There is this chapter in The Bible (I may have mentioned it before) that reveals that even ancient wisdom can be thoroughly useful at times; it comes from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 and it states that ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the sky…a time to be born… a time to die…” and it goes on to state that planting, harvesting, healing, destroying and creating all have their time, along with knowing when to embrace, or not to embrace, a useful thing when encountering certain persons along the road of life. Sadly it does not mention when one should, or should not open ones mouth.
But there is one thing even more useful than knowing about creating or identifying the appropriate time, it is knowing about timing itself… the thing that leads up to choosing the moment. Timing decides whether your allotment is going to produce weeds or luscious crops, whether a joke is funny or facetious, or if a piece of art is rubbish or truly great. Listening to the great Shirley Horn sing is astonishing. Her interpretation could be a drag; instead her slow and structured timing is literally breath-taking. There is this weird little track featuring two songs squashed into one called ‘Come A Little Closer/Wild is the Wind’. It starts out quite nicely, a jazzy interpretation of a pleasant song, but when it goes into ‘Wild is the Wind’, it shifts into soft alluring harmonies that lead one into a dimension of perfectly controlled timing… that literally has one holding ones breath for the sound of each and every note that follows. Shirley Horn does timing, Holly Johnson just sings about it (‘Relax’ is an OK track, but it just warbles on about timing).
So today is International Timing Day. Today doctors will have to listen to patients talking about their ailments instead of staring mindlessly at the computer, and then prescribe with care and deliberation; drivers will look and think thoughtfully before doing a right turn; musicians will sit back and listen to Shirley Horn’s rendering of ‘But Beautiful’, ‘Solitary Moon’ or ‘Blue in Green’. Alternatively they can tune in to Otto Klemperer playing anything by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And if that isn’t enough to gain an understanding about how timing works, let’s just sit down and watch a sunflower grow, a tree come into blossom, or a lion or bird of prey doing what comes naturally. If we all tuned into timing, don’t you think that life would be a great deal lovelier?