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The world has changed.

John Laidler’s music for VIRUS 2020 works with John Bennett’s journal (texts and images) written during the pandemic. The emphasis is on the crisis as an opportunity (for those not infected or on the front line) to reset what’s important, and appreciate the natural.

Music, poetry and narrative can enrich our lives by turning attention back to the natural world which has been in crisis for a long time.
Released October 1, 2020

CD available here

Nine Found Poems cover

This CD tests an omnivorous set of pianists and composers for the piano, from fakes to mystics with biographies, extraordinary environments, fables and reconstituted sounds.

“Painting long ago discovered perspective… Yet music has not succeeded in going beyond two dimensions.” Count Giacinto Scelsi

Here you will find sad stories of Ravel’s brain, the concentration camp Terezin, two mad pianists, a very eccentric pianist, Glenn Gould, and a very eccentric composer for the piano, Eric Satie. The musical mashups account for the physicality of this percussive instrument, as well as its magical grace and mystery, its poetry and its prose.

Books

My first book, ‘A Measure of Place’, Penguin Books is out of print.

Field Notes, Australia

Field Notes – Australia/Albion, Five Islands Press, 1998

You may find one in a classy second-hand book store- with this poem in it

The circumstance of trees

Dobroyd Head, Sydney Harbour for Jim and John, brothers from Redwood country. On the walk’s progression I demonstrate the difference, pull furred flannel flowers to their touch, praise an angophora whose creamy roots birth from the body of rich Hawkesbury sandstone, point to vines and tree-ferns obsessing a gully, “Jules Verne stuff!” John remarks. We pass raspberry-coloured christmas bushes and disturb a near albino Blue-tongue Lizard but there’s no sign of the Cchristmas Bells that rang this stinging light two years ago. I search through the melaleucas, casuarinas and banksias for one that’s flowering. Jim works with wood and teaches it, he’s more interested in the fallen timber imagining dowels cut along the grain, how the gouged wood feathers and sloughs from its hollow core. He’s a craftsman our gravity differs. My interest lies more in vertical possibilities refreshing the sky than clearcut horizontals.

‘Invitation to Jagun’, Wagtail, March 2013, Chap book

‘Invitation to Jagun’, Wagtail, March 2013

‘A classic poetry pamphlet’.

Looking north to Valla from South West Rocks for Kit and Carol

My hand itches to move, probably to depict the landscape of receding Sung mountains, flowing through Claude’s opaque blue. It’s not as if I have much to say, but if I did and wrote it down, the words would not correlate but generate their own form, style and vocabulary which I’d tinker with like a weekend mechanic fixing up his old beloved Kingswood, straight six cylinders much easier to handle, the grease and dirt all part of the fun.

The hand wants work in its grasp, but this is ink, not wood, not stone. The Chinese word for ink refers to process and application (the texture, brushwork and line), I just scribble symbols on pulped timber, a powerful irresistible phenomena, but one without movement, bold colour, improvised wash or technical brilliance to overcome technique and push one’s art towards t’ien-chen (‘naturalness’), sounding simple words sponging a vast residue of cloud and scudding black cockatoos.

‘A Pocket Diary’, Flying Island Books, 2012
‘A Pocket Diary’, Flying Island Books, 2012

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