Here we are in San Francisco. I just had to add a post from here. Remarkable place. Very welcoming, friendly, great contrasts, wonderful counter to all the negative American stereotypes that fly around. Sunny, funky, alternative, clearly with a tough and rugged other side, as many big cities have, but all n all, a very lovely place to be with my partner and our three year old.
The pic below is of a fella who told me he was just making use of his time as he waited for a bus. Kinda unusual perhaps but kinda nice too.
I am also adding a couple of pics below of the famous Golden Gate Park, where people of all walks, stumbles and bounces of life…hang out. And I am reminded of the research of Ian Plowman which says that towns (in the country at least) that welcome diversity do well, socially AND economically. Many people in the park are clearly on the fringe of society…and what I saw, at least on that day, was gentleness, harmony, welcome, generosity and a spirit of acceptance and celebration.
I have drummed since I was a teenager and always join in wherever and whenever I can…anywhere in the world. And if I wanted a list of ingredients for a worthwhile experience, a group of drummers like this comes close.
1. If there were 50 violins scattered about they would, unless 50 violinists happened by, just lie there. But everyone will have a go at drums. They are democratic.
2. Drumming can sound real good real fast. And is a joy to do…physical, creative, artistic, pulsing…loud or soft, strong and hard or soft and gentle.
3.The whole is certainly more than the sum of the parts. Individually each drummer may not be a knock-out but collectively drummers sound good.
4. There is room for the virtuoso right next door to the ‘first timer.’
5. You can just sit back and be part of the crowd, or if you want you can
show off-in the nicest possible way- step forward, take a solo, and then blend back into the group.
6. Mistakes are welcome and have minimal impact. Make a mistake and the collective drum experience will cover it for you so it matters not. Make a mistake and then get right back into it. Or take time out, and then come on back in. Either way is good. The collective will carry the momentary stumble.
7. Extend yourself. Play something new, difficult, complicated, weird…and again the collective will carry you whether what you are doing is fabulous or not. It’s all welcome.
When I quietly asked about the etiquette of joining in, I was told…’just find a drum.’
When the fella wanted his instrument back he just came up to me saying..’good job, good job’…what a nice way to ask for your drum back.