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2006/10/20 13:08 - FALLEN EMPIRES

Sad to be back in some respects. Although the purpose of my Italian sojourn was work, it was still a holiday from the more…grinding aspects of my life.
As soon as we broke the cloudbank above Manchester on Tuesday I became depressed. Tuscany skies and warm sea breeze were replaced by disgusting terraced houses and estates, shell suits, rain and greyness.
On coming home I realise we have too many cats. Five is too much. There is a war going on in these rooms. Harvey now has a damaged paw and limps and cries, especially when you cuddle him. Or move him from the pillow. Sweet pea’s eye is better at least. (Tweebs cut it the other week). All these war wounds costs money. Vets ain’t cheap.
But they’re also pissing everywhere, marking their terrortry or what I dunno. But it reeks. Plus, while I was away, they took over my side of the bed and the whole duvet and pillow arrangements is matted with fur and crud. At night sweetpea refuses to acknowledge my presence and looking to bed down, stomps on my eyes, which is not a nice way to be awoken from a booze sodden sleep at 4am. Then there’s the cat flap. Sometimes they know how to work it, sometimes not. So I’m often woken by a rhythmic ‘Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!’ at night. Usually just after I’ve fallen asleep again after having my eyes pawed. I dunno. You’d think I would have turned into a cat by now. What a life they lead.

My favourite time in Italy was walking around Lucca:


Gianluca and I walked and talked for hours and I felt pure and innocent again, spending the day on nothing more than a milkshake.

And back in Livorno at the Hotel Cavour

I find that I have adjusted to this one star life surprisingly easily. In the dusky room I don’t seem to miss my library or studio much at all. I’m happy to find I ‘m still adaptable.
(A note about the ‘star’- I once stayed in a hotel in France that had had its one star rubbed out.)

But on my trip, I was haunted by a heavy loneliness that I’ve not experienced before. An inner animal sense of season’s end, perhaps. It weighed on me as I strolled the sunny marina and the beachside. (I was out of time; looking for lunch at 1pm, a time when everything is shut down and the streets were deserted. My hunger forced me into the disgusting McDonalds, the only place open. No veggie stuff. Just a bap with onions and mayo).
But there were good times too, meeting with fredrico and his new wife at a wonderful exotic restaurant in Pisa…Giancarlo, Buddhist master too, who presented me with a wonderful designer Japanese pen. The father guitarist Marco and his talk of baby food and shoes. Nice to meet Sam and many others too. Two men called Luca. Silvano the jolly restaurant owner who asked if I’d like Magic mushrooms with my Pizza.

I saw some great movies too. Ones I’ve wanted to watch for YEARS:

Polanski’s ‘The tenant’:


And Burt Lancaster in ‘The swimmer’:



Holiday’s within a holiday.

Back home now to arsey calls from Credit card people ‘ You Pay or its bad news for you’!! , piles of unpayable bills and further book rejects. (‘It’s too specialist’, ‘Well written but no market for it’) but there are a few remaining possibilities. Its not over yet, baby blue.

Talk of a tour next year. Me and Hollowblue together, sharing some musicians. Never a fan of playing live but I like the idea, I’m up for it. I’m sure if it was properly arranged it could work well enough. I’d like to play some places I’ve never played enough: Germany, USA, Turkey and of course Italy. (And London)!

Until then, I remain your patented and patient patient.

2006/10/18 19:25 - ITALY

My third time in Livorno. My fifth in Italy. Very different every time.
Too many planes.

Living in a hotel. No natrual light. Out of time.

Saintly gianluca.

And many others.

Recording. Singing in Italy in italian.
Seasons end?

2006/10/04 19:04 - talking To Green

Still no news on the book. No good news anyway. Virgin and Bloomsbury said 'No'.

Still awaiting other responses. The idea of two years work laying dormant...does not bear thinking about. So I won't.

These blogs are becoming a litany of miseries. So I'll step aside today.

(Oh on the plus side I've been writing songs with A Girl called Eddy. Just so you know).

Here's a transcipt of about a quarter of a conversation I had with Green Gartside this afternoon. I can usually tell instantly if someone's a stand up guy or not just from talking to 'em. GG is a royal gent, methinks.

A 'Proper' version of this conversation will appear in next month's Idler magazine.


The full transcript will appear later in the writings section of my site.

And in December GG will take me onn a tour of 'His' hackney as a feature for Stop smiling magazine.

Green Gartisde and A.Reynolds in Conversation. Wednesday afternoon. October.

GG: Hello.

AR: Hi, is this Green?

GG: Yes. Hi.

AR: Hello. This is Anthony.

GG: Hi, how are you?

AR: Not too good actually. How are you?

GG: Oh..err..Not too good actually…

AR: Oh. What's up?

GG: What's up with you?

AR: I've done my back in. It's like an anxiety thing I think…I've had some bad news in the last week and it's gone to me back. I can't really walk….apparently this kind of thing happens occasionally…

The doc' says I'll never work again.

GG: Oh…dear…um...Are you sure you're up to this?

AR: Oh yeah, I'm fine…what's up with you?

GG: Oh, I'm in some kind of state where a battle between a hangover and a virus is taking place…(Door bell rings)…Oh hang on…

AR: Jeez..what a combo…

GG: Yeah..hang on I've just gotta answer the front door…

AR : That's cool...I'll hang on…

(Green lets someone in)

GG: I'm gonna run up the back garden now where its quiet…

AR: Hmm…A virus and a hangover…one of the worst afflictions- combinations that I suffer from is hayfever and hangover combined…

GG: Oh yeah? I get hayfever too…although not as bad as I used to. Don't you take…stuff for it?

AR: Yeah I do but…people respond to treatment differently…it doesn't always work…

GG : I was like that as kid. In fact, I …it was annoying…I used to get it so badly that …do you remember that they once decided that they had a cure for Hayfever?

AR: Oh yes, I had an experience of this…

GG: They used to give injections..and I had to go to the Gwent hospital in Newport every Saturday morning –imagine this when you're a kid – you think you're gonna get to the weekend and it'll be yours but you had to go up to the hospital. This went on for months, every Saturday morning, I'd go up for an injection. Ach! And it never worked. It was supposed to get you ready for the next summer and you weren't supposed to get hayfever for the next summer. And I did that two winters running. What a waste of time.

AR: I had exactly the same experience. I had to go to my GP and it was as you say, horrible. What little kid wants a needle in his arm? There's a joke here somewhere…anyway…the doctors…they just stopped suddenly. Some kid fell over and sprouted fur all of a sudden and it was like 'Oh we're gonna stop this now, please don't tell anyone'…

GG: (Laughs)

AR: But the bugger with hayfever is that every year I forget that I suffer from it. So I kind of wade into the beautiful blooming summer and then I notice I'm sneezing and my eyes are aflame…and its like 'Oh yeah, I don't belong in this season'...all over again…

GG: I used to take ant-histamines and they would really knock you out…

AR: I always ask specifically for the drowsy Anti histamines, 'cos I like being doped up.

GG: Yeah…doped up…That reminds me I was talking to Mark Radcliffe the other day and he'd come from a John Clooper Clarke and one of the ex members of the Fall…they are doing gigs as a duo at the moment. And they're both ex junkies and on the rider for the gig they have a bottle of Scotch each and two bottles of Benylin cough syrup each. And Radcliffe said he went into the dressing room and the ex Fall guy was appaled…and he was going…'Non fooking drowsy! Non-fucking drowsy! How could they give two fookin' Ex Junkies non drowsy Beneylin'! Which I thought was good.

AR: (laughs) Ahh..Yes..The eternal dilemma…the difference between day and night nurse…

GG: Yes, well, you know…

AR: You know about Ray Charles when he was off heroin and he came up with this…he was like a chemist…he came up with this concotion...which was...Like…Brandy, mixed with Nicotine and really sugary coffees. And it enabled him to work because he said it had a similar effect on him as Junk.

GG: Hmm.

AR: So you're in Dalston right now?

GG: Yeah I am actually. I'm out in the back garden looking up at the sky. Beautiful day…where are you?

AR: I'm in Shropshire.

GG: Oh really? What ya doing there?

AR: Ah, well. Actually. We lived in Dalston. We lived on Dalston Lane for years.

GG: Oh did you? Interesting…

AR: Yeah…above a white Rasta who owned a patent on hair-restorer.

GG: Wow.

AR: Ironically he was bald…We used to get his mail and it would consist of coupons that guys had cut out of the back of Sunday papers for this elixir. And they'd include cash or a cheque…so basically he was a playboy. And it literally just did us in, him playing dub from about 5pm until four in the morning…and there was shootings going on and stuff, outside our front door…this was about 5 years ago…
Anyway…I can't actually remember why we moved here…

GG: (Laughs). How is it there?

AR: Its very different to Dalston. We back onto a farm so there's little of neighbours…pretty rural…didn't you have a similar experience? Didn't you move from a City life to the country?

GG: Yeah, well, I only moved to USK. A cottage there. But yeah I know what its like to live rurally…

AR: I read about your life in Usk and I thought 'gee, that's similar to me except I don't get the PRS'.

GG: Oh right. (Laughs).

AR: So it gets a bit hairy…but err, this is great for you. Its 'everything you ever wanted to know about Anthony Reynolds but…' kind of interview.

GG: (Laughs) Yeah, right…well, if you live really simply…all I ever did was go up the pub and buy music. I didn't bother wasting money on food or anything.

AR: So in these pubs…do you get on with farmers then? 'Cos I've tried…

GG: Farmers?

AR: Yeah..Didn't you get friendly with farmers in the local pubs up there?

GG: Oh, yes,,,I got on surprisingly well with them actually…they were good lads.

AR: I find them really pro-hunting, right wing…

GG: Oh right…yes…well…I don't know what kind of farm…maybe the guys I mean are the guys who worked on the farms. Not owned them. I don't think I knew land-owning farmers. I never hung with any squires.

AR: Anyhoo. Your latest album, 'White bread black beer'…that's the first ...That's my introduction to your work.

GG: Oh really, that's interesting.

AR: And I don't want to embarrass you but it blew my balls off.

GG: Gosh. (Silence)

I guess that's good?

AR: I guess that must be interesting for you because…when I got into it, I thought 'Well I remember this guy vaguely…'- 'cos you can't be fans of everyone, as you know…I had some awareness of Scritti Politti…but then...I was worried, 'cos the older I get I worry that I won't be as open to having my balls blown off by new music…kind of secretly worried that I'd lose my passion for new music. Do you know what I mean?

GG: I do. And I haven't lost my passion for music. And it'd be fucking awful the day that it does go. You know, when you no longer get excited about something or want to check something new out…But I guess there's a lot of people my age that still listen to music but kind of…I don't know …they just don't go looking for anything new. You know what I mean?

AR: I think a lot of my favourite records are also linked to a particular phase in my life…and the better of those records can transcend that association –that's not the sole reason for listening to them. But then you don't want to think that you're ever gonna be at a point in your life where its arrested…

So I was really heartened that I loved your record so much…

GG: (Laughs)

AR: It was great; it was like 'I'm not dead'!

GG: (laughs) That's fantastic.

AR: My mate, George sent it to me and then I got it on vinyl and stuff…and err…

See, I'm a big Miles Davis freak and I then went back and found 'Cupid and Psyche' in a charity shop in the village and so I got to hear 'Perfect way' with vocals. It was so weird.

GG: Oh yeah, it would be weird. I haven't listened to it since I made it so…see, we're off to America in a couple of weeks and I've a horrible feeling that people in America will want…I've never played live in America – And people will shout out for old songs. Which is…errr…I never know how to feel about that; whether you should oblige the people by playing a few or a lot. But anyway, we decided as a band that we'd have a listen to Perfect way tomorrow…

AR: That was a hit in America, right?

GG: That was the one big hit-Pop hit anyway – in America, so…

AR: You even did it on the Dick Clarke show, right?

GG: Yeah. American bandstand, that's right. A lot of madness. That's when it started to go pear shaped for me. I can remember that vey day that it was..'Hang on this is not really the right line of work for me', that's what I thought. From that point in time 'till I was back in Usk a few years later…it just felt wrong. I thought I'd enjoy being a pop star and I was messing around with 'Pop music' but I wasn't really, I was just a bit of product.

It wasn't fun. I stopped at that point finding it amusing.

It was ..the insincerity that really fucking pissed me off.

They don't really care. It was just ruthless and heartless and it'll do your fucking head in, I reckon. It did mine in anyway.

AR: It must be weird. If you're talking to someone who's so obviously…for want of a better word, a 'twat'..and treating you like a commodity 'Get this guy on and get him off' it must be difficult to temper your reaction. 'Cos I guess you don't want to to be rude to these people…

GG: Oh, I was always concerned with being 'Nice', I just wanted to please these people. When you're brought up to be polite and deferential and always be…it doesn't take many months of…We had to do lots of American television and it was lots of chat show type things. We weren't playing live so they said 'well then you can do all this telly and radio instead'. And after a few months of it you really end up hating yourself deeply, I think. You hate everybody around you and you hate yourself for talking so much bullshit. You try not to but you end up doing it.

AR: Did you ever consider getting fucked up and doing it?

GG: Oh yeah, I tried that... You can become unstuck quite quickly if you dot hat. But anyway that's all, happily, consigned to the past.

AR: that leads me to your new album. I'm someone with no prior knowledge of you and your work but one of the things that struck me…

Y'know..'White bread' is one of those records where it really tests your partner..

GG: Oh really? (Laughs)

AR: Oh no, she liked it but its like 'Oh this one again'? You know? Its like, 'we're cooking –let's put this on'. We're drinking scotch in the garden –lets put this on…'

So I was listening to it a lot before I looked at the lyrics and one of my first impressions was ..'this sounds like a record made by someone who is a bit of a booze hound…' There's a fantastic line in one of the songs that says - well, I thought it said 'Racking in the kitchen…' And I was kind of disappointed when I looked at the lyrics and it said 'Rockin''.

GG: Oh! Sorry about that.

AR: That asides, is it a true perception or am I completely off the page?

GG: No, no, there are tons of references to…there's a lot of …you don't realise because you write them at a song at a time and then you come back and…I remember I had to write them out for Rough trade and thinking 'Fuck me' there's a lot of recurring themes of erm…a lot of alcohol, there's a lot of references to 'father's…' which I hadn't realised I'd done…there's a lot of obviously…stuff going on in one's subconscious. So it's interesting to look at the lyrics and think : 'Blimey'.

You are an old lush that has unresolved issues'! (Laughs)

2006/09/30 13:37 - May you be cursed to live in interesting times

Catastrophically bad news came on Tuesday.

The major book publishers who were buying my Walker brothers Biography pulled out at 50 minutes after the eleventh hour.

When I'd phoned them on Monday, It was all going ahead...

By Tuesday the owner - not the commisioning editor - had changed his mind.

This deal would have paid my growing debts and set me and mine up for the next 6 months. (Tesco's finest range) - So I'm furiously trying to turn it around...

I've taken to fantasising about living in one room again...

But the reality is that I have a huge mansion, five cats, a horse, numerous spiders and a very saintly lady to account to...

The above speaks for itself. I just can't do rotgut no more, no matter how frozen it is...

Of course, as regular readers may know, my original publisher became very ill earlier this year...and this trumped the book being released when it was meant to be...
The bitter Irony is that I made sure I got a deal for this book before I wrote it so I wouldn't have to do what I'm doing now - peddling the mutha.

Tuesday night was TEWWIBLE as Walter the wobot was wont to say.

I was not only suprised to awake on Wednesday but also to find my hair un- grey...
I'm serious..

On the upside, I saw 'The Long goodbye' which was very good....

Bout time I read sone chandler...

...and a week tomorrow I'll be in Italy writing Bossa Nova tunes with my dear friend Gianluca...

So anyway, if you know anyone who wants a completed 170,000 word Biography on one of the greatest and most weird pop groups ever...

meanwhile, - consider the quality of the alcohol level in my blood and and do not forget the good people over at:


Infamy, Infamy...et al

2006/09/21 13:26 - I LOVE MY TV (ON)

The individuals I've known who Pooh Pooh TV are almost always 'artistic' types. Types overly concerned with being perceived as being 'Artistic'. Their argument against TV is usually that they always have something bette r - something more credible and worthy - to do. That TV is the lowest of the artforms, a passive medium.


John Lennon explained his views on TV when a friend bemoaned to him that whenever he visited Lennon at the Dakota, there was a TV on. Lennon : 'You can have a conversation with the window open and thats what a TV is to me....a window on the world'...

Since moving to the isolation of the countryside I've watched more TV than ever before...and its been selective watching.

I don't have the talent for smoking spliff all day in front of Gameshows. And yes - being that mellow IS a talent. One of the things I'm very ungood at is relaxing. This is why I drink too much. My Work ethic is perhaps, too pronounced. This is in part due to financial issues...

but anyway.

I like good TV.

I spent thursday in bed writing lyrics and melody to a an instrumental CD. All the while with one eye on Fox News (Great entertainment - Bill O Riley is a demon in monster's clothing...) and CNN. After 8 hours I had a great song down..(I hope)...

Ok..but is this watching TV?

Watching a beloved show or program with someone is a lovely experience. Jean Cocteau called the act of going to the cinema 'A shared waking dream'.

The new Series of the Soprano's is rocking our world here at Tonytown. The depiction of Tony Sop's Coma is so subtle, haunting and eerie...the distant flaming on the horizon signifying...what? This is such a fluid, flawless show...its better than most movies. People who dismiss TV as a waste of medium don't watch the right progs...

For some reason I've never been able to watch a whole episode of 'The Office' but 'Extras' is funny as fuck...to actually laugh out loud...a rare pleasure...(But you know you're looking bad when you begin thinking that Ricky gervais and Tony Soprano start looking good)...and the Soprano's is on half an hour later...a classic TV night, akin to Thursdays as a kid circa 1981 : Tomorrows world, Top of the Pops and Hitchikers guide to the galaxy...

Its easy to take The Simpons for granted but its still, so incredibly high standard, sharp and witty...mostly...(Gervais' Episode was a turd in a baguette).

Chats shows. Love 'em. But not british ones.

My all time fave is The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I collect these old episodes...the lineups are incredible...Capote, Norman Mailer and Ali...Sinatra and Henry Miller...mind blowing...CNBC channel shows Jay Leno's tonite show followed by 'late night Conan O Brian'... theres even a show after that..carson chap...right...

We watch these Sat and Sun...classic bedroom viewing...Conan...I love it when he's err...'Up'......we always watch for the guests' nose stroking too...

Youtube has some awsome struff.

I've just finally watched a long sought after clip. Marvin Gaye singing the Star Spangled banner...(Marvin had just lost a huge bet - was actually crying...what a Pro'..)...

Check out this dude's duds...it makes me want to start wearing suits again...and hear how he undersings...this clip had me clapping with joy like a seal In Ambrosia...


And guess what. Watching TV now and then doesn't mean I don't have to do other stuff...in fact, as any fule kno', writing a song is mostly about incubation...ie, its growing in me all the time..when I sit at the piano or guitar, its just being born...piece by piece, sometimes in a sloshy lump...Im often writing lyrics whilst laughing at Conan's monologue...

Books are a kind of ancient TV (Note to self - Good Seague) -and I found a stunner yesterday in the local Hospice shop :

'Scavullo on men'....


what a gem!

Its up there with the architecturial Digest books....The celebrity homes editions...

Oh, Its true....

I is just a teenage girl trapped in the body of an eldrely Dope fiend...

2006/09/12 10:35 - A Human Tragedy

Am currently reading Martin Gilbert's 'The Holocaust – A Jewish tragedy' and it's doing me in. I'm halfway through and so far it seems like nothing but a relentlessly grinding catalogue of incomprehensible horror and atrocity.


At times I feel as if I'm suffocating and my stomach is churning acid. I feel morbid.

Reading it on a blanket on vivid green grass yesterday, beneath a peerless blue sky, Billy at my feet…I felt rank and in shadow.

I'm not going to repeat some of the instances reported in the book – mostly eye witness accounts –and I don't doubt for a moment their authenticity… (An argument – not that one is needed - against those who deny these events would surely be 'You could not make this stuff up')…its just so…Alien. Its as if there was an Alien invasion, circa 1933 of individuals…who looked like people, walked like people, and dressed in SS uniform…I just cannot comprehend how people – and they were people -sons, brothers, Lovers, friends - to someone. They weren't born monsters. How could carry out such acts. How did they retain their sanity? How did they cope? Were the ranks and regiments of these 'soldiers' ALL pathological?

Surely not?

And do I need to know, ultimately?

(One thing that strikes me as odd- although Gilbert does mention, albeit more in passing, the simultaneous persecution of the 'mentally deficient' and Gypsies etc, he makes no mention of the same crimes being committed against Gay people…which did happen, right)?

I only cry about once every 4 years, but have felt my eyes become wet twice in the last week…

And not on reading of the horror but at the rare acts of heroism, of those who risked so much to help the victims…

One shining example is the story of:


So, if I make it through this book, I'll have to counter it by reading stuff on the few positives that came from this time.

But as I say, I'm also interested in what went on in the minds of the camp guards etc the people who actually facilitated the... 'crimes' seems too small a word…

I like to think that I would never be caught up in any such phenomena…that I will always know the difference between was is right and the law…regardless of peer pressure and the government...

and I wonder…how many people I know would be the same? And did the Nazi's truly believe they were right?

I get an impression of guilt even as they drew up and carried out their plans.

if so, this means...what?

And further, this makes me wonder if there is such a thing as national character and if so, what causes such…

(Interestingly, I had to have some music playing at one point, while I read.
Some sort of accompniment...
And it was Derek bailey's 'To Play -The Blemish Sessions'. I had tried listening to this record last week and it did nothing for me. And yet in my current mood it spoke to me fluently.)


This subject, these feelings are too big for this space..

My mind is boggled.

So I think its time to sit at the Piano.

2006/09/08 19:00 - Early September

Toward the end of a solitary Sunday Stroll yesterday, (Gasping across newly ploughed fields, jumping for cover as boyracers came careering round the blind corners of cramped country lanes), I frightened a bird murderer. In the high oaks above me a huge bird-raven? crow? Rook? Flapped guiltily away. On the road before me plopped a baby Buzzard and then the part head of its sibling.
The Baby Buzzard had its eyes pecked out, there were gobs of blood stringing from its bald head. Yet it sensed me, looking up, doing that thing with its beak demanding food.

I picked it up and put it in the front kangaroo pocket of my Navy Blue Gap Hoodie and headed with haste for the new acres where we keep Cali.

What would I do? If it survived...raise a buzzard? A blind buzzard? Hell. Sure. Why not. I could tour the pubs of England with little Gimpy atop my broud shoulders. On my walking of the earth he would nestle to me as I slumped hobo night in barns and flophouses. He would come on for encores at my shows in Pigalle, Moscow and Croydon.

I hurried on, got to the table in the barn and lay him out on a tea towel.

Gimpy was dead.

How beautiful is the Paris Hilton single, 'Stars are blind'? It put a sonic arrow in my heart as it jumped from the Steve Wright show last week. I didn't know who it was, but what a sublime tune and brilliant words. I'm a pop sucker.

I had a 'pop' project a few years ago:

http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/music/june2004/the colour of stars.mp3

Maybe I'll have another go...

Watched 'The Honkeytonk man' last night...a forgotten Clint Eastwood classic, along with 'The Beguilded' and 'Bronco Billy'...

better than I remembered it....

Is it too late for me to be reborn as a Nashville country singer?

that said, if I could many lives simutaneously in the same time stream:

I want to form a purely instrumental group that only plays live and never records.

Just read 'Loving John' BY MAY PaNG.


I'm always glad for neW insights to my favourite lennon phase - his time in NYC.

'grow old with me, grow old...'

2006/09/08 18:52 - Mid August

Been out of action for a few days. Whilst playing cards in the garden a Horsefly bit me on the lips. Hurt like buggery, by George. Like a needle going into my jaw.

The swelling got worse so I went to the Docs. Put me on Steroids, which made my blood feel disgusting and I couldnt face a drink. This meant I went a week drinking nowt but Tea and lots of it, while my bottom lip and neck glands swelled up puffy, hard and tender. Lymph node trauma. Horrible.

Watching films completely sober, and going to bed as such is weird. Feel like Ronnie Wood on the latest Stones tour.

Back on the Pinot now and feeling much better for it. After all, the body is there to be pleasured, right?

Received a review copy of the Ask the Dust movie. Which such fine names attached Fante, Cruise, Towne, not to mention Salma Hayeks equisite physique how such a proposition ended up a complete disaster is a kind of weird triumph in itself.

I couldnt make it past the halfway mark. Even the making of featurette was boring.

I just wrote a piece on John Fantes Hollywood life for Stop Smiling, (Its out in January).

I summarised by saying:

When John Fante wrote, he gave back to the reader the world, and all within it: music, poetry, love, hate and all the laughter in-between. He did this in a quietly perfect style that is, even today, uniquely beguiling. Such works could only ever fail as film because they already exist so perfectly as books.


You wan a good movie, go see Jean Marc vallees C.R.A.Z.Y.


What a beautiful movieoh manI loved it. It reminded me of those times before DVD and Internet, turning the UHF tuner on a crappy B&W portable at midnight and coming across a foreign film purely by accident.

This film also made me want to procreate (The pop in the film had 5 sons. I want me some)! - and reminded me of my enduring love of Charles Aznavour.

Ive dug Aznavour since the early 90s when I found a bunch of his albums (with a written approval by Cocteau on the back) - with Charles singing in Englishhis accent is completely endearing, the arrangements fantastic, and the songs brilliant. The whole, beguiling. And it helps to understand the words(One reason Ive never felt as attached to Brel).


I don't think these albums are available on CD actually.....I had to burn my own from scratchy vinyl.

Ive asked Aznavour to every Parisian concert Ive ever done (I saw him at his own gig in Paris in 1998 he moved like an ageless ballet dancer-).

Of course, I never even got a reply from him. And I suppose hell be leaving us all soon.

A more contemporary musical obsession is Green Gartides Scritti Politti.

I was blown away by his new album, White bread, Black Beer and Ive since gone back to 1985s Cupid and psyche. This album is a classic case of production (and arrangement) being as important as the Songs - perhaps more important - Style BECOMING content? When the songs are strong, they hold their own, Absolute, Wood Beez, Word Girlbut phaff like Small talk needs more attention and intoxicant to appreciate.

This record also makes me want to eat huge bars of white choclate.

But what an interesting life this Mr Green fellows had -the kind of interesting life that resonates with my own aspirations-from Cardiff to Miles Davis to the River usk to Hackney.

Theres a supreme Scritti site:


For myselfIve been prevented from doing new work this yearand what with the Walker book being delayed Ive been forced to make the most of The Jack reissue. Writing up memories of this period, its interesting to discover that the more one does, the more one remembers stuff and details Ive had no reason to ever think about. How far could you take this process? How much of any given day could you recall in detail?

But its also brought home a truth- I am not sentimental but I am nostalgic. A horrible combination, I think.

Do you ever get bored of being you?

Of being human?


We move Cali, our thoroughbred to a new yard today.

New horizons, new memories in the making.

More business struggles.

'To endure is heroic', Al Pacino tells me.

I agree. But not much fun.

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