Minimal minimalism

I’m clearing out my house in preparation for the big move. As it happens, I’ve also been reading about minimalism. Surprisingly for someone who hoards books and hankers after new gear, I’ve found minimalism appealing. It’s a good counterbalance to consumerism as it invites us to question what we really value and what we can live without.

I can live without a redundant laptop and an old PC I built to study (and play games) on; a huge second hand bass cabinet; a broken bass guitar; a budget mountain bike with dodgy gears;  a fine collection of cables and phone chargers; a year and a half’s worth of New Scientist magazine; a few too big shirts and pairs of jeans that I never wear; a handful of books; a stack of notes on poems. Hmm, not that much as it turns out. There weren’t many difficult choices here. Maybe I’ll be braver on the second pass.

Where I think the minimalist mindset will come into its own is in forcing me to doubt future purchases. Yes, I couldn’t throw away my years old Nintendo GameCube and the games I played with friends until the wee small hours. I’m a bad minimalist… but while I’m still attached to that old machine, why would I need the latest PlayStation?

I have a box full of guitar pedals and analogue gear. Most of these haven’t been used since I was in a smoky rehearsal room or playing gigs in Birmingham. No doubt I could emulate these sounds digitally and save myself some space. Somehow, fiddling with ASIO drivers isn’t quite as cathartic as a stompbox. My attachment to this gear offers some artistic limitations. I could upgrade to the latest tech but would that still be my own aesthetic?

A lot of this stuff was bought at a time when I thought all income was disposable income. Especially the books. A couple of nights ago I was browsing gratuitous pictures of bookshelves, thinking about ideas for a new home when we find one (books are counted as one category of things and this category is allowed to be unreasonably large). I realised that I was lucky enough to neither want much more than I have, nor want much less. There wasn’t a new ideal to strive for, be it consumerist or minimalist. The junk on the shelves was my junk and that meant it was purely up to me what stayed or went.

Priorities/distractions

Of the two stories mentioned in my last update, I’ve been drawn to writing the folk tale. The quest narrative and father/son theme is especially relevant right now. Next step: summarise all of my notes into a one or two page overview.

However, I’m already getting sidetracked by the temptation of new musical projects. One idea is a kind of ambient & field recording affair. The other would be single instrument compositions and improvisations. I want to travel in more minimalistic, spontaneous directions and this would have the added appeal of cutting down on the labour-intensive processes of programming and mixing. Having said that, I should probably eliminate the labour of mixing entirely by focusing solely on writing.

Andy of Grande Valise asked if Uffmoor Woods Music Club would be on hold while I work on the novel. The answer is yes but there is another Uffmoor EP in the pipeline. Romances of the Djinn will be available as soon as the cover art and some final mixing is done. Then I’ll take a break until the time is right to record a new album.