Laid back

My son practices the trumpet while gazing at the ceiling. He can play three notes, C, D and E.  I don’t think an interval separates them but playing the trumpet starts with breath control and rhythm.

2014 12 07 Joseph

I read to him most nights, selecting fiction and poetry aimed a few years beyond what he might read for himself.  I have just completed Garth Nix’ fantasy series based in an alternative Britain in which a Wall and perimeter defences separate the technological South from the magical North.  Against orders from the capital, soldiers patrolling the border use cross-bows because the machine guns fail so close to the Wall, an inconvenience when facing a necromancer’s slaves.  In choosing something different to read next, it occurred to me that real boys drafted to fight real wars are pretty much the same age as the made-up characters battling in these fantasy novels.

2014 12 08  cormorants

When he was called up in 1940, Spike Milligan took his trumpet. I have started reading out to my son the first volume of Milligan’s anarchic war memoirs, recounting the daftness of war and of young men away from home for the first time.   It has dawned on me that this book is way over his head (I missed most of the implications when I first read it too)  but he seems keen for me to carry on.  Perhaps it’s because Milligan is playing jazz while the chaos carries on around him.

8 responses to “Laid back

  1. Wow! Good for you for reading over his head! My Grandmother and my Mother did that for me! You would be surprised at what he will retain and remember. He may even form different ideas from what you or the author intended, Sometimes, I think we keep too much from our young ones. What I remember, most strongly, about my two readers time spent with me, is that it began a lifelong urge to want to discover, through reading, all that I could. That there was information in books that opened new ideas for me and that I wanted to know those things. Anyone who can find music, still, while war rages on, sounds like a survivor to me. Maybe you have now piqued my interest to look for that book. See? Love the drawing of your son and trumpet.

    • Hi Leslie
      It’s good to hear common ground on this. My Dad’s lasting legacy in my mind is that i still hear Gandalf facing down the Balrog in a Glaswegian accent. I read to my oldest children and I think that has influenced them as adults. It’s such a pleasure for me too.
      The book mentioned here is “Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall” and I would not wish to mislead you into thinking this is a great literary work. Also, amid the humour, there are spots of casual racism true to the time but which now sound a dissonant note. But I just read a moving passage describing these soldiers on the South Coast seeing wave after wave of bombers pass overhead and the sky to the north turn red, with flames mounting ever higher as London burned. He then says “still, soon we’d be doing it back to them, on a scale never imagined.” He describes his outrage, whoever is doing the bombing.
      Neil

  2. I like your free way of drawing and you have inspired me to start a sketch book again. I read books to my youngest that were way over her head as a 4 or 5 year old yet I think something was retained. She is now a top student and going places I never made it to (she works harder). It distresses me, the dumbing down of our society in spite of the best access to knowledge for free on the internet – I hope it changes in time. Perhaps we are drowning in images and information. I think it was Sartre who said – more access to culture does not mean more culture, but the same amount spread more thinly.

    • Thanks John.
      I find it really uplifting that many of us, following each other’s blogs, find inspiration in what we each are doing.
      I have abandoned the Spike Milligan book for now and we have switched to Dickens’ Christmas Carol. I have never read this out before. It is fabulously poetic prose.
      Have a good Christmas or what ever you do this time of year.
      Best wishes
      Neil

  3. Pingback: Seduced | kestrelart

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