Riffin’ with Maud
Your Jazz Horoscope
How lovely of you to join me! I’m Maud Jollybottom, an English stargazer, celebrity soothsayer and social commentator. I produce astrological readings from my rural home in Clenching, and deliver them to the great and the good, whether they want them or not. As a patron and supporter of all things musical, I believe my heavenly ramblings have inspired rhapsodies and rock anthems to sonatas and sea shanties. My observations have been honed through years of celestial study and metaphysical research. Although consulted by politicians, captains of industry and reality TV stars, my inclination is always to counsel those practitioners who enrich our dreary lives with their jolly little tunes. Maud never shirks from presenting the unpalatable to anyone in search of planetary answers. Let me direct my piercing searchlight into each astrological sign and illuminate your true personality, traits, talents and failings, with an emphasis on the latter. As a hairy young man wearing a crucifix once said to me, “Maud, you set my sax on fire!” And that, my friends, is why I always get a Christmas card from an obscure branch of the Spanish royal family.
Although they have the reputation of being the most selfish sign in the zodiac, many Aquarian problems are misunderstandings. Non-Aquarians just don’t get how an Aquarian functions. They are, quite simply, a major flight risk. They are seriously averse to any kind of “restraining” arrangement; even the grinding, brutal discipline of a weekly band rehearsal. They can be friendly, chatty and willing to support worthwhile causes, especially if one of those causes is self-serving. If they are allowed off the leash you have to hope for their return, and that they remember you. It’s a bit like pigeon racing. If you have managed to tether one you have to remind him – and it’s usually him – he has a connection to the younger people living in his home; they are his progeny. He is attached to his family in as much as he views it as an interesting personal experiment, but a new distraction will always take his mind over matter. Aquarian musicians often win prizes for their innovation, but realistically don’t expect them to turn up for any awards ceremony.
Romantic and emotional as they are, it’s easy, if you know one, to mistakenly think Pisces a loveable dreamer. Stop! If not In the Name of Love exactly, in the name of reason and credit control at the very least. Your image is always immaculate Pisces, but it comes at a very high price for those in your entourage. You are sensitive and therefore write the best lyrics, the biggest hits and always look the part, but you have to come clean sometime and it’s best to start with your accountant. For every threadbare Piscean troubadour, there’s always a stable of expensive guitars, garage full of sports cars or mysterious sponsorship hiding somewhere. Those under the sign of Pisces always find financial support somewhere in order to produce that sublime genius. Think Johnny Cash, Nina Simone and Smokey Robinson. And of course, “when Smokey sings, we all “hear violins…”
Always in a hurry, impatience triggers most Arian outbursts which are often spectacular and seismic in nature. Growing older is not something Aries comes easily to terms with, but even the loudest, proudest, down and dirty rocker has to watch his dodgy hip sometime. Try to approach any new relationship with a Libran with uncharacteristic restraint this autumn. An Aries/Libran duet can be a beautiful thing, but keep it within professional and decency boundaries. In fact try to keep it zipped up all together Aries, males and females, before all hell breaks loose, and a big mess ensues that someone else is left to clean up. Usually, that someone else is a Virgo, who always comes along with a noisy mop and bucket to make sure their good deed doesn’t go unnoticed.
Taurus is ruled by the 2nd House – and that means money, possessions, and having the jolliest of times. More often than not they are patient and gentle creatures who love to play at the genial host. What is guaranteed to send the loveable little white bull into a stampeding beast, however, is disruption of any kind, insecurity and the notion of “roughing it”. This is an alien concept to a Taurus, and any managers and booking agent would do well to take heed. Download that Trip Advisor onto your phone immediately. And never try to rush them into anything, with no time to read the small print. They have to ruminate, speculate, and sometimes complicate, but they will eventually sign on the dotted line. And they will always turn up on time and give of their best. Just play your part and ensure that contract’s watertight, or you’ll hear the thunder of hooves in the distance.
Hip hop, trip hop, flip flop and chip shop – if there’s a message to be broadcast to the masses, vocal Gemini is the one to do it. By the way I made the last two up, as Maud rarely ventures into the “grimy” end of anything, thank you very much. Geminis – the Twins – are a quick witted bunch, spontaneous and entertaining, and can tune up the ambience in the dullest of venues. They do have their serious side, however, and you’d be mistaken if you took their happy face onstage for granted. An often frustrating aspect to this sign is their seeming cooperation with others, frequently undermined by discovery of some backdoor Gemini self-promotion. Don’t be surprised to find out Gemini has a secret solo publicity event scheduled – and who else in the zodiac would have the brass neck to ask your opinion afterwards re those glossy head shots? It’s not so much diva syndrome, as running with the fox, but hunting with the hounds. Something we do quite a lot in Clenching, to the confusion of our visitors.
You’ll soon recognise a Cancerian if you have the misfortune to get stuck in a lift with one. They’re the type to engage you with descriptions of their latest digestive problems in graphic detail. If you’re with one on tour, make sure they eat properly and their accommodation is comfortable, preferably with homely touches, if you want to draw their performing potential out from under their shell. If you are unlucky enough to get nipped by their pincers, be prepared to hear of every mistake, misdemeanour and mess up you ever made in their company as they can hold a grudge to Olympic standard and beyond. They’re a bit of mishmash personality wise; intrepid sailors who can’t wait to make the voyage home, but also protective she-cats who can freeze out personal space invaders with one withering look or sharp remark. Either way a potential nightmare, but oddly they work well within the group dynamic and are sensitive to others. They don’t hog the limelight, they don’t deliberately outshine the rest of the band, and if you all learn to step sideways and avoid upsetting them, they do make beautiful music.
Although it’s very easy to detest a Leo, the world is dull without their showboating antics, and love of being loved. Musically, they can turn their gifted hands to anything, but it’s in the world of jazz they really excel – Count Basie and Oscar Peterson being two great examples. And the trick with handling a Leo is to let them have, hold and hog the limelight which to them, doesn’t just mean shining in a solo. They love to throw the best, no expense spared parties, and they always look the part. If this means months of dieting and punishing gym routines they’ll buckle down and get with the programme, no matter how gruelling or advanced in years they are. Skinny old snake-hips Mick Jagger comes unpleasantly to mind. They simply don’t grasp the idea of anyone stealing their spot, so don’t interfere with this thought process, just be satisfied with playing second and third violin to their massive ego.
Dear God, where do we start with neurotic Virgo? Critical, analytical and fault finding; all can be positive traits in a musician seeking the perfect performance. Let them wind themselves up into a frenzy of indecisive angst however, and nothing will go according to the Virgoan master plan, of which they hatch many in their lives. Try to stop them interacting with other Virgos, and never let them breed. The phrase “anal retentive” was invented for the resulting offspring of that particular hellish alliance. Having said that, so long as you keep the rehearsal room biochemically cleaned, and run the practice schedules to a timetable Mussolini would have been proud of, you have every chance of hearing some great music produced by a Virgo. Earthy, sensual and sublime; see Van Morrison, B.B. King, Branford Marsalis. Just forget about all that Virgin nonsense.
And speaking of neurotics, here in Libra we find the ultimate Sturm und Drang (look it up) of the human psyche. How can they deliver bad news, impose their control and generally piss someone off without losing that person’s love and adoration? Now, Maud doesn’t usually degrade her vocabulary with crude idioms such as the previous, but the vacillations of this particular astrological tribe has driven many a Jollybottom to the edge of reason. Librans have innate charm and vivacity, but are also blindingly dishonest and deceitful. All done in a lovely way, of course. And, despite the rumour, they know only too well the importance of hard work, just as long as they can get someone else to do it for them. So, if you handle their P.R., or you’re a stylist for a Libran, they’ll love every little thing you do for them and their image. In fact, many of them find second careers in these areas, when their own performing days are over. Being note perfect year after year is exhausting, but a Libran thrives on finding new ways to make someone look fabulous, darling!
They’re often not as terrifying as people fear them to be. Sometimes the Scorpion temper is buried well underground, alongside a few disturbing sexual fantasies perhaps, but safely out of the public domain. If you dare to mislead them however, or trip up in the telling of your side of the story, well, let’s all just hope back in 1982? 83? 84? little baby Kim Jong-Un wasn’t born under Scorpio. They do have loads of intuition and an almost supernatural feel for what works and what doesn’t. Sexuality is at the heart of their inner being, yet this message often comes across, particularly with female vocalists, in indirect and subtle ways. Think Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall. Proof, if proof were needed that Scorpios can be one classy act.
Coping with a Sagittarian is not hard once you learn the basic standard operating protocol – let them go. Obviously this can be a problem if you are the governor of a high security prison, but try to turn a blind eye to the toothbrush tunnelling efforts if you can. Travel is everything to Sagittarius – physical, mental and emotional travel, and that’s not easy to live or work with. If rehearsals aren’t going their way, Sagittarius will (sometimes) make their excuses and exit – only to be tracked down at the airport buying a one way ticket to somewhere else. Their sense of adventure leads them into some difficult situations, but that’s the main reason for their existence – a Sagittarius life is one acted out on centre stage. All others are mere bit players in the drama. Scorpios are ruthlessly honest, passionate about the music, and good company in the right place and at the right time. Just don’t dictate to them when you think those conditions have arrived.
“I always had a need to be something more than human”. So spoke the late David Bowie, entertainer to the cosmos and beyond. There’s something about the mysterious sign of the goat that is always drawn to change, transformation and personal identity. More usually it comes in the form of chasing success, whether material, or professional, or both. Capricorns always have to get to the top of the mountain, even if it takes a lifetime, but to them it’s always worth the slog and this is compensated with some desirable acquisitions along the way. They love living in the material world and enjoy being able to indulge their obsession for shopping. It’s not just one, long, self-indulgent binge however; they’re good at finding bargains and investments that benefit others. They’re also kind hearted and make great mentors and teachers. Musical Capricorns, such as Mr Bowie, inspire young talents just beginning the long and treacherous climb to the summit; how to get there and how to keep their footing is always a valuable lesson.