Musical Interludes

Doing a PhD is intellectually stimulating and at times can (believe it or not) even be fun. To be frank though, it sometimes feels mechanical and repetitive reading and writing around the same topic. You pick up another book to incorporate into your lit review only to find that inspiration deserts you; your mind disengages, and your eyes feel the strain of constantly surveying Word documents and websites. It’s then that you know you’ve earned a break. Actually, having ways to get out of the “PhD mindset” is conducive to better writing, greater confidence, and genuine progress. But sometimes you simply need to be free from the restrictions of academic thought-styles; and regardless of benefits to your research process, it’s always important to keep your creativity and your imagination alive!

As a teenager, I always loved playing my modest but impressive Yamaha acoustic guitar. I never managed to get particularly good at it. Rather than any real talent, it was enthusiasm and an excellent music collection that fuelled my efforts. I’d put on a record or a CD, try to figure out the chords, sing along with the lyrics, and drift away with my humble little version of rock n roll. Skill didn’t matter, it was fun…a chance to connect with something far richer than the then-routine rhythms of schooldays and the suburbs. I guess this probably sounds familiar to a lot of people! It’s probably the way most people start. Even Eric Clapton was a “bedroom strummer” once, right? So why did I give up playing? Living with a succession of scarily talented guitarists made me feel too shy to carry on in any vaguely public way, and starting University provided a million new distractions. I ended up selling most of my records too when money was tight. 😦

My first and current and lovely guitar

Now has suddenly emerged as a perfect time to get some confidence back and start playing again. I’m hanging out with a couple of good friends in a yet-to-be-named band; still with the same guitar and still with more enthusiasm than songs. We’re all really excited about playing together and mixed (even eclectic) musical tastes and abilities keeps things interesting and dynamic. We’ve been getting pretty good at our rockier version of Bang Bang – Cher initially performed this track but myself and Ana (joint guitar + vocals) like the Nancy Sinatra version and Gözde (on bass) is a fan of Paul Weller’s. We might recruit a drummer and keyboardist at some point but for now, our wee living room jam sessions are an excellent way to break out of routine.

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4 responses to “Musical Interludes”

  1. Phil says :

    Was looking for some uni people on f’book and couldn’t find you but came across this instead! I think I remember you with this guitar…bearing in mind it’s been approximately a decade! time flies. Anyway, cool blog and hope you’re well- sounds like you’re having a blast in Manchester.

    • musingfrommanchester says :

      Hahahaha! Yes! Same guitar! Phil Harding! How’s it going? Hope you are doing well.

      • Phil says :

        Yeh, it’s going well, like yourself I’m living south of the border these days, in Cheltenham. It’s a bit quiet and genteel- well, compared to Glasgow at least! Paid a visit back to the place last year, dropped by some of the old haunts, good times!

        • musingfrommanchester says :

          Cheltenham? Very fancy! Not that I’ve been. Are you working there or still studying? Yeah, it’s always nice to go back up to Glasgow, can’t beat it. Let me know if you’re ever down this way. Nic Burden is around these parts too, remember him? Thanks for stopping by!

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