Records and Writing #1

#1 – Clark Terry, Mumbles

HAVE YOU EVER been to Mumbles? It’s in West Wales. Hang on, before that…

Welcome to my first ever blog! My thoughts, views, pondering and waffling on anything related to records and writing. More precisely, how a particular work makes me feel and think. All just my own opinions…

It’ll be unpolished, with minimal editing and you’ll find significant flaws in my writing style coupled with some sub-optimal grammar usage at times.  I’m sure you’ll also disagree with much of what I say or think about records & writing, which is great. I welcome as much constructive feedback as possible. I’m expecting to fail so it doesn’t matter if you hate it or find it boring. Nobody succeeded first time round.

Here’s the gig: I write something roughly once a week. Between now and May I aim to post 12 blogs. It’ll be based on and inspired by the arbitrary record I’ve picked that week – a habit I’ve got into again since receiving a record player as a gift and committing to picking up as many random records as possible. If you like the blog, share it with like-minded people. Facebook, Twitter, email, Tinder, wherever. If you don’t like it (but do like records and writing) let me know why not and what would make you read it more. I’m also very open to suggestions on new music to listen to or new writing to read.


Who’s it for?

Anyone with an interest in listening to or making records and reading or creating pieces of writing. Simple.

Back to Swansea…

The album I was listening to when I came up with this idea  was Clark Terry’s Mumbles.

In addition to the mellow, soothing saxophone playing,  the album consists of Terry mumbling along trying to make a tune. There’s some serious musicianship as you’d exepct producing the accessible accompaniment. From the bluesy opener, to the wilder dance tracks (proper dance) drifting into smooth, relaxing jazz, it’s great fun. By the end of the album you will no doubt have a smile on your face as big as Mr. Terry’s on the front cover.

I doubt whether Terry had even heard of the renowned beauty-spot on the west of the Swansea Bay let alone been there. But seriously, once a guy from West Wales, or anyone who’s ever been to Mumbles gets it in their head that the whole album is about Wales, the connotations of ‘Mumbles’, ‘Rum and Mumbles’ and ‘The Mumbler Strikes Again’ become entirely different. What’s more on further reflection, the scenes of boozing and cavorting down the Mumbles mile as a twenty-something may be the exact images Terry was aiming to bring to mind!

‘Rum and Mumbles’

Listening to any decent album, like sections of meaningful writing, often leads me to think differently about every day life, from the mundane and banal, to the evolutionary and radical. This album served to remind me that, as we should always keep in mind, words can sometimes have two meanings.

Why am I doing this?

These are 2 things I love – music and reading. I have no specialist knowledge about either above that of the next person with a vague interest in creative arts. But I enjoy both and this seemed like a good idea.

Like most human endeavours , there is an element of selfishness behind it. I started writing a journal 2 years ago and found the process stimulating and therapeutic. Experts say it should be, but as we don’t take experts too seriously nowadays take it from me, it works. I’ve stalled on meaningful creative projects recently so am looking to set up something new.

I’ve occasionally been known to pretend to aspire to be a writer. Two things struck me more firmly this year as, with great shock, I became nearer in age to 50 than 20:

1) I’m about as likely to become a professional writer as I am to play at Wembley again with my band.

2) I can achieve some of the goals of being a professional writer without being a professional writer – I can write, regularly and with purpose. I can get this writing across to a target audience. You. The size of the audience may be restricted by my marketing abilities, but if 3 people read my blog then I have achieved that goal. Assuming they’re not my brother and my parents.

Thank you to Clark Terry for inspiring this blog with his 50-year old creative flurry of mumbling and enchanting sax runs. And thank you for reading it. That’s it. First blog done. The next will be available within a week.

Now pass me the rum…


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