By the way, did I tell you that Jon Bon Jovi was at the Abbey Road zebra crossing yesterday, having his picture taken along with all the nerds? I heard him say to the photographer “Did you get it?”. Rainy old day today, started by sitting in the kitchen with Colleen, all cosy with a cup of tea, watching a pair of goldfinches on the bird feeder. Today was Hampton Court day, we were off to see Henry VIII and the remains of his wives. It’s so close to Biggles and Colleen’s house. We took the train from New Malden, 4 stops and we were there. We walked over the bridge and there it was, the Hampton Court Palace. We went through the gates into the ticket office, I went to pay and as I pulled my card out the woman behind the counter said, we close at 4.30pm today. I looked at her, sighed, weighed up £55 for just over an hour and decided on the spot not to stay. We’ll come back another day, maybe take the boat up the river instead of the train, find a nicer day and spend an hour at least just getting lost in the maze.
So unplanned we went into Central London again. We got off the train at Oxford Circus, Olivia looked at some clothes shops and I went to Sister Ray records on Berwick Street in Soho. Opposite the store is a Swedish cafe (Hi Adam) that Olivia likes, so she went and camped in there whilst I did my best not to buy any records. The problem is that it’s Sister Ray and finding that last Agitation Free record I don’t have, a reissue of the Forest album (the original goes for £600), two early Audience albums and that David Axelrod album, Seriously Deep, that I’ve been dying to buy. What are you going to do? I also bought the new Grimes, Miss Anthropocene, £16 – very affordable. Not sure I’m going to like it, but I wanted to sit down with a latest release, a contemporary album by an artist that isn’t my usual choice. I did it with Solange.
Although it wasn’t planned, it was nice to have another walk around Central London. Oxford Street, Soho, Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road, Leicester Square, Waterloo Station. Record shops, clothes shops, cafes. Walking through Chinatown, being on the underground, hearing all the different languages.
Just being in London and taking it all in. I love the city. But I love the countryside, too, different flavours, watching the birds through the window is as stimulating as watching the humans in the street. We walked past the Palladium (where we saw Roy Harper last year) towards Carnaby Street. Outside the Palladium was a long queue of boys and girls in their late twenties and early thirties, all the men had beards. Who was playing? City and Colour, except Color must be spelt without the ‘u’ because Dallas Green (get it) is American. I suppose fans look like the bands they are queuing to see and the picture outside the venue proved that. The length of the queue and the size of the venue proved how big he is.
This trip to London has been so quick, just passing through. We were hoping to spend more time with Biggles and Colleen, see my luthier buddy Scrim and hang with Boydy and Trish and visit Henry and Abbey Road together, but the problem with life is that it gets in the way with the things you want to do…in your life. Well at least we got to see Bear the fluffy keeshond after his grooming, all fresh and ready for tomorrow morning’s muddy walk. I’ll finish up by saying that the last two days we have been with zillions of people in London, on the tube, in the street, in the shops, we’ve walked through Chinatown twice, hung out in Bar Italia and are staying in the area with the highest concentration of people from Korea in Britain. All alleged Coronavirus hotspots. Masks are a rare sight, there is no feeling of worldwide pandemic panic over here. I just thought you should know that. Although Boots in Oxford Street has run out of hand sanitizer. The best advice I’ve heard is wash your hands regularly, in fact Lush (soap shop) had a sign outside “come in and wash your hands for free”, seemed like a bargain, so we did.
Tomorrow we get the best of both worlds, travelling 6 hours to the Cornish coast. A small seaside town, all kinds of wildlife on the land and in the water, in the streets, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Lots of familiar faces and the In Deep Music Archive where I can deposit and alphabetize all this tour’s record purchases and continue working on the Noctorum, Atlantaeum Flood, Space Summit, Anekdoten, Olivia and I and sessioneers’ projects. So much music, so little time.