Mumbling Jack: The Road Test

A couple of weeks back I wrote a review of John Mackenzie’s new album of poetry, Mumbling Jack. This review was based solely on armchair listening, but the true test of any recording is the road test.

Now, for me, hitting the road means walking. There is something about walking which liberates my thinking, and such thoughts as I do have almost always spring to mind in mid-stride, thus necessitating my love of notebooks. (I have a completely untested hypothesis that walking activates but does not completely monopolize the rational unconscious, thereby facilitating unconscious associations, like I said, completely untested and quite possibly untestable.)

Anyhoo, part of the ritual of the road for me includes listening to music and spoken word that has proven itself to be productive of ideas and images, so I loaded up Mumbling Jack on the mp3 and headed out into the winter morning, and I am happy to report that it passed the road test with flying colours, mainly the black of flying crows.

The intense imagery of John Mackenzies’ poems both confirmed and contradicted the world I walked through, at times spotlighting what I saw, at other times eclipsing it. The varied rhythms, tonalities and emotional content of his voice sometimes fading into the background, at other times bursting into my full awareness. This was not stupid stuff, Terence. This was the stuff that excellent walks are made of.

I have one more experiment to perform with Mumbling Jack, but have not had the time to set it up. In the meantime, Here is the link to John Mackenzie’s blog and instructions on how to purchase his album. You can take it for a stroll yourself.