I.C.E.

A broken ankle and a series of changes to the University department I have been part of for the best part of the last decade have triggered thoughts of personal productivity. I am easily distracted. In the period since I finished the doctorate, I have produced a series of recordings, mainly extended singles, with three albums which I am still relatively happy with. But no writing of note. In fact, no writing at all.

The choice to follow a traditional path for my postgraduate research was egotistical and cowardly, born from the realistic assessment of my ability to contribute anything of note with my series of tricks, faints and deceits sonically, while still craving the moment of someone/anyone assessing my work as an original contribution to knowledge. You see this aspiration flatten people and the final completion of the thesis triggered dizziness I had not anticipated. No metaphor, this was a physical reaction to the conclusion of a path that had come to an abrupt, if successful, conclusion, but which simply ended. I didn’t even manage a pint with my examiners. The day just stopped.

It is the shock of being taken unawares by the failure of the mundane that undermines you. Health is a classic facility taken for granted, a biochemical juggle the individual is expected to take as a self-managed neoliberal responsibility, but which is, in reality, a complex machinic assemblage composed of code and chemical fuel and physical opportunity and cultural constraint, etc. Taste and choice and consumption and capital, all acknowledged as component/strata to provide the individual identity and community; we are all Janus-headed, on the lookout for definition.

And so the stair, or the slip of my step, contributed to the fracture of my right ankle, in a manner I was assured was a classic of its kind, and clean in that reassuring manner that indicates that the current pain will eventually pass. Neither of these new bodily features reassured me particularly. Nor was the boot/splint provided to alleviate symptoms particularly welcome. Now three weeks on, the ankle fits in a normal boot, and a week ahead of schedule, I am weaning myself off of the plastic and velcro device when walking to the local convenience store or depositing the rubbish.

Musically, I am working on a series of acoustic pieces which seek to explore the common traits between the modal compositions of Miles Davis and Olivier Messiaen. Building up and striping down, searching for the elemental and temporal, the immanent nature of music in the late capitalist period. My process is instinctive and uneducated, it is a practice of searching rather than design, I can only bodge when confronted by sound, only inch my way towards comprehension and composition.

And what about writing? I suspect there has to be more. The failure to sit still long enough to fix more than a couple of papers for conferences (which I generally hated) and only sporadic paragraphs shared here over the last two years is indicative of my lack of trust or confidence on my own perception. This may not have passed yet, but I will wait no longer. Time to wean myself off the other boots.

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