So welcome to the saddest St. Patrick’s day in history. So sad in fact that Irish flags were hard to come by. We could do with St. Patrick at the moment with his knack of banishing snakes. I wonder how he was with the banishing of viruses and controlling wet markets? But then looking at the news it seems like a lot of young people just ignored all the warnings about social distancing and being in crowds. I guess they figure that the young aren’t dying.
I wonder how many realize that St. Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain and was taken to Ireland as a teenager after being captured by Irish pirates. This all happened around the fifth century. But he did allegedly introduce christianity to Ireland after escaping back to Britain and returning to Irish shores. On the snakes thing, there is no evidence that there were ever any snakes in Ireland. The legend was most likely a metaphor for expelling the Druids.
As far as trying to stop people going out tonight of all nights, I guess it didn’t help with Boris Johnson’s dad saying he wasn’t going to stop going to the pub. All eyes are on Italy with so many deaths, hoping for a reduction, a light at the end of the tunnel. Death and financial ruin, it’s all so nasty and not knowing what the outcome is going to be is just so frustrating. I guess we’ve just got to hang in there, stay clean, be kind and hope that it all goes away, but one wonders, is this going to improve us? Are we going to learn anything? Maybe this, quote: “A sudden drop in China’s air pollution may have saved tens of thousands of lives.”
I was up early this morning after a late night. Sesh with Rohan in Sydney was at 9AM and although we finished shortly before Dare arrived for our studio date today, I trundled off back to bed for a couple of hours. It ended up being a fractured studio day as Dare started working on Space Summit’s early instrumental demos, seeing if he could knock them into shape for potential extra tracks for the album we have been working on, but it wasn’t to be. Space Summit is a project with sessioneer Jed. We’ve written ten songs together (he did most of the work) and now Dare and I are getting them into shape for an album (Dare is doing most of the work). I am adding guitars and bass to the tracks as we turn Jed’s (and my) ideas into a real album. BUT first we need to get our trusty drummer Ed on the remaining tracks. At the moment he is only on four tracks, so we need to get him down here, but the way things are who knows when that will be. We hope to release some singles this year, we’ll see. Later in the day Dare started on one of the Noctorum tracks, looking at the guitars we’d recorded and I started on the words, it’s coming together nicely.
Although Atantaeum Flood II has now been postponed till who knows when and the Nightjar vinyl release for Record Store Day postponed till June, we are a little uncertain of the release date for Poison Stream, the new MOAT record. Even if everything has stopped out there we are trying to keep everything moving in here. Staying positive and staying creative. This is an opportunity as well as a tragedy. A terrible inconvenience that gives you more time. No distractions and distractions are the death of creative pursuit. Of course actually dying is a large distraction, too. Let’s try and avoid that.
Although Olivia and Jonas went on a tourist visit to Land’s End today, my outdoor hours were short, seeing Simeon at the Citroen coffee truck and having a chat with local music lovers Gareth and Richard, although somehow we were discussing My Sharona by The Knack (Ha ha). But as I said to them, are you aware of Doug Fieger’s previous band Sky (no, not John William’s Sky), the American Sky? Two albums, a three piece from Detroit. Produced by Jimmy Miller (Stones man), Gary Wright (ex Spooky Tooth), and Andy Johns (everybody). A bit Glam, a bit middle of the road, a bit Rock, some Country Rock (a bit all over the place without the material to justify it). But perhaps the most revealing moment of the day was standing outside Thornes the greengrocers when three girls in their uniforms just out of school were walking past the shop. One of them was reading out loud from her phone to the other two. What was she reading? The symptoms of the corona virus.
Today Jonas had a chance to look a little deeper into the archive, so tonight’s music are all his choices. Some he knew, some are experiments. The first thing he picked was Octopus (1972) by Gentle Giant, the first album I got to know and love by them (their fourth). Then a total random pick, Tear Gas. A Scottish band that was in essence The Sensational Alex Harvey Band except Alex Harvey hadn’t joined yet (Davey Batchelor was the singer). Quite a pricey rarity on the Regal Zonophone label, Hard Rock from 1971. Batchelor ended up coming in as producer from their third album onwards (I presume it’s the same person, now called David). Next came the album with perhaps the greatest Prog cover ever, the sole album (till the nineties) by Quatermass, released in 1971. No guitars, organ heavy Rock from the early seventies. We started talking about rarities. Jonas told me he found a rare German Beatles compilation in an antique shop for fifty cents. Well, the next album I found in a junk shop in Los Angeles for ten cents. It’s on RCA and it’s by Horse (1970), another Hard Rock record, quite rare. Members went on to form Saturnalia, record collectors will know of their album Magical Love (1972), one of the first picture discs.
Jonas, coming from Germany, had to have a look at the German section and found two albums, Hoodoo Man by Birth Control (1972) and This Is Guru Guru (1973), a compilation album of this great mad band. We finished on an unlikely record before Jonas went off to find his mattress, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading, from 1968. A Psychedelic Folk Pop album, a bit like the Mamas And The Papas (with Glen Campbell and James Burton as session guitarists). The singer Barbara Robison died in tragic circumstances of Toxic Shock at the age of 42. Too much death everywhere, let’s stay alive instead.