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The writing of my thesis has moved into a new phase. Today is the first day that I spend at home of my six month’s leave. I’m supposed to change focus from what has occupied my mind more or less full time since I left for Paris late September 2005. So far on this day of leave, I’ve read some chapters in the excellent classic neighbourhood study Street Corner Society – from an Italian area in Chicago in 1937-9, sorted some baby clothes (thinking what a strange world of circuits of baby stuff that exists out there; we’ve been included in five different ones going exclusively through the female line, partly through kin but mainly through friends – should check with Argonauts of the Western Pacific to what extent it could be compared to the Kula circuits… ;-) ) and I’ve had a quick visit from a friend of mine also on maternity leave. When she left, I felt overwhelmed by spare time, thinking immediately what kind of work I could do.
Then I realised that I could for the first time sit down at the table with my MacBook, in my new living room, with a new view, and have time to do just this. I wanted to reflect a little on what has happened in the writing process since the last time I reported from it here on my blog-diary. But when I turn on the stereo to put on a cd fit for writing, a well-known voice from the excellent music program Jungeltelegrafen, says: “…from the man who hates the notion World Music more than anybody else… Nitin Sawhney!”. (How I enjoy having one of the great participants in my previous thesis described like that!) But how am I supposed to take a break from work when work just turns up everywhere!? Nitin Sawhney contributed extensively to my Master thesis with his musical eclecticism and profound and interesting thoughts on British society. Now he has come with a new cd which musically treats what has happened to London after 7/7 2005:
… On 7.7.2005 a bomb exploded on a London bus. A singer and friend of mine, Natty, was there. Two weeks later he was present at the shooting of a Brazilian man – Jean Charles de Menezes. Last year we wrote a song together. Natty, like myself, feels something indefinable has shifted. London’s has changed. … (Nitin Sawhney 2008 London Undersound).
The CD starts quietly with “Days of fire”, Natty rapping the lyrics, and Sawhney playing the guitar and piano and doing the programming. (Hear the song on youtube with a slideshow from the events in London here)
On these streets where I played
And theses trains that I take, I saw fire
But now I’ve seen the city change in –
Oh so many ways, since the days of fire
Since the days of fire
(Nitin Sawhney & Natty 2008, “Days of fire” on London Undersound)
So far in my listening, I’ve found several tracks I really appreciate. A review of the cd can be found in The Observer here.
Strangely – or maybe not; maybe the world is just that small – one of the first people I got to know in Paris told me unpromptedly how he had taken his father to a concert with Nitin Sawhney. He appreciated to hear that Sawnhey had participated in my previous study, and now he’d help me out in the present one.
Being on leave has so far been difficult, but I’m sure it will be far easier to put work behind me next week when things start to get serious.
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