I was in the car recently, waiting for my daughter. She has just started volunteering with a local charity (would you believe it? She was counting down the days until she turned fourteen so that she could apply to become a volunteer for this particular group. That’s what I call determination!) and I offered to help her out by driving her to the shop and picking her up at the end of her shift. On this particular afternoon with the stifling heat in full swing I had a few minutes to spare so taking advantage of the semi-anonymity that my car provided I began to observe my fellow humans going about their business.
Props. That was what I mostly witnessed. We all carried props of some sort. It was as if the majority of us were performing in our own self-written play/soap/movie/installation. The most visible one was the mobile phone, of course. But we were all holding an object: cigarette, car keys, man-bag or purse. Prop-less passers-by tended to move their arms frantically as if in charge of an orchestra, as if they were missing a limb or… a prop. Holding, hugging, posing, displaying, caressing, squeezing, tapping, swiping, you name it, my fellow earthlings were all doing something with and to their props.
From my observations I came to the conclusion that our evolution as human beings has divided us into two categories: those who need “props” to support them in their daily lives and those who are capable of going around their quotidian business unassisted. I have, sadly, belonged to the former for far longer than I would have wanted.
|No, not these ones. Where's the mobile phone?|
In the same way that the people milling about in the shopping centre where the charity store in which my daughter volunteers used their “props” for various purposes, I turned a remote control/pointer into a loyal friend a few weeks ago. I was invited to lead a workshop at a conference last month. Somewhat nervous as befit the occasion, I calmed down as soon as my fingers touched the remote control. My presentation went smoothly and the Q&A was lively. All thanks to a three-inch, plastic object in my hand. Like the shoppers I observed from the semi-anonymity of my car, I, too, had created my own play/soap/movie/installation.
There was an interesting article in the latest issue of Songlines magazine about how the average age at which we stop listening to new music is 33. That’s also the age at which, apparently Jesus, died, and also it is the format for long play or vinyl records (in fact, it is 33⅓, but let’s not get too pedantic about it, shall we?). I have no idea why I included those two pieces of information in this post but maybe there was some divine intervention in the creation of the LP. I do not know.
Divine intervention or not, there are some new salsa gods and goddesses on the block now. Or Sugar Kings, to give them their proper name. The song on the clip below is called Rum and Coca Cola and the line-up performing it is a “who’s who” in the contemporary, underground, London-based Afro-Cuban world. On piano, David Oliver, on bass, Adolfredo Pulido, on trumpets, Víctor Hechavarría Sarret, on timbales, David Pattman, on vocals, Caroline Loftus and on percussion and leading the ensemble, Flavio Correa. This is what summer sounds like. Great harmonies and dance-inspiring, tight arrangements. Enjoy.
Next Post: “Let’s Talk About…”, to be published on Wednesday 15th July at 6pm (GMT)