Is it that the cheaper the shop is, the more people are allowed in it? Poundland has a sign on the door that says “No more than 75 people at once” and that seems like a lot to me, it’s a pretty big space, but it would be hard to keep 75 people 6 feet apart from each other if they were all in there at once. A few doors up the High St is Holland & Barrett, health food chain, quite a big space too, not as big as Poundland, but on their door it says “Only two people allowed at a time”. Really? In between is the Co-op where you just have to be aware of Social Distancing and follow the tape on the floor and if you go to the independent health food store Archie Browns (granted it’s smaller) no one is allowed in, you stand in a queue outside. I’m not quite sure what my point is here except to say that there’s not really a system that suits everybody and how can 75 people in a shop be practicing Social Distancing?
Having said this, it’s nicely quiet out there, fewer cars, fewer people, it’s going to be a major shock if and when we go back to normal. The pollution is seriously down, in India they are seeing blue skies over cities that they forgot even had skies. I’m sure this is true in China too and other major industrial polluters. I suppose that the virus would have an easier time attacking someone with damaged lungs from exposure to pollution. Perhaps just cleaning up the air might save people’s lives? Isn’t that what Greta Thunberg has been saying all along? So the irony is that the virus is saving the lives of people who would have died because of the pollution. Would that be more or less?
On our trip to the sea, the supermarket and the recycling today we walked past an old Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, hard to know the year from the old style reg. I have a vague memory of my parents having one after the Ford Consul and before the Humber Sceptre. It’s all about the wood and I presume despite this being a cheaper vehicle, the leather seats? Were they leather? When I stood by the car the back sliding windows were slightly open and there was a distinctive smell. I remember the smell of car interiors from the sixties, a mixture of leather and oil. I wondered if that’s why they left those windows slightly open because even after 60 years, the smell is strong, not that I’m saying it’s bad, it’s just strong. You had to look after the wood otherwise it would rot and when you see one in the street where the wood is still solid you know someone cared. I guess they had a small engine, simple and weren’t that fast, but look, here it is on the street still going strong. Something to learn from that. It would be like travelling around in a tin, whereas ‘average’ cars these days are like travelling around in a toy, one that easily breaks. Like the shops, the more expensive they are, the longer the lifespan.
There’s a lot to say about Todd Rundgren, or Turd Runtgreen as Lennon called him when they got into a spat about something or other. The impression you get of him is, impossible genius, but please don’t make me meet him, work with him, listen to what he says or be in his presence in any way, but let me have the records he’s made as either an artist or a producer.
As a producer there’s Patti Smith’s Wave (1979), XTC’s Skylarking (1986), Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell (1977), New York Dolls’ debut (1973), Hall & Oates’ War Babies (1974), Badfinger’s Straight Up (1971), Psychedelic Furs’ Forever Now (1982), Halfnelson’s debut, later Sparks (1971), Grand Funk Railroad’s Shinin’ On (1974) and We’re An American Band (1973), The Tubes’ Remote Control (1979) and Love Bomb (1985), Cheap Trick’s Next Position Please (1983) and Bad Religion’s last album, The New America (2000). So many artists talk about how difficult he is to work with. He was allegedly supposed to produce Janis Joplin’s Pearl, but they simply couldn’t get along.
So tonight I’m going to be playing Todd Rundgren records that he produced rather than the ones he made as himself or with Utopia. All this because I bought a very cheap sale CD in Sister Ray Records in Berwick St, Soho, of his 2004 album Liars. There’s something really good about it and it makes you realize that he may be something of an ass, but he really can do anything and everything.
Song Of The Day is Lullaby For The Lonely from Nightjar as I played the guitar, the bass and the drums (apart from the rolls, ha ha), sang it, wrote it, co-produced it. Todd isn’t scared.
Lullaby For The Lonely
Lullaby for the lonely
Luck is a myth
You reach the abyss
And you somersault to your death
You die in style
Deep in denial
Broken at the foot of the cliff
Wishing that you’d hid yourself away
Expectations rise and fall away
You’re driving blind
The road is mined
How many times can you lose
You can’t see the sun
You can’t get things done
So you bury yourself in the blues
Suddenly you find you’re standing still
You shiver but you can’t shrug off the chill
Lullaby for the lonely
There’s blood in your tears
A buzz in your ears
And all your faith is scattered over the floor
You pick up the pieces
And your golden fleeces
They don’t seem to exist anymore
You thought that you could manifest your dreams
And then you find you’re on the losing team
Lullaby for the lonely (Can’t you feel yourself falling apart)