dare to be different
Matt's Mind

Dare to be Different

'You're weird!' Ever had anyone say that to you? Ever answer, 'Yeah, I am!'

Look, there's nothing wrong in standing out from the crowd. In fact, it should be actively encouraged. I'm reminded of that line spoken by Joe Pesci in Scorsese's classic gangster flick, Goodfellas, which goes: 'What's so funny about me? Tell me. What the fuck's so funny about me?' I know how Pesci feels. He's small, he's in a strange profession to say the least; he's gotta raise his voice to be heard. He's different.

Not, you understand, that I'm comparing myself to Joe Pesci -- or worse, the character he plays. For one thing I don't swear that often, and I certainly haven't killed anyone -- not yet anyway. But you've got to admire someone little who decides to be big -- and in the process, be noticed.

I've often wondered what it must be like to be 'like everyone else'. You know, come home from work, sit in front of the telly, play or watch sports, drink in the pub, be obsessed by motor cars, and so on and so forth. Actually, I've never been very interested in doing what the majority do -- which to me is an asset but which is viewed by many as odd, even worrying.

But who the hell wants to be like everyone else?

When I started planning what I was going to put on this site it suddenly struck me that there would be nothing of general interest. All my hobbies -- make that passions -- include things that most so-called normal people wouldn't be aware of, let alone into.

However, I take great pride in surprising -- even shocking -- people. As an individual I'm quite quiet and introspective, so the last thing you'd think I'd be into was heavy metal, horror & science fiction and OTT guitar playing. But I'm convinced the reason I've got such an even temperament is because these interests flush all the bad vibes right out of me.

I've always loved art forms which examine the extremes of the emotions. Horror, for example, is an extreme emotion (sometimes very extreme). Hard rock is an extreme form of music that utilises aggression and intensity to enforce its message. 'Shred' guitar playing is another example: musicianship extended beyond the perceived boundaries imposed by a mainstream audience.

Something else I've always been concerned with is virtuosity, whether that be in the realm of music, literature or art. Which perhaps explains why I've always loved classical and technical guitar music, as well as books and movies by artists who show an intimate knowledge of their craft. Being unwilling to put aside the years and years of practice required to perfect any one art form, I decided early on that I would try to give back a little of the pleasure I've gotten out of reading novels, watching films and listening to music -- by writing about them.

Since most of my passions -- which also include natural history, history, computers and film music -- are fairly unusual, I decided that I would try to include some of them on my site. Hence the excerpts from The Modern Guitarist; the Bernard Herrmann article; and the various horror/SF essays: all gathered together for your enjoyment.

I've always admired the eccentric, maybe because I'm one myself. If you're interested in glass blowing, collecting Chinese figurines, astral projection, Indian ragas, or exhibiting Samurai swords you're my kinda person. Not because I'm interested in any of these, but because we share something in common: an odd pastime. And even if you don't find anything of interest in these pages, thanks for stopping by. It was a pleasure to have almost known you.


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