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  • Writer's pictureTom Sykes

May 2023 Newsletter

"Pull myself up, dust myself down."

Newsletter May 2023

I'm on the move

No, I'm not leaving Berwick, but I will have another song ready to release towards the end of this month called 'On The Move'. I'll start with a bit of background on that song, and see where my musings take me from there.

On The Move was originally a lock-down creation. I remember writing the song as I grappled with my discomfort around enforced confinement. Like so many others, I found it tough, having all of a sudden to restrict my natural movement. We have two cats living with us and they will communicate, clear as day, that they do not like having their natural movement restricted by us for any reason. Top among the reasons would be being put in a cage for a trip to the vet. This is for their own good, we tell them, but they usually take issue with that.

If the initial spark for the song had an animal-in-cage vibe, I was also able to tap into some deeper thoughts and feelings about getting stuck and what it can take to get unstuck energetically and back on the move. I see episodic stuckness as a common human predicament, and certainly I've known my own cycles of feeling immobilised for a time, before finding my way forward again. I find it striking how often music can come to the rescue in such situations, providing a catalyst for energetic change and positive forward movement. It can feel weirdly magical; a particular bundle of notes and rhythms, really just a cluster of sound waves travelling through the air and giving my ear drum a tickle, time and again making all the difference to help me find an escape route out of immobility.

That's the power of music in a human life. It's certainly not true in a cat life. My cats would much prefer I didn't play music, as they tell me with irritable ear twitching or by just leaving the room; or one time in desperation jumping on my wife MM's back as she was experimenting with an unusual medieval stringed instrument with quite a piercing tone - stop, please just stop, miaowed the cat. But for us humans, music is an art form which more than any other helps us apprehend the divine, and can change our state from inertia to vital movement.

I am grateful for the countless times someone else's musical creation has intervened in my life, in small ways and big, to swing my boat around, going one direction one moment, or perhaps no direction at all, and then a musical spell is cast and fresh life, fresh movement comes into being. I'd like that to be my offering too, with my music. I know full well some will respond as my cats do, but I have every reason to hope that others will be 'moved' in a life-positive way. And all because various combinations of rhythm, melody and harmony popped into my brain and then out again via some recording equipment. It seems quite magical to me - certainly mysterious.

Spring leaves

A word for stillness

Opposites can, and often do live together just fine. Having mentioned my struggle with movement restriction during lockdown, I can also remember my active appreciation of the stillness of that time. Two apparent opposites, co-existing. There's a time for this, that and the other, as Ecclesiastes says, and often in quick succession.

My lyrics in 'On The Move' paint a picture of struggle and stumbling to the ground, but then I pull myself up, dust myself down, and get on the move. I should do another song about this, but what I want to say here is that there is a time and a place for staying down on the ground, when forward movement isn't possible, and wouldn't even be a good thing. Sometimes the best and kindest thing is to stay low and stay still. Here too, music can be a magical companion, bringing restoration and solace. Probably not my song 'On The Move', which would likely just be irritating at such times. I'll have do another one for that.


Listen out

Keep an eye out for the next Dialogic release in May, 'On the Move', date to follow.

And it also looks like I'll have a couple of chances to play out live, locally in a small-scale way this month, so I'll put the word out on social media when that's confirmed. It would be nice to cross paths with you out and about.

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