For the first morning since I've been here, the sky is grey & overcast. Hernan has discovered effluvia rising outside our windows which he believes is the source of the horrible smell from the bathrooms. Someone local is on the way to deal with this.
The morning sitting was noticeably quieter & more settled.
Hooray! Hooray! Now at an end: 14 horrible sets of hands over nearly 3 hours, plus one trio with a good question (on the nature of improvisation).
This is the darkest day for me on any Level One: addressing the right hand. Guitar Craft is the only approach I know which aims to establish a centre of gravity for the right (picking) hand. Instruments of the academy & conservatory have well known playing methods; obviously, the violin & piano as examples. Even the classical guitar. But with the wire-strung plectrum guitar it's as if each player invents their own approach. So, beginners have no orthodox, traditional or conventionally agreed way of learning the instrument.
Several performances at lunchtime. What a joy this is. Also, comments were invited from the Level One: "Did anyone notice anything this morning?". In response: long stories of associational thinking, generalisations, rationalisations, conclusions, cosmologies of wonderment. But no observation from a point of noticing.
Hernan mentioned, over our lentil brew, that his wife Bettina is following this diary of the course. This is the first time that a course diary has been posted as the course unfolds. I know there will be repercussions from this, and I don't know what they'll be. My sense is that the GC community at large will be accessing the energy of the course, and most likely contributing to it. That is, this diary is facilitating a two-way contact at a distance within the GC community.
Five more personal meetings with The Level One, all without guitars, at 15.00. Then at 17.00 an introduction to The Practice Of Doing Nothing.
There has been a digging outside Fernando's window. Fernie came to tell me of this attempt to remove the pongerama by clearing the drains. "He's digging up something that looks like mud", said Fernando. "Right - 'mud'", we agreed. We looked at the local gentleman digging away in this "mud" of particularity and said hello.
LG: "Ah! English".
RF: "But the smell is an international language".
We all agreed on this without difficulty.
Hooray! The Little Horse has just called from London to say goodnight. Apparently, there's a cold snap fallen on the the UK. This is part of the strange changes in English weather conditions in the past 7 years or so. The winters have warmed up, and as the buds & blossoms emerge in February, 1-2 months early, they get killed off by a sudden cold. Toyah tells me that young lambs are dying in the cold.
Several performances at dinner time.
"Hard Times" by a sextet Gauchos. Twice as loud & three times as ugly. "Hard Times" was a staple of 1990 League of Crafty Guitarists' tours.
Mr. He-Has-More-Hair-On-His-Face-Than-He-Has-On-His-Head directed an ensemble bearing the name "El Corno Del Fanyulo". Courses at which he appears generally feature an appearance by an ensemble of this name & following his directions. For English readers, the name is translated "A Horn Up Your Ass". If anyone recalls the discussion on naming, in my view this group is well named. Mr. HHMHOHFTHHOHH is currently composing & directing on aleatoric principles, he tells me. I believe him. The Horn's performances are well humoured, entertaining & carry intention.
A group including Maria Gabriella Epumer played "Heptaparaparshinokh", from the repertoire of The League of Gentlemen (1980). They performed this at lunchtime, but with a slight & unintentional rewrite which added immensely to its appeal for me. At dinnertime they returned to its original conception, which was also lots of fun.
The Big Time Trio have also been performing at lunch, tea & dinner times; plus various ensembles, some with history together, others ad hoc. At teatime they became The Teatime Trio and played "If I Fell".
We came through The Great Divide yesterday evening: too far from the beginning to go back, too far from the end to go forward. Now, we are close enough to the end to move forward, but with a difference: something has changed in the energy of this course.
The Kitchen Team met at 20.30 to present comments & observations on the course, and were joined at 21.00 by the Level One for a full House Meeting. We are now taking a 5 minute fresh air break.
The House Meeting has just ended. The Level One have been presented with the challenge of making a performance for the house tomorrow at 21.00. Small groups arising naturally within the team, and from personal choice, are to be joined by groups formed by the operation of The Hat.
The GC Hat from Grossderschau is presently with Frank Sheldon in Seattle, so a visualised hat took its place. Names of the students written on pieces of paper were pulled from The Hat & placed in combinations. There is 1 soloist, 2 duos, 1 trio, 1 quartet, 1 quintet & 1 sextet. These various formations have until 06.00 in the morning, and all of tomorrow daytime, to compose & prepare for the performance.
Several comments during the large meeting commented on experiencing a change in the course's energy today. Several centred on The Teatime Trio's performance of "If I Fell" which somehow exemplified / marked / brought about a transition. My own sense was that the performance was "real", but what do I understand by that? One observation: the musicians didn't get in the way of the music. No "self-expression".The music was simply there, being played: clean, available, direct.
Fernie reported an addendum to the story of the gentlemen digging in the "mud" of a certain pungency outside Fernie's window. After the comment "the smell is an international language", the specialist in "mud" removal continued talking with Fernando. Digging in the effluvium, he said: "I see you have been eating little cakes". I suggested Fernie should have said: "Yes. Would you like one? Take it with you or leave it here".
As the meeting dispersed, guitarists discovering the new groups chosen by The Hat, Martin & Fernando & I had a conversation regarding longer courses. This feels needed now. But perhaps more on this later.
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