: all the latest news about Anthony...
|2007/08/28 16:54 - The Librarian|
One of my few pleasures is reading. And I have a modestly impressive library to prove it.
I've been carrying some of these books around since my teens. I like to think that the Yeats book and the 'Catholic Everyman's library guide to life beyond death' have somehow recognized their reaquainted roath air after being away on a 14 year old trip.
Many people I know seemed distturbed by the lovely book cluttered space of my flat...('Christ! What a lot of junk'! 'You could open a library!" "what, you gonna sell these, are you'?)
But I draw great comfort from these vessels.
(Its a symptom of something lacking emotionally in Childhood, apparently. Any kind of hoarding).
But i feel my library to be a living commodity. Its not like I have rooms of stuffed porcupines and/or jars of stuffed Foteus'...
Each book is a possible gateway, a portal...
And there's nowt like seeing the golden light that signals the blazing August beyond the book blocked windows...Here its half lit by Anglepoised lamps and authentic tiffanies. A brandy and Pipe (whisky Shag) close to hand. Half moon Deco specs perch precariouscly upon my Roman nose. And outside the Ice cream van tinkle, the Lovers stroll, the kids play football in the dusk and the dogs bark across the rooftops...
And another fine thing about getting older is that one can re read books. I remember re reading The Warhol Diaries in 1999 and thinking 'Christ, I read this TEN YEARS AGO'! I AM OLD...'
But fair do's, what could I have re read in 1989? When Iw as 18? CS Lewis and Tolkien maybe. But not 2000AD and Whizzer and chips...
\And when i re read certain things its a measure of how much one has grown..(Not neccessarily grown UP)...when i re read the Warhol Diaries in 99 i was shocked at the Coke references... of which I was oblivious of in 1989.
And I go through phases. So when I get into someone/something I go mad on 'em and pay attention to little else for the duration.
So. having a library means that now I'm going through a Warhol and Basquiat phase again, I only have to delve close at hand to dig up a wholebunch of books on 'em.
|...Its like going out without leaving the house. (Handy for a hermit). All these lovely books..HERE!|
And many bought in a frenzy, and never properly read..
(Basquait's 'King for a decade').
These people seem very alive to me in some sense. And I don't mean just through their work. Even a PHOTO of Burroughs, Warhol or whomever fills me with energy and ideas. ... when i'm focussing on such people, they seem tangible in the air around me.
(What a great iudea for a book/programme this would be - delving into famous people's libraries. Like, I'd love to snoot around Bowie's library. or even those I'm not an admirer of..like Bono's ...the guy from keane..nah..)
|So yeh..sometimes it feels like many of my friends are dead already.|
But only in the conventional sense.
|2007/08/26 16:48 - Johnny and Matt|
Was suprisingly cheered by Johnny Marr's cover interview in this Month's 'Word' magazine. I'd forgotten what a elaquant (SIC) and sharp dude this chap was.
I always thought Johnny and I would have been chums. Gawsh, its so rare that such a genius guitarist (and it is soemthing (SIC) about mastering the guitar) is also such a 'togethjer' person. Many great guitarists are also incurably...erm...'difficult'. (Hello Glyn and Mat). When I was recording 'British Ballads' I couldn't find a lead guitarist anywhere. I mean, someone who slept with their axe and rawked etc Everyone (I met) is programming now, and/or plays bass on the side. (Although Transcargo's Anthony did some wonderful Frippy stuff on 'Girls with Glasses' and 'Just so you know'). But Johnny seemed perfect...a sublime and rare musician, looked great and seemed realtively disciplined and sane. Its a combo that's rarer than you'd think. (I fit none of these criteria).
| remember too, when I first got into The Smiths (Just before they split up - and asides from 'the Queen is dead' my fave albums were the compilations. 'Stretch out and wait'...'Half a person' and the awesome 'Asleep')...But err..yeh...What's my point here. Hmm. Oh. yeh. Johnny...(who I also recently found out was a Japan fan)...really talked up 'The The' in this interview. And I was so glad he did. I'd actually forgotten how much I Loved Matt Johnson. And even that I'd seen Johnny play live with The The in Newport back in the 'Gulp' 80's. What a group that was. Almost like a Jazz ensemble with the level of musicianship.- Johnny on Guitar, vocals and Harmonica...(How often did you get to hear a harp Live, back then)...Dave Palmer on Drums (I'm sure he was on Ectasy (Sic)) and James Eller on bass. Top stuff. (Christ I am now an old muso - bore, like the Saxondale Steve coogan character chap thing). |
'Infected' was one of the most profound musical experiences I ever err..experienced. (I'm not with it today. Was I ever). I bought it Christmas 1986, I think, after seeing the amazing 'Video album' on CH4. This film actually did compliment the album too. A rare feat. I was so blown away by it that I would awake in the middle of the night and have to play it (headphones, as I still lived with my Folks). I remember thinking 'is this what a blues singer sounds like'? 'Out of the blue' was ...just perfect. And it occured to me and my bro' the other day that if we were (Highly unlikely) in a war, driving tank situation, it's be 'Sweet bird of truth' blaring from our panzer's speakers..(Come to think of it, have a listen to the opening of this song next to Jack's 'Three O'Clock in the morning')...
|And I'm, sure, vocally and lyrically, it was an infulence on 'I didn't Marie' in some way...Looking back. |
By the mid 90's The The seemed to have disappeared, critically and commercially. One wonders why. I bought 'Dusk' at the time and it was too...'AOR' for my taste. Too staid. (although 'Mind Bomb' was partly responsobl;e (SIC) for putting me off E's. Well, the cover photo was. See, even after 6 Doses I would still tell people to 'Please don't touch me' and while walking on the moon as (SIC) a 'rave' I spied a guy with a Mind Bomb T-shirt and..Hoh..forget it. Boring).
But yeh..so..I spose 'Infected' was a real moment in time a lucid upside down umbrella of genius in a flodding elevator shaft of heathens...and , Like Bowie's photographs, portraits, rather...proves that not everything is chronologoical. No respect for Radio. But who could paint like that? 'Half past four'. 'I said A NICE PISH OF FISH'. Wha'? Anyhoo. Oh. Someone stopped me (by kicking me) in cardiff's high street yesterday. I hadn't seen them for years. They were very informed of me because of Journal entries like this. And yet I knew nothing of them. Or their current situ. Kinda like being famous without the (sue) Perks (ins). Food for thought.
But my point being, about The The etc is that I am recalling lately, occsasionally, how much I've forgotten. How much we forget, right? Colin?
(I do have some pics of me at the The The Gig. But here's some pics of tweebs instead).
|2007/08/16 14:38 - Comedy (A True Story)|
"Do you remember how it was"? Asked Dmitri. Paulus was barely listening. He was drunk in a very sober manner - that is he had been drinking Vodka slowly for most of the day - and was instead listening to everything- anything - except his comrade. Actually you could barely call it Vodka. If you broke it down to its basic ingredients it was merely glycerine, alcohol and water, with the emphasis on the alcohol. But it did its job, albeit in a clumsy brutal way. To what Paulus listened, no one knew. Or cared or considered, even. That Included Paulus. There was a sound of straining metal, steel and bolts. It sounded far off but couldn't have been. It was the sound of the hull that surrounded them. The hull of the craft that was sinking.
Electric lights the colour of muddy custard. Undernourished lights, somehow second-hand. There was one interesting thing about these lights though - they were in direct harmony with the low level buzz that permeated the shabby air. The poor light and the incessant sound were in it together.
Paulus was now looking at his fingers, turning his hand slowly like a tallow. The nicotine tan digits were fuzzy in the poor electric yellow light. For some reason, his fingers made him think of cacti.
'It was...unbelievable' said Dmitri, continuing, completely oblivious to his colleague's indifference. "You remember all that Sun? Us going at full pelt through the waves...the king of all we surveyed? Icebergs had nothing on us. Storms nor heat waves neither. We were Kings of the ocean. I tell you, Shit! You should have seen us, man'.
Dmitri paused a beat, now respecting his comrade's complete indifference. Then he pretended to smoke an imaginary cigarette and blew out make-believe smoke. Since the oxygen had apparently begun running out, actual Smoking wasn't allowed. But that was Ok. There was no tobacco anymore anyway. Dmitri leant back and imagined a smoke - ring going nowhere in the currentless, stale air. But this exetrtion caused his back to twinge and he resumed the only slightly less uncomfortable slumped position.
Paulus, meanwhile pulled on his fingers, imagining all the wondrous filthy places those fingers had been. He suspected fingers had their own memory, but he couldn't prove it. Fingers. He wiggled them. Did those fingers know how many miles beneath they were?
'Cuntless' Said Paulus.
'Wha' replied Dmitri. 'Currentless'?
Paulus: " "'.
The craft moved deep through darkness. It was debatable at this depth if any kind of life moved around it. Down here it was so deep that definitions of what lived or not was tricky. Even the dark wasn't just darkness. Down here the blackness was about something more than a mere absence of light. It was hard to explain but somehow light didn't even come into it at this depth. This was a kind of different darkness, one that had no memory of or relation to light.
There was a sudden static hum and altercation in the stale yellow air.
'I have bad news' Said the Captain over the P.A. Actually it was merely the third officer in command speaking. He wasn't strictly the captain. Not originally. One of first two officers had hung themselves the week previously. The original captain had drowned himself in a wash basin of water. That took some effort of will, you had to admit. This 'captain' had only minutes previously burnt his family photo album in the waste disposal. As an encore he planned to take an overdose sometime within the next few hours. His hands gripped the intercom Microphone flaccidly and those hands were still black and carbon stained from his private little bonfire. He thought of the photos burning and of the prescription painkillers he planned to swallow soon. Now, finally his hands shook in the absence of any remaining delusion. Yet at the same time, he felt oddly cheered. "I'm afraid we've dropped a further 13 leagues" he said. His borrowed voice penetrated the cabins and the quarters, the bunks and the galleys. No one responded. Nor could he have heard if they did. He had long since locked himself in the control room. So alone, flanked by expired candles and a makeshift pentagon scrawled on a sheet, he had very pretty eyes if you believed in that sort of thing. Thin wrists and a hairless chest betrayed his sensitivity. But then no one natural was cut out for this kind of Job. He stifled a giggle. Perhaps he was verging on hysteria. "Forgive me crew. I have no idea where we are going or how...or... even why we are surviving. According to our instruments the oxygen ran out 3 days ago. Power is long officially kaput. I have no idea how you are even able to hear me at this moment or even if anyone is listening. Or even if I am speaking right now'. He stifled a crazy chuckle, coughed. He had the odd sensation of feathers brushing against his face. It passed. 'Thankyou. Dinner as usual at 8. Goodbye".
There was the quarter echo of a click as the P.A. cut out. Dmitri had given up on Paulas for now and instead tried to remember the last time he himself had bathed. He tried to focus on those parts of him most filthy. In the stink department, his elbows and knees seemed unscathed. He spoke, surprising himself as he did so and lit another imaginary cigarette." How much further can we go, do you suppose"?
Paulus had by now taken off his Slippers and was tugging at a stiff and rank sock. So Dmitri went on, more to himself than anything. "What lies beneath? And what does this make this? Are we still men? Is this a life? I mean - technically we're still alive, right? But you know - If we thought losing the daylight and sun and air and any kind of ...err...hope was bad...and yet even so ...now we've gotten used to this...what can be next? How much more can we do without? How far can we go and still say we live? What's next? What's further down below..."? Another pause. "You know I used to see a girl who liked me to piss on her? In the bathtub. I'd wake her up when I got in late from a club or whatever. So I could piss on her in the empty bathtub.. She specifically asked me to do so. 'Wake me up when you get in' she'd say. 'It doesn't matter how late. And pee on me'. She loved that shit. Crazy."
Paulus came to, momentarily. He ran a finger between his two biggest toes of his right foot and sniffed the black filth. The air was soiled and the light was dirty. The humming sound remained constant. Someone somewhere was weeping. Someone else moaned from a bunk. Further away still a chuckle broke into a sob.
Paulus spoke but he did not recognize his own voice.
"Hell" he said. He dug and pulled at a toenail, the air hummed. It was a simple statement of fact. "We are on our way to live... in hell".
Currently reading :
Codman & Shurtleff Circular on atomized fluids
By Codman & Shurtleff. firm
Release date: 1894
|2007/07/27 17:05 - While it rained...|
|2007/07/19 13:42 - A week in the life of Joe Egg-Head|
I saw Daniel Johnston at 'The Point'...(Above)...(Thankyou, Chris)...
I'd literally just seen the Film on him, so it was kinda surreal...
His work is not to my taste, but I appreciate the truth in it...and it was fun, to hear a live band rocking out. (That's not to my taste often, either. I like very very quiet music played incredibly loud usually).
Watching and listening to DJ, a quote from David Byrne came to mind - 'The worse you sing the more people will believe you'. I'm not sure that's entirely true...(What about Sinatra and Scott)? but as with most things, there's some truth in it.
DJ is obviously more fragile than yer usual bear and it was a bit annoying to hear a booming valleys welsh accented voice scream behind me 'GO ON DANIEL MY SON, GO ON MY BOY' as if DJ was pulling off some miracle just by bashing out his tunes...
Notable quotes from mr DJ : 'I had a dream where someone accused of trying to commit suicide was sentanced to death'. and, to the audiences unwillingness to let him leave 'If you want to hear more, go home and listen to the records'...
|other than that, I've been leading a sparse and solitary aeshetic life....|
Mulling over the past and considering my future.
Not eating, running and writing...
(some songs for Fiona Brice, which is fun)...
|Watched a few films....|
'The Squid and the Whale' which was lovely, haunting and low key...
'The American friend'..Wim Wenders, the bloke from Downfall and Dennis Hopper....(I Love ol' Den...)...
Watching this, I was enjoying it so much that I kept pausing it and walking around, tidying up...to prolong the pleasure. tantric movie watching?
I wonder if that gross twat Sting watches films the same way...
|I'm having promo photos taken this weekend by Old friend Helen tremaine.|
I didnt want to do 'em as I dont like the way I look very much these last few years...but its unavoidable, I guess...despite the best efforts of Nic Brennan...
My main problem is that clean shaven I now resemble a maggot emerging from a peach...
|At least my new teeth Look good....|
|2007/07/12 18:12 - The place of lost things|
This week I have been mostly....
A character in a Paul Auster Novel -
Seeing how much he can live without and then going to far and throwing to much away, ending in an impossible situation with seemingly no way back.
|Patrick Bateman in Amrican Psycho. (Without the murder).|
Actually I once had an unpleasant experience with Bret Easton Ellis. Watch this blog.
|Working out too much. (!) My arms are too...ripped! And I'm down two waist sizes.|
Conversely, the Red Wine and Vodka intake has ...increased.
|Sometimes, life doesn't seem worth the balance.|
Thje struggle to maintain doesn't seem justified by the 'reward' in doing so.
But we go on anyway, right?
I've looked into the alternatives. There aren't any. Life is it, I'm afraid.
|But...I can't read...! My blood as restless as the sea...|
have so far given up on Auster's 'Country of...', a Bee gees Biography...A Picasso reader.
Despite the wealth of worms....
|2007/07/08 16:22 - Ungloomy Sunday|
Walking through Roath, listening to Billy Mackenzie sing 'breakfast', the sun was shining, the air was warm and suddenly full of Magnolia scent....
I felt very happy, loved by and in love with everything.
|2007/07/05 15:19 - Summer-Monsoon poems July 2007|
She wore poetry
She wore poetry
Whilst over here
Sleep disowned me
I cultivated a valium habit and a twitch
Having embraced insomnia
I quite suddenly came to from a dream of sleep
To find myself being dressed against my consent
Clothed in rare coutre I was
But dressed for what?
'What's this for'? I asked the 'men'. 'What's going on'?
They continued to fasten and button. Not hearing. Unable to speak.
Still, I tried a more amiable tone : 'Look...I've only just got used to wearing a Hairshirt and sweat pants all the time. So what's with these fancy duds all of a sudden?'
They remained mute
I looked at myself in the mirror.
(I had to admit, I was looking pretty spry in this get-up).
Turning away quickly, I muttered
'I don't trust this'.
Then and there I surrendered and reconciled myself to the transformation
My life oddly unreal and new in the glare of the multi-bulbed mirror.
I couldn't know it then
But soon Paintings would come alive in my presence
Dogs cats and geese would address me in an upper class English accent
House plants would sprout fresh pale green tendrils in deference to my entrance
Spiders and flies would join forces in a sweet but misguided effort to make me tea in the mornings
One thing however was obvious
I was being prepared for role I had no choice in
I was being called upon to recite lines from a long forgotten script
That I had nevertheless
At some point learned...
The 'men' who continued to groom me offered no clues
They remained steadfastedly silent
As they parted my hair
Dusted my tux
I was quiet too
As they finally ushered me gently into the wings
Stopping stage right
I looked out into the enormous theatre
There she stood
Poised and becalmed
Elegant and still
A great energy
On the cusp of silence and cacophony
Calling to mind
A brass figurine
Of some nameless Hindu God
Bathed in the spotlight
Dust and lint orbiting 'round her
Rising and falling at the speed of blood and memory
I glanced at the faceless audience
The packed stalls stretching out to infinity
Their dumb chatter and murmurs collapsing into anticipatory silence
A namelessley silent word in my ear and I was on
Me in my penguin Suit
in her poetry
The third date
A fear of Grass stains
Of falling into Sky
Closed my eyes
Behind aviator shades
My own skin unfitting
Taut in terror at its fear of shedding
I writhed inside this suit of Fat Bones
Greasy blood and Shampooed hair
To sense you there
Less than five hands away
In your own suit
Of silken umber skin
Straight white teeth
Bright Black hair
Riding this earth on your back
You made the grassy dirt happy to pull at you
While over here it took all of Gravity's rainbow
To keep me from spinning off into space and exploding
Your oiled and measured hips
Spoke to my un-aligned , curdled rusty-dusty hips
Who were even then cursing me through blood for our unfashionable shyness
'Till another voice cut through
With that same old shitty lie
The one done up
'All of this
The good and the bad
Taken from you'
|2007/07/05 15:19 - now here|
|......an odd week...a week ago today we got the news that Hunter S Thompson died by his own hand...And I was surprised at the grief this bestowed upon me. really felt like I gone done lost a friend...and I also became obsessive about checking news reports on him...which means I've spent most of the week reading nothing but obituaries. feel odd. Also spent the week picking up a guitar and engaging my recording studio to put the guitar down and turn the Tape off, thinking 'why bother'.|
Am struggling manfully to work on the Walkers Book as I just haven't been in the mood but this must be done.
Anna and I suddenly sick of this area and wanting to move...
Boiler exploded 3 times and we are without central heating or Hot water...boo hoo...
I am floating in Space and earth is receding...
Not even listening to music..
Did shrooms a week saturday which was Good and fun but...Gotta fight that current...this gravity..
Gonna watch a Joseph beuys Doc on BBC 4 now...
feel sleepy and narcotic...
Sexless and sad...
|2007/07/05 15:19 - Days of Wine and...|
|Roses or quality street?|
I just ate a box of the latter. Living in bed does that to a Boy child.
So, where am I...
Day started well enough, taking Photographs of my long suffering...getting up...
They'll appear in the Gallery any day now...
Am well into the book, thank Ye Gods. Fine reason to talk to intruiging folk.
had an interesting chat with :
Chap struck me as yet another deeply sensitive sort who has had to build up an armour of cheekiness and pomp in order to protect himself from the ravages of this capalist hell on earth.....
yes, Kim Fowley struck me that Bukowski poem..'There's a bluebird in my heart..:
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pur whiskey on him and inhale
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
stay down, do you want to mess
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
Just got Bukowski's 'Slouching toward Nirvana'. One has to trawl but there are rewards.
Literary wise tho', been steeping myself in Burroughs again.
Brought on by enjoying 'Naked lunch' for the first time...(The film-I don't find burroughs works that appealing although there are exceptions...but in the main I enjoy his Interviews)..
So have been re-reading (I bought it 10 years ago!):
I enjoy Victor bockris' stuff and at this rate I shall probably end up writing a Biography on HIM.
I'd love to hear his collection of tapes. Clearance issues I guess, or...?
Voctor! Are you out there! Sure you Ego surf..
And am now reading 'Conversations with burroughs'...
I orded his Rhino CD box set before I went to Cardiff last week. Hopefully hear tomorrow.
yes, yes, William makes me feel much less alone, in all respects, yes indeed. really cheers me.
As does the music of Django Rhinehart...
oddly, I can't find a decent web link for this master, but anyways..#
His music is filling the house of late and filling up them empty chambers o'my heart too, making me talk all 20's style..
Speaking of my heart, had more odd feelings there.
Strange and worrying. occasionally terrifyiing, in fact. I must make an effort to make the dumb doctor listen.
Went to Cardiff for Mother's day. My ma is OFF the booze after..thirty years? Due to health ssues. Ain't that something? I bought her the Tony christie CD and
The days of wine and roses' DVD, she's a lifelong Jack lemmon film.
A shocking, powerful film. Awesome.
Cardiff was...alright! I am at last starting to see it in a context outside of it being a series of places associated with a series of memories..it's just hard, there being so many deaths happening there for me..
But, went to some fine Clubs with leonard and Peter Morgan...(one called 'The pod')?-drank a beautiful Margerita in 'Henry's' and an utterly rank one in the Mexican retruant next to the Cinema complex on Hemingway road at Cardiff's Atlantic wharf...really disgusting. What a wasted oppertunity.
We went to see 'the life aquatic'. hmm. Overstylized for my taste, no heart and the effects looked like screensavers. Still, very interesting, good soundtrack and a haunting quality, innit.
Also watched 'the Aviator' which was splendid but Howard never got Koo Koo enough for me...
So. Julian should have finished his U.S. tour yesterday. great and good butAch. I am kind of dreading going to London again -because of the being away and the bed and the travel and the mishaps I invite upon myselves there- but, yes, of course it will all be beyond worth it. (nic tells me part of the artwork will be done today-Oh Boy!)
'And although I tend to see 'British Ballads' as my last effort for a while, (save for the Colin Wilson Musical, which reminds me, I dreamt of Colin-who I think f as a sort of English Burroughs, the other night)...
I am already considering recording one more, totally acoustic album in this here room.
and then, unless ...aww, screw it. Why trap oneself by thinking of the future.
|2007/07/05 15:19 - |
|….Thursday night…late April…a small venue…Upstairs…Shoreditch…Paul cook is soundchecking with one of his groups…I think they are called..’Diamond family archive’ or some such…http://www.slowumbrella.com/diamond.html|
…Paul is playing various other instruments other than the usual drum thing…the trio are committed and of and in the music, and watching them, as I drink from horrible Spanish wine in this near empty room…I realise how far removed I have come from the idea of Making my music ‘Live’. Every gig, almost, for the last few years…that I have done…has been about getting the gig done…over with, before it’s begun…something to hang a bender on…or am I being to Harsh. I dunno…here I become intoxicated and high and take pictures and try to attune to the buzzing at the back of my neck…as the club fills…Dalston is on the street outside and ‘On the Rocks’ where Anna and I met a girl called Leila all those years ago..a singer who I was supposed to collaborate with via Manu of Poplane and whose sisters looked like Prince’s backing singers…and my head is spinning while staying frozen still and the tanning from the wine will make me puke for sure when I am away from these distractions…But the bar staff are friendly (see Pic) and here comes Bryan Mills and maybe one more bump will re set the compass…and outside it’s Dalston and Orson Welles cried at the hotel screening of ‘the magnificent ambersons’ not because it was poorly cut but because ‘That time is gone now, don’t you see, Gone…’
The Boiler bursting has meant insurance and improvements to the house…the bedroom is a dream now and for the first time in 20 years I can watch TV in bed…(I didn’t want to for about 15 of those years it has to be said) but am using this time of domesticity to catch up on films and the like…I used to not be able to watch movies because I thought it being too self indulgent, but as of late I have allowed my fret fingers to soften as I leave the guitar in the corner for the longest time since I picked it up as a kid. This is because I feel I’ve been making too much music of late and so am seeing how far I can let it go, testing to see how much I need it and it needs me…
So I’m becoming a listener more than a composer…
But back to films;
I’ve seen ‘The motorcycle diaries’ which was …just great. I want a jacket like the lead in the film..And also a bike and a continent to ride across in it. I’d love to do a soundtrack for this director….oops! Not making music am I…
Although listening as well to the Bubba Ho tep soundtrack has made me want to rush to my recording studio…I have to stay disciplined and plough on with the Book…
And dear dead Hunter was right. ‘there is no high like writing’.
Back in shoreditch I did too much too soon and Bryan had to see me home as I had the chronic fear…
A terrible night’s sleep on the brink of puking..Bryan saved my morning by cooking me potato waffles and poached egg..dripping with butter, it ws like sunlight falling into my ruined stomach…
Easter I spent alone in a sunny house with William Burroughs on the radio the cats all about and opium and white wine inside me as I did ‘Cut ups’…a Luna time, was Easter, in the yellow sunshine of my kitchen…
Have been immersing myself in Burroughs still…
A real warmth and ancient kind of knowing do I get from him. One of those dead un’s whose spirit truly survives his body’s death I think…
Tried Vocals at the East end limehouse din studios…may have ‘country girl’ down? Looking forward to doing the iggy pop ones…slept through a musical saw overdubbing…was disappointed to see that it’s ‘just’ a saw…
Was completely enthralled by Antony beevor’s ‘Fall of Berlin’
I had no idea the majority of Russian soldiers were pised in Battle at this point…some ..A lot of detail quotes from letters and such in this book. Hope his other books match the standard, as I shall be buying all of them.
After finishing it I couldn’t get this image out of my mind;
Hitler, moments before he shot himself, singing’ I don’t vanna dance/dance vit you babee/nein more/I’d bever do nuzzing/to hurt you zo/all zo ze feeling ich bad/feeling ich baaaaaaad/
Cut to Himmler and goreballs listening sadly in the corridor outside and then bang.
Reading ‘The beat generation’ by Joseph Campbell….
A fine book but somewhat unengaging. A bit grey and cold for me. Ginsberg doesn’t interest me much…can’t work out why.
Watched ‘fried shoes and Diamonds’
Has it’s moments but reminded me why I don’t like ‘groups’…
Have been listening to very little music. Mostly the Burroughs box set from Rhino and the soundtracks I mentioned.
B.Ballads is behind schedule as these things usually are, Back in London in May after Julian gets back from his French tour.
The spare room there may be more tolerable in that new season?
Now to Chester to find Simon Napier bell’s new book. A week of red wine and missing meals, a dodgy left ear and treble chins. Am actually looking forward the summer. Weather.
|2007/07/05 15:19 - The summer has ended, the harvest is passed and we, we are not saved...|
|If hell is defined as an abscence of hell, than I could say that visiting my Family home is Hell.|
If you follow.
We all reach a stage whereupon things become unacceptable, you know - sometimes you get to an age where public transport isn't an option, mcdonalds is not an option, Signing on is not an option, The NHS is not an option, Fucking strangers is not an option...
Well, me staying at my childhood home is no longer an option. Viva france.
Guess if I do have to go there again then 'The big sleep' it is.
Apart from that;
Went to see http://www.google.com/reviews?cid=b7169667456985d1&oi=showtimes&fq=%22downfall%22
With My brother, len and Mel...
A..compelling, brilliant film. made better by me not knowing who the actors were. Wouldn;t have been the same if tom crusise had turned up in a buzz cut.
Also saw 'mystic river' on Sky Box office there.
Agreeably bleak, and of course, I dig the penn, but like a cartoon next to 'downfall'.
Yes, so, tremorfa was utterly depressing and I walked a lot and spent much money on Giant leather coats and tiny toy robots...and this morning found then
'Bandini' anthology by John Fante in Queen's street Fop.
Long since lost 'The road to los Angeles'. read it in one train journey. Kind of how i felt suffering in the family home...adolescent. fante is a master.
Now home, with my true loves; Anna and the cats, Pavorotti on 33rpm, organic vegetables and Mash, Gorgeous Icy white wine, a light cigar and the morning/evening smell of honeysuckly outside our quiet bedroom window...
Feel the need to make my own family. gain...
|2007/07/05 15:19 - erratum|
|'Hell is defined as an abscence of heaven..'right'?|
|2007/07/05 15:19 - chow mein|
With the taste of such still on lips, sort of-via supernoodles with leek and smoked cheese thrown in-making up a nice pre digested slop for someone not particulary hungry anyway...
I am about to click on my studio for the first time since November.
Some of the photo galleries on my site need new soundtracks, so..
have been feeling a bit disgusted with my music of late...I didn't want to become someone who released stuff for the sake of it as it were...
and..considering it's 10 years-a decade! this June since I recorded my first album...i thought it could be time for a break...(spinney may re release Pioneer soundtracks as a 10 year anniversary thing)...
Was interested in persuing the writing more, as have had soem transcendent experiences so far doing the book.
but, I kinda know deep down I'll die if I don't persue music in some way...
And read a chilling piece on jake thackray today in the independent..
I guess it'll be archived here soon enough.
And I got to thinking, maybe you only end up bunged up in a shed and a carrier bag of booze if you give up on yourself, no matter what the indifference of the world? (perceived).
Also a piece on Harold budd who..the subtext was that he's dissapointed with where his work has..been placed...
Add to this, the struggles that hollowblue are having to find even a decent half way home..
the shame of it..
I shall just keep on...
I see the beautypower site has dissapeared?
Chap who set it up for me doesn't answer my mails..
Ach, well and ne'r so mind..
other than this, am reading a biography of gershwin,
Was moved by
(which i first read 25 years ago)! Wha?
listening to beck's White boy' album which is suprisingly engaging...
I found Momus' album predictably dissapointing...
(to be fair it's like saying to Woody Allen 'I liked your funny films', sort of, ish)..
Enraptured by Takemitsu..
This week's drink has been sea breezes..
Waiting furiously for british Ballads to hurry up, (Julian and I do visit John Howard a week after next to record his part)...
I am wanting to see a Tarkosvky film...
and am as ever, competely entertained by
Which we get on CNBC every weekend..
happy happy Joy joy...
Repeat to fade..
|2007/07/05 15:19 - Always forget your welsh|
‘The main thing’, as dear old Bryan once drawled…(Ferry’s recent, ridiculous pro hunting comments have turned me off the idea of his music. I was surprised at myself. Mixing politics and art. But then the indulgence of Hunting is beyond politics isn’t it.
Anyway. I wonder if Alan Jones, Uncut chap, has also been perturbed by Bry’s silliness, as a recent retro feature on his Roxiness in the ‘Stop me if…’ bit of Uncut rather graphically went on about ferry’s fair to middling love of Gack in the mid to late 70’s. Nowt wrong with that, as regular readers will know, but it contrasts with the highly conservative public image Byron has cultivated of late. The comments bry made that riled me so, was his statement that the basis of anti hunt argument is based completely on Social ‘jealousy’.
This is so Utterly, stupid and…Anyway. I digress).
The main thing I did recently was travel to John Howard’s house,
which is waaaaaay West.
The train journey was one of the most arduous I’ve ever encountered. As it was 6 hours each way –not that long compared to some of the monster treks I’ve suffered- So I wonder if the grimness was to do with travelling through some of the less appealing parts of Wales?
Neath-where my old man was born…Port Talbot, which, as far as the view from the train went, seemed to consist of scrubland, some sort of processing plant and a row of houses opposite said plant. But whatever, I shan’t blame Wales for my queer blood. But the people. Picture this; I am sat at a table in a 3-carriage chunter. I have my books, (groovy Bob), headphones (Elvis! Ultimate film outtakes!!), Pinot and pistachios.
Apart from some Goths.-A pair of whom are trying on each other’s newly bought pantaloons, revealing pale fetid buttock cracks and doughy rib clingers- the place is empty with lots of spare seats for whatever scum and flotsam drifts in.
And one such piece of rawboned debris does drift in and sits OPPOSITE me.
I mean, there are 4 seats around this table and he doesn’t even sit diagonally across from me, allowing us both to stretch our legs out. No-he sits opposite! As if it couldn’t get worse, he instantly quips:
‘What time was the kick off, butt’?
Wordlessly, I gather my things and relocate.
And this is harder to do than you’d think. I’m still, unsuccessfully trying to get over my catholic upbringing, (my upbringing) and manners as a re-flex. I had to grit what’s left of my teeth and Not say ‘…!?’
well what would I say? And why do I still feel apologetic when I find myself saying ‘I have no interest in Sport’? Tally-ho! fuckface!
Anyway, the journey drudged on and on and on. My heart breaking as I heard a 19 year old dad scream at his 4 year old daughter behind my seat…not an occasional ‘Stop it’ but ‘So what dod you put it there for you’re stupid, stuipd. Fuck-eng stewpid, ent you’
And then horror of horrors, the mum joined in on the dad’s side. But what to do? I gripped my Wine glass and felt like screaming, levitating from my cramped seat and caving the ginger cunt’s skull in… but as we know, I must stop getting arrested on TrainS..inn ett!
So, sit back ! Enjoy the view of post nuclear scrubland and witness another demon born in the shape of a fucked up child.
Julian joined me at Swansea, laden down with recording gear, regaling me with a local horror story of his own, that is him being spat on on the London tube…
By the time we arrived at John’s station, there he was, and here I am, exhausted again and dizzily befuddled by the wine and Valley chavs,…John all in White, like a Fitzgerald Jesus…
John and Neil live in a …yes, a truly amazing house. Custom built in the 70’s by a psychologist, it’s among trees and air on the edge of a forest. A sorta skewed 70’s feel with big furniture and rooms that allow you to feel as if you’re walking in air…as one is I suppose…but is hardly aware of it…usually.
Anyway, it’s such a unique one off, literally and as a bonus, as I’m shown to one of the many guest rooms, it’s always kinda comforting to look into another’s bookcase and see your own reflected there…
But there is a tiredness that follows me about of late…this year…
Whilst tidying up the attic I found a travel itenery...a pocket of airplane ticket receipts…from 97(?)…Dusseldof/munich/cologne/paris/madrid/barcelona…
And I realised I’ve forgotten the places I’ve been and a sudden weight came on me…all those miles and hours…I s’pose this is what’s meant by ageing, right?
When gravity starts to win the tug’o war.
So this means that at any given time, I feel as though, not only am I conversing or talking with people, but I’m also fighting/dealing with exhaustion. Real or not, it feels so.
John had kindly, very kindly agreed to be the pianist for a forthcoming B.Ballads song; ‘Where the dead live’. This is a tricky song for all sorts of reasons. Written and recorded a year ago, as a demo in this here room I type in, it was a piece I had to push to justify itself. I mean, I couldn’t just write another linear, simple a to c and back again chord structure. I was also besotted with ‘Porgy and Bess’, the musical, particularly Sammy Davis’s rendition…and I needed to incorporate parts of that. This was a change for me in that the chords would sometimes follow the melody and not vice versa as usual… So, it’s a difficult song to learn. Not helped by the fact that I hadn’t played it since I recorded it, so I couldn’t remember some of the (‘peculiar’) but correct, chords.
Aye! It was a quest for the missing chord! But we got there in the end and have enough to use, with much ‘John Howard ness’ present-which was the main point.
I mean, Will could have played it…(see will’s funny questionnaire at http://thetears.org/site/wfprofile.html ) but as I explained to JH, I wanted some of his essence on there, and we have that.
I just don’t understand why I felt so exhausted the whole time. It literally felt like my face was sliding off my skull. I’m having trouble with my ears too, they are blocked and this somehow swells my face up on occasion. I went to have them syrainged, or however it’s spelt, but was told they were ‘too blocked’ for that and I should continue with the boots stuff I bought, which crackles and fizzes and is not unpleasant. But as it runs gummy down the side of one’s face, not exactly pleasant or appropriate either…
Once recording had finished, we had a lovely dinner and was joined in the after grub conversation by a chap called Phil king…who was in Felt and Lush. Phil apprently lives in the attic space at John and neil’s and as it was Sunday, was allowed out for guests and occasional meals.We played with the lush once or twice, but I recall little. What a charming, bubblyfeatured fellow. Conversation swept from Neil’s old friend, Kenneth
Williams, to Simon Dee and Lawrence from Denim/Go kart etc I suppose Julian felt very young amid such topics but it was pleasant for me, my usual after dinner conversation being with the screaming crows within the egg nog spattered Birdsnest of my mind.
Then to the station and…
So home again, sweet home, home…
Although I must travel again to London soon, to do last work in the colinsdale library and vocals on B.ballads, I’m in no rush, having barely recovered from the nightmare train journey back, of which I’ll spare you.
Ok. As I said, I read ‘groovy Bob’
Which I found pretty unengaging, as I didn’t care for Bob. No bob, please, I’d rather bob.
Limped through ‘The last cocktail party’, which was, amazingly, considering the subject, dire.
Enjoyed ‘Peter cook remembered’, which has given me an appetite for a Biog on PC.
I downloaded his ‘Sven’ routine from Local radio. Not fuuny as such but moving and masterful, a new genre… for comedy?
Hear it here:
There was a fantastic Documentary/drama on Hitler’s Architect, Albert Speer on BBc4…
Funny how during the last years at Spandau they would…The prisoners…(I’m tired)… Barely talk to each other because they were writing respective biographies. As such, they didn’t want memories filched and so kept selves to selves…
(Hess: ‘Say, Speer, uh, did Hitler ever say anyzink about zat time I cooked the mash potato for him wiz ze skimmed milk’? Speer: Ah, ya, az a matter of fact, he did,..az I recall, the furher turned and said in zat cute little vay ov hiz..ACH Nein! Ziz is for your memoirs isn’t it! Get avay from me hess! Zeze memories are for my book only! Achtung!’ etc)
I could write a comedy show out of these old Nazi’s lives…
Saw ‘Slither’ by accident. Terrible title and goofy film, unavailable on DVD. I loved it.
‘The colonel’ was a corker but I forget who wrote it...put me back onto Elvis a bit.
Am off booze again, for the most part. Just feel too swollen. I need other stimulants.
Carole vordemman and wee little jimmy krankie packed in Ice, please.
Dot Allison has been in touch, which is splendidly lovely after so long.
I shall see her when I’m next up in London
And now to my book, and the morning, and the clotheslines, and the junkyards and the freeways lay between us…
|2007/07/05 15:19 - |
On the advice of a recurring dream (twice in one night), I blew out my London trip which I was due to take tonight.
My dream this: (CHrist!! HE'S RECOUNTING HIS FUCKING DREAMS NOW)!
I have the lead in a big sold out west end production of 'Death of a salesman'. Moments before I enter the stage, I realise I haven't even looked at the script, never mind learned it.
My underguy takes over and I'm given a fortnight to get on my shit. Terrifying.
i think, in part, this is to do with not having a secure place to stay. The room at C.farm is gone and I am faced with a night here, a night there, maybe an afternoon over by there.
My nerves can't take it. I need a solid booking but am too broke to afford a hotel (or even the YMCA). So am hoping one of my publishers come through with soemthing. After all, I am there to work.
I suddenly just want to finish my Walker brothers biography. Which is good, as I have to contractualy. but I'm suddenly sick of asking enormous Egos tiny questions. I want it behind me of a sudden.
So, less typing here, more there.
'British Ballads' stutters forward. Most of the strings done by the gallant talent, Fiona Brice.
As for me, I feel far away from it right now.
I am guilty of wanting thinhs over and of not enjoying then process, as ever.
Like Larry David said: 'Sex? Let's just both come and get it over with'.
The days are long warm and bright. My hayfever undoes me. I fall assleep at noon after a Rum lunch. I awake at 5 30 am with the sun and cats in my face. I awake to Fox news and then encircle 'The Walker brothers story'.
Sunflower seeds in the evening. 'The bruce robinson diaries'. (depressing for some reason).
Bought a fantastic phone, which will hopefully help with my telephone phobia:
I really wanted one as in 'The Life aquatic' but couldn't locate it.
Been listening to 'Visage', 'Godley and Creme'.
Everyone is at a funeral or on holiday.
|2007/07/05 15:19 - War of the Worlds|
So, it turned out that an Alien invasion was not by some unaeshetically pleasing 'other' from 'Out there' but from the guy next door, who just happens not to share the morality of the greater good.
And I must be getting old. Ken livingstone, London's Mayor, made a speech that brought wet to my eyes.
I'll be in London next week. To live in fear is not to live at all.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
|2007/07/05 15:19 - Archangel rides in on the Moon|
I was of course, apprehensive about returning to London so soon after the recent horrors…but could not put it off. Other than refusing to be intimidated, I am closing in now on the finishing of my Walker Bros biography and if it’s to be as good as I can within the deadline, then I needed to make this trip. Apart from a few more interviews and meetings, and a final session at my 5th favourite place in London-The colindale newspaper library- I was booked into a tape library to hear unreleased tracks by the subject of the book.
I have a new rule; never travel on a Monday. Dunno what it is, but some psychological trick is played upon the self and it eases the hassles of trains and taxis and clocks and cabs.
I am always gripped with a phantom energy on arriving in London –I could never go straight to bed, no matter how shattered. So I had an appointment with Dennis Weinreich, a man who helped birth ‘Nite flights’. Among the many interviews I’ve made for my book, Dennis was among the best. Total recall, insight and candid.
We’d already exchanged e-mails and spoken on the phone-I’d also interviewed the Assistant engineer of these sessions-Steve parker-in a 4 wheel drive on a boiling hot day in an obscure Welsh village. Locked in against the heat and listening to the album and its outtakes.
En route to fearful Euston, I stick to the light stuff on the train; a big bottle of half frozen Kronenburg and a few tins of Stella. As always, I don’t look at the books I’ve brought with me, instead making my way through the latest Rolling Stone and an excellent Norman Mailer interview.
Euston has a heightened air of paranoia and there are lots of vans with sound recording equipment around…as I struggle to put my contacts in at a table (You never see people doing this anymore), I am freaked out by a group of men to my left-all with ID tags-who are nervously opening a suitcase that seems to hold nothing but a hard drive.
I sweat to the 253 which drops me high wired and stinky at Camden.
I move toward Dennis’ offices through cafes and pubs history speckled by the memory of long ago dates and nights out, a London life lived long ago. Fuck. In the last centaury.
By the time I sit down with Dennis I’m in desperate need of a vodka. Dennis however, is coolly warm, Americana Calafornia charm and with a compressed energy that requires little outside stimulation.
But it’s a persuasive climate, and We soon retire to a unusually civilized bar where in the dying, screaming sunlight he brings to life the recording of one of the most seminal and odd pop records of the last 3 decades, Nite flights, by the Walker Brothers.
We talk until it gets dark, the tape recorder on off between the faintly potential libellous stuff, stuff that doesn’t belong in a musical study, most of which is most surprising and concerns not the main men at all…
Dizzy with booze, pastachios and fatigue, weighed down by my bag of many colours, I’m swallowed by the time warping bowels of the tube and safely if tipsily make it to a restaurant where my host for this trip (my Book Publisher) is dining. It is midnight, and the journey from Camden to Balham is long and exhausted beyond bomb fear.
The room I’m guesting in is fine, just me and a fold out bed. I pop in the earplugs and am gone.
Up early as ever, as regular readers know, It is impossible for me to sleep past 8am at the latest, no matter what time I hit the bone coloured cradle. Plus the sun is shining on me through the blinds…I am an ant in God’s magnifying glass.
My gracious host doesn’t stay long. I’m not normal in the morning until I’ve poured coffee into myself anyway. I have a bath, (I hate showers because you can’t read in them) and dry myself in the sunny garden. Rare for London. Having been told to help myself to the fridge, I pour some champagne from an open bottle into a pint of orange juice and nibble on some nuts whilst reading a book on the LA punk scene. Funny. The LA punk scene started less than a decade after the Walkers left sunset.
Spend as much of the day as I can in the 10th wonder of the world, the Colindale newspaper library. Have written about this before so check earlier entries.
But with the fear of bombs and stifling summer heat outside, one really feels as if the 21st Centaury is left behind when ones bags are checked in at the Library lobby.
Whipping through the microfilm I have to avoid other articles of interest and focus on the subject of my book. In 1966, none of the walker brothers can go shopping without the details being reproduced some where in either NME or Melody maker. By 1976 they are lucky to get an album review.
Finish early and off to Stevenage where I am to meet a Mr P-the western world’s biggest collector of Walker memoribillia. Lucky for my diminished budget, I am not asked for a ticket on the train, being in too much of a rush I err didn’t buy one before hand. Still one can never really relax, then, can one.
Weird that’s its so light and warm still in the UK evening. The backs of the great british house whirl away beyond the railway cuttings. Didn’t I know someone in Wellyn Garden city once or something…?
Mr P picks me up and is friendly and unassuming. Middle aged but with a perky, sober vitality.
Entering his home I am stunned –the whole room is decorated in enormous framed portraits of Scott, along with original Tour posters, flysheets, fold out life-size posters…
Amazing. Apparently many of these were sold outside gigs by the Boys own management, with no cut going to the Boys themselves, no doubt as this merchandise was unofficial. But its quite an impact. My Mum would love it…
I’m invited for a sit down dinner with the family, which is lovely. It seems like a good idea to stick to Ribena and I do. Just as well. I need my head this evening, as the collection of Mr P is beyond description. Just mind-boggling.
Weird original photos, Master tapes, Japanese programmes…flexi postcard with a song on from Warsaw, ‘freedom records’, a pic disc of the walkers with a message of peace and freedom (ahem) from the west to the east…
By the time I have photographed as much as I can I am exhausted and resolutely sober, the train taking me through a reluctant darkness, through stations forever associated with the early days of London Life; The friends I had at Finsbury Park, the Overland station at green Lanes…But I’m so happy to have left them.
I get in close to 1. I came up with the fantastic idea of tape recording myself directions when leaving my publishers flat, and of course get lost in Clapham. Two hoodies on Bikes circle me like vultures in the early morning humidity. My pink shirt is sweat drenched, my feet raw. To put them off I play the Dictaphone at varying speeds aloud. I am more weird than them. My last 10p of credit gets me through on my mobile and I’m rocking with Morpheus by 2.
More library beauty. I hope they never do join this heaven onto The King’s cross branch.
In the super suppertime sunlit evening I arrive at Clapham common early. I am meeting my Book publisher for a pub quiz. Rather than visit old and comfortable friends I’ve decided to stretch the social wings a bit. I buy a bottle of sauvignon Blanc, a bag of nibbles and a bag of Ice and a sit against a tree on the fairly crowded common. Is this what it is to be single? Surrounded by similar singles and couples. I am, after the first 4 cups (I bought paper cups) supernova dwarfed by Golden waves of well-being. I’m approached by a vagrant. I ask him how come he’s so thin. ‘HIV ‘ he tells me.
The sky is blue forever and I think of peter O’ Toole. I am half cut by the time I reach the pub and …well it’s been so long since I’ve mixed with…people who don’t live desperately. Its only the second pub quiz I’ve ever witnessed and or attended or whatever. The first was…1994? A pub called ‘the Engine Room’ in Camden, with Matthew. I still did Speed then. I was so ripped I couldn’t piss. But I WON the quiz as I recall. I was like a fucking laser down a rabbit hole. And I actually had to go up and claim the prize, which was …Boo Radley tickets. As the compere gave em to me, he put the Mic to me and asked if I had anything to say. ‘Anyone want to buy some Boo Radley tickets’. What a wag. I paid in the morning though.
Back in Clapham My comedy routine falls flat among the assembled, and quite rightly too. After offering to race sean home (man against Bike!), I get confused on the tube, getting off at Stockton, where a week later, the SAS shoot a man five times face down.
As late a rising as I can make it, which is not very late. I have a halfway decent PRS royalty today (Thankyou canadian film board) so I take off early to Camden and buy some books. Not a lot that I want, but I get Hockney’s ‘China Diary’ and Ralph Steadman’s ‘The Big I am’. Notice there is a theatre production of some of Carver’s stories, but they are out of flyers and I don’t know where or when.
Up to Belsize Park to meet Paul F. A busy day today but I feel halfway normal.
Once again, these places, which I once frequented so often, bring memories crashing back now that I live in another world. Over there the cinema I went to see ‘Basquiat’, when it came out…with Momus, who declared that I was Basquiat and he was Warhol..
But back here now, to revisit the past…Further..Before I was conceived, even..
Paul’s looking well, fitter than ever which is not saying that much of course..Heh..
Anyway..We’re headed for a tape depository/library, to listen to ‘Gulp’ unreleased, Walker Brothers stuff from the 60’s and 70’s…
We get there late, of course, I’ve confused the directions no doubt, and am sweating cobs by the time the lovely Jane, whom I’ve only emailed up to now, escorts Paul and I to the listening room.
With only an hour to go already, I start picking tapes out of the box increasingly feverish..my camera battery rns out…balls, balls…
I do of course have a list of songs I need to hear, culled from the expansive tape and recording schedules I’ve been sent in preperation…But even so, I’m surprised. Delighted…hypnotized.
I decide to go in easy and listen to something I’m familiar with. We run a tape with b sides on… I ain’t ready for brand new stuff just yet..I’m getting a good rare vibe off of this...I.e., so sings of imminent disappointment.. The tapes roll via the lovely young geezer manning the board; Ben…the first thing that comes out of the speakers is the ambience. Having written so deeply these last few months about people I’ve never met, Johnny Franz, Reg guest, John and Scott…I feel as if I’ve been haunting them. And yet they’ve been silent to me, until now.
Of a sudden, there they are, as if they were on the other side of the screen. I hear keys clinking, pencils on paper, mumbling, the sound of Stanhope place, 1966! An orchestra member says something about the union and then a posh BBC voice right up front, cuts through the lot..’Ok, alright. Ready Scott’? And then right in your face, speaker left, Californian breathing, an amused air and the familiar low voice, although weirdly, sounding so young..’uh, yeah, Ok peter’? Then a count in and oh heavens..The orchestra fills the room..The room fills with colour..Its so NOW. Having spent a decade in Studios I’m familiar with the process of hearing players while not seeing them, and its just like this..now…We’re there…its as new sounding as tomorrow.. Oh Boy!
And then another surprise; Scott’s singing. Obviously a guide vocal, for the sake of the orchestra recording (he would return at night to perfect it) and I’m surprised at the lack of natural commitment in the vocal. The voice, reverb less and in your face, (I ask Ben to isolate it, turning the orchestra right down) is frequently off key and wavering, the breathing all over. This means that Scott did make an effort when singing, because I’ve never heard him sound like this before, even on live tapes and the like. I had assumed the perfect pitch, phrasing, diction and breathing came almost totally naturally…the other thing, he sounds so young. I’m moved when I consider the balls of the 22 year old getting his own composition within such a set up, the massive mechanics of Philips bending toward this. Is ‘Archangel’ pop?
What’s also apparent is how much John colours the tone..He is absent at this stage and you really notice it. But there’s something so…moving about hearing that naked voice in what sounds like a confined space while Reg Guest’s orchestra rages outside.
(And it’s ‘Ride’s in on the moon’. I always thought it ‘Riding..’).
By the time the song has ended –and yes-you hear it end, the drumsticks clomping down onto Ronnie verrall’s lap, the ambience returning, abhorring silence…Scott mumbles something and its as if I could open the door and he’d walk in now as he was then, Slip on shoes, cord jeans, red scarf…
Well, Gosh. I’ve got my moneys worth already.
And then the researcher in me takes over, (thank the weather I’m sober).
On we go. What’s this? ‘Lovers’ at one minute seven seconds, recorded before Copenhagen. Ahh…a beautiful vignette, one of those sublime shorts he was so good at, like ‘On your own again’ and the like, and the singing more handsome this time, more assured…but still surprisingly off key...Then a few John songs, a terribly recorded distorted vocal, (sounds good actually) on ‘In the evening time’…more ambience, back to Scott in the booth, the sound of keys rattling in the singers pocket as he waits impatiently for the Orchestra to get it together..
‘When am I going home’, a Tony Bennett vibe…so many…What’s this; ‘the sun…’(reject version)! Maybe this was the first version hey recorded, with the ‘deaf guitar players’??
Alas no. Its as triumphant as the one that stalks the world even today, the only noticeable difference being the vocal harmony/phrasing during the break down…the harmonies so spot on, Jon’s voice like a halo around Engel’s croon…
‘Overgrown Paths’, recorded with ‘Lights of cincinatti’. Another unheard Engel original.
Absolutely beautiful, as good as anything he did during these years, the arrangement does indeed ramble, huge, sprawling, wordy, orchestral roads and vales…Obviously a forerunner or half brother of ‘Little things that keep us together’, similar melody and rhythm, different words and arrangement… And Unheard all these years, gathering dust…
Jane comes in and says we can come back. Oh Boy! I guess our enthusiasm and sincerity has come across somewhat…but we have to finish by 5-45 cos Ben is going to see Queen at Hyde Park. Time for just a few more. We play ‘I still see you’. I’d read that Scott was blitzed on Vodka during this and wanted to see if it came across in anyway…but no, if anything this is the best vocal so far..Iguess it’s the final composite take.. Ah yes, this is a master....Laungid and muscular, just superlative, baby…
One more, one more.
‘The desperate one’s’ from Scott 3.
The opening Piano chords are familiar, that Satie vibe but where…? Oh my Sweet George.
Its ‘ les Desesperes!
! My favourite ever Brel Song!! Of course. ‘The desperate ones’!
I put the headphones on for this. In his excitement Paul is often talking over the songs and rushing up to me with new discoveries, his 56 year old baby face flushed with gay excitement…
Headphones transport me back to a room off of Marble arch, Summer 67…
This is just so great…I have never even heard an English version of this song....my favourite Brel, bought in Morlais all those years ago…
Scott is totally into it and when not singing you can hear him humming faintly off mic, totally inside the song…(A true singer sings during the song even when not singing)…why wasn’t this completed? Ach..I just sit back close my eyes and enjoy, suffused with it. Oh, don’t end…please don’t go, as Dusty sang…
We’ll that’s it for me, lets end there.
Except Paul wants to listen to Dusty outtake. ‘Magic garden’. Fine by me. I sit back, imbued by this rare, newly unbottled beauty. I feel like we’ve let a Genie out of a lamp...for a few minutes, the air is full of …something rare and fine, magical, weird…good..
Next stop on this balmy evening is our friends flat, somewhere off Abbey road. (More Jazz age memories).
Doug’s place is great; like somewhere Quentin crisp would have lived. Courtesy of that mornings Royalties I buy some champers and crisps. We squeeze into Doug’s open topped Truiumph Herald and off we go into the gorgeous warm London dusk, sipping bubbly en route to Richmond. You really feel like you’re in a city when the car has no roof. The merriment dilutes a little in a traffic jam but we’re still buzzing from the rich afternoon listening session and more goodies await.
I’m going to view a pop art painting by a mysterious dead painter called ‘Philip Marsh’. He apparently knew Scott, who sat for him in 67. Scott signed the reverse of the painting; ‘From now on I shall only make serious music, Scott May 67’ I’m gonna verify the signature, photograph it and perhaps arrange a sale.
What a fuck up. We’re led into a sprawling Richmond studio by my contact, a disagreeably oafish fellow who I won’t shame by naming. Then an old lady, who instantly starts calling me ‘Welshie’ ‘Oh! Another Welshie! My my, where do they comer from…’ etc
She is The owner of the painting, unlovably eccentric, but anyway, here it comes, she gets it out of it wrapping, pattering. The painting isn’t much. Neither good no bad 6th form stuff. I did similar of Sylvian when I was a kid and you did them of Elvis, Bowie or whomever.
Anyhoo. Lets see the back. Nowt. Sweet fucking fanny Adams. Bollocks! The kid who panted it wrote ‘Blue’ which leads to some fatuous discussion between Paul and the seller but this painting has never come close to its subject. It’s a fan thing. I’m shocked and disgusted. I’d spoken to ‘my contact’ numerous times through out the day. He failed to mention this huge omission.
This is obviously just a fan painting by a kid of the 60’s. Hence the unknowness of Philip Marsh. ‘Its obvious he knew Scott’ someone blathers. ‘Eh’?
I explain that the painting is obviously from a photo. In fact it’s an iconic image. Probably Dezo Hoffman or Chris Walter snipped out of the radio times.
‘Oh no, we think he took the photo’. Why would you think that?
I’m mostly exceedingly pissed off now, having brought Doug and Paul under such farcical pretence. For all these folk know, I've come all the way from Wales..Thank de lord I didn’t bring my art dealer friend from Colchester.
I keep my manners about me and after photographing the pic, (whilst still being told, ridiculously that the painter was a friend of Scott-basd on no evidence or anything credible at all), we head off into a exceedingly pleasant evening…visiting Doug’s brother’s pub in Barnes (No Nick Rhodes here tonight) and ending up at a beautiful art deco pub off of Abbey road…
Home now, and closing in on the book. It must be finished now.
Dave Dee this week, Dick lehay tomorrow. Probably my last interview.
Music creeping up on me again too. Making plans to finish British ballads next month.
I’ll sign off as ever with things recently shaking my Vibration;
The R Kelly thing. Utterly hysterical the first three times. Nice to hear ‘Beretta’ in a song. Vegetables. Orson Welles. Sylvian’s The Librarian’. Working out a deal for the tapes of Victor bockris. The shugmonkey tunes about old world order. An episode of minder’ blowing away late Sunday evening blues. Wonka bars. My beautiful cats. Meloset.