Oh what a beautiful day it was today. I just couldn’t wait to get down to the promenade and sit on a bench and gaze at the waves. The sea was two colours, a deep green near the shore and an electric blue further out. It was choppy, the wind was blowing across the surface, but the sun was keeping it warm. I’d already been to get my vege pasty and was looking forward to sitting there eating it. As I pulled it out of the bag Olivia said “Seal!”. And there, dancing in the waves, still mostly submerged was this wonderful creature. You couldn’t actually make out its whiskers but due to previous encounters you could still see them. Suddenly a little to the left, there were two more also submerged, never really popping their heads up, just rolling in the surf. Where we sat is actually called Wherrytown, a small strip between Penzance and Newlyn. It’s where the skateboard park is and there’s always skaters (lads mainly) from quite diverse age groups performing their tricks. The beach here is all stones and after the seals and the pasty I had the urge to go down towards the sea. Walking on piles of loose stones is quite difficult but lots of shaky, unstable fun.
As we sat on the bench, there were two people sitting to the left of us on the beach. It was a woman and a boy, she was wearing, wait for it, a mustard sweater! I’m not sure if it was THE woman in the mustard sweater. They were sitting on a large stone and they were throwing stones into the sea whilst simultaneously throwing an orange ball along the beach for the most energetic Springer Spaniel I have ever seen. The dog raced across the stones with a sure-footed expertise, retrieving the ball in seconds and demanding for it to be thrown again.
She eventually stood up and threw the ball using what is apparently called a ‘dog ball launcher’. You’ve seen them, it’s a long springy piece of coloured plastic that grabs a tennis ball and it whips the ball a much greater distance than you could throw it with your arm. I guess the woman was trying to send the dog running further away so she had more time between throws but he was so lightning quick it made little difference. How the dog didn’t damage his legs or paws running like this on this surface or break his teeth as he banged his snout onto the ball in the stones, I’ll never know.
Olivia took some photos of me on the beach from the bench. At one point I lay down across the stones a little too close to the waves’ reach and got hit from behind and drenched fully clothed. Time to go. The woman in the mustard sweater and her son eventually got up to move about the same time we did. I spoke to her. “Never get a Springer Spaniel”, she said.
So today was our last day of any kind of gathering as we have gone into lockdown for three weeks (at least). Exercise, shops, work, medical needs all ok, anything else not ok. What about the postmen and women, are they allowed to deliver the post? Luckily Olivia went to the post office today to send things. Not being able to gather in groups of more than two seems rather ridiculous when I saw the queues outside the doctor’s surgery and chemist today. The supermarkets are full and I read today that in London and Stockholm reducing the number of trains means that people who have been ordered to work by their employers are crushed together like sardines. How is that social distancing?
I guess Simeon won’t be able to come with the Citroen coffee truck, he is going to be so mad. Today at the truck I was talking to a guy who had seen Jimi Hendrix live at the Marquee in London, Bob Marley at Crystal Palace and Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. My Queen – Sheer Heart Attack tour, Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon tour, Deep Purple – Machine Head tour and Black Sabbath – Vol. 4 tour paled into insignificance. Although it’s hard to compare, it’s just the age group and if you are a fan of sixties and seventies music and were a kid from the seventies onwards it’s all amazing, as seeing Jimi Hendrix is for me. I did visit his grave once in Renton, Washington…in fact I’ve visited a few graves, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit from CAN in Cologne, Nick Drake in Tanworth-in-Arden, Tim Hardin in Turner, Oregon, Jim Morrison in Paris, Sandy Denny in London, Phil Lynott in Sutton, Dublin and Victor Jara in Santago, Chile. Then there’s Stanisław Lem who wrote Solaris in Krakow, Poland. The Grimm Brothers, Marlene Dietrich and Helmut Newton in Berlin, if you go to Père Lachaise in Paris it’s full of famous dead people, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, so many more. Then there’s Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery in London, Eva Peron in Buenos Aires. Depressing or respect? A moment by the grave of someone whose work you have admired or whose fame lives on after their death inspires some quite profound reflection.
Visiting Phil Lynott
Today music was the end of Keith West. I simply couldn’t leave it with his last two weaker albums (solo and Moonrider). I had to listen to the Tomorrow album. There’s a cover of Strawberry Fields and as I mentioned yesterday (not so much in these words), but Tomorrow was the revolution of yesterday. This band was to Engelbert Humperdinck what The Clash were to Brotherhood Of Man. On this particular version of the Tomorrow album (a US reissue from 1976) they added the Keith West hit Excerpt From A Teenage Opera.
I was up earlyish today for a sesh with Stephen in Melbourne, but he cancelled (he’s a doctor, lots going on), but I didn’t go back to sleep. So was a little sleepy around 8.30PM. I thought I know Al Di Meola, so I listened to Elegant Gypsy (1977) and then Romantic Warrior (1976) by Return To Forever. That crazy Jazz Rock fusion certainly woke me up.
Alas there’s some new albums to catch up on, I recently bought the new Wire album, Mind Hive. I’ve always been a fan of their records since the seventies. There were three albums, Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978) and 154 (1979). I Should Have Known Better on 154 continues to blow my mind. This new album seems to be everything I expect from them, solidly weird. This drove me to the album they put out before this in 2017, Silver/Lead. New records, old records, different styles, aren’t we lucky?
When I was in Liverpool in December working with The Wild Swans I found a couple of cool record stores and one of the albums I bought was the double vinyl version of McCartney and Youth’s Fireman project. It was their third album together (the other two were released anonymously) and the first two have vocals. It’s a real mixture of things and I’ve come to the conclusion that McCartney has his days when he tries and days when he just records what comes out. This project initially gave him some room to experiment, but by the time he reached this, the third album, he was ready to own up to the project and what do we get, an album of weaker songs mixed with cool experiments. It’s the Egypt Station problem, it’s so easy for him to write songs that he forgets that they also have to be good. Now and again he’ll make a cracking album and then he won’t. Let’s be glad of all the great things he’s done which is more than you think post Beatles.
The song from my catalogue today was going to be from the Seeing Stars album but I couldn’t get to the lyrics for that album on the website (fixing it) so let’s go with More Is Less from the upcoming vinyl release of Nightjar this Record Store Day, now set for June 20th 2020.
More Is Less
I heard a rumour God was coming back
I said I didn’t know he’d been
Then I was cursed, unloved for what I lacked
Faith in something I’d not felt or seen
Even the angels enjoy a good cigar, they say
Tone deaf drunks sing sweet songs
Parades of people marching for what they are
Convinced that there’s a right and wrong
Boasting of knowledge for all
Seems though we’re crouched at the wall
I suppose we’re clever we build and we create
But we’re a badly designed machine
Uncontrolled and trusting as a snake
Yet loving kind and serene
There’s something I noticed in every walk of life
That people share no policy
Distinguished peasants and lovable rogues
We all beg to disagree
I don’t feel safe in my heart
Where is the end or the start
Desperation, it poked me with its stick
Inspiration threw a feast of thoughts
Desecration the world has just been sick
Delegations kiss long before they talk
Chemical seems more complex
Teachings show me more is less