In De Clercqstraat, today, I had a musical idea which I began to sing quietly to myself as I waited for tram 14. Well, I was already singing it before I even noticed it was there. It was easy to memorize, and I noted it down as soon as I got to the house.
I had been on tram 3 on my way home from Wibautstraat. (I go there every Tuesday and Thursday to attend a Dutch class). I would have to change from a 3 to a 12 or a 14 in order to complete my journey. But as I got off at the crossroads where the tram routes intersect, I didn’t notice that a 12 was already waiting there. So it pulled away without me. That meant walking round the corner to wait for a 14.
That’s how I came to be standing in De Clercqstraat singing that bit of music. If I had noticed the 12, I would have caught it, and not conceived the musical idea. So this idea would not now exist and the string quartet would be a different piece as a consequence (I decided to include it in the new work).
I get irritated with all these musical ideas that appear. Yes, they are attractive, but at the same time they are like little birds in a nest with mouths wide open – the ideas have to be “fed”. I sometimes just push them away, through laziness. The same applies if I am in bed and cannot be bothered to get up to write music down.
But I should count all this a blessing really, because, years ago, when things reached rock bottom as far as my creativity was concerned, I would negate any spontaneous idea I had.
Today, the one that arrived, was vintage Geoffrey King – the sort of idea that my friend and colleague Peter Nelson teases me about (because of its Celtic derivation). When I later came to consider the fragment seriously, I decided immediately to use it…….as I said. And it will be easy to develop. What I have written in recent days will readily combine with it.
Ideas develop on their own, or through applying various modalities. They can also develop through interaction with other ideas. One can speak of an attraction between ideas. And because they don’t have our shame, they can openly say, “oh come here, I want to fuck with you right away”, and before the thought is even over, the dirty deed is done…………..heh-heh.
Ooooooohhhhhhhhhh, HOW could I make THAT comparison? Oooh, the shame of it!
But, returning to the subject……early in 1999 during dinner at a friend’s house, I was talking about my interest in chance and said “if, later, I take a certain route home, I may encounter a person in the street who will become immensely important to me, whereas, if I take another route, I shall never even meet him”. I cycled off, and half way home, the front wheel of my bike collapsed. I was catapulted over the handlebars and ended up on my back with a shattered elbow. If I had taken another route, I would have, at the very least, fallen differently, or perhaps not at all………
And that’s why I point out that there is no complete Oedipus story without the involvement of chance……………specifically, no murder of Laius.
The gods say that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother, so he flees his homeland in order to prevent this fate. He comes to a place where three roads meet, and by chance encounters a group of men going in the opposite direction. They force him off the road and in retaliation he kills them all. Amongst these is Laius…………his real father…………