11. MIDSUMMER MIDNIGHT
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
I love Midsummer’s night. It’s magical.
I have seen midsummer in many different places over the years including Britain, parts of Europe, Africa, Australia and America.
At midnight this Midsummer night I found myself in Cornwall (UK), staring up through a small skylight window at the clearest deepest blue night sky, awash with stars. The solstices are a time of balance, and I always try to notice them and be conscious of a peaceful moment and a click into the next phase. Another cycle around the Sun!
Looking at the vast patterns of even this tiniest rectangle of Cornish sky triggered the BIG questions we all ask ourselves about time and space of course, but also it made me think about the impact of our everyday patterns, big small and tiny, that shape us.
The small circles of ‘coincidence’, chance encounters with people, places or things happen in our lives all the time, going unnoticed but happening anyway.
The interconnections are like the criss-crossing ripples caused by so many pebbles thrown into the water. We can’t judge the separate parts alone but joining the dots with hindsight often reveals surprising links. Sometimes this can be life-changing, the other times a meandering line can simply snap into a meaningful shape.
The connections can inspire, explain, direct, teach and change us, sometimes closing a circle or making sense of a situation.
A small but fascinating musical example of these interconnected, overlapping circles happened to me over the course of this midsummer week:
In Blog No. 08, I wrote about a project that I am currently involved with, which aims to reveal the prolific back-catalogue of song demos and unreleased gems written and co-written by Chris. The project, ‘The Chris White Experience’, is the brainchild of Matt and Jamie White. The first CD will be ready by the beginning of August.
Whilst gleaning details about a song called “Good For You Darlin’’, Jamie discovered that the track was recorded at Pathway Studios, North London, and that this was where Elvis Costello had recorded the album ‘My Aim Is True’ - this is one of my all time favourite albums and the first album I ever bought for myself. (I saw Elvis Costello live twice and got his autograph on a paper plate some 40 years ago! When I find it again I will put a photo up!)
Social media also figured during the week as Dean (member of The Zombies ‘O&O’ USA road crew @deandrummer) posted a picture on Instagram selling some ‘good stuff’ - one of the albums he was holding up was ‘My Aim Is True’.
Then a few days ago Chris, Matt, Jamie and I had a meeting with designer Phil Smee (designer of The Zombies box set). Turns out Phil did a lot of art design work for ... yes ... Elvis Costello!
Wow! What is it about Elvis Costello?
Pathway Studios is now a block of modern flats. We all lamented the passing of small independent recording studios, massive poster campaigns heralding new releases, various clubs and venues - (and probably our youth!) But the enthusiasm for the story of a good song still remains.
So this small cycle of seemingly unrelated events has snapped into a meaningful shape for me. It has urged me to rekindle my appreciation for the music I loved and that actually really helped me at a challenging time in my youth.
I found it both grounding and exciting to listen again to the fantastic ‘My Aim Is True’ it seemed to be reminding me that music really CAN keep you young at heart.
* As a matter of interest, Chris also recorded the original demos for Dire Straits at Pathway Studios in the mid 1970s. The studio has a notable history and is worth reading about.
So Happy Midsummer and enjoy your next constellation of random connections - you never know what pattern they may make.