Yesterday there was an announcement about a concert that’s going to take place on the opening day of the Olympics in London . . . and our spirits swiftly sank.
Duran Duran are to play a concert in London’s Hyde Park to mark the start of the Olympic Games.
The gig will feature headline acts from all four nations of the UK, with Duran Duran representing England and Snow Patrol appearing for Northern Ireland.
Stereophonics will represent Wales and Paolo Nutini will play for Scotland.
The concert on 27 July will coincide with the Olympics opening ceremony, which will be broadcast on big screens in the park between performances.
“Performing to so many people on the most exciting day in sport for Great Britain will be one of the highlights of the last decade for us,” said Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.
“We have been invited to represent England for this Team GB show, and we couldn’t be more proud. Seeing the torch being lit on the big screens before hitting the stage in this iconic location will be a great experience… We simply can’t wait.”
Lawks. Where to begin with this? We’re big enthusiasts for live music, but it’s probably best to ignore this concert and refrain from commenting on it since we don’t want to offend any readers who might be fans of these distinctly drab bands. Oops. There – said it now. So what the hell are we doing putting these bands forward as the best of British? Who knew that Duran Duran still existed? Did they ever exist? Why did/do they exist? 3Di hereby disassociates itself completely from this terrible and shocking business.
The thing is, though, we shouldn’t be hyper-critical when it comes to art, since all art is a matter of taste. What’s more, most of these musicians are probably very pleasant, hard working and likeable people. So why do these bands come across as dull, superficial, dreary, repetitive and totally lacking in soul and authenticity? (We say this having tried to listen to them on Spotify this morning.)
So where were we now with learning Zen Guitar?
Oh yes – Freeing the Spirit and Rocking the World.
These next extracts are from a chapter called ‘Spirit‘.
“Yeaaaah,” he says, fingering the valves. “When she gets broken in, a few weeks down the road, this is going to be a nice horn.”
“Sounds like she blows real easy, Diz.”
He fixes me with a stagey stare. “Sheeeeeet. Ain’t none of them blows easy.”
– Chip Stern, relating a conversation with Dizzy Gillespie
Guitar playing is a physical activity that demands training. The body must acquire an intelligence of its own. The muscles must learn to move in new and disciplined ways.
[Wikipedia says –
Kinesthesia is a key component in muscle memory and hand-eye coordination, and training can improve this sense (see blind contour drawing). The ability to swing a golf club or to catch a ball requires a finely tuned sense of the position of the joints. This sense needs to become automatic through training to enable a person to concentrate on other aspects of performance, such as maintaining motivation or seeing where other people are.]
These are all aspects of what 3Di calls physical intelligence. It’s partly something we’re born with, and partly something that needs nurturing, and educating.
Physical challenges force the mind to confront obstacles: pain, fatigue, self-doubt. You cannot make progress on the path without developing some kind of mental strength. Use your training here to build a strong spirit.
When the body engages in something new, it forces the mind to pay attention – to acquire focus, direction, and resolve.
Frustration results when the body will not perform as the mind directs, or the mind becomes confused about what it wants the body to do. These confrontations between mind and body are an integral part of training. They bring us face to face with our motivations and limitations: Why are we putting in all these hours of practice? Why do we desire what we desire? Are we willing to make the sacrifice necessary to progress? Are we asking more of our body than it can do? How we answer these questions determines our progress along the path of Zen Guitar.
Your spirit here must be one of total resolution: as martial artists like to say, “Tighten your mind.” You may arrive here like a wild colt, scattered and unfocused. Through training, learn to harness your raw energy and charge like a racehorse. Other beginners arrive with the spirit of a tired nag. Through training, they learn to build up their energy the way one strengthens a little-used muscle.
Here are three adages from the samurai on the spirit required to know the Way.
1. Don’t ask, practice.
The only route to understanding the Way is through your own experience.
2. Seven times down, eight times up.
If you slip in your training, get up.
3. The only opponent is within.
What matters on the path of Zen Guitar is not the obstacles we face but how we respond to them. Master your reaction to the unforseen and unfortunate circumstance, and you will master the Way of Zen Guitar.
When you are focused on the Way, every physical task becomes the object of mental training, no matter how small. Washing the dishes, making the bed, mowing the lawn – at every opportunity, keep your mind from laziness and wandering. Pay attention to the task in hand and it will carry over into everything you do. This is the spirit required . . .
And this is what 3Di calls the continuum of intelligence from physical intelligence to spiritual intelligence . . . and back again.