Nothing Like A Coffee And Some Time

I’m sitting on a lovely, ever-so-slightly battered brown sofa in my favourite bar (Cafe Cyrano) in Almería, my recently adopted ‘big city’, listening to my new favourite album (‘Hey Mr Ferryman’ by Mark Eitzel) with a cortado coffee and an orange juice.

Lovely & slightly battered old sofa

I’ve just put my car in for a service. Not a big deal for most people, but not having owned a car until recently, it feels like a strangely grown up thing to be doing. I dropped the car off at 9.30am and am told it will be 3 hours, so I’ve popped into the city to mooch around and am really enjoying it as it’s not something I can really do in the village where I now live.

I’ve been walking around for a while enjoying the buzzy morning atmosphere of a working day here. As with many cities, there are lots of ‘things to do’ here, some of which I’ve done and others that I will do, but as is often the case, I find myself doing a similar thing ie ‘not very much’ to some people.

But the joy I get from simply sitting in a bar with a coffee, listening to music on headphones, writing, reading and reflecting on nothing in particular is immeasurable.

Some people these days might call this being mindful. I don’t know why doing this works for me and maybe it’s best I don’t know, so in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the positive and calming energy it gives me.

Hope you’re having a good day too…

World Of Dust

Other than writing blog posts, hanging out in Spanish cafes and my new dog, my primary passion in life has been making music. For many years, writing songs on my old acoustic guitar and in the last few years, I’ve also been using my laptop. My latest project is called Pearl Viper and the mOnk and in January, we released our first EP ‘Immortal’.

Like all Pearl Viper and the mOnk tracks, ‘World Of Dust’ came about after listening to one of teapotmOnk’s ‘Empty Your Cup’ podcasts. In this post is new artwork for the song based on a photo taken round the corner from our studio. What do you think?

We will also be posting each new title on our Facebook page (with accompanying artwork) each week when we are not also working on our new video for the first song from the EP ‘Right Now’ at Viper Studios.

As someone with an interest in Eastern philosophies and taoism in particular, I’ve always liked the idea that we are merely dust in the wind. We are born, we live our lives and we die. The much more important world does its thing around us while it gives us temporary permission to take up some space, live and make our own contribution to the world.

TeapotmOnk says:
“Dust is everything that holds back that drop of pure spirit within each of us from riding a boundless wave of energy, from wandering between crossing paths, from delighting in spontaneity and moon light and laughing to the rhythm of music in the wind.”

I wanted the sound of ‘World Of Dust’ to be quite primeval, hence the heavy percussion throughout the track. It was also a nod to Burundi drumming and my childhood heroes, the very drum-friendly Kings of the Wild Frontier period Adam and the Ants.

You could even say that Pearl Viper and the mOnk literally have our own world of dust not far from Viper Studios in the desert of Almeria in the south of Spain. However, it’s the awareness of the metaphorical dust which helps us to live better lives, isn’t it?

Jason (Pearl Viper) & Paul (teapotmOnk)

‘World Of Dust’ is the second song on the new ‘Now’ EP of Taoist-inspired songs by Pearl Viper and the mOnk which will be on Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and all online download/streaming outlets in May 2016.

In case you haven’t seen or heard any of the songs on the ‘Immortal’ EP which came out in January, you can do just that via the links on the Pearl Viper Facebook page.

Right Now

Other than writing blog posts, hanging out in Spanish cafes and my new dog, my primary passion in life has been making music. For many years, writing songs on my old acoustic guitar and in the last few years, I’ve also been using my laptop. My latest project is called Pearl Viper and the mOnk and in January, we released our first EP ‘Immortal’.

In May 2016, we will be releasing the ‘Now’ EP, the 2nd in our series of 3 EPs of taoist inspired music that we will be releasing this year.

However, what’s that got to do with the Away From The Noise blog?

Well, as I’m writing this, it’s a beautiful day and I’m lucky enough to be sitting outside in the sunshine with the 21st Century tai-chi teaching teapotmOnk at my local bar having a morning coffee. You may not think that having a coffee somewhere nice is particularly special, but I would disagree as what we’re also doing is really enjoying the moment.

Right now.

Which ever so subtly just happens to be the title of the first song on the new ‘Now’ EP of Taoist-inspired songs by Pearl Viper and the mOnk which will be on Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and all online download/streaming outlets in May 2016.

Happiness is for us to enjoy now. It’s in the moment. It took me a long time to see that. From whatever has happened in the past – ten years ago, last month or even yesterday – which have all been and gone – to whatever will happen after tomorrow – which hasn’t happened yet – all of that is what it was and what it will be.

You see it naturally in children and animals who get lost in the moment. Yes, as adults, we have to go to work after the weekend, but that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s all take a moment to enjoy the moment. Now.

What do you think of the ‘Right Now’ sleeve artwork?

‘Right Now’ is the first of the 4 titles on the EP that we will be posting (with accompanying artwork) each week when we are not also working on our new video for ‘Right Now’ at our new studio in the desert of Almería in southern Spain.

In case you haven’t seen or heard any of the songs on the ‘Immortal’ EP which came out in January, you can do just that on the Pearl Viper & the mOnk Facebook page.

In the meantime, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and whoever you’re with, I hope you’re enjoying your own moment right now.

Jason (Pearl Viper/Away From The Noise) and Paul Read (teapotmOnk)

Blue Swans

Rip It Up And Start Again

When digital music first came about a few years ago, I loved the idea of having access to pretty much any music I wanted and these days, whether it’s downloading or streaming, there are even more opportunities to have no physical music and own more music ‘that you can’t touch’ and I find a strange joy in having the space that not having countless CDs creates.

I don’t necessarily need the space for anything else as I just find it calming enjoying a space filled with emptiness.

And this doesn’t only apply to CDs, but to many other things including clothes I haven’t worn for a long time, books and DVDs for example. However, one of the most challenging but ultimately rewarding things I find to ‘throw away’ are song lyrics. I’ve been writing lyrics and songs since I was a child and over the years, there have been hundreds of pages of words, dreams, ideas, notes and finished lyrics which never saw the light of day because if I haven’t used them after a certain period of time, I throw them away or these days, delete them.

Little-Richard-Performs-A-007

Little Richard ripping it up…

In fact in the past, I used to take great pleasure in physically ripping up these pieces of paper as it felt that although I had invested a lot of time and creative energy in writing the words in the first place, the process of ripping them up seemed appropriately ritualistic and I felt that the new ‘space’ I was creating would enable me to be even more creative in the future. Of course, I’ll never know if at some point I ripped up the best song ever written, but I do feel that this ‘ritual’ encouraged and perhaps even forced me to be more creative over the years.

Though it can be a scary prospect if you don’t feel confident enough in your future ability to create, destroying ‘old’ ideas can be creative in itself that you are making space for even more creativity. Another truth is that I enjoy a good old purge periodically as each time, it makes me feel ‘lighter’ and gives me a sense of freedom and energy to deal with the present and whatever the future holds, creatively or otherwise.

There’s a wonderful strength in the space between the things in life which is quietly powerful.

And of course with a new year having just begun, it’s the perfect time to rip it up and start again, don’t you think?

Here’s a fantastic song by Orange Juice.

 

Want To Be Immortal?

For those following this blog, you will know I’m quite a big music fan, but you may not know that I have also been writing and recording songs for many years. I’ve released 3 albums in the past few years with the last album ‘Departures’ by Blue Angel being released 2 years ago and have been working on a number of songs over the past few months.

This track ‘To Become An Immortal’ samples anarchist, tai chi guru, author and friend, the teapotmOnk Paul Read talking about Lao Tzu and Taoism. Hope you like it!

 

 

In addition to writing about inspiring positive simplicity, Away From The Noise is also the name of one of my music projects. Previous projec​ts/ban​ds and albums are:

Blue Angel ‘Depar​tures’ (2013) / Blue Angel Facebook

Blame Jack (2009)

Calmer ‘Melt’ (2001)

 

More Good Times…

Sometimes things don’t go well and yet other times they do. Whatever is happening in the world, sometimes it’s good to just  step outside yourself and have a good time for a while.

Jack Nicholson once said ‘My motto is – more good times’

I agree with Jack. You don’t have to sing or dance, so don’t worry if that’s not your thing. Just do something you enjoy. For you. For nobody else. Put the video below on in the background (‘Good Times’ by Chic) and do your thing whatever that may be. And enjoy it. I defy you not to smile and have more good times!

And for those of you reading this who may be thinking – ‘I can’t do that because that would be selfish’ – I would imagine you don’t do things for yourself very often, so I would recommend doing this to you even more. Put aside any negative feelings. Focus on you for once. Go on. You know you want to. Enjoy your own good times.

There’s no other reason for this post today than it’s a sunny day, it’s Sunday and I love this song. Once I’ve scheduled this post, I’m going to go for a walk in the sunshine. That’s my thing. I hope you enjoy doing your thing too…

Chic ‘Good Times’ (Soul Train USA)

WordPress Daily Prompt

Can What’s Missing Be Your Strength?

I have been a fan of Q (English music magazine) for many years and in the latest issue, I was reading an interview with a new band called Royal Blood. Now I’m not really a rock fan but every now and again a band comes through that I really like and Royal Blood are currently and pleasantly deafening me with their debut album. But why am I talking about this band and what has the header image of a vegetarian dish got to do with this post?

Well, when I used to visit Brighton in the past, I occasionally visited a restaurant called Terre A Terre, a rather good vegetarian restaurant in the city. In the Q magazine interview with Mike Kerr, the singer/bassist with Royal Blood, mentioned that he used to work as a chef in Terre A Terre and while there he was struck by how inventive they had been with the ingredients available to them, especially when they had a supposedly necessary ingredient to many i.e. meat taken out of the equation as it had forced them to be more creative with what they had.

Royal Blood

At that time, Matt was also putting together a new band and after being inspired by his experience at Terre A Terre in creating more interesting things with ‘less’, he realised that instead of having a traditional line-up, he decided that the band would just be his mate Ben playing drums and himself playing bass and singing. He may have made the right decision as last year Royal Blood sold out shows in Europe and the US, are now friends with rock stars including Muse and Jimmy Page (from Led Zeppelin) and were one of the most successful bands in the UK in 2014.

We don’t need to do what others have done. What many see as ‘something missing’ can in fact be a strength if we choose to see it that way. A restaurant doesn’t need meat to be successful and Royal Blood don’t need a traditional rock band line-up with a guitarist. So, my question to you is:

‘do you have something ‘missing’ in your life that is or could be your strength’?

Watch Royal Blood video for ‘Figure It Out’…