Up early (for me) today and down in the archive for a sesh with Tim in Sydney starting at 11AM due to daylight saving (also not relevant in WA as well as Queensland I found out yesterday). There’s something about the mornings, it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that it’s already the morning when I go to bed, I bet the mornings are amazing if you got to bed at 11PM the night before. What the early to bed people don’t experience is the stillness of 2AM-5AM. I mean, I have seen mornings many times between 7AM and 11AM but I don’t think the early to bed people know much about 2AM-5AM. It’s a wonderful time, it’s so quiet. How is it possible that such a busy world can just switch off completely for these hours? It’s a time of peace, the phone doesn’t ring, the traffic stops, the night is a cosy black blanket that even mutes the sounds of the animals. I realise that I’m talking about a small English town in winter. In the hotter countries, night creatures come out, in cities, clubs are dancing and out on the freeways, some trucks are speeding to avoid the daytime chaos, delivery trucks, garbage trucks are working, road-workers and the sex industry. Well, some of these things are on hold, but in normal times the early mornings have a smaller population and for me it’s a time of creativity, undisturbed by the distractions of the daylight and early evening hours, populated by the masses.
After the sesh, I had to go to the post office to pick up a record. It was a vinyl copy of Teenage Fanclub’s classic Bandwagonesque (1991). I also ordered Grand Prix, cheap at £15 and £12 for these two classic early nineties Brit albums. Inspired by Big Star and collecting old guitars, harmonies and what we used to call Pop songs before the term was hijacked. Although they call Katy Perry types Pop these days, I think it was actually Michael Jackson who hijacked it, calling himself “The King Of Pop”, it always felt like a square peg, round hole for me. He couldn’t call himself “The King Of R’n’R”, Elvis already had that crown but surely “Pop” didn’t accurately describe MJ, nor did R’n’R. He was great, sure, but he wasn’t the king of either Pop or R’n’R.
Outside on the pasty hunt and the package hunt, I swept through the drizzle as fast as possible, umbrellaless but wearing jeans finally on this nippy wet day and grabbing my favourite Italian coat that was soon covered in thousands of small glimmering droplets.
It’s autumn and when Olivia and I went down to see the sea today, the darkness was falling and silhouetted against a winter sky, the leaves were turning brown and were beginning to pile up on the pathways. It was nice to have to wear clothes instead of removing them. In the summer months, I’m always too hot and clothes are suffocating but it is with great joy that I can return to the jackets and the long pants.
By the time we’d reached the beach the distant sun was almost gone, puffs of small black clouds hung in the sky where the light was sinking and we climbed from the tip of the sea over the grinding stones back to the supermarket. Inside we bought our usual list of brie for 2AM snacks, butter for the mushrooms and the peas, muesli, bran, tissues (when it gets soggy, the bran kind of tastes the same as the tissues) and 400 toilet rolls in case the world ends (if that happens won’t the toilets also end, making the 400 toilet rolls redundant?). The supermarket down by the beach is a German company, Lidl, pronounced Liddle in English, pronounced Leedle in German. At this time of year, they start to get German Christmas treats and Olivia’s face lit up as she relived her childhood.
On the way backwards and forwards to the post office, I went past a house that is being renovated and in the front garden there was a cement mixer with a workman mixing the cement. I thought to myself isn’t it fascinating that cement has to keep moving so it doesn’t set? So it’s not just a cement mixer, it’s a cement liquefier. You sometimes see those big cement mixer trucks on the road with their load turning so they can get to their destination and still be carrying liquid cement. But what happens when the mechanism that keeps the load spinning breaks down? Does that mean the cement sets in the truck? If it does, how do you get it out? Do they drill it out? Or do they just throw the truck away?
Music today is the fifth Genesis album and the fourth of their classic run. Selling England By The Pound was released in 1973. Artwork by Betty Swanwick from a painting she had already done called The Dream where she added the lawnmower to connect to the album’s future hit single, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe, No.21 in the UK). The album reached No.3 in the UK charts and yes it’s true I’m always talking about these four classic Genesis records between 1970-1973 but they are so influential to me and I realise that my 12 string thing, which I haven’t really analysed, probably comes from these Genesis albums and of course Jimmy Page’s amazing 12 string playing, not The Byrds’. Of course, there’s other 12 string influencers, Pye Hastings from Caravan and Patrick Mata from Community FK, George Harrison, but apart from Mata and his crazy fuzz 12 string influence, it’s all English.