Sunday Afternoon’s

A pleasant Sunday afternoon, when not gigging or on tour, is to lay down on the lounge in the living room and, read a good book. As a rule, I read just about anything, but the Sunday read has to be one of a lighter nature; a Spike Milligan memoir, a spy thriller, A Rumple of the Bailey short story or, a who dun-nit.

If the week has been overloaded with work, meetings, people visits, gigs and ‘late nights’ then I’ll read but a few pages before I fall into the best of sleeps. I think this may have been why God invented Sunday’s… so that we could drift off into that beautiful dreamy sleep world… a realm in which the sub conscious rules supreme. These are the happiest of times and I wish more days would leave me feeling as relaxed and ‘glad to be alive’ as my Sunday arvo’s do.

Like the proverbial cat, I may sleep for just a minute, before waking briefly to the sound of a passing car, the ring of telephone, the noisy upstairs neighbor, before dozing off again, returning to my favorite town of Neverland.

I don’t need more than 15-20 minutes to find that ‘all is well in the world’ feeling and, for some time after, I carry with me a notion that I have been somewhere special.

It is in the waking from these cat naps that my eyes open to the shapes on the ceiling. My sub conscious still in charge, my child like imagination sees a world unfold above me. Were the plasterers of the 30’s aware of their handiwork? Were they leaving messages for some sleepy eyed musician in the next century to interpret? Is there something I am meant to do with all this information… write a song, tweet the president… or just relax and enjoy.

Right above me I see a lion in roaring motion. Looking into the face of the roaring lion and, very much unperturbed, I must say, is Leprechaun with a very long chin and a tall pointy hat… oh maybe he’s supposed to be Merlin, for I now see a very wobbly wand in his right hand. If I told my head to the right, the Lion looks more like a dolphin with the tail of a horse. The Leprechaun already knew that I guess… which was why he wasn’t worried about the toothy snarl of the Lion… which was really a Dolphin. I think it’s a mermaid who’s under the dolphin. Well that would make sense. But the Mermaid’s tail, if I tilt my head to the left is a bird in full flight. Oh there so much to ponder and… enjoy.

I wonder, is every ceiling a stage, on which men, woman, lions, leprechauns and dolphins are merely players?

I’ve only examined but a square foot of the ceiling when there’s a knock on the door.

My delightful sojourn into my very own Peter Pan moment is at an end.

Till next Sunday afternoon.

Take Some Chopin With Your Tea

Of course, I don’t need any convincing as to the power of music but when I read this piece on the brain in The New Yorker (the level of my bathroom reading has reached new heights of late)… I knew that I had to share  this with y’all.

It turns out, that when Dr Shewmon entered college (Harvard) he was an avowed atheist, but one morning, while listening to Chopin’s Trois Nouvelles Études No.2 in his dorm room he had an epiphany. The music had lifted him into such a state of ecstasy that he no longer thought it possible that all conscious experience, particularly one’s perception of beauty, could be (as is taught in 99.99% of medical universities around the world) a ‘mere electrophysiological epiphenomenon’. The music, you see, had transcended for him “all of the spiritual limitations of matter.”

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Shewmon would convert to Catholicism to study Aristotelian-Thomastic philosophy and, for the past 20 years or more, he has been, not just one of the world’s leading neurologists, but an annoying pebble in the shoes of all the ’sensible’ doctors and scientists in his field.

If you are in need of an epiphany yourself, may I prescribe a course of Chopin and then perhaps a long walk in the woods.