Thursday, 14 February 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice and you will Experience

This week I attended the following event at Treadwells Bookshop:

12 February (Tuesday) Supernatural Ballads Acoustic Gig with Lisa Knapp

Ghosts, kelpies, fairy folk, Mayday love and Lammas rites — the British folk music tradition is full of the eeriness of the English landscape. Come, listen and have chills run down your spine. Lisa Knapp was named MOJO 'Best Folk Album of the year' (2007) and BBC 2 Folk Award double nominee for Best Track and Horizon Award. Tonight's songs are ghostly and eerie ballads for a pagan audience, in an intimate acoustic gig specially for Treadwell's. See more on her website, and a Youtube video.


If you've never been to Treadwells before and live in London or have the opportunity to visit London - and you are not sure about going to a bookshop with pagan, occult, history, philosophy, magic, shamanism, etc - then read this survival guide.

Anyway... I must admit to not being very knowledgeable about folk music, in fact my musical knowledge is limited to "Now That's What I Call Music" 13 to 31. However, the nice chap sitting next to me was a self-labelled music geek. So before the lecture we compared notes on how music has influenced our cultures, how music was used as an aid and preparation to experience prophecy, and the work that Lisa Knapp is doing to bring back to life some very interesting folk music.

After the gig was over I was struck by two things. Well, actually three.

Firstly that it take a lot of practice, practice, practice to be very good at any art. Whether that is music, magic, drawing, or any creative actvitiy.

Secondly all the talks that I had been to Treadwells before were based around theory. It really felt as if Lisa had cast a spell over the audience. As Andrew summed it up nicely by the evening's end: "it was experience based learning". But we could only benefit from that exprience based learning after all the years of practice that Lisa put in to her art.

Thirdly and linked very closely to the two above... I was blown away by how much of herself Lisa put in to her musical performances. It was the sigh at the end of the song that gave it away. Almost as if she was filled with a special kind of magic. When the last note faded away she sighed in such a way that it was like lips parting from pa passionate kiss. Lingering, filled with longing and the promise of more bliss to come, if only as much effort and passion was injected back in.

And then it hit me like a punch in the stomach on the commute home... to be the best that I can be, to achieve my potential as a Golem Builder, I have to practice, practice, practice. It needs to consume my days, my nights, my waking moments and my dreams. The question is... am I willing to commit to such a degree? Will I stay at the level that is equivalent to jumping on a trampoline, or try to build a jet pack and learn to fly?