Two years after the first Deadline Party, the niggling voice in the back of my mind started up again. “You’ve always wanted to do XYZ… So, remind me – why haven’t you done it yet?” Well, because [blah blah blah ELABORATE EXCUSE blah blah]. It’s not that I can’t. Pffft. I could if I wanted to. It’s just that I haven’t… yet. It’ll happen in its own time, though. You’ll see. You can’t force these things…
Last time thoughts like these took hold I created the Deadline Party to give me some incentive to do the XYZ – which back then was to be able to play Rachmaninov’s Prelude in D Major (which I did, btw). This time round, my XYZ was to write and record a song. I knew I could, I was just a matter of putting my mind to it. But “putting one’s mind to it” is hard when you have no time, no motivation and no purpose.
They say the only deadline you should worry about in life is death. But “they” didn’t know about my party.
A few weeks ago, I had a party. It became known as “The Deadline Party” because the night of the party itself was the deadline for which each person invited had to have completed some personal project that they’d been wanting to complete for some time, but – due to work or the general time-sapping minutiae of life – hadn’t gotten around to doing. The impetus for the party was Rachmaninov – the Russian composer with the big hands – whose Prelude in D Major I have been trying to learn and finish for the last ten years of my life but have never had the occasion or motivation to do so.
So, I decided – why not invite a bunch of friends around to my house specifically for the purpose of performing this piece? Maybe then I will actually learn it. And why not make everyone else endure the same nerve-wracking build up to the ‘deadline’ that I would inevitably experience? And so, the Deadline Party was born…
As pop culture grabs teenagers, music is becoming cooler than sport at school, writes Jodie McLeod.*
School used to be about the survival of the fittest. Where you ranked in the playground hierarchy was proportional to your speed, co-ordination and how good your legs looked in your sport shorts. But now the criterion of “cool” at school is changing. As a wider variety of opportunities are opened up to students in schools, and as the instruments of pop culture increasingly infiltrate teenagers’ lives – musical involvement (listening to it, supporting it or playing it) is becoming more a marker of greatness among peers than one’s ball skills.
This is a tough one. Everyone who’s old says, “Do it while you’re young”; but when you’re young you think – “maybe I should wait till I’m old, when I’ve actually got money to do it, and do it well?” Of course you can travel when you’re young, middle aged and old, but not often do we get the chance in life to take a large chunk of time off – I’m talking a year or two – to do so. No matter how the question manifests – whether it’s a hypothetical or a realistic choice – the question has crossed everyone’s mind at some point. So if you did have to choose – which option would you take? Let’s look at the pros and cons… Continue reading →
Fantasy is not my favourite literary genre. It was a struggle, I admit, for me to read The Hobbit, not to mention Harry Potter; and I didn’t even go near The Chronicles of Narnia. So when I heard about the next fantasy-series craze that was sinking its teeth into millions of readers around the world (of course, the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer), I was about as excited as a vampire in a vege patch. But then I began to hear whispers that they weren’t your ordinary fantasy novels, and that what had Meyer’s mostly female readership hooked wasn’t spells and sorcerers, but the sexual tension between the main characters: the fact that they resist the urge throughout the entire circa 2000-page story to have ravenous vampiric sex.
Abstinence… exciting? My interest piqued, I decided it was time – two years after the book’s release – to break my ‘fantasy’ abstinence and find out what it was that made Meyer’s writing tick, or tickle, the fancy of millions of women readers. Continue reading →