A New Print-On-Demand Paperback: Memoir

Hi, I’m considering self-publishing a paperback version of some of the posts published on my other site. The project, My Musical Journey, will tell my story as a classical musician in memoir form, touching on some darker subjects like exposure to gangs and close brushes with death. I estimate that this book, roughly 40,000 words, will be available from around spring 2018.

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Getting A Bit Too Close To Christmas

Cold, with a biting chill. The UK. I walked down and up the hill this morning, managing not to slip on leaves. Afterwards, I went indoors for coffee, a chat and piano practice. Everywhere is either too hot or too cold. I keep taking off my jumper, then putting it on again when the cold strikes.

Later, I bought Christmas cards – a reminder that the occasion is just weeks away. The seasons go quickly. No more late summer. Spring just a memory of an early heat wave that didn’t last for long. Autumn is nearly over. Soon, another year will have passed.

A Job Well Done, Hopefully

I’m near the completion of my current writing project, mypianobio.

The project, a sister blog, falls under the category of true life and tells how I escaped danger in Manchester, to find a purpose in my musical studies and aspirations elsewhere.

My next project is to see whether I can arrange the material in a paperback and self-publish as a Print On Demand.

A case of, watch this space.

Listening To A Piano Concerto While Drinking Coffee

As I stated in my previous post, I spent much of Friday in London (the city of Westminster), in awe of the speed of the tourists and the physical size of the metropolis.

One moment has stayed with me since. On the way to my meeting, I stopped for coffee at a quaint cafe in between Victoria and Pimlico, where I lingered over a cup of strong black coffee and listened to a CD of Beethoven piano concertos playing in the background.

I only got to hear three or four movements and I don’t know the identity of the performer, but I thought the performance was superlative, a great start to a busy day.

To Beethoven and his superb works!

London, The City That Never Seems To End

I spent the day in London – or more specifically the City of Westminster, although the two pretty much mean the same thing when it comes to a day out in the Capital.

Once more, the size of the metropolis didn’t fail to amaze and impress me, and I wondered what it must be like for newcomers without a home or friends. Those vast streets that soon begin to look alike. The anonymity. Endless traffic and packed streets.

I passed Westminster Abbey and Downing Street, and wished I could have mustered up more enthusiasm for these pieces of history, but I suppose the long bus journey ahead had started to tire me out. An hour to go.

Finally, I ended up in Camden Town – itself a miniature metropolis – and caught the connecting bus back to the calm of north London suburbia.

Quit Smoking, From 40 Cigarettes A Night To Zero

Times passes. A year. Two. Five years, and three months; I haven’t smoked during that time. Not once, although I’ve been tempted. Hopefully, I will never smoke again. It’s an enjoyable habit, but destructive in terms of health.

What do I think of e-cigarettes? I’m not sure. Probably better than regular cigarettes, but not for me.

Nicotine Replacement Products. I think these are fine, especially for people who used to rely on cigarettes, both physically and emotionally. I always make sure I have some when I go out.

Major triggers of temptation:

  • The smell of tobacco
  • Unrelenting stress
  • Watching someone roll a cigarette

A Relaxation Technique: The Imaginary Candle

Also known as Pursed Lips Breathing. Place a finger in front of you. The imaginary candle. Gently blow out through the mouth at the imaginary candle, then inhale through the nose with minimum effort. Out, in. Eight times, letting the breath relax and concentrating on the exhale. Never strain or force the breath.

Finally, breathe out and in through the nose only, continuing for a few more minutes.

The key: simplicity and breathing that barely makes a sound.

A Strange Day

Freezing, but humid.

I got up early, stretched and did my breathing exercises, but felt tired and groggy.

Had a number of meetings and played the piano, but couldn’t shake off the malaise and exhaustion.

Went back to practise Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, but couldn’t concentrate.

Arranged to meet a friend for coffee…and ended up leaving my sports bag somewhere.

Now, sitting with the heating on and the window open, and wondering when I last saw the sports bag.

Piece Of The Day – Appassionata by Beethoven

I’m one of those people fortunate enough to have the ability to play works featured on Classic FM or Radio Three.

This morning, I enjoyed sitting at the piano and playing the Appassionata by Beethoven, the Second Ballade by Chopin, Hungarian Dances nos 1, 2 and 5 by Brahms, and the Nineteenth Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt.

The Appassionata breaks the traditional boundaries of the Sonata, developing First Movement Sonata Form and introducing the abridged second and third movements. Despite the heights of emotion present in the writing, the work remains firmly in the Classical tradition, and not Romantic.

A fulfilling morning. Tired arms and wrists. Afterwards, I headed to Coffee Republic to practise my German with a friend from Germany.

Bizarre Weather Here In The UK

The sky turned an unusual shade of orange on Monday afternoon, bringing to mind the French word orage (storm). One of my colleagues joked about the apocalypse, but the whole thing felt unsettling.

The following day was humid at times and chilly at other times. I’ve definitely come down with a winter bug and will take Piriton at bedtime.