Working Music

Painting, as far as I’m concerned, can only properly happen in conjunction with two other things: playing quite loud music and drinking tea. Some people insist that music destroys concentration, that you can’t do anything properly while your attention is divided; but if I paint without it I tend to start muttering irritably to myself, especially during the tedious finishing-off bits at the end; so music is better. But albums don’t last long enough, and radio tends to involve people talking, which I don’t want. Once mixtapes did the job, but now it’s their modern incarnation: the playlist.

I have a library of sprawling, haphazard playlists on Spotify, hours long, and every year I will make another one, adding new releases and discoveries as the year goes on, weeding out those that turn out to be irritating. After a while they sort of bed in mentally, so that I’m only half-aware of hearing the songs, and that seems to be the most useful state for them, just taking the edge off the concentration enough to pacify the inner toddler, so that the work can get finished.

This year’s has felt a bit thin, although it runs over six hours, and there are probably more that will get deleted – I am still reaching out to skip tracks . But now it’s time to start the next one…

If you have Spotify, you can access the playlist here:

Or here’s a pdf list.17 playlist

The tea is a lot less curated – there needs to be lots of it,  it’s better hot, and best of all if someone else makes it.

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