This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Electric Cello Diary: Dead Fox / 7 January 2013

It wasn’t my intention to make such a dark and mournful offering at this time of year. This piece originated in early November, but have been busy with work and plagued by various technical problems to do with my cello playing that cannot be blamed (unfortunately!) on needing new equipment etc. I listen to this piece and though happy with some aspects there is so much that I would like to improve.

Concentration and focus in practice and performance is a big issue for me and in terms of Borderline Personality Disorder, we are famously distractable. Playing the cello is a precise science and requires a brain that can be very objective. Not easy if you have a brain that easily moves in to being all over the place, but I'm adapting with strategies.

One such strategy is that I start by practising in 6 minute times segments. Sounds extreme but even during this short time I will notice my mind drifting to places that have nothing to do with what I am trying to achieve and my posture has become unhelpful to playing. I intersperse the 6 minutes with 1- 2 minutes doing some exercises that my physio gave me and trying to remember some moves from Brazilian Dance class at the gym. This strategy is really helping.

‘Dead Fox’ came about when I noticed I was less stressed in the morning having been for a short walk and got some oxygen in my brain. I decided I ought to try this more often. Unfortunately to get to the place I really wanted to walk I had to walk up a section of road that was very noisy and not at all pleasant for a pedestrian. I thought I could put up with this inconvenience but then I saw a dead fox lying in the road. I felt so sad about the way the land is horrendously cut up by roads and I wondered if the fox had a family. In the piece I try to express the sadness and compassion I felt for the fox as well as my sense of disturbance in a harsh savage environment.

I wish you all a wonderful 2013 and on a more cheery note, here is a link to “Festivale” by Adam Hurst a cellist I am really inspired by, his piece is beautiful and uplifting.

Keywords: memories,museums and galleries,cello