In the town today the sky was half black and half blue and by the time the day had closed its doors, it was a low grey with spits of rain. I’d gone out to pasty land to find that there had been a delivery problem and they had none…but only none of the one I like. So I had to hit the competitors (Warren’s instead of Rowe’s) and despite their multiple shops, there was only one item I could eat, a rather forlorn-looking vege sausage roll. The pain we must suffer some days. On my travels I ran into Uffie, Christine, Steve, cool locals who I chatted with and saw Richard, Sean and J and various other familiar faces in a town that gets familiar when you’ve been here for seven months (we came for two). I went down to the Nag Champa shop and bought a box, the grocery store for broccoli and mushrooms and by the time I got to the studio, it was time to leave again to take some pics, see the sea and hang in the graveyard!
The Penzance graveyard is an atmospheric destination when the black side of the sky is engulfing the blue side of the sky. The result is a dirty grey with an underlying wind that threatens an early darkness, a wet return to studio land and the rattling of windows once inside. A man walked by with his dog, a cocker spaniel, I said hello and chatted with him, a really friendly man, originally from Newfoundland and here since he was 13. Somewhere in there was his Canadian accent which he told us was very “Irish like” and when he went to Dublin, he fell back into it and people thought he was Irish. There were squirrels foraging in the ground for their hidden stores and crows strolling between the gravestones like they were killing time and waiting for a grave to open and give them their orders.
On the way back we walked up Chapel St past where Steckfensters was. The shop, once the biggest fascinating curio shop in town, closed down last week after years of browsing and buying mad ornamental knick-knacks and mysterious metal objects that were hard to determine their use. The ladies that ran it, Zoe and Julia, were unable to continue in a world where the boot sales aren’t happening and finding interesting stock for the shop had become too hard. Sad to see it go but businesses like this are failing all over the world, anything interesting is dying.
Today the weather drove me to my beautiful Italian coat that I bought in Buenos Aires one summer. It was completely the wrong month for such a thing but it fit me so perfectly I had to buy it. It wasn’t too expensive, the only issue was carrying it back to Europe. Anyway, I’m soo glad I did. It’s that time again, the time of layers, adding items as the weather worsens. It’s a good opportunity to find cool shirts, long pants, waistcoats and all kinds of groovy jackets. It’s also the time to look forward to what Olivia will be wearing from day to day as she always has phenomenal sartorial elegance.
As we have to endure more and more political absurdity I feel myself returning to the future, looking for relief by immersing myself in music, imagining sanity. I bought another copy of Jean Cocteau’s Les Enfant Terribles today, just to see it around to remind myself of the world of books that I once lived in far more often than I do at the moment. I also bought Ian McEwan’s novella The Cockroach, a political Brexit satire based on Kafka’s tale but here a cockroach is transformed into the prime minister. Read the review from The Guardian here.
I miss my books and like my records I have a library, boxes and boxes of gems collected on my travels around the world. Plus I also have my father’s and my grandfather’s book collections which I managed to rescue after my father’s death. I never met my grandfather but after inheriting his book collection I know I missed out on a fascinating man. His wife, my grandmother, and where the Willson in Willson-Piper comes from is another story but I can tell you she was a rather scary woman who after my grandfather’s death lived in a hotel on the seafront in Blackpool. She wore a rather pungent perfume that would make me gag when she came near and whenever she walked her stockings rubbed together at the top of her thighs, signalling her approach and my chance to escape. Reliving your early childhood can be dangerous, you never know what you might uncover.
Music today took a rather large step into Avant-Rock with post-Henry Cow crazies Art Bears, featuring Fred Frith, Chris Cutler and Dagmar Krause. It rather makes Nick Cave sound like Phil Collins, ok that’s an exaggeration (no, surely not?), but in my mind, it is everything Nick Cave fans, Rowland S. Howard fans, These Immortal Souls fans and The Wreckery fans should like, except it’s seventies and comes from a more Progressive fountain but it also somehow connects musically to Robert Wyatt and with Dagmar, Amon Düül II. Frith’s guitar sounds like a chain saw, Krause’s voice like a madwoman escaped and Cutler’s lyrics, tales from beyond. Brilliant.
Dagmar Krause was a member of Slap Happy and part of the Slap Happy/Henry Cow collaboration. She also made an album (Babble) with Kevin Coyne and was a member of the unforgettable Art Bears. She made this tribute to Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler for Hannibal records, produced by early Floyd and Nick Drake producer Joe Boyd, released in 1986. You might need to be versed in German cabaret and theatre to appreciate this but you’ll be happy to know that Richard Thompson plays guitar and Danny Thompson double bass with a cast of unknowns (to me) playing the more exotic instruments – but Wix is there on Synths in his pre-McCartney days.