Ongoing Collective DIARY

Thursday 9th of July
2020年7月12日Sam Andreae

Today was the first day I started teaching my students remotely. I haven’t been able to get into the studio before this so it wasn’t possible. I was preparing material non-stop for two days beforehand… I really underestimated how much work I needed to do so it was pretty stressful ;-\ but in the end it turned out well, we did some fun stuff and it wasn’t as awkward as I thought. Actually some things work well through web video, you can show saxophone fingerings really close up and it’s nice for most of the kids to be at home I think. One of my kids is into hip-hop and grime, so we do arrangements of Drake and Stormzy, another is really into K-Pop so I’m getting to know BTS pretty well.

Saturday 11th of July
2020年7月12日Sam Andreae

I started a project recently with some friends working on making a really accessible device for musicians to play together remotely. The technology already exists, but it is a bit hard to setup and is probably most widely used in academic environments. I did a session yesterday with our prototype device, it went really well, felt like doing a live radio session. Because the latency is as low as possible with current network infrastructure, and audio quality is lossless, you get a really strange experience of feeling like you’re in the same room, but somehow different. I’m actually not interested in recreating the feeling of being in the same room. It really feels like we’re creating new spaces which didn’t previously exist. Currently we use a web server to facilitate communication between different musicians. We’ve started to talk about the server like it’s a rehearsal room where we can meet to play.

The session this week was with two musicians in Manchester, and two in London.

Here’s the device and some development pics:

Sunday 5th of July
2020年7月7日Sam Andreae

Went for a bike ride down to the river Thames today, was supposed to meet some friends to play ping pong but the only table we could find was burned out.

On the way home we saw a group of people watching a performance on the beach. It turned out to be an exhibition by a local artist. One of the performers was part of a group from the 80s called Bow Gamalan. A friend who runs one of the regular improv music venues in North East London was there. We joked about how improv gigs are well suited to a post-COVID world because as audiences are normally small, we can easily stick to social distancing guidelines.

Saturday 4th of July
2020年7月5日Sam Andreae

Today is the first day that pubs open again since the COVID lockdown began in the UK. I think everyone will take this as a signal that things are returning to “normal” at least for a while. More than when some schools or shops opened.

It’s been windy most days recently which I wouldn’t normally notice, but because I’m now addicted to playing table tennis it’s quite frustrating. There are 4 tables in the park by where we live, the ground where people stand to play has been trodden down so much that large pools of water form there whenever it rains. Mio and me went out the other night to fill them in with soil, we took a shovel and spade out and tried to level the soil. It went really muddy but should be a bit better now. We realized it looked quite suspicious to be digging at night in the park though….

Our cats often come out and watch us play. Because they hang out in the park quite a lot they’re becoming local celebrities, I’ve seen people taking selfies with them!

It’s getting even windier now, the sky’s grey and it’s raining slightly.

One of my neighbors just walked past and chatted to me about some news he was happy about. Another neighbor followed and asked for some advice on building a bed.

I think Isaji-san who wrote the last diary post was in Gothenburg and it was raining then last week, maybe the weather came over here.

East London, 23rd of May
2019年5月23日Sam Andreae

I find it quite challenging to write a diary like this, I haven’t done it in years. My head goes into narrator mode and then everything I write feels unnatural. I was thinking about this the last few days. I also have a really bad memory though, so writing things down is pretty useful. Here goes…

Today was the day of the European Elections and the political scene right now is pretty crazy. The most popular party is called The Brexit Party (they only formed one month ago) and their only policy is wanting to leave the EU. So they’re running in an election in order to be elected to a governing body they want the UK to then leave. This party scares me, the leader has links to Trump and far-right groups, but they’ve re-branded for this election with slick imagery and a multi-cultural somewhat liberal look. I voted Labour.

On the way to the polling station (where people vote) a local school was practising archery. There was a sign stuck to a chair at the entrance to the park which read “Danger – Archery in Progress”.

I live in an area of East London called Newham which is in the process of wide scale development. It’s part of the legacy of the 2012 Olympics which were hosted round the corner here. The London Legacy Development Corporation has been given power over local councils (市議会) to develop an area crossing several London boroughs (市). They’re guilty of evicting local residents and leaving whole blocks empty long-term (waiting for development) when affordable housing is needed and homelessness is at record highs in these boroughs. The polling station was in the basement of a tower block.

After voting I got the bus to a school in a neighbouring borough (Tower Hamlets) where I teach music. One of my students asked how much money I earn. I’d had questions like this (about money and job status) before from one of the others (both teenage boys) and ended up giving a rubbish answer. I wanted to be better prepared this time. I said something about that being none of his business, then tried to explain that money wasn’t the main thing about a job, it is important to do something you enjoy too blah blah blah. I was also disappointed with this answer…. Try better next time. Lot’s of the students are fasting (断食) for the yearly Islamic observance of Ramadan this month which involves not eating or drinking anything while the sun is up (for a whole month). A different student (who is a really wild 13 year old who can’t concentrate for more than 10 seconds) explained to me how it’s about mindfulness and understanding others who have less. We had to check it was ok for him to play the saxophone while fasting, because you put it in your mouth. I few other students are massive K-pop fans and one has read loads of Japanese manga. I have to pretend I haven’t read *all* of the ones he mentions just so I can keep some teacher qualities.

I had Lamb Biryani and Lentil Dahl for dinner at a small Bengali restaurant.

In the evening I helped run a meeting for organizers at a festival happening in June called AntiUniversity. I was supposed to help give everyone a chance to speak and listen to each others event ideas. It went fine, but more people kept arriving late and it went on way to long, everyone got pretty tired by the end. A confrontation between two different factions of ecology activists nearly kicked off. Think it went as well as can be expected though.

On the bus home a guy in his mid 30s called Michael Clarke started talking to me. He was drunk and happy because of a film he wants to make just got permission to use a script. He was crying and talking a lot. In the end we found out we come from the exact same village far from London in the North of England. I was a bit too tired to be talking with a happy crying drunk man though… So I escaped when we transferred to the train.

I’m actually finishing this off in the morning after the 23rd (sorry for the late upload). It’s sunny and warm, very nice temperature, bright blue sky. I’ve been re-reading Real by Takehiko Inoue the last few days too, what a class manga.

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