Singing for mental health

I went to another choir practice last night and we sang some old songs from our repetoir including ‘La Para Deiu’ (I think that’s how it’s spelt). We haven’t sung it for at least five or six years, and if you had asked me what the tune was I would not have been able to sing it. But as we started to sing it flooded back. Soon we were singing in three part harmony and I was getting goosebumps down my spine. We sounded very good, better than we used to I think, and this was with new choir members joining in. I can’t explain how it lifted my mood. People were grinning and laughing. We sang a couple of other older songs, one we hadn’t done for maybe twelve or more years, from when we moved from our old venue. I hope the choir keeps going, it truly is good for mental health, raising our spirits and exercising our memories.

Stepping out

Only a few steps today, but more than I have been doing. I will try and keep this up now. If I can do around five thousand a day, or at least regularly, then it’s got to be better for me. Only problem is that my foot is hurting today, my shoe is rubbing on the outer side of my foot and I don’t know if it’s a temporary thing or if I’ve hurt myself. We will see tomorrow.

Countour lines

Draw multiple curved lines, add shading. Voilà! You can almost make a three dimensional image. I think this looks like folds in cloth. It’s an interesting optical illusion. The shading makes it look more rounded. It’s the first one of these I’ve done for a while. I used to draw things like this digitally on my computer, but this was drawn with metallic and matt felt pens.. I think it’s quite a good abstract image.

Performance

The choir I was in performed in the play Beautiful Thing in 2018?. We all really enjoyed singing and basically backing the drama that we were immersed in. The story is about a young man and his growing relationship with his boyfriend. It is thoughtful, life affirming, and optimistic. We had to sing songs like Teen Spirit which was fun for a group of older performers. This came into my mind as I delivered my two paintings to the New Victoria Theatre this morning. There are probably thirty pieces of work on show from tonight.

Framed

I think it’s a good idea sometimes to take a different view for an image. In this case my friend sent me a photo from three years ago. I used a mirror on the wall to frame the people in the photo. He also sent me a couple of other photos I’d taken, and completely forgotten about. Those both have photos of windows where the view outside and the objects inside are framed by the window. By the way I think the mirror was framed with wooden sticks?

Funny face

When I drew a very grumpy picture of myself today I remembered how much I used to like pulling faces. Then a memory came back to me… I suddenly remembered that I won the funny face competition and my twin won the funny walk competition at a school sports-fun day one year. We won a pound and a half of full cream chocolate! I think we must have practiced a lot, but I’m not sure I knew that this was what the prize was.

It’s funny because I can remember the scene as if it was yesterday now. A group of children on the sports field and kids taking it in turn to make the others laugh. Whoever had the idea was a genius, much more fun than running races. No doubt influenced by ‘Month Pythons Flying Circus’ TV show which was on at the time. (Which I wasn’t allowed to watch because it was too ‘rude).

Close up

I have a little lens and light that used to fit over my old mobile. I took a few photos while I had the old one which I just found in my gallery, because I transferred the memory card over. I might publish a few more. Is this called macro photography or micro photography? I can’t remember. Anyway this reminds me that you don’t have to stick to one style of doing things. You can experiment and see whether you can do things a different way. Be open to new ideas…..

Dahlia

Reviewing old photos from a few years ago I came across some pictures of Dahlias. This one of a pompom Dahlia really resonated. I remembered my father used to grow them in the summer when I was a child. He had a whole patch of them, this shape and more shaggy ones. I remember I could see spirals in them. They were all different reds and oranges, whites and magenta and yellows. Striking against the green leaves and stems. They were in a small back garden and next to a pile of soil where we children would play ‘I’m the king of the castle get down you dirty rascak’ not sure how that worked except we competed to be at the top of the pile of soil…. Memories are random and come back infrequently. I just remember the Dahlias and sunshine.

Five years!

Five years? Where did they go? How have I changed and what am I doing differently.

The trouble is remembering everything. It’s half a decade after all. Along the way I’ve made friends here, and also lost a few. Like ghosts they just disappeared from WordPress. People I enjoyed reading most days just stopped, but without resolution or explanation in most cases. Even the ones I found elsewhere then disappeared again off the new platforms.

The trouble is trying to keep things fresh, trying to discuss different ideas. I used to write little short stories sometimes, spooky little tales that had a twist in the tail, but I don’t know if they were any good. I’m still writing short poems some humerous, some more serious. And I try and write about my artistic endeavours, whether that’s about painting or illustration. I hope they are not too boring. It’s been a bad few months and I know I haven’t been as upbeat as I could be. We will see what comes in the future but I hope I can keep going without getting too boring or inconsistent. Thank you for following me! ❤️

Ghost stories….

I couldn’t sleep last night and watched a few short adaptations of some M. R. James ghost stories, including one called the Mezzotint. The writer who adapted them is called Mike Gatiss and is well known for his involvement in the Sherlock series of detective mystery TV shows and other clever stories.

I realised that A Christmas Carol is a ghost story! Sounds strange but I think of it as a Christmas story and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside rather than the slight weirded out shudder I get from ghost stories at this time of year. But then I prefer a taut, spooky, tension building story any day to a horror film, all lumbering zombies and nightmarish vampires. The ones where people Always run upstairs towards the danger instead of out the front door and to the safety of the police station (I mean a British police station, no guns, no odd sheriff who arrests you instead of looking for the real culprit, no hidden secret). No I prefer the subtle horror of a tap that continues to drip even after the lead piping connecting it to the mains water has been severed by a hacksaw… Or the gradual encroachment of a garden full of roses with sharp thorns and a deadly scent that can envelope an unwary new tenant attempting to cut back the thorny undergrowth.

And why do they put on these spooky little horrors at this time of year? Is it the lengthening hours of dark, dank, cold, mist and fog? The snow falling so that tracks can be left but then fade before an investigation can find them in the morning? Subtle screams muffled by an unseasonably rising tide? Its like a box of dark chocolates, with Evil centres.

I am quite particular in what I prefer. No evil dead films. More sneaking spooks, less fangs, more clues.