Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.


I’ve been away.

I haven’t been off the grid totally, but regular readers of the Humble Blogge will note that my contributions to it have not been up to my usual frequency.

I’ve also been pretty scarce in the happy world of Facebook, an environment in which I can usually not be muted enough for some people’s tastes.

Ordinarily, I could point to the normal acceleration of life when you [1] work a full-time job, [2] work as a church musician, [3] any number of other reasons that aren’t really excuses. For heaven’s sake, man! You’ve got subscribers to tend to! (No, they didn’t pay money or anything … but they cared enough upon discovering the Blogge to decide to follow it. So.)

It’s not that I have writer’s block. Heaven knows there’s been more than enough to make comment upon, for example, in the last few months since That Guy decided to run for office, and then people have started to figure out that he’s just not going away. (Yes, the That Guy who has been referred to by one commentator as the Short-Fingered Vulgarian and by another as a Vulgar Talking Yam, and … interesting how that particular word, that exact word, has stayed front-and-center so much lately.)

The Presidential race … the poisoning of a whole city’s water supply … there has been plenty of infuriating stuff to go on about, to rail against, in the last half a year or so. It all deserves the verbal beatings that many other online writers have administered. With few exceptions, I haven’t.

Again, it’s not that I can’t come up with the words. But lately, the myriad awful topics that you’d think would inspire me to take to the computer keyboard and have at it … have been so off-the-charts awful that all I can do is commit the computer-keyboard equivalent of the phrase:

I Can’t Even.

I just can’t!

Por ejamplo, I think about the Talking Yam’s latest revelation of stupid or arrogant or authoritarian or pandering (honest to God, man: “Two Corinthians”? Can you at least try to learn the lingo that would keep you from revealing yourself as an ignoramus? Actors do research for their roles all the time! Did no one toss you a clue about that? Come to think of it, who would want to be That Guy’s advisor? Clearly he takes advice from exactly nobody) …

OK, I guess maybe I can.

But for the most part, I’ve considered the patently miserable news items that get reported daily, and I’m so mad or frustrated that all I’ve been able to muster is a silent version of “…gah!!”

Civilization appears to be falling apart, or exploding, or some curious Industrial Light and Magic version of a combination of the two … and I can hardly bring myself to write about it.

What kind of decent blogger am I, anymore?

So maybe here’s my alternative:

Try to throw as much light into the world as possible.

Yesterday, I thought about National Marching Arts Day and got all sentimental in this space … and had a couple of nice responses from marching friends that made me think: maybe (while not ignoring our country’s potential slide into fascist/narcissist rule) the effort to distribute kindness and positivity into the world might not be such futile work.

So, I guess, here comes the next in a series of Pollyanna postings:


In the last little while, I’ve stumbled onto three examples of Simple Delight.

First: during the Montreux Jazz Festival three years ago, the terrific jazz pianist Diana Krall was concertizing, along with a band full of really fine musicians. You don’t get to play at Montreux unless you are pretty skilled; but there was a moment of utter giggling admiration that I happily play and replay and replay.

Krall’s band was playing “Just You, Just Me”, a tune made popular by Nat King Cole … but they were playing it at a breakneck tempo that Nat King Cole probably never attempted. Stuart Duncan, one of Krall’s sidemen, was taking an improvised solo on violin and just … simply … killing it. He sailed to the end of his solo, and the audience applauded – but the normally taciturn Krall topped them. “Stuart Duncan, woo hoo!” she called out, genuinely giggled, and then turned slightly away from her microphone and said to Duncan, “you … are … ri-DICulous!”

Anyone can applaud a jazzer solo, but when another very skilled practitioner compliments you, I imagine you file that away for future use.

Second: in the run-up to the release of Episode VII of the Star Wars trilogy (… yeah … I know … so? …), there were a number of videos posted online that exhibited the rather emotional delight of fans and professionals alike at the prospect of the franchise’s triumphant return to the big screen. Their sometimes teary response to trailers and leaked photos from the production revealed Star Wars’ place in the hearts of kids who grew up in the seventies and eighties with the original SW film. Their appreciation had a lot to do with tiny hints that in fact, J.J. Abrams was going to honor those memories … he was going to make a movie that tipped its cap to the fans that, after all, were responsible for the franchise’s popularity.

The video that really made me smile, though, was the one which showed the Episode VII official trailer along with the first-time-seeing-it videotaped reactions of two of its actors. Neither Daisy Ridley nor John Boyega were even close to being born when Luke Skywalker first held his father’s lightsaber and Han Solo asked us never to tell him the odds. But their reactions were as unequivocal as they were in complete contrast to each other. Clearly they’d only seen a small amount of footage, probably the scenes they’d actually been in, and possibly without post-production optical effects added.

Boyega shouted, “yes … yes … yes … yessss … YES … YES!!”, and then vaulted over the back of his couch out of joy and triumph. Ridley curled up further beneath the blankets on what looked like her hotel-room bed, wiped tears from her eyes, and managed to choke out, in her nearly-impenetrable London accent, “…ohmygod, it’s amazin’…”

And third: just take a look at this video. It’s called “Kayden + Rain”.


Fear not, dear Reader: this is not the end of the Editorial License Aggrieved Rant.

But man, it’s good to just turn that off for a moment or so, every now and again.


March 5, 2016 - Posted by | blogging, current events, Famous Persons | , , , , , , , ,

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