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2006/02/07 10:47 - long nights journey into birthday

camera pans away to reveal a dark room with intense sunlight streaming through cracks in the blinds. tony at table surrounded by what appear to be smiling friends..he has a crumpled paper hat on his head and he is wearing a pair of buckled aviator shades. Despite these we can plainly see that his face is wet.
A collapsed cake spatters the table -a table littered with Styrofoam cups, empty scotch bottles and overflowing ashtrays. 'happy birthday..to Tony...h-happy birthday...t-to Tony'...' he has begun singing in a croaky amused voice that is but a hair away from tears and rage...
By now we can see that the smiling faces are in fact cardboard cut outs, ALA Rupert pupkin-
they represent old friends, long since fallen out with, mixed with an odd choice of celebrities-brian Eno, Mick Karn, karen Black, orson Welles,Pavarotti...among them, disturbingly are versions of the younger Tony..from Johnny Alpha haired whip thin smiling youngster, cardigan wearing teen with flicked blonde quiff, the London Dandy of the 90's, the bearded 'Elvis phase' of the early 2000's...all frozen at the height of some heavenly party. 'h-happy birthday..dear Tony..happy birthday..t-to me....' Silence.

camera zooms in on close-up of face. We see the eyes through the shades; Swollen with tears and betrayed by life's potential. Suddenly the angle of the head tilts almost imperceptibly to its left. We barely make out the nuzzle of a gun against the sweating pale temple.
'The eyes address us directly:

'Happy birthday, Mr president'.

Gunshot. Screen to black.

Roll credits....
Cue Sammy Davis' 'version of Mr Bojangles'...

2006/01/28 18:56 - Ecscusey

The awful spelling.

me excited.

2006/01/28 18:52 - PIANO MAN

I got me a piano!

For the first time in a decade _ No- Jeez-over that-I live with an upright! Acoustic!
Oh Boy!

Gotta get the mutha tuned but still. It sounds grand, baby!

The difference vetween an electronic piano and a piano is not even sound. Its cos youve gotta switch the former on. With a real piano its there, baby. Wide to receive.
OH Goody!
Day and night.

My happiness is not caught in the above photo. but inside I am h.a.p.p.y.

I turn to the right and this is what I see:

I am gonna write the greatest songs of my life on this baby. Weather any mutha hears em or not.
Oh Garsh!

What else.
Finally got round to Joni mitchell. 'Both sides now', her redoing her greatest hits in 2000 with an orchestra. great. but I dont know the originals-so greater still.
read Philip K Dicks 'Do androids dream...'first science fiction thing Ive read in decades. It was moving, man. And a ncie break from the self help books Im usually into.
Im obviously gonna have to get his biography:


Alright. Back to Piano.

Soem facts:
I am lost on a piano. Thism means good songs. A guitar tellls ME what to do.
I had my first semi sexual experience beneath a piano with a beautiful Italian girl. She was 10 I was 6. Ah! Where vare you now doll!

Am in london next week one day only en route to a nutso binge hotel high in Cardiff. its,..its my birthday.

Now you know.

Cia Bella.

2006/01/22 16:00 - phases of the loon...

......Oh yeah - have gone through a massive Richard Pryor phase, spurred by my reading of his excellent autobiography, 'Pryor Convictions'. Watched most of what's available. The 'In concert' is by far the best so far. His TV show has its moments (I love that era of Americana) but I realised that if you swapped RP for the two ronnies, not much woul be different about the sketches...
The 'Roast' was excellent..but 'Live and smokin'-an inappropriate title-was the most powerful. Yup, Richie was another prism for the eternal light and this film is shocking in its purity...
(The documentary extra 'pryor knowledge'(Groan) was unutterable shit however.

UI may also be on the brink of listening to my first Joni mitchell Album. An orchestral thign where her voice sounds like Dusty Springfield. but I dont know the name of it. (I heard it incidentally while interviewing Wyatt).
her voice was toos crathy for me previously but this sounds good..

Did I mention the imminent Piano?
I'm aching to write songs again...

2006/01/20 20:06 - Look at the Dog not the owner

The weeks start completely fucked me up until...today. I am now such a hermit that even putting shoes on throws me. So the journey to Robert Wyatt's was a marathon. Awake at 5. Trains, car, boats and planes. Finally arrived in Louth at 3 or 4. Got to Roberts at around 5.
The account will feature in full at


In their Spring issue.

So I cant write much here or put in any of the photos I took...

But; glad to say that RW was not the saint I had been led to believe. No, much more interesting, vivid, real and human than that.

meanwhile, heres a picture RW took of me.

I'm disguised as a spanish waiter in pimp guru form.

Took me ages to recover, no sleep and that. Face feeling funny. Aches and pains. But new medication; ZAPALOT or soemthing. My first perscribed sleeping tablets since 2000.
yum. Serve with bordeaux and cheese please.

Reading 'Sweet science' by liebling. Writing words and awaiting my first real piano.

Of all the projects in the air; I want 'em DONE.
So sick of the ongoing.

Waiting for a moment that didnt come/but then was gone...

Oh, grimsoby is Grim.

Poor puppy.
No wonder Scott walker hasn't played live since..

2006/01/06 19:20 - the sound of Picasso...

My latest infatuation is a cyclic one; Miles Davis, whom I’ve been orbiting on and off since 2000.
Jazz is another country and they do things differently there. Its also a country I’m still a stranger in; titles are yet to affix themselves to pieces, the crossover of musicians names is bewildering, I don’t like a lot of the music but it hooks me; I have to keep going back to it; There’s something there, something I need.
I’d felt alone in having a soft spot for Miles’ 80’s albums. I like their cokey brash and brassiness, their playfulness, their utter disregard for the past. I like the sounds of them too; those frozen DX7’s, Linn Drums, and orchestral Sample stabs…especially meshed with Mile’s shining tone. I’d ‘bought a book online months ago; way back in the summer. It was sent via Surface from Canada (I NEVER use anything but airmail). This was accidental and after 3 months I figured it wouldn’t show.
But it did and I jumped in; George Coles’ ‘Last Miles’ is a warm, engaging, seductive and fluid study of Miles’ Last (and to some, lost) decade.


I’d read Tingen’s book on the same subject and although worthy and heartfelt, I found it dry and flat; over technical for me, I suppose. But George’s book is the kind of book that reads you and lets a lot of those involved at the time do the talking.

What attracts me to Miles’ ultimately I suppose, is his expression of pure spirit. He seems to channel some bigger vibrant energy in all its good and bad consequences. If close my eyes and think of miles I see a beautifully black skinned man exploding with rainbow colours and shafts of light. It seems to me he was rarely ‘off’ and that all eh did was of the same source. I reckon his life as Miles Davis may have been his last on earth.

He also painted and drew (He said that paintings were music you could see and music was paintings you could hear). And what I want for my birthday next month is a book on/of Miles’ Davis’ artwork. So now you know!


I’ve been battling with my painting again. I’m crap at it. But like ‘On the corner’ I keep returning to it.
Over Christmas I got high and threw paint in my studio at canvas to the soundtrack of Bowie’s ‘Portrait in Flesh’ and Miles’ Bitches brew’. But I can’t paint anything anyone would want to look at again. It has no echo; no reverberation.

Chris Roberts visited and this was lovely. A charming man and also…don’t visitors allow you to see your own home, fresh through their eyes?
And our home and all the heartbeats residing within (5) is what I love right now; especially in this lovely frost winter.
Lamps barely registering light, Heineken and sauvignon Blanc, Vanilla and Rum candles burning, ‘Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud’ billowing from the 8 speakers snugged around the house. (probably my all time favourite. I’d like the original ten inch Vinyl for my birthday; pretty please).


In the material world, I am trying to get paid for my writing. Very little is coming in via music; for the first time in a decade, remarkably. So I’m spreading wings and flying to Grimsby next week, for the first of a few interviews this year, hopefully. (I don’t mean job interviews –God forbid- I mean I’m interviewing people for magazines).
More of which later.

And I’m waiting for Spinney to get back to me regarding the extras for Pioneer Soundtracks. And Julian is mixing ‘British ballads’. (Lack of funds mean I can’t attend. But I hover willow wisp like in the studio, in spirit and e-mail). And I’m nailing the final draft of the Walkers book this week. ‘The impossible dream; The Walker brothers story’.
And asides from paying a chunk of my overdraft off this month (its costing me £30 a month), I also plan to get a piano at last. I know that to write the best I’ve written; it’ll have to be on Acoustic Piano. Just a piano, a muted trumpet, and me I reckon.

2005/12/26 13:04 - lets get lost on Christmas day

Driving once again to the Mountain. The mountain is our church.
The roads were empty and we hadn't eaten.
We fed Cali our horse and headed up to the mountain. We listened to the radio and the Miles Dasvis radio project. Occasionally I sang along.

There were too many people at our usual spot, (King Artur's Living room), so we kept driving.
hell -there were a LOT of people around.
We thought about chucking it in and going home. It was almost 2 and we were hungry.
Sheep were around the car as usual but this is less touching than was as we awake to sheep outside our bedroom window every day since they've found tgheir way into the garden.
Sheep have Holy features.

We found a spot and walked through dense forest; Pine? needles on the ground. We ventured off of the torn path and into the canopys. it was like night in there. I wished and wished we would see a green deer or an elf.

We walked on till we came to telegraph poles..a lost car on a clifftop..roads to somewhere. We were lost.
But having fun.

Eventually we came to the road.

We were back in the land of the so called living.

We were cold tired lost hungry and happy.

We fed cali again on the way home home. It was getting dark and no one was abouit.

Once home we drank champagne and I had a bath, reading 'Final Miles', a book on miles Davis last decade.
Dean martin sang from the speakers. Anna had prepared a feast.
We ate until I fell asleep.

When i awoke we watched Doctor who.

then we went to bed.

Then we watched The wedding crashers' on DVD.

I read some more whil anna and the cats slept around me.

I went to sleep, awoken in the night to the sound of owls.

it had been a good christmas.

2005/12/20 15:04 - A TRUE CHRISTMAS STORY

So, I went to Crewe to find that Irving/Hughes book. I’d seen it on one of my last visits there; a freaky Christian centre junk shop thang. A nutty shop that sells everything – bulk packs of toilet roll from the 1980’s, TVs with tape recorders built in, toasters with headphone Jacks…one of those shops rarely open..and when it is it’s with odd opening hours...
I went on a Saturday (Anna had a 4 hour Hairdressing appointment) - thinking they would of course be open then. Every muthafucker is open on a Saturday. The shop is not even in town but on the outskirts..,I felt like Mr fucking Benn..
I couldn’t find it at first. And when I thought I had I’d got it wrong. I panicked because it was empty –gutted out. But no, it was a block beyond..and..and…its closed! I couldn't believe it! I came all that way, no!! Why! Whyyyyy!!!
I wasn’t gonna give up without a fight, (which is my usual reaction), I looked in and Oddly there was guy with his back to me playing 'frogger' in there.(they sell everything, including vintage video games. Who the hell donates such things? I want one. –The guy was scruffy…dispossessed looking…this guy was probably for sale. Going against my nature I rapped on the window and he eventually turned with a look of incomprehension and disgust…

I am Slovakian’ He announced through the glass, demonstrating with his hands that the door was locked and he had no key. Fuck it, I’d come this far. He had sympathetic features. After pulling some mimes that would have made Bowie proud, I finally got the chap to understand that I needed a book. Beyond him and to the left were stacks of the buggers with boxes more on the floor.
'Not open' 'Not open' he shrugged. His patience was evaporating.
I scowled, not unkindly. 'Let me in' I mimed. He smiled. ‘No,. I cannot’. But he was obviously game. Eventually after me doing everything but 'walking in wind' I met him round the back.
He looked the back door behind me. Someone was watching us from an adjacent car. 'I ask Ga-reth' he obliged and I followed him then to a church across the road where a vicar type is watching the sports in an office. My helper points and mumbles toward me. The Vicar arises; ‘What seems to be the problem my son'? Already, I can tell he’s a compassionate man. 'No problem father – It’s just I came to get a rare book for my friend - its a Christmas present – I saw it when I was last in the shop…I...I cant turn back now and…its for Christmas, see…'
The Vicar seemed happy to have something to do other than watch the sport on TV. 'By the sweet Shepard we shall see you friend happy this Christmas! ‘ He clasped his hands together righteously. ‘What is the good book, My son?’
This would either clinch or finish it. I hesitated ; 'Uh..Its kind of a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes;…’

The Vicar’s face lit up. The Slovakian guy looked impressed, raising his eyebrows behind his round glasses.
'Say no more, My son'. The vicar fumbled for keys and we were on our way. I followed in rank, last; the vicar’s coat tails flapping in the chill breeze...
Before you know it all three of us are going through hundreds of books in the shut up shop...I am momentarily distracted by the great piles of TVS and Seventies audio equipment. But my time here is limited. I must stick to the brief. The vicar notices my attention wandering and hauls me in ;'It says Howard Hughes in the title you say'?
'I think that's it, Father..I..but its not actually by 'oward Hughes. Its by a chap called Irving. Richard I think. He pretended to be Hughes and uh..was done for fraud or something. My friends’ got a thing about him –Howard Hughes’. I almost added ‘Not a sexual thing’ but then I wasn’t sure where the protestant church stood on that particular subject, so I shut up and delved through the books. There were millions of them.

After 20minutes, no joy and the air were becoming tense. I was about to give up and make a donation to the church roof appeal when I found it..!!!!
Needless to say it Didn't have Howard Hughes in the title…but I recognized the Garish cover from last time…
Yes this was it. Not the actual fake autobiography itself -but it was the one-a rarer account –of the investigation into the hoax itself. Out of print for decades. I held it up like a trophy. I’d bagged it all right. ‘Found it’ I exclaimed; My cheeks flushing in the dusty air. All three of us did a ring a ring a rosey and we left beaming…Soon we would make our farewells. The atmosphere was calmer now, more familiar. We had all been through something together. We were brothers. ‘
He’s Slovakian' smiled the priest…nodding to the hooded guy… I turned. I never would know his name and yet I owed it all to this man ; 'Howard Hughes!’ I beamed at him…The Vicar Cut in ; 'He doesn't speak English’. He then turned to the man and screamed 'Eees HOWARD HUGHES'..
As I made my way via a tip of the hat and a sizeable donation to the orphanage the Slovakian paused on the step in the early morning Saturday sun; he seemed suddenly serious. Sad, even.
'Your fren' he said. The tone was reverential. Hushed even. 'Who like Mr Hughes...’
'Yes' I nodded, arranging my spectacles all the better to observe this young exile…, My right Eyebrow arching instinctively. I noticed the vicar had paused in his departure and was watching us with some curiosity.
Somewhere a train was passing, rattling the slates on the roofs of the houses. A dog barked. A car started. It was the morning after Friday night.
‘Your friend’s he continued..'He must be a ...special man...for you to come…so far…a special..man..No, Signor'? He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. His eyes almost closed in meditation. I felt like putting my hand on his shoulder.
I turned my gaze to the distant chimneystacks. Crewe had once been an industrial town but that was all gone now -so much had changed. If I squinted I could see birds alighting on those stacks, silver in the freezing sun. A plane was hung in the sky above and somewhere a child was crying. A mineral wind stung my eyes and I realised quite suddenly that my face was wet.
'A special man...'? I held the refugees gaze for a full minute and considered what that appraisal meant. The weight of it, By God. I then nodded, fighting the urge to make the sign of the cross. 'He is indeed, My son. Special'…A very…Special..man’.
This ended it. The vicar became reanimated and sauntered back to his game. The Slovakian returned to Frogger. Somewhere a milk float chugged into a bright sunny side street. A dog sniffed the ass of another.
And with the Hughes Irving affair biography clamped into my cold cold palm, I broke the spell and jogged off, into this, the last Saturday before Christmas....

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