“What Comes Next?”

Have you ever considered that music and film have something in common?

When I say “film”, I’m not talking about the stuff you put in a camera, or cling film, or what happens when you spill some Castrol GTX on a puddle.  No, I am talking about ‘moving pictures’ … the flicks … the movies …

… and when I talk about music and film having something in common, I’m not referring to the fact that films have music in them either.  It’s something else.  Let’s come back to that in a minute.

Have you ever wondered what makes a great painting, great?  Or why you keep returning to a particular photograph hanging on your wall?  What is it that draws you back?  What stops you getting bored with it?

Back to the film and the music then.  Obviously they have a mass of differences, but what they have in common is that they are both transitory in nature.  They both ‘move on.’  The film moves onto the next scene and the symphony moves onto the next phrase … and there’s nothing you can do about it, short of bribing the projectionist or hijacking the London Symphony Orchestra.  So, that’s what comes next then?  Well, it’s the next bit …

Music that you want to hear again and again … the stuff that stands the test of time, does this to you, because it is ‘great.’  The composer, the conductor and all the members of the orchestra know their jobs.  They know the difference between what’s good and what’s just sound.  The director of a film who gets you hooked enough to want to see the next scene, can do this because he also knows his job.  He knows how to cast and he knows how to ‘work’ all the ingredients together to make an irresistible banquet when the average guy struggles to make a soggy sandwich …

… but these works are still transitory.  Just like the banquet.  Once you’ve eaten it, it’s gone.  True enough, you are satisfied, but the performance is over … gone … finished … a memory.

Back to that photograph now.  What creates the magnetism?  Could it be that it is different to all that the run if the mill stuff that’s forced onto us on a daily basis?  Could it be that it obeys those all important rules of composition or could it just be that the photographer knows how to break those rules?  It could be lots of things, but whatever it is, it’s no ‘better’ than a great film or a great music score.

Here’s the rub though … it’s still there !  You can go back to it.  You can keep going back to it.  You can walk past it in the corridor and spend another minute with it, discovering something else that you didn’t notice before … and you can do all this without having to go onto … “the next bit.”  You can slow down the progress.  Timing doesn’t matter.  Not only that, you don’t have to sit through the whole performance again to relive the experience.  You don’t need to eat the banquet again … you can just have another nibble.

Of course, we often want to sit through the whole performance again (especially with music) but with a good photograph or painting you don’t have to devote the whole evening to it, if you don’t want to !

So, what comes next then … the whole banquet, or just another nibble?

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