Sunday, 23 November 2008

Jazz and the Blue feeling



Few of the people I know are really into Jazz, besides which everyone was off elsewhere this weekend, so thought I'd head out to the Jazz Café here in Newcastle by myself regardless.

Excellent night out. Despite the inclement weather and partially resultant small number of people present, this small venue has a great yesteryear charm. Its all slightly run-down, which really just adds to the character of the place. Too many places are being turned into drab modernist clinical environments, particularly when it comes to the seeming mercurial rise of chain store style pubs and clubs. Places with an authentic sense of history are slowly dying out.

This is probably an overly cynical view, since no doubt plenty of new places are cropping up to create their own bit of history anew. But still. The critical thing is that the venue has to be run for the love of what it offers, rather than just seeing it as a one dimensional commercial opportunity where everything is ultimately considered purely in terms of profit streams.

Well the Jazz Café is clearly a labour of love under the helm of its idiosyncratic and charismatic owner (pictured above).

Even given weather considerations, it was a surprise to see such a small turn out. Does no one in the North East like Jazz? Pretty bizarre. Since for £4 entry you get yourself several hours of live entertainment. And the trio last night were undoubtedly highly accomplished. It was a set of traditional lounge jazz, delivered with confidence and feeling. I seem to have a refined talent for always locating places which are mysteriously quiet - I say mysterious because they are often places that are not normally particularly quiet. Maybe I have some misanthropic radar.

I love Blues, and bluesy Jazz or Jazz Blues, whatever you wish to call it. We live in a society where it is almost unacceptable to be melancholic. Maybe its a Northern thing; put a brave face on it, laugh it off, act all Alpha, whatever. But as Aristotle observed, tragedy has much more depth than comedy. And you feel a deepening of your sense of being when you sit and let the music seep into you. Sink into your soul, if that doesn't sound so clichéd. Melancholy is beautiful. Melancholy is profoundly life affirming.

Perhaps we merely connect most with what we associate most intimately with.

So life is ambiguous. The one certainty you can be assured of is the lack of certainty. This is the primary discrepancy between real life and all fictionalised accounts of life; life is always far more indistinct, more uncertain, and always less clear cut. You go out and you hope to connect with someone. Life is disappointing in respect to the type of meaningful moments that populate virtually all "deep" films. Those moments are rare, elusive. One wanders around in the cinema of one's own mind.

I think the primary benefit of getting older is that it almost seems that in direct proportion to your age, your sense of feeling deepens; as the catalogue of Experience grows, so you find yourself more readily able to connect with specific emotional states. Your sense of intuition deepens. Your spiritual depth increases. Everything, slowly but surely, carries more gravity.

Conversely, this can be a burden, hence it is a double-edged sword; but if age is the boat with which to sail into the inexhaustible reservoir of intuition, it is a burden worth bearing. For who knows just how deep those waters are except the explorer cast upon them? You can only understand in direct proportion to the level of experiential awareness you have developed. In Kantian terminology (for on most important matters, Kant said much that bears consideration) only objects of possible experience are objects for you at all; else they are mere thought entities. Whilst I use this in a slightly different context, the basic principle applies.

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