Playing with context

2CellosPeople say “It’s all a matter of context”. But I think that it’s when you take ideas, styles or objects out of context, or juxtapose them with apparently incongruent other ideas, styles or objects , that things start to look interesting and exciting.

The work of Gay Talese is a good example of this. He adopted a fiction-writing style in his factual essays. His Frank Sinatra Has a Cold is an excellent example of this approach, which came to be known as “New Journalism”.

In my own small way I have tried to push the boundaries of the blues harmonica. As well as using it to play different kinds of blues and jazz, and folk of course, I’ve done hard rock, Vivaldi and Handel. I am pretty sure that those two were twirling in their graves, but I thought it important to test the limits.

A brilliant example I came across very recently was the one shown in the video below. It features the group 2Cellos, and is complete with a baroque setting and what seems to be a classical music concert. But appearances can be deceptive.

I can’t say I am unequivocally in love with this music, but I admire what they’ve done.

What contexts and conventions are you going to deny and defy in your writing?