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Sorting the Rubbish

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I may have stumbled upon a simple truth last week under a load of rubbish.

The incident occurred at my mother’s house in the United States soon after my sister told me about the supposedly improved operating system that came with her new laptop.

She’s pretty good with technology, but she said she has been struggling to accomplish what used to be simple tasks on her new machine.

She also told me it is nearly impossible to get a new PC that doesn’t use the updated system.

I am not too hot with that kind of stuff, so her tale got me down and I started worrying about how much more complicated my life is likely to become when my ageing laptop finally packs it in.

That thought was still bouncing around my head after dinner, as I tied off the top of the rubbish bag so I could take it outside.

Then, as I lifted the bag from its container, my thoughts shifted to where my mother might keep the new bin liners.

That question answered itself because once the old bag was out, I discovered the new ones neatly piled in the bottom of the bin.

This is not an original idea and it is not incredibly intelligent, but I had never thought of keeping the bags there and the sight made me very happy. It was so simple.

Another conversation I had during my visit to the States, this one with my brother, led to an experience that makes me think a lot of other people also enjoy simple things.

My brother Ernie plays the saxophone and knows how to read music, but he would really like to learn to play along with a rock or blues band.

I play the harmonica and don’t read music, but I have jammed a few times, mostly with a guitar player strumming a 12-bar progression.

I usually limit myself to three or four notes when I do that and I suggested the same approach might work with the sax, since many popular songs use only four cords that are repeated over and over.

Ernie found that last bit hard to believe, so I pulled up a YouTube clip that features songs from Beyonce, Pink, Bob Marley, U2, Elton John, The Beatles, and 34 other well know artists.

In the clip, ‘The Axis of Awesome’ plays a simple four-cord progression and just keeps going with it as they switch between songs… and it totally works.

The skit is intended to be funny, but if your operating system allows you to watch one of the live performances, you might notice something else.

After the initial laughs, the audience really gets into the performance and starts swaying and clapping along, even though the music never changes.

All the artists mentioned above are accomplished musicians, so I think it is reasonable to assume they write and perform uncomplicated songs mainly because simple is good.

A simple truth? I think so.

That doesn’t mean I think complicated is necessarily bad, but often things change and get more complex just for the sake of it and when that happens the change is often a load of rubbish.