Today I celebrated 20 miles of swimming since the pool reopened. I’m hoping that there is a decent pool in Porto where I can continue with the swimming regimen not just for the physical benefits but also because I’m sure it’s good for the brain. All the deep breathing, the lungs working, the limbs kicking out, stretching for the water in front of you, pushing it back behind you. It’s incredible how hard it is to swim this many lengths when you’re not used to it and how easy it is when you are. I suppose it’s like anything, do it a lot it gets easier, except that’s not necessarily true of creative pursuit. It’s not just the doing it, you have to get the thinking straight too or you have to un-straighten it depending on what’s going wrong – or right.
My mind was distracted today or perhaps I should say fascinated by a scene playing out in the glade between the leisure centre and the houses. As I climbed the path and looked down there was a cat sitting under a tree, not the same cat as I saw last time, this one was grey and white and half the size but like the cat from a couple of weeks ago when it saw me arrive on the path it just stared at me intensely. I walked a little further into the glade and it followed me with its eyes. In the middle of the path I just stopped to check it out and noticed that there were two magpies sitting on two separate branches quite close to the ground. The cat suddenly looked away and up at one of the magpies that was calmly sitting above the cat as if to say, “What do you think you are going to do?”. It was intriguing to see the two magpies both sitting so serenely and unperturbed by the cat’s presence.
It was then that there was a scurrying in the tree and the cat’s body language suddenly changed to predator mode. Up at the top of the tree was a squirrel and it was chirping and running around on the high branches. The cat immediately forgot about the two magpies and after a frozen minute of stillness looking up to the tree’s crown, the cat jumped onto the trunk of the tree. It hung there uncertain as to what to do next. The trunk branched out left and right so there was a fork where the cat, holding on tight, found itself – absolutely nowhere near the squirrel. The cat had discovered that it was no match for the squirrel’s agility and the birds’ ability to fly, they had by now flown into the same tree as the squirrel and even though the cat was in the fork of the trunk showed no sign of any imminent danger – they knew the cat was out of its depth.
But how do they know that? How can they be so confident and so close to another creature that would eat them for breakfast if it got the smallest chance to take them down. It was like humans visiting the lions in the zoo, they know they can be close to them and they know they can’t get out, a judgement is being made – we are safe here, we are close but we are safe. Or was it more than that, were they goading the cat?
I had a sesh today with Noelle in Montreal and she has two beautiful cats who were both interested in today’s sesh. I love cats but it was revealing seeing one out there in nature with the wild animals, the cat was lost as that nifty squirrel danced around in the top branches of the tree. The two magpies bored with the cat’s false threat, unworried, I think I saw one of them yawn. It was like two preoccupied parents ignoring a child’s scream.
I did another long interview tonight, 3 hours, but it’s not really an interview, it’s a conversation. This was with Ryan Martin from Jammerzine and will possibly be aired on Monday. I like the idea of discussing my music in the context of the ongoings of the universe. There’s the world out there and there’s music in it, my music, music I have made with my collaborators and the music I make is made in a world that I observe and comment on. Even the fictions one creates come from the reality of being a person alive in the world.
Music today was actually one of Olivia’s waking up albums of choice, Genesis’ Wind & Wuthering, the second album after Peter Gabriel’s departure, released in 1976. It was guitarist Steve Hackett’s last album and the last record before Genesis found themselves on another track – from this record on my interest in Genesis waned, probably because I was more interested in Patti Smith, John Foxx’s Ultravox and the New Wave but the albums that were being superseded by the Punk revolution were never discarded, they were another generation’s gems to be placed together with the gems of the past.
Songs Of The Daze
Genesis on The Mike Douglas Show and in contrast John Foxx’s Ultravox in a hilarious lip-sync on German TV in 1977 and then The Patti Smith Group on Mike Douglas, too.