Owls! Death or wisdom? In Native American tribes and in Africa it’s death, in Europe it’s wisdom. Not being the superstitious type I would not be able to subscribe to either myth and it seems rather obvious to connect them to death because of the spooky hoot. I wonder if they got the silly spinning head scene in the Exorcist from the owl? (They have a 270 degree rotation.) I’m not so sure what makes an owl erudite? Is it that they seem patient? Still, quiet, before they swoop and rip the throat out of an unsuspecting rodent. Or is it the eyes? Those big round mysterious eyes. Whatever omens people think they represent, they are a beautiful animal, isn’t that enough or do we need the fantasy?
Today really was the first day of summer, I felt the warm hand of the sun on my back, the sky was arced over the Earth like a great comforting protective food dome, a piercing blue that reflected in the sea like a rumpled cobalt blanket. The seagulls were snow white and pale grey flying over the busier than usual pebble beach, their vermillion legs tucked up, stored ski poles under feathers. The sea was untypically choppy for such a calm and perfect day and I descended the stone steps from the promenade to the waves’ edge to catch some spray and feel the water on the skin of my hands. Olivia ventured further and actually paddled, oh how the feet love that, the stones massaging the soles, the salt water slipping between your toes and under you nails, then rising above your ankles below your jealous knees. The waves came with a roar and drew back across the pebbles an amplified rubbing, a scratchy avalanche of noise, sonic hypnosis and sweet salt, sea olfactory sensation.
We spoke to our friend Jeanne in New York today, she lives in Jersey City just across the Hudson from Manhattan, a short journey on the Path train, closer to downtown than if you lived in the Bronx or anywhere approaching or north of Harlem. She hasn’t left her building for 66 days. Last thing you’d want to do in one of the virus hotspots. (By the way I call it the Pathogen train.) I also spoke to Jerome in Berlin, trapped, like the wall is back. Andy Cousin called me from Folkestone, he told me there was nobody around, like here, fewer than ever before on a hot day in May. I also spoke to Jed in Minneapolis, but we managed to stay on the subject of the Space Summit album now it’s done, trying to imagine a plan for a future release. The whole world has never been so accessible and yet here we are in cosy prisons.
I’ve been trying to take pictures off my camera and put them onto my computer for easier viewing and to share. I can’t believe how hard it is to do the simplest things, I did it yesterday, it just worked, today it doesn’t. What’s the difference? The problem is I don’t know how to troubleshoot. How many skills can you collect over a lifetime? I’m not sure if I’m bad at some things, like let’s say physics because it just doesn’t compute or am I just not interested enough to try? Can you be really good at everything, a polymath? Is it brain power or is it being coached into ways to learn, being shown from an early age that knowledge is good and mixed with all those natural instincts you can be a model human. Just that the small details of opportunity, war, pandemics, the lack of education and poverty that stop you before you start. Can you imagine a world where everyone is taught science, art, literature, music, languages, nutrition, tolerance, from an early age and given the tools to postulate, speculate on our very existence.
I longed for a book today, Olivia suggested we should come down to the beach with a book and a chair, I wondered would we sit on the book and try and figure out how to open the chair? Like a music stand is always a puzzle, the metal one-dimensional flat struts of a Rubik’s Cube unable to perform the virtuoso’s piece, because the stand that holds the music is too complex to open. I should read instruction books instead of fiction, how my life would improve with the knowledge of an engineer in the studio, the knowledge of an IT technician whilst working on the computer, the knowledge of a luthier when the guitar loses its playability or even the knowledge of a plumber so we can fix that damn tap in the studio kitchen that drips like a metronome to the silence of an unwritten symphony.
Music today started from the sesh I had with Rohan in Sydney and Talking Heads, Once In A Lifetime came up so tonight I went to what I thought was my favourite Talking Heads album, Fear Of Music, from 1979. It’s produced by Eno and the band and has something very Bowie about it, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.
I went to the German Dark Wave of Matador and A Touch Beyond Canned Love (1987), it nearly did it, but the record, a recent purchase, was annoyingly scratchy, not what was described when I committed to the purchase. It was dark and interesting, but not the direction I wanted.
A jump to Pink Floyd’s Animals (1977), mostly because sessioneer Tony brought it up the other day as did my mate Spant in Liverpool when he heard the light/serious Space Summit snippet. Dogs? Hm, well I suppose there might be something in the rhythm, but the song I was playing is as far away from Pink Floyd as Matador is from Ten Years After, my next choice.
Cricklewood Green (1970) is that odd mixture of a Blues influenced Englishmen, who discovered another culture and developed a passion for something outside of a Nottingham upbringing where mainman Alvin Lee was born. That’s what I love about the British Blues, its Britishness. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Free, Groundhogs, it was an interpretation from afar and although never really considered to be anything innovative, groundbreaking or even interesting, it is in fact original as the two worlds collided in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
Song Of The Day is Chromium from Live From The Other Side, recorded in Sydney, Australia, in 2003 and released in 2004. Today seemed like after all this time in the studio and the archive (which it seems will be continuing for a good while) I’d love to get back to playing live and seeing the amazing world.
Jags and riches
Queens and witches
And tight-fitting dreams
Never been so high
Never been so low
Never been so high
With fake suntans
Need a maniac in the cul-de-sac
Otherwise it’s this ennui
All this waiting brings me down
All those colours bring me ’round
Songs to sing to
When you were young
Tattooed pierced or
Fresh and perfumed
Switch your prison
Jewels on your fingers
Tears in your dresses
And damp little rooms
This one will shrink me
This one will grow me
Queuing to sleep