McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Friday, January 15, 2010

Old Time music and surviving the end of the world

I read nearly a hundred blogs a day. I can do this because I have endless time to do so being unemployed. There are a lot of people who are preparing for the end of civilization right now. Personally, I am not quite THAT pessimistic...yet. However, I was thinking. What would you do if you were looking at some kind of serious disruption to our civil order and how would your instruments and materials fit into the equation? After all, there are two recent tragic events to illustrate just how realistic some kind of event can be. Katrina and Haiti. Earthquakes and Hurricanes and Tsunami's and Tornados are real and happen pretty often. If you were hit by a huge F-5 scale tornado in say, Kansas City, what would you do with your instruments? How many could you save if you had to leave for a shelter? What would you do with all those CD's Videos, DVD's Tab books and such? If they blew away the answer is already at hand. If not then what? Katrina showed that a lot of very valuable instruments were lost forever. They just could not be saved. Some of you have some pretty valuable vintage instuments out there. 1937 D-18 Martins, 1935 D-28's and old Gibson Mandolins and banjers and fine old fiddles of inestimatible value.
I don't have an answer to any of this. What is happening in Haiti is horrible. Yet it will happen again and again in other places and even there in Haiti again. This is life on earth. Storms, tectonic plates, asteroids, Divine wrath all loom in our future and will affect our music.

The good thing is, we don't need (or want) amplifiers, circuit board mixers, effects pedals, huge speakers, nay, no speakers at all, to make the music we play.

If anyone is playing much music after a disaster it will be us. Old fiddle tunes from the hardscrabble past would fit right in the context of recovery. It could help you and I restore our sense of self and our orientation to sanity.

It all points to the utter transient nature of our existence and this life on earth. Nothing, absolutely nothing is permanant when it comes to this life. We come from clay and will return to clay.

So, even if you think this meditation is silly I hope you will at least ponder about your impermanence and what is truly important. While doing so pick up your instruments and keep playing. Go out with a song. The storms and depressions and politicians can take nearly everything away but they can't take our songs.

Except for those times in the Cuban Missle Crisis in the sixties, I can't remember another time that our civilization seemed more uncertain and unstable than right now. I will admit I a quite frightened by what I am reading about our future.
I don't mean to refer to this much at all here as the music is the story I want to talk about here.

I am just throwing out some considerations for you here. Maybe you should be stocking up on spare strings? Do you have a spare bow? How about picks? What if your tuner battery runs out? Do you have a replacement?

I don't think anything like an end of the world as we know it TEOTWAWKI is in any danger of happening in our lifetime. I do see the very real and increasing possiblility of some severely hard times and some disruptions unlike anything we can remember in our lifetimes. I do think we will get through this and recover in time.
Keep in mind that there is an amazing resilience with civilization and organized societies. We will survive and in time even thrive again. This too will pass.

If you have your instruments, then it's as cheap as it gets to play them. You can always boil your strings and resuse them. It's not perfect but it does get more mileage out of them.


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