albert postma

Monday, February 23, 2004

My First Car

Do you ever get it when you suddently for no reason remember something that you have forgotten for many years. Well...

When I was 4 years old, my family moved out into the country onto a parcel of land that amounted to about 6 acres. About 5 of those acres was a pasture which we filled with horses and, later, goats and sheep. When I was about yay tall, just a young gaffer (all right, I don't remember how old I was...but lets say between 9 and 12 yrs), my dad got his hands on an old beat up car that actually ran, though highly unroadworthy. So he put the car behind his truck, me inside the car, and began towing it down the road back to our house.
After painting the car various shades of flourescent, it was time to take it for a spin. I was not yet tall enough to see over the dashboard, so a couple horseblankets were used to create a satisfactory 'highchair'. After my dad taught me the basics of driving (putting it in drive, gas pedal, and braking) he left me to experiment with my driving skills, with only one rule: a speed limit of 30km/h. So off I went, bouncing my way around the pasture honing my life-skills.
It got a little more interesting when I wanted to take the car out for a spin after dark. One would think it wouldn't be that much more difficult, considering it simply requires turning on the headlights and paying a bit more attention to where you are. It wasn't that simple, though, because the headlights didn't work. A replacement was quickly found in the likes of a flashlight. So there you have it, cruising around at 30km/h in a 5 acre pasture, one hand on the wheel and the other holding a flashlight out the window while trying to mainain a foot on the gas and eyes above the dashboard.

Oh...the memories.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

...and all that Jazz

I was thinking the other day about music and the mood it puts me in and the thoughts it conjures up.
Take, for example, Jazz. I know a song - sans lyrics - that makes me think of a sad, trenchcoated man walking down a quiet dark street with dim streetlamps on a drizzly night. The funny thing was that after the jazz group I am a part of finished playing the song, I shared this image with the rest and a number of them all agreed that it was a picture they had in their head as well. What was it that caused us to all have the same idea?
Very obviously, an easy response is that it was caused by similar cultural conditioning. When we heard the song it probably brought back a memory or idea from a previously encountered T.V. show or movie, or both because the image has become somewhat of an archetype for that music and vice versa. So comes the question: is that image best suited to the music definitaly, or has it become the best suited because as a culture we have accepted it for so long without question?
One could argue back that no music is best suited for the image because it defies variety of expression in the arts. If this is the case, and there is true variety, then why did the certain music bring forth a similar, very well defined image in a number of different minds?
Things like this make me wonder about how much the arts affect culture and how much the culture affects the arts.