Category Archives: Cultural Analysis

Not Big Bot Band

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It’s been a busy week, with no blogging time. Meetings in two ngos I’m a part of, and organizing a music workshop/talk. On top of that, it ended with Saturday being spent in a house in the countryside. Together with my husband’s bigband. They were having their annual big meeting, summing up the passed year’s activities etc. And a few of us life partners tagged along. The meeting was held in one of the musicians’ home. While the band held their meeting, the rest of us finished the preparations in the kitchen. Big delicious meal. We like good food.

My husband created the band 20 years ago. For students of pedagogics in a college university where he works as a music teacher. He is the conductor in the band, and he finds songs and makes arrangements/notes for all the different instruments. 18 members as we speak. Some of the members have been in the band for many many years. Others are new, some quit after a handful years. When they have played enough gigs, they go travelling together. Partners and kids are welcome to join them on their trips. They have been to Norway, Cuba, Florida, Spain… I have been on two trips with them.

But here now I just want to say something about Saturday. I want to point out how special that group is. When we meet we are always so happy to see eachother. As we have f.ex.spent a week in a house with a pool in Spain together last easter. We have shared so many fun experiences, many meals, and loads of evenings singing and playing guitar together, somewhere warm and lovely.

So we met, and hugged, and it felt just like we were back again to the last time we were hanging out together. Us in the kitchen caught up on eachother’s life events whilst chopping and stirring stuff, and then their meeting was finished and we were all to share the great meal in the renovated barn that they have turned into a party space. Oh do I fancy a barn like that! Long long wooden table, green sofa group in one corner, stereo, drums, keyboard, guitars, separate smoking area… plenty of dancefloor…

We sat down at the table, and everyone had brought their own favourite drinks, whilst the food was paid for by the band. We chatted away with the people we were seated next to. When food was finished, some went for a cigarette, people swapped seats, some tidied up in the kitchen…. things get organized without needing leadership, people just tend to help out and get things done. It’s a lot like in a family, really. 22 members big.

The evening developed as it normally does. A lot of laughter, a LOT of singing, everybody joining in, harmonizing endlessly, the guitars go between different players… hand drums appear… you dance for a while, you go sit with the smokers and share some laughs…you go sit next to someone new…
Very relaxed and easy, everyone daring to sing out loud,
everybody being polite and nice to each other.

Why is it so special, you might ask. This is like any other party. Well, to me it isn’t. Most of the people there, I don’t see regularly, only in the context of the band. We are not close everyday friends. We are very different people, too. Agewise we are from 20s to 60s. We have different interests snd ways about us, some of them I connect deeply with whilst others remain more distant…. and it’s fine, it’s part of the fascination for me. It’s a lot like family actually, just that we are all in it volunteerily, and we share this great big common interest; music.

Most of the people left around two that night, picked up by friends in cars, filling up to the rim, being brought back to town from this farmhouse in that little village. I stayed up until half past three, listening to cds, discussing the lyrics… I was just exhausted then, and was happy to spend the night there in their kids’ room. The last three partymembers stayed up until five!

A very typical Not Big Bot Band night, everybody jolly and merry after many hours of singing improvized harmonies together. No pressure, no stress, no harsh words, no drama. Just enjoyment of good food and drink, music, dancing and talks, in a totally relaxed manner where people feel they can be themselves and be accepted and appreciated as they are.

I’m hoping to bring the kids along to a couple of the band’s events this spring, one is a gospel concert where they play together with a gospel quoir, the other event is a carnival march with school and kindergarten children.

Yeah. Not Big Bot Band. A big deal in my life. One big happy musical friends-family. It doesn’t have to be blood ties to feel familiar. It is one of my favourite communities, that I belong to. I wish everyone in the world were connected to a group in this way. I’m sure it would make the world a happier and more jovial, peaceful place. Actually.

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Freedom of Expression

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You know, this blogging is all new to me. I have always written, filled notebook after notebook, since age of five, talking to myself in a way, gaining clarity from seeing my thoughts and feelings in writing. Only when I met my now husband, 8 years ago this coming spring, did I start to realize my poems and rants could be of value to others than myself.

I write in a very personal style, I guess you can call it. I am not educated in litterature science, so I can’t tell you if it fits in a genre or not. And I don’t care, actually, either. I write from my heart, and to me the focus is more on the content than on the form. (Although to play with form is good fun too).

One thing I have noticed within myself, though, after having started sharing so…  internationally here in this blog online… (I do it all the time on a smaller scale, on Facebook, but that’s not as long pieces, at the same depth as here… ) I have noticed an inner unrest about the question of sharing too much, about whether I cross the privacy barriers of people I write about. Not that I write about others a lot. No. I am conscious not to.

But I have told very openly the story around my soundhealer inauguration, and we were 32 people involved. I have verified with our teacher that the text is okay. And also with the person who gave me the healing session in trance. So it’s in the clear in that way. But I have still shared information that to some of my fellow students maybe feel is private…

I have also shared the story about my beloved Ellen’s death in very unusual amount of detail. It is a taboo subject, death. Death beds. I am very careful about going into details that may be misunderstood as not being respectful, or show too much of an other person’s feelings… but still. When I am so open hearted about my own feelings and thoughts, how do I know if I unawarely come to hurt someone’s feelings? Unless they tell me. And most people actually don’t tell a lot or very easily, about their feelings. At least not the ones I know… (the solution will be to ask them directly, I guess. Face to face. Which I find hard to do. But I will.)

I feel that it is very important with openness. The beat poets used to say “Make the private public!” and “Write your life!” I think these are good aims. When we word what is difficult, we lift taboos and can help eachother find solutions. So I don’t mean to apologise for my openness. I just hope that my sense for discretion and concern is good enough. And if someone gets hurt by my openness, then I hope they will reach out to me and let me know, so that I can adjust, edit, reshape the information given so it doesn’t feel too private for them.

You know, these terrible happenings in Europe over the drawing of the prophet Muhammed…

Of course we in the west can draw what we want. We don’t follow Islamic law. We won’t be beheaded or whipped for having gone against God’s wish of not making pictures of Muhammed.

What I don’t really get, is the need to draw Muhammed. When we know that someone will be very upset with a certain action, isn’t it plain kindness to refrain from triggering that pain?

Of course a free and open debate on politics is a democratic right. And religious institutions are big power factors actually, owning land, having money, telling the population whether to use contraceptives or not, how to understand homosexuuality, abortion…. their views on human sexuality, claiming they know God’s unloving judgment upon everybody that’s not heterosexual and married, having intercourse only as a sacrifice in order to make children…… (I wonder why did God give us the sense of sexual joy if we are not supposed to enjoy it?)

I think these are political issues. Human rights issues. Equality issues.

Hence, when religious leaders involve politics in their talks, claiming some people are better than other people…. then this subject matter will be debated, people will criticize what they feel is not just. Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha and the rest of them would applaud this. They all talked about Love. Kindness. Tolerance. Equality.

So yes. Political debate is a must, and religions are part of that arena.

But.

Can we really not discuss politics without breaking the holy rule of the opponent? Would we not get further if we showed respect, and told the opponent we would refrain from drawing Muhammed as we could see that it hurt him. Would that not be a better step towards helping the opponent listen to our message?

It would show empathy, respect and tolerance. The opponent would then possibly answer with showing us the same fine qualities. The parties would be able to hear eachother. Trust could start to build. This is called dialogue. Peaceful communication.

Instead we shout:

“WE HAVE THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION,

SO WE DO AS WE PLEASE AND YOU CAN’T STOP US!!”

How mature is this really? How ethical is it? To me it sounds like three-yearolds in a kindergarten. “Give me that bucket now, because my dad is stronger than your dad and he can throw you up on that roof over there!”

When I was younger (80s), (well every day previous to today I was younger but),

when I was in my teens, then… there was a concept at home there in Norway called “freedom under responsibility”…. one was for example free to go to the kiosk outside the school grounds, under the expectation that we would return for the next class… we were free to go to a disco, assuming we were responsible enough not to drink alcohol…

I think responsibility is a very central part of freedom. These two words are central in being an adult, a citizen functioning smoothly in social settings… without these two words, who will we be? Irresponsible and unfree…

How responsible is it to be drawing Muhammed, knowing that millions of people will get extremely upset by this? Is it really necessary to do that, in order to criticize politics and religion? Could one not draw a mullah instead? Or use Jesus and Buddha, talking to each other of how they wish Muhammed would come out of his drawer soon….. come on…. there is a million ways of using carichature, (and I am a great fan of that art form).

What good has those drawings done for the world? Oh it has shown the moslems who is the boss? That we dictate to them and they don’t dictate to us?

Charming.

Humanity is so disappointingly immature in so many ways. All these wars. And polluting earth. Making animals and plants distinct. Actually being cruel. To animals, to women, children, poor people, homosexuals, “other races” …… very immature.

And we can not actually claim that we do not know better!!! Can we?

All we need is love. Love. Love is all we need.

And the world is ruled by greed.

Freedom of Expression, used for hatred breed.

We need responsible  people of ethics, to lead..

Cruelty begets cruelty. Kindness begets kindness.

Let’s please hurry up into a higher level of consciousness.

Our irresponsible behaviour is making us unfree.

The moslems are our siblings, not our enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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