Strangely, I can’t get submarines out of my head today. I’m not sure why, perhaps it was because I didn’t get out much and the archive felt like a submarine. The day looked so inviting, a slight breeze, a dramatic sky full of mixed-coloured clouds, black, white, and grey, the sun dodging them, yellow set in blue as they drifted by. When the sun did actually find a gap and shone down on your back it was hot, almost like it was summer. So I only got to the bakers and the greengrocers and then set about a busy day of catch up that always ends up as, “I’ll have to do that tomorrow”. I did manage to speak to Jerome Froese in Germany as we send files backwards and forwards to each other of songs that we initiated in Berlin in September 2019 for our collaboration and with Dare’s help are evolving into an album. I was emailing with Salim Nourallah about the upcoming EP that I worked on with him in producer mode with his band, I also got to play some guitar but it’s a snippet from the album proper which will arrive sometime next year. I had two sessions, one with Brian in New Jersey, the other with Jeff in Ohio and Olivia and I watched an episode of Humans over dinner. After dinner I did French and now at midnight the day has gone and my list of to-do has gone out of the window for a long walk and isn’t back yet. So tomorrow I will try again. But the point is this, as John Lennon sang in the lyric to Beautiful Boy on Double Fantasy, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”.
So here on the red couch, surrounded by books and records, guitars and dreams (Olivia is in the other room). I wonder how one is supposed to prioritise everything when everything is a priority? I don’t know how I would manage without Olivia, she is so resourceful and efficient as well as being a loving wife and a talented artist, musician and creator. I wonder how people make their choices, how they decide what’s worth the trouble and what’s not? I suppose that a lot of people’s life is their job and leisure time might come when the day is done but in the creative field the day is never done. There’s also no retirement because your head doesn’t stop writing when your body gets to 60. It keeps on going and you can only hope that your energy doesn’t wane or your body doesn’t begin to break down. If you’ve led a crazy life of alcohol and cigarettes, unhealthy living habits, it’s just about now that you start to pay for it. They say you can get over lung damage from cigarettes if you stop early enough and that the body responds to stopping drinking if you haven’t already destroyed the liver. As a non-drinking, non-smoking vege I’m doing alright because I gave up all that nonsense a while ago but I gotta tell you for all the energy I still have, I feel the constraints of time on my skeleton, in my knees, in my fingers, my teeth, my hip and my neck. Not just your body needs lots of attention to keep it going, exercise, yoga, swimming, walking, fresh air, posture awareness, stretching, lots of water but what about the brain? What about your mental state, your mental health in general? Your aspirations, your disappointments, the things you never achieved, like for me, I never got to Africa or India, I never learnt the piano.
I’m lucky, imagine being a Russian sailor trapped in the Kursk, the submarine that sank in the Barents sea in 2000 killing all 118 people on board. Mostly with a crew that was so young, who hadn’t lived, who knew little of life. But without listing every disaster that befell every innocent soul that was born on this Earth, one wonders how some people can be so evil or simply ungrateful, not people who have been hard done by but those that have had chances and abused their privilege. I guess we are all guilty of something but as George Orwell said in Animal Farm, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”.
I love the phrase ‘a random act of kindness’ but even that can go wrong, Olivia had an experience today where she was waiting at a crossing for the lights to go red for the cars when a woman stopped when her light was still green, she was trying to be kind, there was a long queue of busy holiday traffic behind her and Olivia didn’t want to just step out into the road, so she hesitated and in that time the woman who had kindly stopped got angry and drove through what had become a red light. Someone else could have run across, not knowing the circumstances and been hit. So one must be careful of how you help, how you are kind and certainly not get angry when the gesture isn’t reciprocated with gratefulness. It reminds me of the old comedy sketch of helping an old woman across the road – when she doesn’t want to go.
Music today is in remembrance of Brian Epstein who died today on August 27th, 1967, after an overdose of sleeping tablets mixed with alcohol, ruled an accidental death.
I read that when McCartney found out he said, “Oh no we’re f**ked now” and they were, three years later they broke up. I wonder how the whole Apple organisation might have faired if they had their trusty manager to, well, manage it for them. Epstein did allegedly make one big mistake letting go of merchandising rights early on, but they were all learning, how can you know everything, you need to make mistakes to learn. How could you know that you would be managing the biggest band in the world and in a world that had never seen anything like it, perhaps the Elvis phenomenon was comparable but this was a different time, a time of massive changes in the world, the cultural revolution.
So I’ve been thinking about Brian Epstein tonight and simply played Beatles albums in his memory of which I will not attempt to analyse, you might find something about them online.
Song Of The Day is In The Summer Of His Years by The Bee Gees written for Brian Epstein from their 1968 album Idea. On the US release of the album they added I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You with the American cover art by – Klaus Voormann.