Slay Your Dragons - Malcolm Stern

Navigating the Symphony of Life: Julian Marshall on the Transformative Power of Music and Consciousness

March 05, 2024 John
Navigating the Symphony of Life: Julian Marshall on the Transformative Power of Music and Consciousness
Slay Your Dragons - Malcolm Stern
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Slay Your Dragons - Malcolm Stern
Navigating the Symphony of Life: Julian Marshall on the Transformative Power of Music and Consciousness
Mar 05, 2024
John

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Have you ever felt a song reach deep within you, stirring emotions tied to the core of the human experience? Julian Marshall, a legendary musician whose artistic evolution has traversed the realms of pop stardom to profound musical narratives, joins us to share his remarkable journey. From the catchy hooks of "Dancing in the City" to the emotional depths of a cantata based on Holocaust victim Gertrude Kolmar's poetry, Julian's conversation offers a rare glimpse into the transformation of an artist. He candidly discusses his shift from chasing chart-topping hits to composing music that seeks to touch the soul, guided by influences ranging from Stravinsky to Buddy Holly and a deep dive into his Jewish heritage and Zen Buddhism.

As we navigate the symphony of life, the intersection of music, poetry, and history can evoke powerful reflections on our collective humanity. This episode probes the emotional resonance of pieces like Steve Reich's "Different Trains," capturing the parallel narratives of innocence and tragedy. Julian and I ponder the role of vulnerability in the arts and the boldness it takes to express the complexities of our human saga. We also challenge current leadership paradigms, contrasting the rigidness of today's political scene with the transformative potential of embracing consciousness as the bedrock of reality. Join us for a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be human, the impact of consciousness on our interconnected existence, and the pivotal choices humanity faces at this crucial juncture in our evolution.

Julian Marshall - www.julianmarshall.co.uk

This Podcast is sponsored by Onlinevents 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever felt a song reach deep within you, stirring emotions tied to the core of the human experience? Julian Marshall, a legendary musician whose artistic evolution has traversed the realms of pop stardom to profound musical narratives, joins us to share his remarkable journey. From the catchy hooks of "Dancing in the City" to the emotional depths of a cantata based on Holocaust victim Gertrude Kolmar's poetry, Julian's conversation offers a rare glimpse into the transformation of an artist. He candidly discusses his shift from chasing chart-topping hits to composing music that seeks to touch the soul, guided by influences ranging from Stravinsky to Buddy Holly and a deep dive into his Jewish heritage and Zen Buddhism.

As we navigate the symphony of life, the intersection of music, poetry, and history can evoke powerful reflections on our collective humanity. This episode probes the emotional resonance of pieces like Steve Reich's "Different Trains," capturing the parallel narratives of innocence and tragedy. Julian and I ponder the role of vulnerability in the arts and the boldness it takes to express the complexities of our human saga. We also challenge current leadership paradigms, contrasting the rigidness of today's political scene with the transformative potential of embracing consciousness as the bedrock of reality. Join us for a thoughtful exploration of what it means to be human, the impact of consciousness on our interconnected existence, and the pivotal choices humanity faces at this crucial juncture in our evolution.

Julian Marshall - www.julianmarshall.co.uk

This Podcast is sponsored by Onlinevents 

Malcolm Stern:

Welcome to Slay your Dragons With Compassion. My podcast made in conjunction with online events and today I'm very, very happy to welcome a very old friend, julian Marshall, who I first met was it was becoming a bit of a pop star, with Marshall Hayne dancing in the city, which was an anthemic sort of dance track, and and was also with the Flying Lizards and was making his way in music. But his path taken, it stayed very musical, but it's taken a very different direction and I was incredibly impressed, julian, when you produced a piece about Gertrude Colmar, who was a woman who was a victim of the Nazis in the concentration camps, and you wrote was it not a reta or a sort of a choral?

Julian Marshall:

I would describe it as a kind of cantata, so for me it was so called kind of a small choral piece with a soloist and a couple of cellos. So I called it a cantata, because your name, I think of it, seemed to fit at the time.

Malcolm Stern:

It was. I was very moved by it. It sort of had to sort of similar resonance for me of Steve Rice trains and there was something about the impending horror and actually made it managing to capture in music. And it feels like you've made music something that's been quite elastic for you. You're no longer trying to please the crowds and yet you do write. Something writes some very beautiful pieces. Can you tell us a little bit about your, your musical journey?

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, sure, mark. Well, thank you for that introduction and thank you for immediately talking about Colmar, etc. Well, I grew up in a musical family. My mother, my father and my brother were all professional musicians, and I mean, my brother still is a professional musician, he, he's actually 12 years older than me, so by the time I was four and he was 16, you know, he was pretty much a grown-up as far as I was concerned, and they all had their different listening tastes. I mean, there was some kind of similarity, but I was.

Julian Marshall:

I was listening to music from the earliest age, you know, sometimes for many hours a day, of everything. So what you just said, around kind of stylistic, kind of breadth, is it's just been a part of my kind of musical DNA for for as long as I can remember. And so I, you know, on a given day I was listening to Stravinsky, miles Davis, buddy Holly, dave Brubeck, count Basie, you know whoever it might have been, and for me it was just music. So I've always found this kind of stylistic kind of flexibility or fluidity is something which just feels very natural to me. At the same time, that's also caused a certain amount of confusion to me, and indeed you're right, I mean, in the early years I was, I was very keen to kind of prove myself and, to you know, make a success. And you know when that happened, it was an amazing gift. You know I was absolutely thrilled to be sitting on our very first single ever released, which turned out to, you know, sell, I think, around two million copies and we got all the all, the all the disks that go with it, etc. You know, that's absolutely wonderful. What wasn't so wonderful this is, I felt, completely lost and very, very, very, very, very, very not out of control and not clear about the choices that I was making. And so it took me a while and quite a lot of disruption in my life until I began to feel that I kind of had a clearer sense of the voices to listen to.

Julian Marshall:

And one particular, one particular occasion that because, as you know, malcolm, I've been very interested in in, in kind of, you know, like the inquiry, who are we as human beings, and that that's been very much the forefront of why of my interest for many years, kind of started really with with a plunge into doing the est training back in 1980. And anyway, some years after that, you know, there was a weekend I was doing with Gempo Roshi, who was a Zen master, and we were talking about the different voices that that inhabit themselves in our, in our place of being, and I realized that my my agent voice was completely suppressing my artist voice. The agent voice was saying you know you're not exactly pleasing, but it was, but it was more about you know, the commercial realities dominate. And I realized how suffocating that was when I had to fire that agent in my mind and just say you're out of here, dude. You know it's like I need some space to actually find out where the hell I am.

Julian Marshall:

Is it okay to swear on your podcast, by the way, malcolm? I think it probably is.

Malcolm Stern:

I mean, who am I talking to? But you know.

Julian Marshall:

I don't make sure. Back to what you know what you don't feel too much.

Julian Marshall:

I'll try to be as appropriate as I possibly can. But yeah, so that remit a huge difference and that. And then you know when my, when my mother died. You know my situation. My mother was Jewish, my father was not Jewish.

Julian Marshall:

We were brought up in a very non religious household and of course as soon as my mom died I became extremely interested in my Jewish heritage and of course she wasn't around for me to ask her about that anymore.

Julian Marshall:

So I began to inquire a lot myself and beginning also to recognize the importance of what you and I will call shadow in our lives and in our culture, etc. And beginning to recognize where that was showing up in my own life. I it was an amazing kind of gift of literally accidentally bump into this incredible poetry comma, but when I did, I just opened up a brochure and there was a quote from her in there and it blew my mind and and that led me to a whole new kind of exploration, which was a mission of inquiry and rather than trying to make a statement, it was more about following a line of inquiry, following the kind of curiosity as to how to set these incredible words to music in some way, and so she became a real kind of teacher. To me the long answer, I'm afraid, malcolm, I think Sorry it's a long answer no, but it's a good one because actually I think this concept of following.

Malcolm Stern:

When I'm running therapy groups, I'm following the group. I don't have an agenda. The agenda is to see what the agenda is. What I'm hearing is you have a very similar line with your music. You are following where you're led in some ways. So this is a long way from commercial sort of like high flying and yet it's obviously feeds a lot of you.

Julian Marshall:

And I well, I appreciate it. I agree with you completely, except I think that any songwriter at heart actually knows this, whatever the style. So, for example, I was happened to be watching a rather lovely interview last night with Billie Eilish and her brother Phineas, with David Letterman, and the way they were talking about songwriting then is I got to identify with all of it. And that's my experience with teaching, that I teach the emerging songwriters a lot, and that, I think, is the theme. And it's a curious thing.

Julian Marshall:

There's this I think this kind of reflects life a lot. There's a sense of intention that we have as writers and creators, but we have to be careful that we're not turning that intention into a kind of fixed point. And it seems to me the intention is to explore. So you may be writing, for example, a breakup song. Well, you may be clear on the kind of things you want to say in the breakup song, but then it becomes a kind of mission of inquiry.

Julian Marshall:

So I but I entirely agree with you and I think I was far too unwilling in the old days to. I mean, I wanted to go with the first draft of things and not have a reflective. There's something great about going with the first draft of things but as a kind of a splurge, and then the craft begins and you can then begin your kind of critical. You can bring criticality to that and reflection to that and explore it. But I entirely agree that it's a mission of inquiry. If we have a fixed agenda, I think it's kind of game over because then that's just for me a very defensive way of writing songs.

Malcolm Stern:

It's funny when I used to put on talks at. St James's Piccadilly who used to have sort of really well-known people come and speak there, the ones who came with everything written down in front of them and they read it off their page. I knew as soon as they started they weren't going to inspire the audience. I think we have to take risks in how we maneuver our way through our craft. But I like what you just described, that you have your splurge and then you have to weave it.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, exactly, I mean, to me that is the art and craft of songwriting or any kind of butter to endeavor. Actually, if I was ever going to write a book which I'm not attempting to, but it would be called Splurge and Craft and it would be a look at those. You know the critical process from that point of view and the reason I wouldn't want to write the book is I don't know, I've got much more to say about it other than that it's like Splurge and Craft. Yeah, got it. That resonates with me, but in a way, the rest is the inquiry.

Malcolm Stern:

It's funny because there's a book called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I know it well, you know the title, but I've never heard of the book because I've never felt I needed to. I felt like he captured whatever he needed to say in the title.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, splurge and.

Malcolm Stern:

Craft. You've done that, so it's a three-word book.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, exactly, exactly, makes sense to me, yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

So there's a sense of your. You know I think I've had a sense of you as you've gone along in your musical career that you've been driven by internal guides, and I don't mean that as sort of a you know, a wishy-washy sort of spiritual way. It's just that there's something about being allowing what wants to be born inside us to come through.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

So the Komar piece, of course, that you wrote is obviously you know. For me that was pretty mind-blowing to hear how you'd captured this extraordinary poet who'd obviously said.

Julian Marshall:

Well, I enormously appreciate that, malcolm. So a couple of things about that. One of the things I've learned about about kind of being an artist is that a lot of the time it's incredibly inconvenient. You know, it's like every time that one of these Komar pieces has kind of come along to write, I know it's going to take me months, it's going to cost me thousands, it's probably not going to have any kind of relative commercial reality to it. So you know it's like, and so it's like what is justification to doing it? You know why do it.

Julian Marshall:

And if I look at that from a rational point of view, sometimes from a budgetary point of view, it makes zero sense whatsoever.

Julian Marshall:

If I look at it in terms of kind, of the nourishment that it has given me in my life and again, that idea of kind of some it sounds a little bit pretentious but I hope it doesn't come across too much like that the sense of kind, of giving oneself over to something, is very amazing.

Julian Marshall:

And I mean I was incredibly touched by your reference to some of the Komar pieces in reference to different trains, the Steve Reich piece, because that is one of my all-time great pieces to me, which somehow in its way of being. It has quite a sense of how do I put it? The expression, the expressive intent is so powerful, but it's kind of framed in such a way which is almost quite dispassionate. And for me, the way that he creates this kind of compassion through almost a kind of a what's the word, the piece is not what I would call an emotional piece in the sense of a kind of romantic period of music. If you look at Gustav Mahler, for example, who wrote pieces which are intensely emotional and I love Mahler and I'm not testing Mahler for one second, I adore Mahler but there's something about the kind of at a distance sense that Steve Walsh presents, something which to me no possible amount of emotiveness in music could actually create.

Malcolm Stern:

And just for our audience who don't know the piece, just give us a brief synopsis of what it's about.

Julian Marshall:

Okay, well, different trains is a piece that Steve Walsh wrote. Oh, my goodness me, when did you write it? I apologize, I can't remember the exact date but I had to guess I say late sixties. That's something I remember. I think Something like that.

Julian Marshall:

And he realized that when his parents were divorced and they lived on different coasts of the States and he would be taken by a nanny, if I remember in the story, right from one coast to another on the wonderful Pullman trains across the United States in the 1930s, and he loved those journeys and they were exciting, they were exotic, they were fascinating, they were long, they were all you know. It's an adventure. But he realized in later life that as he was making those childhood journeys the Jews were making very different kind of journeys of concentration. So he wrote a piece which contrasts those two journeys and he does it with extraordinary kind of minimal means. It's written kind of string quartet and backing tape and the music is. The music does shift quite profoundly from kind of one journey to the next.

Julian Marshall:

But the transformation, how do I explain it? He uses a lot of kind of conversational narrative from the time, so that might be recorded narrative from the train companies at the time, or it may be from recollection of Jews talking about their experience or their experience relatives. So you get, excuse me, you get the sort of snippets of conversation which come in alongside this kind of perpetual music which changes its flavor and its tempo but is continuous throughout the whole piece. But you suddenly realize that you've tipped from an optimistic, brilliant, childlike view of the world into us and horror and the tip from one to the other. I remember when I first really listened to this I was on a war and I think I just burst into tears. I mean it was just overwhelmingly emotional, but it wasn't like I was being taken on an emotional journey, like I've got to feel the emotion now. It was impossible not to.

Malcolm Stern:

It was so powerful and I know, when I first heard it, I had shivers down my spine. It's like what's he done? How is he doing this?

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, exactly, yeah, good question.

Malcolm Stern:

So that's the piece and I'm going to bring it back to you, julian, because I feel like you capture some of that, certainly in the Kalmar piece, and also you've written subsequent pieces, which again captures some of that essence of really wanting to lay bare something that's happened in our human history.

Julian Marshall:

Okay, well, I can say a little bit about that. I mean, one of the great things about working with the Gertrude Kalmar poem is, let me just say for a second, gertrude Kalmar was a woman who died when she was 43 in 1946 in Auschwitz. She lived in Germany throughout the war looking after her ill-an-aged dad until he died. Well, he was actually taken to a concentration camp when he died, but then some weeks later she was taken to Auschwitz where we don't know what happened to her, but she probably perished the very day she arrived.

Julian Marshall:

She maintained an impact. She is a poet of incredible quality but is remarkably unknown. I mean, if we compare her with well, let me just think we did compare her with I can't think of a complete, complete, an appropriate comparison at the moment, but with other poets of her time, I mean Emily Dickinson springs to mind. I mean she's known a fraction of the kind of following that Emily Dickinson has. But in my view, and I think the view of others for sure, she writes poetry of at least an equivalence in terms of quality and somehow she does this thing of getting into the depth of human experience, and again with a kind of mixture of compassion and dispassion, a mix I find incredibly compelling, where you feel it's both bearing witness and of the experience at the same time. Now, that's something to achieve. Now, if I achieved any of that which you're very kind of suggesting I have to some degree, it would be, in my view, through it's something like a kind of act of service to go through Colmar's poetry. So it's like I'm not attempting to set or say something with the poetry, so much as do my best to kind of through my own filter system, kind of serve the poetry.

Julian Marshall:

And does the poetry need any music with it? Of course it doesn't, it doesn't need it at all. But there is an opportunity perhaps in framing the poetry through music which offers an opportunity. And I learned so much from that because there was a lot of you know, using a good Buddhist expression of not knowing in the approach to writing the piece and a lot of trust and a lot of kind of well, let's just see what happens here. And are the pieces perfect? Absolutely not. Are they flawed in terms of technique, in terms of structure? Absolutely yes. Do they communicate something on some level to some people? Yes, they seem to do so and that's lovely. So that's that.

Malcolm Stern:

But I, you know it's interesting because I've watched your musical journey. I knew you when you were in your 20s, when we were both in our 20s, yeah, and I've watched you as a musician sort of come of age, and the same way I could say I've watched myself come of age as a psychotherapist. Yes, we develop because we have a passion for understanding the human experience and finding our way to express it. I'm putting this word into your mouth and you probably have something slightly different to add to that. Yes, thank you, but I do see that that actually it's almost like you are honoring the calling that's inside you.

Julian Marshall:

Well, thank you. Sometimes it doesn't feel like that, it's like the quite off-fact, and you should talk to my wife Aravala about the kind of ridiculous, ego-orientated kind of doubt that I can bring to at any moment of the day. But what I would say about that is the only thing I would disagree with you with. Not disagree that I would put differently would be understanding human experience, because I think I've given up on that one a long time ago. I'm not so much interested in understanding because I don't think it's understandable. What I am interested in is trying to be as human as possible, and one of the things I so appreciate about my relationship with you, malcolm, is that there's no way that I need to filter any part of myself when I review. You know, however, to crave to the thoughts, maybe, except you just say bring it on. You know it's just wonderful and I so appreciate that, and I think I mean.

Julian Marshall:

What's happening now I've noticed is I'm feeling very clear really, that the coal-mall pieces of which there were how many were there? One, two, three, kind of five-ish, I think. Those pieces are gone. I think that's done that project. What's showing up now is a kind of back to simplicity, and I'm really interested in music which kind of moves the body as much as them as well as the mind, is something more kind of holistic in that way.

Julian Marshall:

And also I've just been having the great pleasure of working with a young songwriter who has again, and something I find so much with young people and the young people that I teach is kind of wisdom and understanding. It just blows me away. You know, about being a human being and, for example, the idea that we are not one thing or another. You know we're all of it and that with the artist I'm working with, who is an extraordinary songwriter and singer called Adelaide Perseo Adi P is a professional. She's so interested in this inquiry. You know what is it to be a human being and what is it to be with Shabba and what is it to kind of recognize these qualities that come through us, are in us, what need to be heard, you know, and it's so I'm really excited about that.

Malcolm Stern:

So, and I think what I'm interested is what what takes us on that journey? What is it that sort of grabbed you and went you need to do this, or what is it that turned you into what you're becoming as an elder?

Julian Marshall:

Well, I think, I think the main thing was actually, I think my parents dying was a major turning point. I think that it was something happened. Yeah, what I noticed about the kind of your work that I quote unquote, done on myself is is that, you know, I say about that that for me, what I used to think, that that I used to kind of think that um, I think a better way of putting it, is that all I can see, it say, is, is that every bit of kind of work that I've done with myself as a therapeutic nature has just kind of oiled the wheels a bit. And does it mean that the behavior is necessarily going to change? Doesn't necessarily mean to say I have any more understanding of myself, maybe a tiny bit, but it's like.

Julian Marshall:

For me, what's been so fascinating is that is, in a way, is to say and to recognize I don't know. And with that sense of I don't know comes in the sense of great. Well, if I don't know, why am I pretending to know? And why am I pretending to think that I understand something about myself and my people around me? Well, actually, maybe it's just a fraction, and maybe that's fine that it is just a fraction, but at the same time that it feels very revelatory to kind of just say I don't know, and therefore it allows for all those voices to somehow be heard and to be given a place that I might have otherwise wanted to push away.

Malcolm Stern:

I mean, I think that's very interesting in a larger context as well, because the again, when I go back to Alternatives, which is the series that I set up at Alternatives in 1983, and probably hosted more than 2000 speakers, people like Eckhart Tuller and Marianne Williamson very well known names Elizabeth Gilbert, ram Dass and what I realized is that the people who were able to allow themselves to be seen as not knowing but inquiring were the people who I thought I really wanted to listen to, people who had fixed opinions about who they were and what they were doing. It felt like it was ossified.

Malcolm Stern:

So, I don't know. I think that's actually key. And again, we see it with politicians. Very occasionally you'll hear a politician saying something like I don't know. It's a revelation because they're not blagging it out.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, no kidding. I mean, I suppose what you're touching on here is the thing that worries me most about the world. Yes, and it's exactly that. It seems to me that the world is so predicated on an assumption of I know I'm right, and what do we see happening everywhere? We just see one right against another, right all over, and that's not a great way to live, as far as I can see.

Malcolm Stern:

No, it's not, and we see it again. Of course, in religion, my God will help me win the battle. Yeah, why is your God better than my?

Julian Marshall:

God or other gods, yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

So I think there is something that's humbling about becoming human. Really becoming humane in our humanness, yeah, takes us to a place of questioning, a constant questioning of who we are and where it is we're heading and what we're doing.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, yeah, I entirely agree. I think you know I'm also I'm really interested in this whole thing. You know people like like I know we, you and I have talked a lot about this but also people like Bernardo Castro and Rupert Spira, who are very, very clear that you know, in kind of mainstream thinking, we've got the moral role, which is the idea that, you know, consciousness evolves out of matter. And they're saying no, no, no, no, matter evolves out of consciousness. And for me, as soon as we shift that context from one thing to another, the disagain, change of bar of unparalleled magnitude. It's kind of like, well, hang on a moment, you mean that consciousness is essentially just one kind of consciousness thing, not a thing of which we kind of manifest out of in some way as much as I am in this and this calculator and this pencil and my glasses and all this. You know well, yeah, and for me I don't even care if it's true or not, but the model of actually interconnectivity for me is really inspiring.

Malcolm Stern:

Yeah, and for me also, I think there is a sort of sense that we are so much more than we know. We are, yeah, and that actually it's like it's an incredible journey to be human, to be in a human body. I remember lying in bed a few weeks ago and lying there and suddenly realizing that this body, this personality, was a vehicle in which consciousness was living, and I thought this could be going a bit into sort of spaced out thinking, but it didn't feel that way. It felt like something has was. There was a stillness in that thought and I had a very interesting thought when I was. I had a hashtag in 19, in sort of 2021, as you know, I was in an ambulance on the way to hospital, thinking I was dying, and in that moment there was a moment of incredible peace. Yeah, I didn't have to sort of to keep trying to do anything, I just let go and if I die.

Malcolm Stern:

I've written my legacy book. I've I've lived, I think, a pretty decent life, with obviously some mistakes, and have hurt people, and those hurts hurt me now. Yeah, I think, at the end of the day, we are in a place of I don't know, and in a place where one of the things I want to explore in this series is what does the next stage of evolution potentially look like? What are we going to become? If we're really going to survive as human beings? How can we? We break the mold of the, of the sort of patriarchal, sort of violent society that we've grown up knowing in our background?

Julian Marshall:

Yes, yes. Well put, Malcolm, I can only agree. Yes, yeah. Well, when I was growing up in the 1960s I did not imagine the life was going to look like like it does now. You know if I there's a wonderful. One of my favorite albums of all time is called the night fly by Donald Fagan, and for me it's such a terrific example of a kind of ethnographic album. I'm talking about growing up in the 50s and 60s with this kind of extraordinary sense of optimism. What a glorious world this will be. What a wonderful time to put, a glorious time to be free.

Julian Marshall:

Yes, of course, I just got on blank on it. Anyway, the whole album kind of reflects the kind of idea of kind of optimism and kind of bright hide, hope and exhilaration. And I know that I was a young person at the time. I was one of 54, was in 16. I was still a very young person, but but throughout the 60s and 70s, I suppose, probably until that year, I did begin to feel that, you know, life is kind of pretty good and it's kind of going in the right direction, isn't it? I felt like was incredible.

Julian Marshall:

I think the life was pretty good, life was amazing, but the world seemed to be kind of tipping in the right direction. And remember discovering things like I mentioned, the S training. You know, s training totally transform my life and it was like I feel all these other people feel this kind of feel, the same way, that this is incredible gift called life, you know, and it, from that kind of brightness to the kind of challenges that we're facing right now, feels like it's a reality chat like no other. Yeah, I, I, I, I. I neither feel optimistic nor nor nor doom later in the future, but it's certainly not a done deal.

Malcolm Stern:

And so I was talking to another of my guests and the other day about Joanna Macy and, and that she came and spoke with all the speakers probably the speaker who's impressed me the most, yeah, and what she said is this is this is the time of the great turning. We're not going to be there to become as human beings or we're going to perish, yeah, and we don't know which it's going to be. But we have to feed the part that that wants to live, the part that wants to be alive and to grow and to develop. Yeah, you can see that the work that you're doing is your, is your contribution to that part. It's, it's a drop and it's. You know, all of us are droplets in the ocean. Yeah, just droplets gradually expand as well.

Julian Marshall:

That's a lovely way of putting it, malcolm. I I agree, I love the idea of and it's been really great, you know, to to be a musician with the willingness to be the tiniest drop. That but, but, but. But that doesn't mean that a tool that you give any less. You know the idea that that bigger is better in the, in the world of the arts, is so prevalent.

Julian Marshall:

You know we're living right now Absolutely in a world with your dominated by Spotify and tick tock, etc. Where, where bigger is better, 100%, and in fact, you know quantity of equality, 100% is a God for incredible songwriters like Billy Eilish and Phineas, who are showing us that. I mean, they use machines but the machines do not use them, and you know that for me is absolutely crucial and I think one of the things for me, as I was saying before, I mean working with Adelaide, for example, is a gift that I did not see coming at the stage of my life and it's a gift for me of kind of. I can't tell you what a privilege is to be working with her as a young songwriter and the joy and the fun of creating and collaborating and creating in that way, and I've had the privilege of working with other young creatives over the last few projects. You know it is such a gift. So I'm coming up to my 70th birthday two weeks tomorrow.

Julian Marshall:

Oh, you're an elder, julian Great, and you know I did not expect this to feel like a kind of an aware new start. And yeah, I mean it's. You know I, just as long as these wonderful young creatives were happy to work with me, you know I want to go and work with them forever.

Malcolm Stern:

Well, I can't think of anyone better who would be able to help them in their process, and I remember they help me with mine.

Julian Marshall:

I mean, I don't feel like I am Marks. You know it's like I feel that they're helping with me with mine. Absolutely, it's one of the great things about you know, as you know yourself, that you know it's very age-leveling creative process. You know it's like, yeah, one bit of experience over here is interesting, but that other experience over there is equally interesting. So that's it.

Malcolm Stern:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's funny because I first I had a sort of a revelatory moment in 2009 about music when I went to see Leonard Cohen's concert and, in fact, the album that concert was made into the album live in London and I realized that here was a sage in the role of a musician. Yeah, he was a bring-through wisdom.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

And also to create an environment. 15,000 people were in that hall.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

In an environment where those 15,000 people felt like they were part of one community for that evening.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

And I see that music is such a powerful medium and has such potential to lift our spirits.

Julian Marshall:

Well, that's great. You should mention Leonard Cohen, because dance me to the end of love is very much on the same kind of level as different trains is. Now the musical language is incredibly different. The topic is identical. You know. Cohen is quoted himself as saying that this is about perishing in the gas chambers. And when I first heard it, all I knew is that my world was completely rocked by this piece. I had no idea what it's about. Now, admittedly, I did hear it in a wake, because when I very first heard it and it was so it's something I was skewed to be very moved in the first place. But every time I heard it after that I was like what is it about this piece that just kind of pulls the rung away under my feet. And I agree with you entirely about Leonard Cohen.

Malcolm Stern:

Well, it's funny because people use that for marriages, that's, they think it's a love song. Yeah, A love song. It is At a very different level. And you've got words like dance me to your beauty with your burning violin, dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in. That is a man who understands the process, bringing it through in beautiful music.

Julian Marshall:

Exactly, malcolm, you've hit the nail right on the head. Yeah, I mean it would be good if people at their weddings knew what they were dancing to, because I'm all for it it would be great if they knew what they were dancing to. Yeah, it's true, people also dance to sting. Are they watching every breath you take?

Malcolm Stern:

Yes.

Julian Marshall:

Which always kind of amuses me, because do people know that this is a stalking song? You know that actually it's another very wonderful songwriter.

Malcolm Stern:

Yes, yes, that's the magic of music and I think you are one of those magicians. I know you. I don't want to feed your ego too much. But, it's like your music is your life, and I really see that in many different ways. That's the common theme that's gone through your life.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah well, it's taken me 70 years to actually own that Great, so thank you for feeling that. I appreciate that a lot, Miles.

Malcolm Stern:

Yeah Well, it's been lovely talking to you. We're coming to the end of our you too, you too Great. So really, really glad we managed to connect in this way.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, me too, Malcolm.

Malcolm Stern:

Yeah.

Julian Marshall:

Thank you so much for inviting me. I really appreciate it and I've noticed before that we will get on Zoom and have great chance together. There's something about the kind of formality of someone like this where I feel that we sometimes get to places in a way that we might not necessarily get to in a half hour conversation as the two of us. I really appreciate that.

Malcolm Stern:

Yeah, because I realised we sort of started this with very much the personal, but then it went into sort of something very good which took its own shape.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah.

Malcolm Stern:

And it just it opens my mind and helps me to sort of like to go oh that's interesting.

Julian Marshall:

Yeah, for me too. For me too. Thank you, much appreciated. Thank you, julian.

Malcolm Stern:

We will be Great.

Julian Marshall:

You're very welcome and, yes, see you all soon. Cheers Bye. Thank you everyone.

Musical Journey and Creative Inquiry
Music, Poetry, and Human Experience
Exploring Consciousness and Human Evolution