Monday, January 4, 2021

Bumping into... Peter Gough

Bumping Into... is a series of mini-chats with a variety of peeps that you might run into in some of our local music communities. (There's a bit of an intro and my thoughts behind the series here.)

How are you? Where are you?

I’m great! I’ve survived worse and more sustained traumas than this pandemic. My wife and I are keeping cozy with our cats (Harry and Simon) at Don Mills and Lawrence.

What have you been up to since March or so?

Working from home, walking, consuming online content, and listening to music. I really enjoyed HBO’s Vice-Principals which is streaming on Crave. Danny McBride and Walton Goggins are outstanding! I’m fortunate to work in a robust industry (film and television) that has adapted incredibly well to COVID-19. There’s really no safer place to work than on a film set, and I’m proud to support such a resilient group of artists. My workplace installed VOIP software and bought everyone laptops, so I’ve been lucky enough to work from home since mid-March.

Have you found any new ways to do old things? How are you feeling about the shifts in how music is being made/shared/listened to?

Since March, I’ve realized that I tend to speed-walk everywhere and it’s not only unnecessary but harmful to my body. I suppose my mindset was ‘faster = better/more efficient/better exercise’. All I was doing was locking my ankles up, ignoring my posture, and causing myself pain. It’s no wonder my wife didn’t like going on walks with me! Now I focus on my posture, a proper footstrike, and concern myself with endurance (and enjoyment) over speed. One last thing regarding walking – please be sure to wear reflective gear if you plan to be out at night!

I find streaming performances totally unengaging. I’ve watched a handful since March, and the only ones I connected with were by guitarist Joseph Allred (whose 2019 album Aspirant is a must hear), and one by local Toronto artist Tara Kannangara featuring her partner Chris Pruden. Both of those were stellar but when I tuned into a performance with a quartet playing via Zoom, there wasn’t any connection. I don’t think you can recreate larger groups effectively online. Single camera/mic is a different story: look at the popularity of the sidewalk sessions streaming outside of Red Hook Record Store in Brooklyn. God bless Daniel Carter and friends!

Any works of art that have been a light for you in these times? Anything that's just been a good diversion?

One of my greatest delights in 2020 has been Boomkat’s ‘Documenting Sound’ series. I always considered them an online retailer akin to CD Baby, but they’ve been serving up some real heaters with this series!

I continue to faithfully absorb offerings from Australia’s Longform Editions.

Believe it or not, I’m also stuck on some Christmas-themed jazz albums that I’d not heard before: Ramsey Lewis, Kenny Burrell, and Jimmy Smith each recorded fabulous Christmas albums for Argo/Cadet/Verve in the 1960s.

How are you feeling about 2021?

I’ve been mindful of the aphorism, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. Things will unfold as they do, and I will continue to adapt.

Anything else we'd chat about if we bumped into each other?

I’d probably talk to you about tea. It’s nice to share an appreciation of quality loose-leaf blends with someone. Your palate is much more adventurous than mine though – I stick to green or black-leaf teas, so I’d ask you to suggest a beginner pu-erh or oolong offering. I trust your judgement!

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