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Great Big Seaに関する雑談、その他音楽、あるいはただの読書日記

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The Museにて

The Museって、昔Bobが働いてたところですね。
記事本文によれば、主任編集者だったとか。
1987年から1988年まで。22年前。……20歳のとき? 学生で!?
恐るべき才能ですよほんとに…………こわい。
(時々、彼が音楽をやめたら書くことに戻るんだと、わたしは想像する。
 選ばなきゃならなくなったとき、書くことを選ぶと、想像する。)

ええと、上の記事は写真つきです、男前なアコーディオニストの。
フィドル弾いてるBobよりもアコーディオン弾いてるBobのが好き。
記事は保護のため以下折りたたみに一応載せておきますね。

Bobの文体は、読んでてあぁBobだ、ってわかるからいい。
Stream of Consciousness、などと仰っているけれど、
意識の流れ的なものよりももっとロジックを感じる。
あるいは、これが真実意識の流れなのだとしたら、彼の頭を見たい。
きっと四角いんだ。
わたしはここで文体の話を結構している気がします。
そう、Bobの文体は冷たいんですよいつも。硬くて。
AlanとSeanと比べるとわかる。
そうか新聞の記者なんだなぁと、わかる。
格調高い。per se、なんて一体いつ使うんだい。


Alan's From the Road
ま、で、これがAlanの文体ですね。
わたしはほんとに、Alanが自分の好きなものを手放しで褒めるのが好きなんです。
正当な評価をする、というの。
Well done、と言う、当たり前みたいに言う、それが好きだ。
MurrayのジャズバンドのCDについても触れてますね。
Well done, Murman. 憎らしいじゃありませんか。
お気に入りは、AlanのBobへの手放しの書評の次。
「俺についてよりもBobについてのことの方が多いんだけど。
 なんでそうしたのかちっともわからない。」
ここがもう、なんていうか、だめだこいつら好きだ、と思えるところ。
ちなみにSeanはこうする。
Tosh(Seanの飼い犬)が語る形式で書くわけです。
これ上手いなぁと思うのは、Seanが、この状態なら
無意識下のものを具現化しても問題ないってこと。
願望、羨望、そういったものを素直に出せる形式だと思う。
Bobについての補足説明あるでしょう。
who actually has his shit together.
身の回りのことをうまくやる、というか、生活能力がある、というか
そういうことを言っている一文。
まだ記憶に新しい、2009年の、春の話なんだと思っています。
それで、その後茶化すの。本について。It's mostly about me。愛しい。
これが9月30日の日記。来週発売だよ、なんて、しっかり宣伝してる。

わたしの手元にBobの本が届くのは、多分もう少し先。

Great Big Sea member tells stories through songs
Bob Hallett discusses life, music, and being in Newfoundland’s biggest band
By Ryan Belbin

St. John's native Bob Hallett is best known as the multi-instrumentalist of Great Big Sea, the province's most commercially successful band of all time. His earlier aspirations, however, approached music in a different way: with a pen and paper, instead of an accordion or bouzouki.

An English major from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Hallett returned to his literary roots with his first published work, Writing Out The Notes: Life In Great Big Sea And Other Musical Misadventures. The book is a collection of stories and reflections, told from the perspective of an artist whose primary muse is obvious: music.

“I started writing about music as memories, the idea being that all our significant memories, for me anyway, are tied to music, and vice-versa,” Hallett explained.

For those who equate Hallett with expression through instruments rather than language, this book may seem digressive; such claims are misleading. Besides being a regular contributor to Newfoundland Quarterly, Hallett was an editor with the Newfoundland Herald for four years in the early 1990s. Before that, however, he was the editor-in-chief of the Muse in 1987–88.

“I started as what was known as the distribution manager, writing record reviews and things like that. From there, I progressed up the ladder,” he recalled. “The issues that the paper was focusing on were very much about being an agent of social change, and that was at the expense of the nuts-and-bolts student news that people really were interested in. I tried to bring a bit more of the focus back on hard, student news.”

Originally planning to pursue a career in journalism, Hallett's writing time was compromised as he played in various downtown bands. In 1993, he joined fellow musicians Alan Doyle, Séan McCann, and Darrell Power to form Great Big Sea. The band's growing popularity halted any full-time writing.

Writing Out The Notes grew from Hallett's blog—“Bob's Soundtrack”—on the Great Big Sea website.

“I started writing about music just for something to write about, rather than some stream of consciousness blog—I wanted it to have some substance, anyway. The music seemed to be a logical place to start,” said Hallett.

That blog developed from a discussion of the music that influenced the band to incorporating stories with the music. It was at this point that the musician decided to abandon the blog and begin writing this memoir.

“Somewhere along the way, it just hit me that, to make this, I'll just frame it the way we do a concert: there'll be a load in, a sound check, then I'll play a set, then there'll be an intermission, then I'll play another set, then there'll be an encore, and then there'll be this little moment at the end where you're just kind of really thoughtful and sweaty and think about what just happened.”

“When I had that frame,” he said, “it was really easy. It was just like a puzzle, where you find that one piece and everything else fits together.”

Despite being an accomplished songwriter, Hallett was required to change his perspective to write this book. “Songwriting is a really concise form. Brevity is the soul of wit in songwriting, which is not necessarily the case in writing a text,” he explained.

“This writing was all stuff that happened to me, and it was all stuff that I felt. So, in that sense, I can't really hide behind it. With the songs … it's not about me per se, and I can create a little distance there. But, this [book] is about me; it's my stories, my history, and my past, and in that sense, I definitely feel more attached to it.”

Drawing on a career that had its roots in the Atlantic Canadian pub scene, Hallett's bandmates were not too worried about what he would reveal in the pages of Writing Out The Notes.

“If Alan and Séan were misbehaving, then I was actually sitting right between them when it happened,” he laughed. “The reality, too, is that the funniest stories are not stories where everyone got loaded—they're stories where what we tried to do didn't work out, or what we planned to do went astray.”

Despite things not always going according to plan, Great Big Sea have enjoyed considerable success in their 17-year career, touring extensively and selling over a million albums in Canada. Hallett says that they were always optimistic about reaching this point, but never fully expected to get where they are today.

“We wanted to have a life in music; we wanted this to be our career. There was a day where we all quit our jobs too, and you've got to put that in context. Quitting a job in Newfoundland now is not a great idea, but it's not an insane idea. In 1993, before there was any oil money here or anything like that, quitting a job was an act of insanity,” he said.

When Great Big Sea began their musical career, organizations such as MusicNL and the East Coast Music Association were not fully developed, forcing many artists to find musical opportunities outside of the province. The drive to be based out of St. John's meant the band had to work very hard to be successful; the fact that they accomplished this has made it possible for younger bands to continue in this tradition.

“Our goal was to make Newfoundland exotic, to make it interesting,” Hallett said. “Our great achievement, beyond record sales and concerts, is that we raised the bar. I think, by demonstrating that this was possible, we made it possible for everybody else.”

“Every band can look [at] themselves in the mirror and say, ‘Well, fuck, they did it.’ That's a small thing, but it's also a big thing.”

Back on the road in support of their tenth studio album, Safe Upon The Shore, Great Big Sea are as busy as ever. “Alan's has a hundred projects on the go, Séan is just finishing his second solo album, I'm writing furiously, plus I still produce a lot and work on my own music. Everyone has a ton of other things on the go, and the band is probably the best thing and the biggest thing, but it's far from the only thing,” he said.

It is evident, however, that Hallett enjoys what he's doing, satisfying his numerous creative urges while entertaining fans.

“Everyone talks about the soundtrack of their life, and it is really true [that] music, for me, has a way of evoking memory, the same way that the smell of baking bread does for some people. Because of that, I look at a career in art, in music, and in writing as all about the same stuff—it's all about creativity. Whether that's the band, or the Herald, or the Muse, or a song I'm writing in the basement, it's all the same.”

----------
Writing Out The Notes: Life In Great Big Sea And Other Musical Misadventures was released in October, and is available at bookstores everywhere. More information, including archived editions of Bob Hallett’s blog, can be found at greatbigsea.com.
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