Today over dinner Olivia and I watched Episode 5 of the original Star Trek, she’s never seen it. Can you imagine experiencing Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Scotty, Sulu, Dr. McCoy, Lieutenant Uhura, Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Janice Rand (Chekov isn’t in it yet) for the first time? Revisiting the series is interesting because I remember story lines and some of the creatures, but of course I can’t remember every scene and because it’s a sixties show every scene is an experience in itself. Just the colours alone are striking, the models they used for the Starship Enterprise, the sets with the painted backgrounds, the hairdos, all this along with the imaginative story lines and Olivia is hooked (me too). I’m wondering is there an episode I haven’t seen? There’s three seasons and seventy nine episodes, we’ll see. In the meantime the other day before all the shops closed I got the ‘I Am Spock’ book, Leonard Nimoy’s autobiography, for 33 pence, I couldn’t resist it. You may remember Mr. Spock in the very silly Bangles video (that reminds me of all the silly videos I was in during the same era) for the great Kimberly Rew (from The Soft Boys) song, Going Down To Liverpool, sung by drummer Debbi Peterson.
I remember how much I used to read, it’s so hard these days to find the time. I guess that’s an excuse, you have to make time, prioritize. It’s all this mobile phone and internet business that’s filled life up. It’s not just being in a band that stops you. I remember reading Lord Of The Rings and Don Quixote in the eighties and nineties, I mention these two books because they are both so long and there wasn’t the distraction of digital devices to interrupt the flow. I read so many books in between and it wasn’t only records I bought on tour, I was always in bookshops, especially in America, looking for English translations of August Strindberg, Jean Cocteau, Raymond Radiguet and others. I still love going to The Strand book store in New York, I always find some amazing book in there or a different translation of a Camus book or Bulgakov and probably in a different cover. I’m always buying Camus books I have and have already read because the cover art is different, I do the same with albums, but I suppose an album might not be released in a different cover as often as say, The Stranger by Camus.
Both Olivia and I were in the studio today with Dare, playing on a Space Summit song, this one’s a real cracker! Ha ha! I keep on telling you how great it is, I hope you agree. I feel like I should be giving you titles, but for some reason I want to wait for it to be all done and then present it as a finished thing. Nicklas from Anekdoten called me from Stockholm today and I asked him if he could play some ‘real’ mellotron on it? So we’ll be looking forward to hearing that. You may want to read up on what’s happening in Sweden with their approach to the virus, they are taking a different route. Although gatherings of over 50 are not allowed, the schools are open, bars and restaurants are open and life goes on despite the rising death toll. The theory is that when we undo the lockdown the virus is still coming in anyway, so destroying the economy is worse for the world and the consequences of unemployment, lack of support for the developing countries and general recession is only bad. Dying is not good, hospitals that can’t cope is also not good and England seems to be a hotspot along with New York, Spain, Italy and Iran, but Simeon from the Citroen coffee truck tells me (with graphs) that deaths are no higher than previous years, so can someone tell me what the hell is going on?
I had two sessions today, one with Daniel in Arkansas and another with Mark in Tucson. They are both working on releasing their own interesting albums. That’s what we all want to do, make something we are proud of and share it. It’s both easier and harder these days. It’s like there’s more opportunity to do it and a bigger audience to access, but the money is short and the competition is huge! Then there’s the free music, what can you do about that? If you don’t play live it’s hard. Traditionally it’s not always the dead certs that make it, how could Another Girl Another Planet not have been a hit for The Only Ones when they were signed to a major label in that era with a song as good as that? How could Big Star have been missed? All musicians and artists have to remember it’s not just about the quality of the work. I always wonder if Hip Hop will ever end its reign, it’s been around for 40 years now, it must be time for a new generation of hipsters to condemn it as music that the parents like.
Today’s music listening was quite diverse (or not, there was no Hip Hop). I was telling Daniel about Wire and afterwards decided to play 154 (1979) as my first album of the night. Then I thought what could I possibly play next as it’s an album I particularly like and have had since the seventies, so hard to follow. So I went completely the other way and went backwards ten years and played the first Allman Brothers album from 1969. When in doubt change eras. After that it was Ancient Grease’ Women And Children First from 1970, a mostly unknown Welsh band produced by John Weathers who would later find himself as the drummer in Gentle Giant. The singer Morty would find fame in Racing Cars with the hit They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Next was another band I mentioned to Daniel, the band from the Gothic fields of Worcestershire, And Also The Trees, and the first album I ever bought by them, The Millpond Years, from 1988. Apparently they always did well in France, but perhaps not that well-known otherwise despite fourteen studio albums. Next was Quiet Sun (1975), a project that starred Phil Manzanera, guitarist from Roxy Music, a jazzy progtastic sensation. A record I haven’t played for years came next, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and the debut album, also 1975 with Ronnie James Dio singing. I never tire of Blackmore’s guitar playing.
Song Of The Day is Melancholy God from Rhyme because today in the universe even the alien creators are confused:
It’s going ’round again
The world’s abused
But is it just by men
If I even try to imagine
I see a melancholy god
Who believes today
Whoever is to blame
I’m really not quite sure anymore
I see a melancholy god