The steely green sea, angry, waves breaking impatiently before they reach the shore. Clouds of sand flare up just below the surface, the white froth is a seeping wound in the sea’s skin. The wind biting your face, a soft push in your back when you turn around. No boats on the horizon, no sea birds, all life has deserted this harsh twilight landscape. Back on land the same thing is happening, fewer people than before, a grey mood in the air. The seagulls and the crows aren’t gathering on the beach, the people can’t gather in the pubs or the restaurants. It’s unnatural. No birds in the sky, a prisoner in your own home, no revelry, no laughter and joy, just fear and anxiety. Nature conspiring, mad at us. We are just waiting without knowing what to expect, unable to imagine how the future will look in a week, a month, a year. It’s unprecedented, the authorities are making decisions for you. You’re not sure if you believe them, but then you look at Italy and the unease returns. But then you think of all those people losing their jobs, people who can’t survive, already struggling and now faced with the greatest struggle of their lives, fighting for survival and who is their guide? Should they just know how to react? What to do? The guidance comes in soundbites. Who has the manual with the instructions on how to be? Will nature forgive us, give us another chance?
Today the pool closed. I swam my three miles and some this week but that’s the end till who knows when. As I’m swimming up and down, ticking off the laps, I’m thinking this is probably the best defense against a respiratory attacking virus, that is fitness, healthy lungs. There’s nothing disease likes more than inactive bodies, even inactive minds. This was my defense, taken away from me, leaving me to stimulate my body on the carpet in front of the computer – it’s not the same. Then it makes you think of all those people who were going through hell when we were all living it up in our cosy homes and secure jobs, a regular income, friends, aspirations, dreams to fulfill. Perhaps now we can get a very small sense of what it’s like to be a refugee, except they were fleeing from war and persecution, at least we still have our families sleeping safe upstairs and the flat screen TV. Perhaps now we’ll realize how lucky we have been. At least we are not being forced into uniform and sent to the front with a weapon, killing for survival, now it’s just a scrap over a toilet roll. Not a bad option considering how it could have been. Still, we don’t know how it will be, we can only hope.
We didn’t go to bed till 6AM yesterday but today I awoke to lots of responses to the Bandcamp mail and giving us the opportunity to make the most of our online catalogue of music and the occasional t-shirt, tote bag or vinyl record. So thank you so much to everybody who has taken the opportunity to purchase something. The rest of the day was already fading due to the extremely late night and by the time we had finished in the gym/pool, by the time Olivia had returned from the launderette, by the time I had got back from taking the recycling and getting the shopping it was already 8.30PM. Jonas dropped in to say goodbye (and pick up the MOAT record he kindly bought) as he makes the trek back to Germany, travelling through a deserted ghostly Europe. By the time we had eaten and watched the latest episode of Picard, washed up, put the clothes and the shopping away, by the time I sat down to listen to the sessioneers’ music that they have sent me, it was already 1AM. Here I am now in the studio putting records on while I write and before I turn my attention to Tony, Mark, Jed and their work. Lots of emails to answer, too, the whole idea of this being a time where one would be looking for something to do is certainly not true for me. In the studio tomorrow working on Jed’s Space Summit project. Sessions Sunday and Monday, I am extremely busy as things get cancelled around me. Nicklas not coming, Jerome not coming, Atlantaeum Flood not coming, Sessioneer Noel not coming, Canada almost definitely not happening, Swedish Anekdoten rehearsals not happening and then what about June and July and our trip to America in August, the new MOAT album, Record Store Day, Salim’s album, US dates, UK dates, Olivia’s hosting of Night Of The Prog, working with Arno in France, everything up in the air and yet busy as hell.
It’s been extremely broad on the record front and in three formats and not a lot of time to listen to much. I started off with Spotify as I was running around the studio and I listened to William DuVall from Alice In Chain’s acoustic solo album, just him and a guitar. Interesting hearing a powerful Rock singer accompany himself with a quieter instrument. I followed it up with what is a brand new artist to me, Margaret Glaspy. I am on a Rough Trade records mailing list and they wrote some nice stuff about here so I checked her out. She has a new album coming called Devotion, on Spotify there is only one track but there is another album called Emotion And Math which I really liked. A certain intensity, like her voice and songs, she plays the guitar and fiddle (although I didn’t hear fiddle). The new album is allegedly different but I’m really liking the one I heard. After that I went mellow with a Dionne Warwick Classic CD collection, those Bacharach/David songs, those classic arrangements and her voice.
Before I go to Sessioneers’ music I thought I’d write and listen to one album. I picked Group 1850 and their Psychedelic Dutch journey into that sixties wonderland that must have been an amazing transition from the world as it was to the Acid, Peace and Love generation of the era. Having just discovered their 2nd album Paradise Now on our recent trip to Concerto Records in Amsterdam I ordered a reissue of their first album online. The album originally came in a 3D sleeve with the glasses included I believe and is called Agemo’s Trip To Mother Earth (1968). Put it this way, whatever you imagine it might sound like, it does.
Ok now I’m autographing MOAT vinyl and Noctorum CDs before I get into Sessioneers land. I’ll be back before the night’s end.
It’s now three hours later and I’ve been listening to Mark, Tony and Jed’s music. The ongoing process of creation, production, arrangement, exchanging ideas, personal taste and direction. There’s a lot of ways to hear the same thing, hopefully we are on the same page. Ok one more album before sleep. I’m in the studio tomorrow and it’s already 4AM. So the pic is of me working with the bass on the Space Summit track that we will continue with tomorrow. The album is the second Group 1850 album Paradise Now (1969). One of the great album finds in recent times, especially an original version.
Get into your books, get into your music, don’t just watch the screen in this difficult time, stimulate your brain in different ways. Don’t sit on the couch eating and watching Netflix (only part of the time). Read, think, exercise, stay alive. This is your chance to break into another world of creativity and inspiration. See you out there.