Low Symphony


I've had it on and off all my life, and I still don't know exactly what it is. Here's a few possibilities:

  • Feeling unhappy for no apparent reason
  • Being drained of willpower, so even the simplest of tasks feel impossible
  • Anger without enthusiasm
  • Being lonely, but hating people
  • Like having a bad headcold, but with only the non-physical symptoms
  • Actually, literally having an infection, but without obvious bodily symptoms
  • The entirely appropriate reaction to seeing your own situation clearly
  • An overreaction to your own situation
  • A hormonal imbalance, for unknown reasons
  • The emotion pattern set by an unhappy childhood, continued into adulthood
  • Something to do with grey skies and low light levels
  • The psychological aspect of high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure etc.
  • The way most people have always felt throughout history, recently reclassified as a problem

Joan Baez said "Action is the antidote to despair". Which may be just another way of saying "Brooding just makes it worse, so find ways to distract yourself".

My preferred distraction is trying to make music. What I've actually spent the last month making are preparations for making music. I'm very good at preparing, just not much good at doing.

A new laptop, a whole load of configurations to optimise it for recording and composing, a pristine software studio tweaked until it's just how I like it, three self-synthesised drumkits and a virtual synth.

Oh, and a little program to make lyrics in a fictional language, because there's nothing I particularly want to write songs about.

A blend of prevarication and preparation: "Pervariation".

FAWM (February Album Writing Month) starts tomorrow. The challenge is to write 14 songs in 28 days. I have the Concept part of Concept Album sort-of worked out - now there's just the little matter of figuring out how to do the other part...by doing it.

The Answer

It's my birthday.

I'm 42, which is either the answer to life, the universe and everything...

Or the age when your everyday conversation starts to include terms like "mortgage", "patio", "pension", "you're-too-young-to-understand" and "I'm-not-racist-but...."

Or the age when all the idiotic opinions you had at 21 magically become mature insights gained through experience.

Or possibly the time you get a strange urge to cheat on your partner because if you leave it any longer you won't be able to, somehow.

Or...the time by which you've not just moved away from your parents, but found an excuse to live in a different town.

Or the time when you start to define yourself by your job, not your impossible ambitions.

Well, I don't have a mortgage or a pension, I'm the one married men cheat with, and I've moved back in with my parents. So there.

My impossible ambition involves a new laptop, some old software, and a month to record an album.

But it is my birthday so...there will be cake.