Posts tagged ‘USA’

Another New Year …

A massive thanks to all the forces that somehow kept me going in 2017 through ups and downs, feasts and famines. Still getting used to yet another re-location within this great city – but feeling more at home. It’s been a very busy year, what with joining, (and training hard with) a new LGBT martial arts club and at one point also going to three sets of dance classes – Vogue, Hip Hop and Kpop (at my age, can you believe it …) – I guess the theme has been movement and pushing to new limits of endurance and self-discipline. The ongoing aim of the Mexican Toltec shamanic practices that I also study, has been to evoke the hummingbird energy. The ability to do the impossible. To expand and keep on pushing through – with joy and curiosity.


 Not surprisingly, like many other artists in this current climate, I’m also involved to a degree in grassroots politics and civil rights issues, mostly LGBT and anti-racist, which feels like a priority, though the work I really admire and wish for the courage to engage with, is environmental and ecological work. ”Taking it to the street” seems non-optional with so much at stake these days. My best thing ever of 2016/17 was being able to stick up for a refugee friend in court and help win her case – and her right to life. Few personal successes this year came close to the immense honour of being part of such a meaningful process. Talk about getting things in perspective.


The year rolled on with regular gigs at my usual haunt – Camdens (multi-award winning) Green Note  and a wonderfully rock ‘n’ roll week in  August performing at Manchesters prestigious ‘Rebellion’ nightclub with the ‘Shit Lesbian Disco’ crew. Who are neither shit, nor a disco. They are an all-female and lesbian musical collective, (DJs, tech crew, session musicians) of truly awesome industry credentials. Great mates and connections to have made. September was lean and mean as is often the way, then the season changed again, with prodigious songwriting and guitar playing, university teaching, private students, gigs and enormous worries about the UKs ongoing cock-up with Europe. Not to mention our future with the USA. And finally, the shocking, wasteful Christmas suicide of one of my favourite Korean musicians. The gifted fall, filled with doubt and self-loathing, whilst those who only destroy, wake up feeling great about themselves.


The world is shaking up. The years don’t get easier. Nor does the music industry. I worry about the march of tech, ‘smart’ devices that require our stupidity and passivity and the lack of discernment between organic and artificial realities. In all my activities, I work steadily to strengthen the muscle of courage, which like all muscles, improves with use. I believe in understanding beyond borders, love and friendship, spirit and soul, intellect and art, self-education and reliance and music above all. Everyday. No matter what. To those sensitive ones out there, who create and live beauty but never think it’s enough, please don’t commit suicide. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s alright to have a break or even a break down. All things change eventually. Let’s remember Bruce Lees example and try to ‘walk on’ and see something new.


Click HERE to read my recent interview with jazz author Debbie Burke

She writes a fantastic jazz blog and is the author of ”Glissando, a Story of Love, Lust and Jazz” – to be published in July 2018.

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 If you are in London (or even if not) come and see me and my talented band members – billed as the FAYE PATTON QUARTET – at  jazz club Toulouse Lautrec, Sat Jan 20th. Click here to book.

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 I’ll also be playing Camdens Green Note, (as a duo, myself plus drummer) on Sun Feb 11th. Click here to book.

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 Happy New Year and bring on 2018!


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Social media – Ruining Your Life?

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In the last few years I’ve noticed something very concerning in my life. It crept up on me and surprised me even more given that I’m not of the iphone generation. I grew up with radio, then black and white TV, (rationed, regulated viewing) books, music practice, drawing, cassette tape, creative writing, sports and board games.

 

I noticed recently, that I had become addicted to my computer – that I was logging into my social media stream as a comfort blanket (despite the anxiety generated by seeing news and current events) and was checking messages and micro managing all my music business related communications in a way that I never associated with myself. In the cold weather, I even liked the warmth of the laptop and the cheery screen saver! I have a long attention span, single-minded focus, an ability to really enter the zone – or so I thought. But I have found my mind wandering whilst doing things that I usually concentrate on fully and have found myself breaking up the day with social media check-ins. For obvious reasons this has been heightened at the time of Brexit and now the current emergencies in the USA which do require than one stays informed. It’s also a side effect of having  to promote and self-publicise my work as a musician. Sometimes it feels like 90% online promotion/admin and 10% rehearsing/ performance energy. A problematic equation!

 

I fully appreciate all the amazing things that super fast computers and interactive media platforms give us. Free education, endless archives, search engines, alternative news reports, social activism, (‘clicktivism’) international messenger services, entertainment at the drop of a hat. Used wisely, all these things can make us more informed, more intelligent, and more empathetic.

 

Or they can make us more and more passive and unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.

 

Let’s take back our lives!

 

Top Ten Tips to master social media/computer addiction:

 

1. Make a commitment to watch and ration the time you spend on your computer – which these days probably means your smart phone. When you log or switch on, know where you are going and why. Do your errands (emails, research, skype call, Facebook message to transatlantic friend, or promotional twitter fest for your forthcoming gig) then put it away.

 

2. For every hour spent on a computer, looking at that screen – spend 2 hours doing something organic, such as playing a musical instrument, interacting with children, animals, or a meaningful conversation with a friend, exercise out-of-doors, reading or just being. Try writing a letter (made your hand ache did it?) or drawing or painting as a way to relax, process information or think up new ideas.

 

3. Time is an artificial concept anyway – so whilst you time the necessary evil of your computer tasks – when you are away from it – don’t look at the clock and experiment with discarding clocks and watches. Let your time be elastic – there is so much more of it than you think. Modern physics has shown us that the physical, phenomenal natural world is mostly empty space. Enjoy this miracle and focus on the content of what you do in your time – not the time itself. That means not checking your phone clock.

 

4. Still using a relatively old fashioned non-smart phone? Good! Well meaning friends or colleagues still trying to give you phones so you can stay in touch/not miss opportunities etc? Don’t apologise for not having a mobile phone or for not using social media much. Think about where coltan, the mineral in all our devices comes from and the human cost of mining it. With this in mind, think twice about upgrading and buying new devices all the time.

 

5. Try going for 2 days at a time without logging on. Deal with that initial feeling of panic. Especially in these recent times, we want daily news immediately – just to know the likely level of catastrophe, as things change rapidly. But deal with it. Ever consider that the real catastrophe is that speed for speeds sake is taking over our lives?

 

6. Invest in and experiment with some protective devices or practices that balance the radiation coming off your computer and phone. I wear and recommend sacred geometry devices from The Template.

 

7. No phones in bed at night. Ever. Best way to ruin your relationship.

 

8. Enjoy all the silly fun clips, memes, mash-ups, twitter trends and entertainment that is on offer – but regulate yourself. If you catch yourself surfing, idly, late at night, make a plan to go to bed and get proper sleep and proper dreams before that threshold. We only do that when we are too tired to resist – and if that makes you worried – it should.

 

9. Following on from that, be very discerning as to what images you let in. Some things can’t be unseen or unknown once encountered, and if you view stuff late at night, it will go into your dreams. Nothing wrong with that, so long as you are choosing what.

 

10. Without getting into a paranoid mess – please consider the fact that your computer may be watching you. Those ads are popping up because someone, somewhere tracks your internet searches and your status and value as a consumer. Doesn’t that worry you?

 

Still reading? Stop it! Go away. Log off and go and do something that matters. Create the life of your dreams in actual reality! So many worthwhile things: friendship, sex, cooking, being in nature, laughing and joking with others, writing a song, perfecting a martial arts sequence, traveling, walking, watching, listening, thinking, dreaming or shouting in the streets at the injustices of the world. You, yourself, your mind, body and spirit – this is the most miraculous of technologies. Let the computer be your servant – not your master.

 

Resources:

 

The Template Sacred geometry and more.

 

Minerals for computer processors and how we get them. Who really pays for our ‘free’ technologies.

 

Cell phone addiction amongst the youth in South Korea.

 

Possible solution! South Korean Space out contests!

 


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