The Lavender Philosophy

Stockholm 12th of December 2014

Been sitting by the window working today, sometimes looking at the christmas tree in the yard, sometimes looking in through the windows of the neighbours opposite me. At the bottom floor there’s a restaurant kitchen. Same man is standing there day in and day out, doing the dishes, obviously daydreaming judging by the look in his eyes. Sometimes singing. Seems happy.

4 days ago, the Beating Drum compilation The Many Are One was released and with it, my song Lavender Philosophy that was recorded in Piers Faccini‘s home studio in the Cevennes this summer at the same time we recorded the songs for the album (which this song will also be on).

LYSANDER

        When I was a littly I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. In absolute bliss. My grandmother was– as I remember her– always glowing, always happy, always ready to play a game or tell a story or think of something to do. She used to tell stories about her past and my grandfather’s. One of them was of how my grandfather had really wanted to become a pianist, but had decided it was a silly idea and become an engineer instead. I remember I wrote letters to him, pretending I was different clients of his, coming from this or that part of the world, asking him to invent this or that kind of machine. He used to laugh at these. A very silent restraint kind of laughter. Otherwise I remember him as very silent. He had that sharp look of intellectuality and composure. Always busy. Never any free time. But always calm in a strange kind of way. He did play the piano every now and then, and every time he did, my grandmother stopped whatever she was doing and made me do so too and just told me to sit down and listen. I was always too restless to listen, it didn’t make any sense to me— “too many notes”, I told my grandmother quoting the movie Amadeus that my mother almost watched on repeat at the time. So my grandmother would send me out on the balcony telling me to try to copy every bird, every insect, every little noise I could hear. She said that would help me learn to enjoy my grandfather’s piano playing. It didn’t really… But I learned to respect it warmly. And I became a good bird whistler too. But otherwise what that lesson mostly taught me was probably that I was a major daydreamer.

        When I was there and my grandmother was not with me, I remember her working in her garden. For some reason I have a memory that both my grandmother and my own mother really wanted to grow lavender in their gardens and struggled with it for a long time, but they never succeeded. So lavender has a sort of mysterious meaning to me, and I always think of my grandmother and her lavender philosophy when I hear it, see it or smell it.