CPB U.S. Tour 2006, Day 26 – Day off, Portland, OR

With the prospect of 2 days between Denver and our next gig, Portland OR, it was arranged for the band to fly to Portland and enjoy 2 days off whilst the poor crew endure the gruelling drive.

The flight was good. On the plane I read the in-flight magazine and came across some aerial photos taken from the window of a regular commercial passenger jet. They were taken by a lady who’s made it her hobby to take photos on all the flights she takes – she’s compiled them all into a book.

It really struck me how we take every opportunity to switch off to the natural world around us. For a long time it’s annoyed me how we’re played background music in every situation… in a shop, a car, a church… it’s almost like we can’t stand to not have music playing. What has happened is that we’ve become over saturated with music and in doing so, have desensitised ourselves to some of the magic that music possesses. If you constantly come into contact with something, you learn to switch off to it – that’s what we’ve learnt to do with music. Is it any wonder that as a society we can no longer take any more than a 3 minute pop song? There was a time, before recorded music began to over saturate our society, when the majority of people would be engrossed for the entire duration of a symphony. But today, in our society of constant sensory bombardment we’ve been made immune to the full power of music by over exposure. I try never to have background music. At school it always used to amaze me how some people could do homework with music playing, surely you have to block out the music in order to work – this is another example of people subconsciously training themselves to switch off to music… Is it any wonder then that they can no longer manage to focus on music?

Anyway, I realised that the same thing is true of other types of media… you go on a 2 hour flight passing over scenes of breathtaking natural beauty and don’t even glance out of the window to see the sights of absolute wonder that, a couple of generations ago would have mesmerised people and inspired them to take a flight for the views alone. Instead we choose to watch in flight movies!!! So, why don’t we appreciate these amazing wonders anymore? Perhaps it’s something to do with them becoming the norm and part of the everyday? If we could only see the stars once every 50 years, imagine what a sight of wonder and beauty they would be… but because we see them every night, we don’t even think to take a second look at them – the same with a sunset or a sunrise. I’m sure that the views of planet Earth from space that, even now, inspire such wonder and even emotion, will be equally taken for granted a few decades from now when space travel is common place for us all.

So, in short, I took time on this flight to gaze out of the window and allow my self to rediscover some of the most beautiful natural scenes in the universe. I resolved to make time on every flight I take from now on for this.

When we arrived in Portland I took a guitar gig bag to a shoe repairer for a slight modification to the straps. It turned out that the guy was an ELP fan so I said that I’d put him on the guest list (as it happens, I don’t think he ever turned up for the gig a couple of days later).

In my hotel room I got on the Internet, signed up to Myspace and started writing this blog.

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