ©David L Page 09/04/2014
– updated ©David L Page 15/05/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 14

DLP_Age 14.P2

Reflecting, as to how things could have been….

I wonder sometimes how things could have been…. I wonder if I was born into a different family, what could have life been like? I did at different points find sanctuary in other families’ homes – particular neighbours, and a few relatives. I recall when ever I was in these situations, I was attentive in my observations of how they as a family interacted – how they spoke to each other, what they discussed, and what they found laughter in. I recall taking memory photographs of these instances, snapping such moments into my memory of what others did in their everyday life. I recall thinking to my self “one day”. 
I wonder if my parents were from different backgrounds, what could have life been like?  I wonder if they were of different motivation – perhaps even music practitioners – what could have life been like? I really had nothing to compare it to, as no one I knew at the time had parents who played a musical instrument. The only people I knew who were older and played musical instruments were the successful musicians who had commercial album releases. I recall wondering what it would have been like to have a Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix or a Cat Stevens as a parent.   I recall thinking to my self “what if?” but then followed it up with “there is no point with this thinking, it is what it is “…….. 
I recall being was fairly compliant up until about the age eleven (11), trying to behave and provide my mother with what she needed. But them something happened. Gradually, over time I started listening to my self. I started engaging in my self interests. I allowed my self to pursue that which interested me, and even badgered my parents – be it quietly – until I got what I needed: a guitar.. and then a dog.
I started embracing my self – and all that that I needed. I found music as a comfort – something I could engage with. Another form of language that seemed to resonate, with me.  I did not achieve being able to master the language, but could understand every word and nuance that was spoken. I could hear the vibrations, and the resonance. I could interact with her for a short while, but at this point in time I sit here, alone, in silence, in darkness and embrace the tones that I recall.
In-situate, I observed my self and how I was developing, within my self, at that particular time. I had a guitar, and then a dog. Each year – another lap around the sun – I seemed to gather momentum within my self, and developed my self-worth, my self-image, my self-confidence, in search of my opinion. But my voice seemed to evade me, the shore that never arrived, the jetty at which I never moored. And so with another lap around the sun, I arrived at my fourteenth (14) year – time was ticking, and I was gaining self-respect. With another lap around the sun, it was time to stand my ground. I had no option – it was them, or me……. This is another recollection of what I consider to have been a significant period in my life, when I was Age 14.

The boy who was …….

The Boy Who Was ……. (All Bent Out of Shape)©David L Page 2016
Refrain 1: I was brought into the world, into a family with a history….
Verse 1: People not living as who they were destined to be,
Running?
Some could say…..
Justified?
Well, we will never know….
But the reality was…
someone was not living as they were destined to be…
Refrain 1: I was brought into the world, into a family with a history….
Chorus 1: Some things, time just doesn’t resolve a thing
Some things just don’t go away
No matter how much you try to ignore them
Some things just don’t go away..
And as I have seen enough in my life,
I believe that those things then start to eat you up
from the inside….
Verse 2: Everyone seems to handle problems in different ways..
Issues, conflicts, pain, shame, terror
I have seen pills,
social drugs, alcohol,
mood, fear and temper
I have experienced them all…
not sure how well I have done,
how I have handled problems in me..
probably not well
in deed
Refrain 2: I was brought into the world, into a family with a history….
This is not an excuser,
just stating what was
what has been…
Chorus 2: Some times, ignoring issues doesn’t solve a thing
Swept it under the carpet..
Turned the other way
Some things …
No matter how much you try to ignore them
Some things just do not go away..
I have seen enough in my life to believe
those things then start to eat you up
from the inside….
Verse 1: People not living as who they were destined to be,
Running?
Some could say…..
Justified?
Well, we will never know….
But the reality was…
someone was not living as they were destined to be…
Refrain 1: I was brought into the world, into a family with a history….
Chorus 3: Some times, ignoring issues doesn’t solve a thing
You got to face them, deal with them
Or it will curse you to your grave..
No matter how much you try to ignore them
Some things just do not go away..
I have seen enough in my life to believe
those things then start to eat you up
from the inside….

Frustrated Woman 2_Cropped_Fade9.P6

Bridge 1:  all bent out of shape
all bent out of shape
all bent out of shape
all bent out of shape
all bent out of shape
And you stand there and take it…..
Verse 2: Everyone seems to handle problems in different ways..
Issues, conflicts, pain, shame, terror
I have seen pills,
social drugs, alcohol,
mood, fear and temper
I have experienced them all…
Bridge 2: Have you ever loved someone and been slapped?
And you feel so sorry for them that you find some excuse to tolerate it….
Have you ever loved someone and been hit?
And you feel so sorry for them that you find some excuse to tolerate it….
Have you ever loved someone and been punched?
And you feel so sorry for them that you find some excuse to tolerate it….
Have you ever loved someone and been kicked?
And you feel so sorry for them that you find some excuse to tolerate it….
They are all bent out of shape
They are all bent out of shape
They are all bent out of shape
They are all bent out of shape
They are all bent out of shape
Refrain 2: I was brought into the world, into a family with a history….
This is not an excuser,
just stating what was
what has been…
Bridge 3: You curl on in, and allow them to beat you…
As her arms whirl in motion
So out of control….
The feel the fists thrash down on your back..
And on your head…..
You feel sorry for them
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
Verse 2: Everyone seems to handle problems in different ways..
Issues, conflicts, pain, shame, terror
pills, social drugs, alcohol, mood, fear and temper
I have experienced them all…
Outro: All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
All bent out of shape, and you stand there and take it….
The Boy Who Was ……. (All Bent Out of Shape)©David L Page 2016. This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event.

ohm

The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 14-16.
References
‘Another lap around the sun’ expression from Pankaj Patel 2016. Sydney Australia
Frustrated woman image courtesy of: Angry Woman  Accessed 18th June, 2016
DLP image courtesy of: Slideshare  Accessed 18th June, 2016
Ohm image courtesy of: Ohm  Accessed 28th May, 2016
The Boy Who Was ……. audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 28th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “The boy who was ……. (All bent out of shape)” ©David L Page 2016
– ©David L Page 15/11/1993
– updated ©David L Page 28/09/2016
– updated ©David L Page 08/01/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 2

ThinkstockPhotos-93241169.Works.P3

My earliest recollection

The earliest recollections I have of my life are:
I recall darkness and starkness of an empty house 
I recall the house had little to no natural light…..
I recall being alone, and feeling scared most of those days….
I recall there were few if anyone in the house with me…..
I have no recollection of hearing someone talking to me, or any conversation, humour, laughter or joy during these days……
The greatest recollection I have of those days, was the sound of my heartbeat beating above all else…. 
This audio event represents the earliest recollection of my life…..
I grew up in a middle class family, third child to a young couple. My parents had recently arrived from interstate to start a new life, with their one daughter – my sister. My dad was a salesman, and had secured a job for a leading sugar refinery company in this new city, enabling them to make the trip. They rented a house initially, with mum giving birth to my older brother shortly afterwards.
I learnt much later in life, another reason for the change of city was because of a failed business venture of my mother’s  – a haberdashery shop she named Betsy. The shop was a start out venture, and as a result was apparently not insured. They had in the shop possession of a lot of client’s rolls of haberdashery materials in order for my mother to make them into clothing items, curtains and other household furnishings. They were burgled one night, and not only lost their uninsured possessions, but the material possessions of their clients. They were not in a position to repay anyone for the financial loss, and had to place themselves in what was effectively bankruptcy. 
My mother was from a family in very good standing – the extended family were well-known nursery vendors, with my grandfather a Mayor of a Melbourne suburban region. Mum’s shop – even though fairly recently launched – had apparently become well-known due to their family’s standing. With the loss of the business, I understand my mother also lost the face of her family – most notably of her patriarchal father – within the community. 
Shortly after the birth of my brother, my mother apparently had an accident. Falling down the back stairs of the rented property, she injured her back. I am unsure of details, but I believe my mother did not need to go to hospital at the time of the accident. However, she went to a GP to get some advice as to the damage she had done. Apparently, as the days and weeks passed over the next three months, my mother’s back started presenting more problems, deteriorating to considerable pain, and causing her loss of movement.
Settling into his new career job, Dad bought a humble house on the lower north shore of Sydney, moving in just prior to the birth of their third child. However my mother’s back issues were continuing; in fact degenerating to the point of her being regularly bed-ridden, and a number of times hospitalised. During this time, my mother suffered a miscarriage, suspected to be the direct result of her degenerating back and growing health issues.
My father was in a new city, with two (2) kids under the age of three (3), with a third planned. There was limited family support due to being in a new city away from their direct families, he had a new job in which he was trying to make an impression, and a mortgage for their recently purchased house. My mother’s health prevented her from contributing with either the care of the house, or the children. My father somehow had to manage to the best of his abilities, and budget.
With little improvement with my mother’s health, I arrived shortly after. I guess with a new arrival, and now three (3) kids under the age of four (4) years of age, my father’s ability to manage only decreased.
The following prose best represents my memory of my earliest beginnings, several years later.
empty-corridoors-leading-to-empty-room

Empty Corridors

Empty Corridors©David L Page 2016
Verse 1: The house is dark,
The curtains are drawn,
The doors are shut,
There’s no life around
Chorus 1: Empty corridors leading to empty rooms
Empty rooms void of any life
As I hold my breath and look around
I can’t see … or hear anything
‘cept my heart pumping
….. within my ears…
No sure what that is…
Or what that means…
Verse 2: Someone gets me out of bed,
And gets me dressed
I can’t remember how, or by who..
My father?, my sister?, a neighbour?
It is all so vague to me…
Chorus 1: Empty corridors leading to empty rooms
Empty rooms void of any life
As I hold my breath and look around
I can’t see … or hear anything
‘cept my heart pumping
….. within my ears…
No sure what that is…
Or what that means…
Verse 3: I am taken to the sitting room,
And placed in the dark,
Someone turns on the TV in front of me…
Images flash in front of me,
And I’m left alone till half-past three…
Chorus 1: Empty corridors leading to empty rooms
Empty rooms void of any life
As I hold my breath and look around
I can’t see … or hear anything
‘cept my heart pumping
….. within my ears…
No sure what that is…
Or what that means…
Verse Refrain: I occasionally hear a noise or a bang
And look from my place in the darkened room,
Chorus 2: All I see are the empty corridors leading to empty rooms
An empty rooms void of any life
I hold my breath in the hope of hearing something,
‘cept my heart pumping
….. within my ears…
No sure what that is…
Or what that means…
Outro: More images flash in front of me
And I’m left alone till half-past three…
I hold my breath in the hope of hearing something,
‘cept my heart pumping
….. within my ears…
No sure what that is…
Or what that means…
I’m left alone till half-past three…
More images flash in front of me
And I’m left alone till half-past three…
Empty Corridors©David L Page 2016. This audio event represents a developed sense of the earliest recollection of my life…..

487887030

The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 4.
References
Corridor and Closed Door image courtesy of: Corridors  Accessed 18th June, 2016
Darkened House image courtesy of: Darkened house  Accessed 18th June, 2016
Distressed Baby image courtesy of:  David L Page  Accessed 17th January, 2017
Empty Corridors audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 17th January, 2017
My Earliest Recollection audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 3rd November, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “Empty Corridors” ©David L Page 2016
– ©David L Page 08/09/1993
– updated ©David L Page 03/11/2016
– updated ©David L Page 23/01/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Memory – Age 13

Big fish small pondMoving from being a big fish in a little pond……

I had graduated from primary school, and I was now going to high school. The new high school I went to, drew from all the local smaller primary schools from surrounding districts, making the high school population four (4) to five (5) to six (6) times larger than my year before, in primary school. The mixture of areas that were within this high school catchment area were diverse with a mixture of quite wealthy families, somewhat comfortable middle class families, families from working class backgrounds, and families from housing commission units – from the other side of the tracks.
As I reflect, I realise that Year 1 of high school was a vast melting pot of social and cultural differences, relative to my previous year at primary school.
There were so many people, far older and bigger than me. I recall feeling very overwhelmed. Some of the oldest kids were adults: driving cars, some working, some in relationships with girls; some I heard from my older brother and sister had babies; and some about to be married and move out of their parents homes, by themselves.
I was twelve years old, going on thirteen. My mum told me what to do, and I struggled to even know what I thought. My god, I was in way over my head by being in this big school.
Small fish big pond
Yes, I had moved from being quite a big fish in the little pond of my primary school, on the back of my water fight incident [see Memory – Age 12]; to now feeling at odds in this larger school. I was feeling that I was now very, very small. A very small fish in a very, very big pond, and I recall struggling to want to speak at all.
Drawn from the other primary schools we some of my friends from my Saturday morning rugby football club – guys I had played with for about five (5) years. I got on pretty good with them – I was a reliable player in that club, though I never stood out in terms of being selected for districts as most of them had. But we all hung out in Year 1, as I think we were all feeling a bit overwhelmed in this new big school.

cooltext170962165748837

Contained within this mix of students, was an equally diverse and eclectic range of tastes and influences in musical styles. Even though my musical tastes had broadened quite a lot of the previous three (3) to four (4) years, it seemed to me everyone here at school was very sure of their musical tastes – what they liked, what they didn’t, and what was cool. I recall thinking to my self in this period:
  • what do I like? and why?
  • am I as sure of what I like?
  • why aren’t I as sure as everyone else around me about what I like, and about who I am?
  • why aren’t I as confident in what I believe in, as everyone else seems to be?
  • and perhaps most importantly, why aren’t all of my musical tastes considered so cool?
I recall knowing I was about to have an exponential increase of  influences from all of my new peers’ musical tastes, likely to massively expand what I listened to everyday.  But, I still couldn’t hear my own voice…. This is another in-situated recollection of what I consider to have been a significant event in my life, when I was Age 13.

Music_staff_+_notes_2560x1600.v1c

(AE 2015a)

My Musical Development

By the time Age 13 rolled around, it had been about two (2) years since I started playing my first guitar [see Memory – 10].  I had experimented a fair bit trying to play others songs as I described in my blog [see Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings].
The music I was listening to, and influenced by, had grown exponentially. I found I was more purposely listening to far broader range of music, possibly mainly due to the significant diversification of music styles found at that time on radio and TV channels, following the burgeoning music business across the continents of North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe that occurred from the mid to late 1960’s. Irrespective of when the music was released, our household filled with contemporary music from about the age of nine (9) onwards, across the airwaves of radio and TV, and then in the form of singles and albums, after my dad returned from overseas with our household’s first serious stereo record system – a Bang and Olufsen system.
By this stage in my life, I was obsessed with music, listening daily to either the radio, records, or myself on the guitar. Some of the music I recall from my in-situation reflection were:
1967 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • The Beatles: “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”
  • Cream: “Disraeli Gears”
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Are you experienced?”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings 
1967 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1967.shtml
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

 

1968 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • Iron Butterfly: “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”
  • The Beatles: “The Beatles (White Album)”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1968 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
   The Band: “Music from the Big Pink” (including “I Shall Be Released”)
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

 

1969 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • The Beatles: “Abbey Road”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Willy and the Poorboys”
  •  Jimmy Little” “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1969 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1969.shtml , specifically:
  • Blind Faith: “Can’t Find My Way Home”
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

 

1970 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • Cat Stevens: “Tea for the Tillerman”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Cosmo’s Factory”
  • George Harrison: All Things Must Pass”
  • Various: “Woodstock Live Soundtrack”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1970 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1970.shtml , specifically:
  • David Bowie: “The Man Who Sold The World”
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

 

1971 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • Cat Stevens: “Teaser and The Firecat”
  • George Harrison + various: “The Concert for Bangladesh”
  • Led Zeppelin: “IV”
  • Isaac Hayes: “Theme From Shaft”
  • Neil Diamond: “I Am I Said”
  • Sammy Davis Jr: “The Candy Man”
  • Roberta Flack / Donny Hathaway: “Where is the Love”
  • James Taylor: “You’ve Got a Friend”
  • Bill Withers: “Ain’t No Sunshine”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1971 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1971.shtml , specifically:
  • Michael Jackson: “Rockin’ Robin”
  • Rod Stewart: “Maggie May”
  • David Bowie: “Hunky Dory”
  • T-Rex: “Get It On”
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

 

1972 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • Neil Young “Harvest”
  • David Bowie: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”
  • Various: Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Australian Cast Recording)
  • Don McLean: “American Pie”
  • Don McLean: “Vincent”
  • Chuck Berry: “My Ding a ling”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1972 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1972.shtml , specifically:
  • Elvis Presley” “Burning Love”
  • Alice Cooper: “School’s Out”
  • Jackson Browne: “Doctor My Eyes”
  • Dr Hook: “Sylvia’s Mother”
  • Mott The Hoople: “All The Young Dudes”
  • T-Rex: “Children of the Revolution”
  • Jim Croce: “You Don’t Mess Around With Me”
  • Curtis Mayfield: “Superfly”
  • Steely Dan: “Do It Again”
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels
1973 family influence on my musical development (ie: albums that our household had):
  • Pink Floyd: “Dark Side of The Moon”
  • Rolling Stones: “Goat’s Head Soup”
  • Elton John: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
  • David Bowie: “Aladdin Sane”
  • Paul McCartney: “Red Rose Speedway”
  • Steve Miller Band: “The Joker”
  • Jim Croce: “Life and Times”
  • Al Green: “Call Me”
  • Various: European classical orchestral recordings
  • Various: European operatic recordings
1973 radio, TV and peers’ influence on my musical development:
  • Various: AM radio popular music programs, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • Various: TV programs such as Bandstand, playing top forty (40) songs such as found on the charts
  • http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1973.shtml , specifically:
  • Suzi Quatro: “Can the Can”
  • Doobie Brothers: “Long Train Running”
  • Dobie Gray: “Drift Away”
  • Roberta Flack: “Killing Me Softly”
  • Grad Funk Railroad: “We’re an American Band”
  • 10cc: “Rubber Bulets”
  • Slade: “Cum On Feel The Noise”
  • Ike & Tina Turner: “Nutbush City Limits”
  • George Harrison: “Give Me Love”
  • Jim Croce: “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”
  • The Allman Brothers: “Ramblin’ Man”
  • Various: AM radio European classical orchestral and operatic radio channels

~Music_staff Blue

(AE 2015b)
The music styles were diverse – eclectic. Each ones’ influence on me ranged from the type of song, the instrumentation, the lyric, the phrasing, the song’s message, the harmony, the melody, and/or the production. I recall all of this music captured my imagination in some way, and drew me in. With every song or album, I would spend hours and hours, listening, and gaining something – learning something – from that particular cultural production.
I did comment in a 2014 blog regarding my playing guitar “I don’t feel I ever arrived at being able to play any of Cat Steven’s songs to my satisfaction” (Page 2014).  Interestingly – with the benefit of hindsight – this comment infers where I was headed as I was entering my next stage of playing guitar. After a couple of years playing music, I was starting to consider my voice as a music practitioner.  I wondered what my voice was: I wasn’t sure i had ever heard my voice. For the first time I recall, I wanted to hear my voice.
Until that point, most the songs I had learnt through the influence of my initial guitar teachers were of a folk or country-based musical style. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I didn’t much like playing other’s songs, especially when they were produced to a commercial standard. I recall that as I played, I would listen to myself, on a guitar in a bedroom playing rhythm. In contrast, when I listened to the original recordings, I would stop and think to myself how they did that. There sounded likes lots of guitars on the recordings, and many voices, many instruments and many layers of other things that my ear could not yet make out what it was. I would slow the records down, by dropping a coin on the album, and listening again, and again, and again, and again….. The recordings sounded so good, as compared with just me in a room with a single guitar, playing the basic rhythm track. I recall getting so frustrated, and thinking poorly of my self.
“can I? could I? could I ever be able to learn to do what they do? could I dare to consider that I could learn to do what they do? ……… Could I possibly?” (Page 2014)
Me being me, thought I should just try to do it my way.  Screw the discipline. I am sick of being told how to do it, how I should be doing it….. I wanted to rebel! I just wanted to have a bash, strum really hard, thrash it, rock it really hard… And so I did. And then I would just stop, and lightly… pluck a few string, listening to the notes that resonated out to the point of silence. Then enjoy that silence, enjoy experience the space between the notes, almost catching my breath, gathering my thoughts, before I would go again; before I would begin the thrashing, the rocking out again…
Mmmmmm…. Reflecting back in-situation now, I can now see parallels between my music practice – my playing – and life within my family. As each year went by, I found I was getting to know my self more, and I was gaining in my self-confidence and my self-opinion. I was beginning to want to stretch out…
I had a guitar [see Memory – Age 10] and I listened and played music, and it was constantly evolving. I found it a new way to speak – to have a voice – and share something to talk to others at school.
I had a dog [see Memory – Age 11]. We were good to each other; we were good for each other. We spoke to each other and watched each other’s backs everyday.  I know she loved me for looking after her; as I did of her, for the same way that she always looked after me.
I recall I had previously tolerated my mother’s control that my mother had over my life. I had for several years prior, tried to accept it, and tried to be better. I had thought I must have been a horrible little boy due to my mother always wanting to control me – always yelling at me, and telling what I should be doing [blog Memory –Age 11].

The Human Ear

(The Jury Expert 2015)

Experimentation in finding my voice…

Feeling at odds with my self in my new social circle – at my high school – I found I spent more time by my self. In contrast to my primary school, I no longer needed to commute to go to school. Because our house was directly behind the high school, I didn’t need to spend time commuting every day with my peers – I just jumped the back fence, and I was at school. In the afternoon, I just jumped the back fence again, and within two (2) minutes, I was home again.
So with the extra time, I spent submersing my self in music – listening, playing, considering different rhythms, progressions, tones and textures, and experimenting with my musical voice.
  • What did I hear when I listened to a song on a record?
  • What did I hear when I strummed my guitar?
  • How is this song different to that song?
  • what happens if I do this; play like this? play like that?
But so too were my neighbours. Influenced by their peace and love songs, they could apparently hear me experimenting, and let me know the next time we bumped into each, down the adjoining fence.
‘what that you attempting to play?
I wondered who it was?
what was that you were attempting to play?’
….. they enquired in their disapproving, almost smug tone. [Upon reflection, I was particularly surprised at tier response given their apparent influence by the peace and love movement]. I wasn’t a greatly confident person, someone with quite some self-doubt as to whether I could possibly achieve, what I was dreaming to be able to learn to do. My experiments were my way of trying to find my voice, to get to know who I was, and what I believe in. I recall the shame I felt at their questions – their mocking – of me, just trying to be me.
They then advised me,
you need to get some lessons…
mmmmmm………. To say I can recall the sickened feeling within me right now as I am in-situated in this time and place. I feel sadness for my self, who listened, and took on board those comments, from two people who were just that – two people.
I took those comments on board, and I can feel my self shrinking back into the ground. I recall my thoughts to my self:
  • how dare I think that I could have dreamt I could have learnt to play music?
  • how dare I think that I could have found my voice immersing my self in music, as I had aspired to after listening to a number of other troubadours..
  • How dare you Dave for thinking that!
  • HOW DARE you Dave to have dreamt that you could have learnt to do that!!!
I went back inside the house, into my room, and packed up my guitar. I can still hear my self muttering to my self – cursing my self for the day I dared to dream. I took the guitar in its case down to the garage and put it up on the top of the cupboard, at the back – out of sight, out of mind. I vowed I would never touch it again. 
I return back to my room, and I sat in the dark for the longest time – an hour, a day, a week, a month – I don’t recall….. How foolish it was for me to try to play guitar, to dream to write music and create songs …..

487887030

I put down that instrument having listened and taken those comments on board, believing that I had had my attempt to learn to play an instrument, and had it confirmed that yes, I was foolish to dare.
The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 14.
References
AE 2015a Music note montage in the universe image courtesy of: Angelic Exorcism (AE) Studio Projects  Accessed 11th March 2015
AE 2015b Music note montage in the universe image courtesy of: Angelic Exorcism (AE) Studio Projects  Accessed 11th March 2015
Beatles, The. 1969. Abbey Road. Apple Records. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1968. White Album. Apple Records. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1967. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Big fish in small pond image courtesy of: The Fish Works  Accessed 19th August, 2016
Bowie, David. 1971. Ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars. RCA Records. Vinyl LP.
Butterfly, Iron. 1968. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Atco.
Darkened House image courtesy of: Darkened house  Accessed 18th June, 2016
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Hendrix, Jimi. 1967. Are you experienced? Track Records. Vinyl LP.
Page, David L. 2016. Memory – Age 12 Accessed 19th August, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. Memory – Age 11 Accessed 19th August, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. Memory – Age 10 Accessed 19th August, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “My First Guitar” ©David L Page 2016
Page, David L. 2014. Music Practitioner Part 1 – Beginnings Accessed 19th August, 2016
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Revival, Creedance Clearwater. 1970. Cosmo’s Factory. Fantasy Records.
Revival, Creedance Clearwater. 1969. Willy and the poor boys. Fantasy Records. Vinyl LP.
Stevens, Cat. 1971. Teaser and the firecat. Island Records. Vinyl LP.
Stevens, Cat. 1970. Tea for the tillerman. Island Records. Vinyl LP.
Stones, The Rolling. 1974. Goats Head Soup. Rolling Stones. Vinyl LP.
Small fish in big pond image courtesy of: Dezeen  Accessed 19th August, 2016
Top Forty charts courtesy of: UK Charts Accessed 19th August, 2016
The Jury Expert. 2015. Man listening image courtesy of: The Jury Expert Accessed 2nd February, 2015
Young, Neil. 1971. Harvest. Reprise Records. Vinyl LP.
Zeppelin, Led. 1971. IV. Atlantic Records. Vinyl LP.
– ©David L Page 23/08/1993
– updated ©David L Page 20/09/2016
– updated ©David L Page 17/12/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 9

Cricket Stumps.B+W.P1

Another significant event….

I know one of my pet hates in life is
the schoolyard pick.
Based on my experience on the receiving end,
I avoid it like the plague …
When I am presented an opportunity in leadership,
To split a group,
I will use any other method than the schoolyard pick
This is an episode I recall,
when I was Age 9
that became a significant event
in the way I conduct my self, and my practice,
throughout my life….

 

 

Schoolyard picks were a common occurrence growing up,
choosing footy teams, cricket teams,
It was a way to divide up a group people across two teams:
choose two captains,
they think of their skills + experience, and their personality,
in terms of the goal.. the task….
And both captains get an opportunity
to choose the best people that they think…

 

Schoolyard picks
when you are not perceived to have the skills
can be a humiliating experience
as I found out when I was 9 years old…

 

Schoolyard Pick

Schoolyard Pick ©David L Page 2016
I was not the most confident cricket player
but I wanted to have a crack…
so, I got my dad to take me
down to the local Saturday morning comp (etition) trials

 

I was somewhat shy outside of my circle,
so I stood in the wings
at the local cricket oval,
under the Aussie summer sun,
with only a little breeze

 

With my dad standing not too far away,
the coach came along and gathered everyone in,
he introduced himself to the group,
but most seemed to know him already….

 

One kid – I guessed – was his son,
and all of his friends
some others I guess may have played cricket under the coach the previous year,
or years

 

I was not the most confident cricket player
but I wanted to have a crack
with my dad standing not too far away,
I stood in the wings

 

Once the introductions were over,
of what was ahead
the coach/manager chose two captains
to have a schoolyard pick,
and select the two teams…
BILLY
“SHAUN”
We were going to go head to head,
and play some cricket,
so the coach could observe,
and then select a 15 boy Saturday morning comp (etition) team squad
As the two captains moved to face the crowd,
– neither whom I knew –
I could tell that they knew so many of those around me,
as they immediately started calling out names
of those who they wanted on their teams
Jeremy
“Scott”
“Michael”
“Mattie”
I could now feel the heat under the Aussie summer sun,
there was only a little breeze
with my dad standing not too far away,
I stood in the wings
“Ron”
“John”
I felt both captains were looking right through me,
I shifted on my legs,
from side to side many times,
then I picked up a stick to fidget with something,
feeling how this was going to pan out
George
“Harry”
I wanted the ground to open up,
and swallow me whole,
I wanted to run away,
I wanted to hide…
Ted
“Simon”
I shifted on my legs,
from side to side many times,
I looked over to my dad,
pleadingly….
I wanted the ground to open up,
and swallow me whole,
I wanted to fall down some rabbit burrow,
slip away,
down some sort of slide…
Dylan
“Robert”
My dad was now sensing
I was at odds at being there,
possibly from my pleas to him,
through my squinted eyes
“Richard”
“Stephen”
“You’ll be alright once you get started”
I sensed him reassure me…
but it didn’t stop me from asking increasingly,
“can we go home now dad please,
can we go home now dad?”
“Patrick”
“Adrian”
“Don’t be stupid” he replied
“dad lets go.. please dad let’s go dad”
I pleaded
through my eyes….
Mark
“Philip”
“You’ll be alright once you get started”
he tried to reassure me…
“dad lets go home please..
please dad let’s go dad”
I pleaded now through my whines……
Artie
“come on Dad lets go..
please dad let’s go dad”
I pulled on his side..
“don’t be stupid, son”
“come on Dad lets go..
please dad
please dad,
let’s go home now dad..
now dad”
“Dave”
Unfortunately, I never heard my name..
as we crossed the street,
got into our car
and headed home….
My dad told me on the way home
I was stupid
for not wanting to stick around,
I gazed down at the floor,
I wanted the ground to open up,
and swallow me whole,
I wanted to run away,
I wanted to hide…

 

I looked out the back window
and lost myself in the trees
I knew in the bush,
I could hide…
As we headed further away
from the schoolyard pick,
I sighed,
I sighed
I sighed…

Exeter Street_Wahroonga.B+W v2.2017.P2

With the winter sun streaming down….
I feel I had escaped …
I sighed again, my relief…
I never volunteered to play competitive cricket again,
and have avoided any schoolyard picks since
“Schoolyard Pick”©David L Page 2016. This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event.
The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 10.
References
 Bush image courtesy of: Google maps Accessed 25th August, 2016
Cricket Stumps & Ball image courtesy of: Junior Cricket Accessed 25th August, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “Schoolyard Pick” ©David L Page 2016
Schoolyard Pick …. audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 13th December, 2016
– ©David L Page 14/04/1993
– updated©David L Page 25/09/2016
– updated ©David L Page 13/12/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 7

Rock drawing
I have always tried to live
straight up and down
But it seems that
no matter how much I tried,
trouble has always followed me,
wrong place,
wrong time..
dragging me 
off my feet
something always seems to get in my way,
and I come unstuck….
That trait seems to have followed me
through pretty much
all
of
my
life………..
This is another episode in my life I recall, when I was Age 7.

Rock fight on Exeter…

Rock Fight on Exeter©David L Page 2016
I had a posse of kids
Kids from up, and down the street
Some older, some kid brothers and sisters
Some similar in age as me,
going to pre-school together….
this was our street

Exeter Street_Wahroonga.2017.B+W v3.P1

We lived in a suburban area,
on the far north side of town
with many local areas still not developed
surrounded by bush – trees and wildlife…..
We ran the bushland….
we ran up the ridge
we ran through the creeks….
we kicked balls, and
sometime broke bottles
had billy cart races in the street..

 

We hung out in a tree house,
and in my parents old car….
We ran as a pack…
with not a care in the world
this was our street
we had fun all around here…

 

I recall this one day,
we were in our street,
chewing gum,
licking paddle pops,
probably kicking stones,
killing time as you did, as a kid
Exeter Street_Wahroonga.B+W v2.2017.P2
Another group of kids from across the ridge,
wondered out of the bush,
onto
our street…

 

We didn’t know these kids
they weren’t round these parts,
looks were exchanged
each group quickly sized up the others…

 

Comments were made,
and then more looks exchanged….
the situation quickly escalated to
a neighborhood standoff…

 

living in a developing area,
fringed with aussie bush,
there were lots stones and rocks around,
from the kerbs and gutters not quite formed yet….

pile-of-rocks_B+W.P1

One rock missile was launched (by them),
And then another…..
and then another…..
and then another…..

 

The ground around our group,
was being peppered with hits,
dust flicks, and rolling debris……

Concrete drain pipe_coloured.P2

I recall I took refuge within a large concrete drain pipe,
large enough for a..
for a 7 year old to get inside

 

I hid there for a few minutes,
Waiting for them to get bored,
to wander off,
to disappear…

 

But, the next sound I heard,
was a rock coming down the concrete pipe in which I hid,
from the other end..

 

It stopped way short
along its’ 20 yard length,
with me at the other end

 

then a second one came,
this time bouncing off the walls and ceiling,
but again fell well short…

 

and then a third one came..
this sounding faster, harder,
again bouncing off the walls and ceiling,
but again fell short…
of me at the other end

 

and then another one came..
sounding even faster,
sounding even harder,
but had lost most of its’ momentum
by the time it bounced past me
at the other end

 

and then another one came..
faster, and even harder,
and as I looked up to see
what I could see
down the pipe…

 

the rock collected me in the head,
instantly splitting my head in half……
or so it felt…
the pain was instant…
piercing my brain…
blood start squirting like water
out of a leaky plastic bag,
and all I could hear were
screams….

Blood dripping

I am sure the screams belonged to me,
But perhaps, also from my friends,
As they saw blood,
perhaps for the first time,
But clearly understood what had been done…

 

One grabbed their t-shirt off,
and held it to my head,
Another screamed off up the road
to get someone’s mother,
for her to come help

 

There was chaos on the street,
As though we’d been invaded…
By the kids from across the ridge,
Who wondered out of the bush,
onto our street…

 

A car arrived to rush me to hospital….
I needed stitching, fast
To slow the blood-flow down…..
There was chaos on the street,
As though we’d been invaded…
By the kids from across the ridge who
had just wondered out of the bush,
onto our street…

 

 

rock fight on Exeter
I will never forget
I recall I had about 14 stitches..
7 on top, and 7 within..
it turned out that my
“fate was held within a smidgeon of that split”
I recall some older person sighed…..

 

 

rock fight on Exeter
I will never forget
There had been chaos on the street,
that afternoon
As though we’d been invaded…
by the kids from across the ridge who,
had just wondered out of the bush,
onto our street…

 

 

rock fight on Exeter
I will never forget
the rock fight on Exeter
It was as if we’d been invaded…
By the kids from across the ridge who
had wondered out of the bush,
onto our street…

 

 

we had been just chewing gum,
killing time as you did
I will never forget
the rock fight on Exeter…..
the rock fight on Exeter
Street
“Rock Fight on Exeter” ©David L Page 2016. This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event.
DLP Youth pictures
The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 9.
References
Blood Dripping image courtesy of: Clipart Accessed 25th November, 2016
Concrete Pipe image courtesy of: Construction Solutions Accessed 25th November, 2016
DLP images courtesy of: DLP Slideshare Accessed 20th July, 2016
Exeter Road image courtesy of: Google maps Accessed 20th July, 2016
Exeter Road bush image courtesy of: Google maps Accessed 20th July, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “Rock Fight on Exeter” ©David L Page 2016
Pile of Rocks image courtesy of: Rachel Teodoro Accessed 25th November, 2016
Rock throwing Post-It note image courtesy of: Rock Post-It Accessed 25th November, 2016
Rock Fight on Exeter …. audio link courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 25th November, 2016
– ©David L Page 13/09/1992
– updated ©David L Page 15/09/2016
– updated ©David L Page 25/11/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Memory – Age 14 – 16

The sun shining

This is another in-situated recollection of what I consider to have been a significant period in my life, when I was Age 14 to Age 16.

Looking for something (other than where I was..)

Looking for something (other than where I was)©David L Page 2016
The house was a lot quieter now, even if only due to a less number of people spending time there. My older sister and brother were both spreading their wings, spending little time at home, and preparing to leave on their own adventures – one overseas, and the other out into country Australia. Therefore it was essentially, me, my dog and my parents for much of this next stage.
I was going through the motions in both school and life. I spent a bit of time with my neighbours, but I recall I progressively spent most time with my dog.  She would would wait for me at 3pm everyday by the front fence to come home from high school. It was always great to see her. As soon as she caught sight of me, she would run, tail wagging and whimper with excitement. If I was late coming home, then at about 3:10pm she would come up to school to look for me. On the rare occasions this would happen, she would sniff me out and find me where ever I happened to be.
Trixie_1975_200 + 300.P1b
(Trixie 2016)
The ritual for me during this era was very much,
home, school,
home, school,
home, school,
home, school,
home, school,
home, school…….
I was spending more time immersed in radio and records, listening, listening, listening, listening…
Perhaps wandering what might have been…..
Hermit Crab.mid works
I recall receding back into my shell,
much like the Hermit Crabs I used to observe down on the beach.
I still played Saturday rugby,
but I wasn’t even minimally social – even at school…
 Killara Rugby.1974.600.The Works
(DLP 2016a)
One day I noticed a motorbike dumped on the street in our local area
It was an old beaten up …. something…. actually i had no idea what it was…… It was just sitting in the gutter of one of the side roads… like it had just been left there, unwanted…
A few days later my dad rang the Police for me….
“Take it home” they said..
“and if anyone reports it stolen, we will give you a ring..”

1967 Kawasaki GT90TR.The Works.jpg

(Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016a)
I rolled it home, and let it sit for a few more weeks, waiting for a call…
I was hoping no one would….
and so in anticipation I started checking out,
to see what was state it was in.
There was no key for the key start ignition…
it looked like the steering lock had been broken….
The bike was a little rusted in some parts from where it has been
standing out in the weather, and idle for a number of weeks….
The brakes seemed to work, though were in need of some attention…
I looked up the telephone book to find out where some motorcycles shops were……
And then rode my bicycle down there to ask some questions,
and try to find out what was before us……..
With the motorbike shop’s technical department, we scrolled through so many motorbike manuals, until I came across one particular model – a Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 … there it was…… (see image below of what the bike would have originally looked like)

1967 Kawasaki GT90TR.jpg

(Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016b)
Whilst it was old, parts were still accessible through the motorcycle shop ordering system. Now we had figured out what make and model the motorbike was, it was going to be a lot easier to work backwards, and decide what certain problems were with it, and how could I/we could fix it….
As it was old, the motorbike’s advice was to convert the bike into a on-road bike – an unregistered trail bike for me to use on the local fire trails. A bush basher..
I now had a new project…..

Developing a Plan

Using money from my mowing & pool cleaning business, the workshop at one of the local motorcycle shops, and occasionally at the workshop at the company where my dad worked, I rebuilt the bike over about an eighteen (18) month period. I tested the motorbike at every stage in our relatively large back garden. We had a very large willow tree in the back garden, which made a great backdrop for me to ride around. I rode in and around that tree, with its weeping willows falling to the ground. It made my connection to the motorbike experience, all that much more majestic.

Weeping Willow Tree

As the project developed I test drove it on the network of new roads around our local area.
I then ventured down with my friend from primary school who had a mini-bike. We would go into the bush and ride on the fire trails for hours on end – until we were almost out of fuel (actually a couple of times were got caught out, and one of us would run out of fuel on the way home). I recall the sense of exploration, being outdoors in the bush, the fresh air, and in the quiet, listening to the whip birds, the galahs, the lorikeets, and the kookaburras. We would park the bikes down in the valley next to the creek, and swim in the water hole….

Sydney North Shore falls.jpg

(Northern Sydney bushland 2016)
It was such an other world – all within about ten (10) kilometers of my home, where I felt such stress and control. Here – in every moment, I got to control what I did, how I did it, and who I did it with. I was out of earshot of my mother – away from her rules, and the feelings of something that made me uncomfortable…
I would come home after a long day riding, with a smile within, and no mater how much yelling was happening, it sort of no longer mattered to me as much. My dog Trixie was always happy to see me home, and she would bounce around with her slipper in her mouth, wagging her tail and telling me how much she was glad to see me and have me around.
I felt like I was either tweaking the bike, planning changes to it, or out riding. I enjoyed going to my job to earn the money to fund my next part of my plan: new tyres, new handlebars, and levers, modify the exhaust system, the carburettor, make a new seat, and design a new paint job. It was a project that occupied my time – something I could do for my self.  And whilst working in the garage at night,  my old gramophone would be on, and Trixie and I would listen to as much music as we could.

GA-3TR 90.1973.The Works

(Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016c)
By this stage I was immersed in off-ride bike magazines. I took the posters from these magazines of the European Champions of the day and stuck them on my walls, next to the posters of my Go-Set magazine musicians.  I was now interested in the next level of off-road riding, motocross. I would go and hang out at the local bike shop and try out all of these motorbikes – sitting on them, and imagining I was riding on the side of hills in Europe just like the many photos in the off-ride bike magazines in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.

Motorcyclist Magazine.1978

(Motocross Action magazine 2016)
I scoured these magazines for all of the motocross bike comparison tests, riding tips, and advertisements of new bikes. By now I was starting to outgrow my rebuilt Kawasaki. It has been great, but i realised that now amount of work and money spent on it would not achieve the technological advancements the new bikes were coming out with. Japan had now entered the competitive motocross bike market with manufacturers such as Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda all producing bikes not only factory bikes for the World Motocross Championships, but also replicas for the local market. After twelves months I had saved up for one of the bikes – a Japanese Honda CR125 M1 – and bought one around my fifteenth (15) birthday. Ahhhhh…..this was a different beast. These bikes had lots of torque to accelerate off the mark really quickly; they could turn on a five (5) cent piece, and as they ran on methane jet fuel, their exhaust pipes were straight through without any muffler. Yes they were loud, proud and certainly not suitable for our local fire trails.

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(Honda CR125 M1 2016)
The local motor bike shops referred me to certain larger trails and riding parks where I could go to ride my new beast. I however would need a car and trailer to get there. As I still about two years too young to have a car driver’s licence, I quietly badgered my dad to get a tow-bar for his company car, and I bought a motorbike trailer. Soon, we were heading across to the other side of Sydney in pursuit of these larger more open trails and off-road parks. However, some of the trails were still illegal, and police were known to come and fine the many number of off-ride bike enthusiasts for riding their unregistered motorcycles on this government land. Because of this inconvenience, other options of places to ride were motocross parks, but to do this you needed to produce a racing licence to prove your were capable and responsible for your own safety. Yes, I felt I was in a corner with only one way out: to get my licence and start frequenting purpose built motocross tracks to practice. In order to get a on-road racing motorcycle license, you had to be affiliated with a motorcycle club. I was still a few months too young to get an open license, and so I decided to wait for my sixteenth (16) birthday. It so happened that the local motorcycle club – Willoughby District Motorcycle Club – held monthly meetings, and by coincidence the next meeting was to fall on the actual evening of my birthday.  When I was asked how I wanted to spend my birthday evening, the answer was obvious to me.  I wanted my dad to take me to the club meeting to join the club, and become eligible to get my motocross motorcycle racing license. Three (3) – four (4) weeks later I was racing at my first dirt track racing event – a club day.
Memory - Age 16_CR125 M1_Dargle MX.P4.mid works.jpg
(DLP 2016b)
It was a TT event – a flat oval track with about fifteen (15) to twenty (20) bikes competing for the best position around the very tight track.  The bike I was riding was capable of about 60+ mile per hour – just under 100 kilometres an hour – down the straights. In order to had to maintain momentum and speed around the corners, the rider would lean him self and the bike into the turn, but turn the front wheel in the opposite direction (facing away from the corner). This would force the back wheel to slide out to balance the bike and maintain forward momentum of the bike around the corner. This was a new experience – one which initially both terrified me, but also filled my body with so much adrenalin and joy. I can still feel the bike vibrating through my body – the seat, and up though my arms as I man handled the beast around the graded and oiled dirt track road. I can still hear the noise of both the two stroke and four (4) strokes motorcycles; I can still smell the methane jet fuel these bikes expelled whilst racing; I can still feel the adrenalin of gripping the handle bars and racing down the slick oiled dirt track straight, getting to the first corner, and learning within the afternoon to flick the back wheel out and slide through the corner trying to keep as much of the accelerator throttle on as much as you dared. I still recall the almost simultaneous rush of the fear as I entered the corner, and then the exhilaration in my chest, my throat, my mouth and my cheeks as I manipulated the bike through the corner, doing as it was told.

timonium-flat-track-racing-jason-isennock.The Works

(Motocycling Online.com 2016)
Yes, I felt like Might Mouse. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I was well and truly addicted to this sport….
images
 (Terry-Toons Comics 1945-1951)
Of course, on that first day, I doubt got anywhere close to that top speed, but for me I found my aliveness. I can still remember the more experienced racers passing around my outside on both the straight away and the corners, as though I was standing stlll. Hey I may have even been lapped that day.  But I would never look back again from that day. I now knew what it was like to be alive, and to feel the adrenalin, tight muscles from wrestling the bike around in quite unnatural circumstances, that sense of exhilaration, with a smile that I recall I could not wipe off my face for days – or was it weeks?
I went through and circled all the up coming state motocross events that I was eligible to enter, and began working on my bike. In meeting more people, in talking more to them about bikes, in experiencing this event, and in reading more magazines, I realised I needed to customise my bike – to set it up ready for competition – to set it up for my body weight and height and riding style – to compete against the other guys and gals on their bikes. Back to the shops I would go many times for ideas and advice, and then back into our garage workshop to tinker at night… with my old gramophone on. Trixie and I would listen to as much music as we could while I customised my bike to become a better ride.
I practiced and practiced, and entered into as many club days as I could.

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(DLP 2016c)
Other events were soon to follow, including competing in my first NSW state championship event against some of the current reigning Australian and NSW state champions.

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(DLP 2016d)
Yes, I was well and truly addicted to this sport – my new direction. Yes, I was looking for something, and here it was….
Looking for something (other than where I was)”©David L Page 2016. This audio event represents a developed sense of my recollection of this significant event.
The next blog in this Project 1 series is Memory – Age 15.

 

References
DLP 2016a image courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 28th August, 2016
DLP 2016b images courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 28th August, 2016
DLP 2016c images courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 28th August, 2016
DLP 2016d images courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 28th August, 2016
Hermit Crab image courtesy of: Hermit Crab  Accessed 26th August, 2016
Honda CR125 M1 2016 images courtesy of: Honda Motorcycles Accessed 27th August, 2016
Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016a processed image courtesy of: Rod Carlile   Accessed 26th August, 2016
Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016b actual image courtesy of: Rod Carlile   Accessed 27th August, 2016
Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016b mage courtesy of: Rod Carlile   Accessed 26th August, 2016
Kawasaki GA-3TR 90 2016c mage courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 26th August, 2016
Looking for something (other than where I was) ……. audio link courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 2nd October, 2016
Motocross Bike magazine 2016 image courtesy of: Jim Jeffries Accessed 27th August, 2016
Motorcycling Online.com 2016 image courtesy of: Motorcycling Online.com  Accessed 27th August, 2016
Northern Sydney bushland 2016 image courtesy of: Visit Sydney Accessed 27th August, 2016
Page, David L. 2016. “Looking for something (other than where I was)” ©David L Page 2016
Plan image courtesy of: Plan  Accessed 14th October 2010
Shining Sun image courtesy of: Living from the Well Accessed 26th August, 2016
Terry-Toons Comics. 1945-1951. Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse #38-85  Accessed 8th March, 2014.
Trixie 2016 image courtesy of: David L Page Accessed 27th August, 2016
– ©David L Page 17/09/1991
– updated ©David L Page 28/08/2016
– updated ©David L Page 02/10/2016
– updated ©David L Page 11/01/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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