My Life in a Plastic Bag

Here I am again at Heathrow airport I have been debagged, checked in and now I am eagerly awaiting for that final degradation of going through security. As I stand patiently waiting for all my possessions to be scanned and viewed by people who I have never met and the possible additional delight of being frisked, I look down at my little plastic bag and begin to reflect on my life.

My virtual reflective ‘little plastic bag’ contains an interesting mix. I have met and worked with some amazing people. Along the way my ideas, inspirations and achievements have been shaped, moulded, guided and strengthened by people.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that can certainly be true of many things that we all encounter along the way. As I stand quietly in this interminable queue I think back to the freedom of living on a farm way up in the North of Scotland. My life seemed very simple, I knew that I wanted to be a percussionist and nothing was going to stop me.

I shared those feelings with Thomas Reidelsheimer in the film Touch the Sound which has been a great backdrop for my career.

I look down at the scant makeup in my Heathrow standard edition see through container and I consider what to wear when I appear on the stage with the talented Maya Beiser when we perform the new piece titled ‘Stuttered Chant’ at the UCLA. I think about the unusual piece I am going to play written by David Lang and his brief to me about enjoying the experience of creating sounds from a Cello –an instrument not usually amongst my arsenal!

Isn’t it amazing the things that go through your mind when you are standing in a queue clasping a little plastic bag!



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