Thursday, April 16, 2009


Next month I pass yet another one of those talked-about milestones of life...I will attend my college reunion... But not just any one: this is a biggie.

The Big Four-Oh . . .

Now I couldnt possibly be that old. Why, it seems like jsut yesterday that David Whatsis was telling...uhhh... Pigball about something or another...

Really, though, I can remember lots of things like they happened just yesterday. Possibly because they DID happen yesterday. Gotta check that... Other things take some thinking to recall. And some things I know must have happened, but I can't recall them at all.

What is the most interesting thing is that the very good things I recall quite easily, and the not-so-niceties are barely there any more. I think it must be a defence mechanism to protect us from remembering the stupid things we did when we were teens, and the illegal things we did in college, and then dying of terminal embarassment.

Or maybe it is just that those things dont matter any more, so we unconsciously let them slip away to make room for new memories to take with us when we cross the bar...

I dont know what goes on when that happens, so I am taking no chances. I am preparing to generate another forty years of music and of writing and of reading and of having good times with my new friends and my old ones... After all, I dont want to come into the next life with memories of bingo and of shuffleboard and of endless days doing nothing...

Maybe that's why some babies cry so much when they are born...

- - Olivia

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



Yes, I have Parkinson's Disease, and it is a bloody nuisance. Makes me shake with rage, it does.

For example, the other day I had an improtant meeting. I woke up early enough so as not to be under sress of rushing to put on my makeup or do my hair. Nope. Didnt work. I shook more than my breakfast cereal. You know my brand...

"Chocolate Earthquake Buds - Made with 100% artificial sweetener - you'll never sit still again - no nutritional value, but by gosh your girlfriend wont ever have to buy batteries again...


For her flashligh?



I really hate it when God sneaks up on me like that...makes me feel like Bill Cosby... but my ark is worse than my byte...

Anyway, you get the idea. Now, I am not complainging. I tremble at the thought...but I really dont like having this disease. Why me, Lord?


Oh no. Not that one again...


I suppose that is a good enough reason for anything. Especially when you are God...


Right, Mel...

Well the Bible says it is normal (1), so I fear I cant complain, now can I...

Parkinsons may cause me to die some day, but I will NOT let it kill me...

- - Olivia

(1) Philippians 2:12b-13 " out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure"


Do you know the words, beyond the first line that is, to the old British nusery rhyme?

It goes:

"Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clements."

I've known the words for a long time, but never knew the melody. So I, of course, went direct to Wikipedia and found this page:

And, so you dont have to go to that page, here is the text:

Oranges and lemons,Say the bells of St. Clement's
You owe me five farthings,Say the bells of St. Martin's
When will you pay me?Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?Say the bells of Stepney
I do not know,Says the great bell of Bow

Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

The song was used in a children's singing game with the same name, in which the players file, in pairs, through an arch made by two of the players (made by having the players face each other, raise their arms over their head, and clasp their partners' hands). The challenge comes during the final lines:

Here comes a candle to light you to bed.
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.
(Chip chop, chip chop, the last man's dead.)

On the last word, the children forming the arch drop their arms to catch the pair of children currently passing through, who are then "out" and must form another arch next to the existing one. In this way, the series of arches becomes a steadily lengthening tunnel through which each set of two players have to run faster and faster to escape in time.

Alternate versions of the game include: children caught "out" by the last rhyme may stand behind one of the children forming the original arch, instead of forming additional arches; and, children forming "arches" may bring their hands down for each word of the last line, while the children passing through the arches run as fast as they can to avoid being caught on the last word.

If you want to hear the tune and find out more lore about this song, visit here:

And while doing all this research, have one on me!

A half-and-half mixture of orange juice and bitter-lemon soda water is known as a "St Clements".

Now here's the question you have all been wanting to ask. . .

"Why are we being told all this?"

Because after years of a tune based on these word running through my head, I have finally begun a set of variations for Carillon based on it.

Keep watch here
For the song to appear...

At a party, Isaac Asimov was asked by a fan where he got his story ideas.
Leaning over conspiratorially, he said...
"I just make them up, see...?"

- - Olivia


Sitting here listening to a tape I found of Paul inprovising Reger on the Hammonton organ around 1974. Not in the style of Reger, but improvising REGER, for God's sake...

Paul was a true flawed genius. He had so much talent that when he exercised it, he brought everything around him to a screeching halt, because his playing was utterly captivating in its energy, its liveliness, its sometimes painful beauty.

Like so many flawed geniuses, though, his lack of personal and professional discipline and ambition ultimately led him to his downfall He relied more and more on the effect, neglecting the substance. It became obvious rather quickly that his understanding of things was only so deep, and would never get deeper primarily because he was unwilling to make the effort to go further - to extend his world view.

Its not that he didn't learn anything new, for Paulbecame an expert on the use of the synthesiser, which did not exist in a form accessible to mere mortals in the 1970s.

Unfortunately, when he had achieved a style which would besustainable and favorably noticed by others, he stopped developing and started repeating.

Of course, this is a subjective analysis. Paul and I were very close in the 1970s, then lost touch for more than 20 years. Our only contact was the occasional phone call, sometimes collect and sometimes not. He would call, and say (this was in the days before caller ID) "I bet you cant guess who this is.", when I would say something like "You lose, Paul" and he would be so disappointed. Like a child.

He and I spent time together when he come to assist me wih voicing on the Christ Church Savannah and the Manteo jobs in the early 00s. Nothing much had changed. He spouted back to me his "ideas" which were nothing more than a recital of my ideas from the late 1970s. I had moved on, he had not, but I guess I should have been flattered...

People like Paul make us angry, because we can see the greater potential within them. We are disappointed because they are seemingly oblivious to this part of themselves. We are confounded by them because of the vehemence with which they resist an attempts to get them to delve deeper into things.

But, we are also delighted by the seeming simplicity of their lives: Do what you do best. Over and over, and over, ad infinitum.

And we are jealous of it. We hate them for it. Because we ultimately want to know the why of things and they are more interested in the effects it causes.

It is fitting that my first post to this blog should have to do with Paul. He may have been a flawed genius, but he was a genius nonetheless, and knowing him enriched my life tremendously.

-- Olivia