Can you imagine being born on a day that only exists every four years? When we were at Waterloo station getting permission to take photos, the lady behind the desk told us that her nephew was born on February 29th, so they celebrated birthdays on March 1st. But what happens every fourth year? This tradition of the woman proposing to the man instead of the other way down is only one tradition, in Greece getting married in a Leap Year is considered unlucky. There’s some interesting stories of first how the Gregorian calendar makes a Leap Year happen as well as various histories of the Leap Year itself.
Leaving London for Penzance today, up a little earlier, Colleen and Biggles are both giving us a lift to Southfields, because of all our heavy bags full of records, my Les Paul that they’ve been minding for me since Scrim fixed the electrics and all our other bits and pieces (Thanks guys, yoo rool!). It wouldn’t all fit in one car with bodies as well (the bags really did feel like there were bodies in them). It was so funny, on the way to the station Biggles forgot where he was going and got lost. I guess we must have been discussing the comforting sounds created by Dik Mik and his role in early Hawkwind albums. Luckily Colleen was in the other car and rescued us from certain dehydration, starvation and eventual death. Dropped off, we found our way down to the platform, luckily there’s a lift at this station and the train goes straight to Paddington where the Penzance train leaves from. In classic form the train on the display arriving next was the one we wanted but when it arrived it was going to Barking and not Paddington. They’re barking mad at the office, the next train said City but wasn’t going there, it was our train, so wrong again.
On the platform we met the super friendly, helpful and flamboyant Neil from Liverpool. He saw all our bags and asked us if we needed a hand. He was from Anfield (I guess you know that Liverpool finally lost today to Watford). What a great personality, classic accent, worked in cosmetics and was such a fun character that the lady sitting near us (Lorna) overheard our conversation and commented on what a cool dude he was (Hi Neil, hope you’re listening, thanks for today!). Lorna was cool, too, and we spent a few stations chatting with her till she also helped us with our bags, the kindness of strangers. We got to Paddington two and half hours early. The pigeons were really excited to see me with some expensive vegan sausage rolls (£3.99 each, rip off) that crumbled all over the floor. Here we met another interesting person, Steve the teacher, originally from Newcastle. He was telling us about many things, including the dilemma of pupils in the same class developing at different speeds and whatever you do you can’t spend enough time with the slower ones or the faster ones, both need your attention. He also told us a funny story about the day he advised Bob Dylan. Apparently Dylan was driving around Camden in a Cortina looking for Dingwalls (a gig) and Steve gave him directions.
On the train we met Lauren from South Africa and had three hours with her as she was travelling to Plymouth. She was a marine scientist and we discussed all subjects known to man (and woman). I’m sure we will see her again. Outside the train, the evidence of floods made us think we’d reached the Devon coastline, the fields were turbulent seas, trees submerged and if there were any rivers here, their banks were hidden in large lakes of water. When we got to Teignmouth (pronounced Tinmuth) we saw the familiar striking red rocks and the atmospheric wrecked ghost ships sticking out of the water, dead black beasts.
Dare kindly came and met us at the station and dropped us and our gear off at the archive. Aram, who looks after the archive when we’re gone, was at the Acorn venue, DJing so I went and got the keys and the unpacking began. Great to be here, listening to records on the stereo system. The Best Of Shocking Blue, Robin Trower’s last album, Tubular Bells and the second Renaissance album Illusion. Pre the classic line up, but an interesting inbetween album for all involved. You may know that the line up included Keith Relf and Jim McCarty from The Yardbirds before they left to form Armageddon. There was talk of a reunion with Relf, but he died, electrocuted in his basement whilst playing an electric guitar. They did reform without him and called themselves Illusion as the new Renaissance line up had the name. His sister Jane sang, they made two albums before breaking up. Last album of the night, Eartha Kitt, Bad But Beautiful, recorded in 1962. Lots of travel and lots of meeting interesting people and finally lots of music, purrfect.