Pulling into the Visitors Centre (not appreciating that post Labour day the opening hours change) it was getting late but despite having to wait while the person in front of me was sworn in as some kind of Ranger I managed to ascertain if we were quick pitches might be available.
After a bit of confusion we worked out that a number of slots were indeed free & nestled Martha into one. Realistically we knew that climbing to the top of the dunes was probably not sensible as during the day it would be too hot & we didn’t know the area well enough for long distance night hiking especially given the mountain lion warnings.
Taking a short exploratory walk around we headed back for supper & a beer where upon the notion of watching the sunset from one of the lower dunes struck us. Flinging the flute in the back pack we set off across the dry river bed & headed for the smaller mounds of sand.
The sunset was indeed beautiful which was probably more than could be said for my flute playing but we had a laugh given how windy it was & we only had phones to record the noise I was making on. Concluding ‘westernised’ music was not conducive to the surroundings trying to play the examples of native songs in the dark with no idea what they should sound like was more than challenging.
Like many ancient cultures the music originally would not have been written down & I have come to understand ‘playing the scenery’ was an accepted way of composing tunes. That is my excuse & I’m sticking to it! Later sharing this tale with my guitar teacher we concluded that this was a sound concept could be of use in any musical composition.
Heading back in the dark we picked our way carefully & amazingly found the track back using only our wits & natural moonlight. It truly was a magical place for as we traversed we were treated to calls of wild coyote that clearly were roaming in the mountains beyond the dunes not to mention other wild life that joined us at breakfast time the next day.
Pricey though the fuel here had been filling up lessened the risk of running out & meant we could get a head start in the morning.
Age it seems creeps upon you. One morning take look in the mirror & ‘boom’ the saggy wrinkly face peering back at you is non other than yourself. Especially scary when you feel your chronological age is not instep with the one in your mind.
This together with the heap of stereotypical abuse that society then feels it can slather you in makes it all to put your hands up, sit meekly back in the bath chair that someone has surreptitiously shoved at the back of your knees & give up completely. Resist this at all costs my friends & by what ever means open to you!
What then if you don’t want to conform to this? Well then the minute you venture to put your head above the parapet you risk not becoming the curiosity of youth but deluged in the jeers of your peers. Sarcastic remarks about being some sort of groupie from contemporaries I found particularly distasteful. Is it my fault that my musical taste is not become frozen in aspic like a few I know? I still love music from the past & often the memories those tunes evoke but no where I have I read in the small print does it say you can’t make new ones too.
Given the fact that I am probably old enough (in some but not all cases) to be the mum of some of the musicians I now follow. However I have no particular desire to meet them in person I merely appreciate the music they produce. The exception to this is possibly the connection with Danny mainly because approached me initially for post gig feedback. This triggered a sequence of events that led to my song being written & therefore the only artist I would sign up for any sort of post gig ‘meet & greet’ stuff. So why do others feel it ok to make snide comments which instantly make you doubt the validity of what you are doing & that it is somehow wrong or sleazy in some way. It annoys me intensely & I wish they would keep their nasty opinions & smirks to themselves.
Having loved rock music ever since a teenager & for a few years when the kids were young entered a musical wilderness when opportunities for listening were limited. The advent of streaming has reopened a new opportunity to find and listen to new music in the same genre. Time, opportunity & money as a young person precluded me going to live gigs of the music I most loved so why is it now viewed so weirdly that I wish to redress this while I can.
Refreshingly though working & socialising with younger people at music festivals this year some of these misconceptions were parked. Me knowing all the words to the songs was probably less shocking than the fact that I (unlike some of them) could still touch my toes & stay up past 9pm without falling asleep.
Indeed one woeful looking young chap clearly assumed he was ‘stuck for an 8 hour shift with two boring old biddies’ underwent a bit of a reformation. Probably because by the end of it he had discovered we were both infinitely more widely travelled than him, could hold a conversation about coding & knew a few self defence moves. Talk about taking a metaphorical wrecking ball to someones preconcieved ‘model of what older women’ were like. I bumped into him at another festival & was greeted like a long lost buddy – so I’m optimistic that these barriers can be brought down.
I think its important to stress at this point I by no means wish to ‘be young again’ I am more comfortable in my own if somewhat baggy skin that I have ever been. It’s great to have found the inner confidence to start to please myself and not be tying myself up in knots of worry about what others think which has manifested itself in a tattoo. Thinking back to years of overthinking & anxiety about stuff that looking back really wasn’t worth it – I now look to the visual art as a permanent reminder.
Starting the blog was initially to record some of my travels but as time as gone on I think it will be more of means of expressing how I feel about things at this stage of my life. A link on Twitter today encouraged the need to find a personal ‘strap line’ that would help define your raison d’etre – simples mine is ‘feeling crazy let’s not waste it’. Ironically penned by a young man it encapsulates how I am approaching life at the moment.
I joked about being an ‘honorary millennial’ when travelling with my daughter but curiously this notion has persisted. I am currently part of a couple of musical chat groups where I felt judging by the comments I was considerably older than the others. This did give me cause for concern & I asked them how they felt about this because I wasn’t sure if it was ok. Both groups said it was ok and indeed one of them changed my knick name to ‘rock mum’ & were fascinated by the fact that I had been around at time punk rock had been born! It means that we have quite interesting dialogue about music & give each other advice on an odd assortment of things.
Communicating & working with those of different age to yourself enables both to recognise and value the skills & knowledge that others have to offer. Nothing earns you more respect when you charmingly blag your way past the security man at a festival assisting the group on their quest to visit the silent disco when others were being turned away. I swear some were taking notes!! This was later traded for some insider information on the more baffling aspects of social media speak that had long puzzled me and has helped prevent me from making a number of gaffs.
So for now I’m going to resist any attempt to sit me in a bath chair by chanting my self affirming mantra & playing my music very loudly.