Tuesday, 11 September 2012

jammin' with bob marley...

i like to think that like most of my tastes in life, my choices in music are rather ecclectic. in fact, i sometimes wonder if the reason i rarely ever have music is because tv was my babysitter or because i have the karaoke skills of a dying horse. nonetheless, when i do make the strenuous effort to find a cd (yes, i still use those), it must be the perfect choice to match the mood. the other day, a bob marley collection was just such the choice.
unlike some of my peers "back in the day," my appreciation for bob marley did not stem from some of the benefits associated with the rastafarian lifestyle. i do, however, give an "i-rey mahn" to mr. marley for introducing the world to the smooth island reggae rythms; a unique achievement for an artist in a third world country.  furthermore, like early hip-hop and rap artists, this was accompanied by poetic songwriting that inspired listners to sing their songs of freedom, stand up for their rights, or simply sooth a woman to no cry.
for me, however, my choice of bob marley the other day was not because i wanted to remember how i used to sit in the government yard in trenchtown. rather, both the title of a song and my acitivity for day share the same theme: "jamming."
yes, it was time for the annual blackberry harvest (about a month late this year), which means i spend several days picking pounds of blackberries and turning them into a year's supply of jam.  not only is reggae great background music to sorting through the bushes in late-summer sunshine, but "jamming" is a heck of alot of fun to sing along to as sterilised jam jars sit waiting for blackberries and sugar to reduce into a thick syrup. stirring the pot while belting out "i'm jammin. Jammin. JAMmin. JAMMIN! i hope you like jammin' too.." is both relaxing and motivating; i think it improves the flavour of the jam.
beyond this chorus, i only recently noticed how prophetic bob marley was in regards to seasonal jams. in particular:
"We're jamming - To think that jamming was a thing of the past..."
this speaks to how jamming (and for that matter, canning too) is on a recent upswing as people rediscover a dying culinary skill that is so easy to do, and is so much better when using fresh fruit for your own consumption. and to follow that line:
"We're jamming - and I hope this jam is gonna last"

in this case, I feel the very same way each year I make my 3 dozen jars of jam. A single guy on his own can only have so much toast for breakfast (although it makes a nice topping for yogurt or base sauce for pancakes), but I still feel I have to ration jam for both consumption and for gift-giving; I have to assess each day and each person as "jam-worthy." A few lines later:
"...neither can be bought nor sold."
while the reference is to how humans can be neither bought nor sold, it's also a good summary of making jam from your garden. blackberries grow like weeds here, so no need to buy some. jam made in a home kitchen without any food safety inspection cannot be sold, so why not share it with everyone?
oh, bob marley, how sad to have lost your genius so soon. who knows what you could've done for dehydrating, pickling, or breadmaking? to honour you, i guess it is only appropriate i download "jamming" to my blackberry.

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