Laziness is relative. Relative to how we perceive those who work harder, longer better hours than we do; relative to our own ideals and goals; relative to our own desire to sleep as long as humanly possible even….
Three months in Shanghai – thirteen weeks of 6 nights a week performing three hours a night. Helping people dance, supporting the soloists, playing leads and solos myself (more than I ever have) running sound, recording and documenting the shows, being nice to people, solving problems, making sure I don’t look scruffy…. adds up to a lot but is compressed into only 5/6 hours a day. So what happens to the other 18?
Sleep hopefully. Sometimes 12 hours, sometimes barely 4 … for some reason each of the group has been on some wacky, evolving sleep cycle. I myself became fully nocturnal for 6 weeks, waking up at 6/7pm and going to bed at between 7am and 2pm. Sleep can be wonderful, especially a consistent 8 hours (a distant memory!) We each started to have very vivid dreams (maybe from not being exposed to TV, constant advertising and all that crap??) which have been the subject of many hilarious discussions. Sleep is truly important.
Eating. Daily. After a little adventurousness we all really settled into some favourite haunts – the 24 hour Hot-pot restaurant, complete with muddy toddlers begging outside (wearing fabulously clean, new clothes mind you), is always a win. Element Fresh has been my drug of choice, great chinese food, western/american fare and fantastic breakfasts til 330pm on the weekends. My point? After our initial excitement we became lazy to an extent – unadventurous once we found our comforts.
Hobbies/projects. I think we all had other goals we wanted to accomplish while we were here. I wanted to re-write the musical examples from my bass books (so I could publish in the US without breaching copyright law there); work on my own compositions and productions; practice a lot and write this blog. I got about half way through demos for a solo album (you can hear them on my soundcloud page) and this blog writing stopped and started a couple of times… more on that later.
So…. laziness happened! Hours spent reading. re-charging, reflecting. Looking at bbc.co.uk (through a proxy server to bypass the chinese firewall) and keeping with the political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa or the natural disasters in New Zealand, Thailand and Japan.
Chinese traditional massage happened – and quickly became my favourite way to spend a day off – tiny chinese elbows probing into my sore muscles, stretching out tendons I didn’t know existed and leaving me feeling like a new Chris.
We had a phrase in Peru – “being busy in my hammock” – just being, sitting, slowing down and enjoying the moment. While I got a lot out of being at Berklee it took months afterwards to be able to just sit and be with myself… rather than constantly working, creating, being on the move and cramming as much as possible into every hour of the day.
We, or I certainly, have found the optimum ways to maintain ourselves physically and mentally so that we could deliver our best in those few hours each night here at the House of Blues & Jazz. While I may still not be working to my fullest capacity (compared to my own imagination of what I can achieve or what I imagine other people put in) we have almost made it through this marathon without casualty – maybe that’s no small thing in itself.
So I had taken a break from writing here after starting to talk about Flea. The question in my mind was how to balance making something readable for folks who aren’t necessarily bass players while still getting to the heart of what’s important – in this case why I value Flea’s influence so much in my musical life. I think I’ve come around to carrying on… unless I feel like not writing it down, which can be fine too.