It was a chilly walk down to the sea today dressed in jeans, Blundstones, T-shirt, waistcoat, shirt, scarf and even a coat – it’s the autumn, it’s the time of clothes. The sea was grey, half the sky was blue and half the sky was black, it was a battle between the elements and we all know who’s going to win. On the way down to the seafront, a shortcut through Morrab Gardens, a forlorn seagull sat atop the broken fountain like any creature might sit on any abandoned human machinery signifying a forgotten glorious past of functionality and mechanical superiority over nature. But there on the front, the humans continue with their concrete and months of re-paving finally looks like it’s complete. Still, the metal barriers remain and the apparent plans to add seating are not yet realised. We’ll be gone before they’re done, a whole summer of construction with no payoff – a moody stroll along the Prom would have been most welcome in these trying times.
I stood by a sign that mentioned the beach but after having lived in Australia, it didn’t seem like ‘beach’ meant the same thing here as it does there. But a beach doesn’t always mean sand and bronzed bodies, it also means stones and cold and winter light. We arrived there quite late in the afternoon and it looked like a couple with wet hair was just returning from what must have been a freezing swim. I once jumped in the Atlantic one late sunny winter day on Long Island, the American side of the Atlantic and I ejected myself faster than light, deceived by the sun before I hit the waves, it took my breath away and I needed some time to recover. I imagine that’s what it must be like here and it’s the reason why whenever you see people in the sea in these parts, unless it’s high summer, they’re always wearing wet suits.
We went into the supermarket with a short list and when it came to the butter our usual brand wasn’t there (not that I remember what the brand is). I know it by the colour and look of the packaging – it’s white and the reason we buy butter in blocks like this rather than in a tub is because it saves on the plastic. It’s like the SodaStream and there’s something quaint and old-fashioned about a butter dish. Today the usual butter wasn’t there, out of stock. At this point you may be wondering how I can get a story out of this? It wasn’t exactly confusion, more just, oh what now, try something different but then I realised that the only real choice left in this cheaper supermarket was the sexy butter with the black packaging. I hadn’t realised before that there was such a thing as sleazy cheap butter, every day is a revelation.
We wound our way back to the archive, loaded up with cheap toilet paper, cheap brie, cheap orange juice, cheap sweet potato, cheap set honey (another revelation), cheap muesli and cheap bran, all the same quality as the Co-op just without the branding. I got ready for my sesh of the evening with Stefan in Germany (it was supposed to be two today but Noelle had to postpone till Monday). Stefan has had the honour of being sent the first Mystery Box (it was actually a mystery bag as it was the smaller one). Great progress on the music from Stefan, when I hear what people can do when they haven’t really tried seriously to do it you realise that the difference between those that are musicians professionally and those that aren’t isn’t about imagination, it’s about career choice. Dear future sessioneers, get in touch, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve with a bit of help.
The new MOAT – Poison Stream campaign seems to have slowed to 39% after the initial surge, I think that’s how it always is, I’m sure it will pick up again, we just have to keep on reminding everybody that might be interested. I imagine more people would be interested if they knew about and even more if they heard it – so much choice, so little time.
Music today comes from Nederbeat heroes Q65 rediscovering themselves as they enter the seventies. It keeps their energy and has something of The Kinks meets Eric Burdon at The Stones’ house, still a little stuck in their heyday stylistically. The album is called Afghanistan and is supposed to be their more Psychedelic period but that Beat Group Rock ‘n’ Roll remains with tinges of the period lurking in the shadows but it sounds more like the aforementioned band with a less scary early Alice Cooper despite what the experts say, maybe some Easybeats in there too. But Night at 8 minutes does certainly go somewhere else, a kind of Barrett-esque Dutch Country that turns into a jam. It fades out, I hate it when these jams fade out, let it go. A couple of screechy R’n’R live tracks at the end I could have done without.
Lost Horizons is about as far away from Q65 as you can get. It’s a 2017 project from ex Cocteau Twin and Bella Union mainman Simon Raymonde. The album is called Ojalá (‘hopefully’ in Spanish) and was released in 2017. It has different female and male singers, names I know – Karen Peris from The Innocence Mission, the late Tim Smith, ex Midlake, Hazel Wilde from Lanterns On The Lake, Liela Moss from The Duke Spirit, Marissa Nadler, Ghostpoet, and names I don’t – Gemma Dunleavey, Beth Cannon, Soffie Viemose from Lowly, Phil McDonnell, Ed Riman from Hilang Child and Cameron Neal from Horse Thief (with Sharon Van Etten on BVs). There’s some Jonathan Wilson playing guitar and Richie Thomas from Dif Juz on drums. A new double album, In Quiet Moments, has been announced for late November. Sign up here for some moody magic.
I stumbled across this interview whilst I was researching which Tim Smith it was (Tim Smith from The Cardiacs sadly died recently). But in this interview from 2014, Tim Smith, ex-Midlake, mentions The Blurred Crusade and Heyday.
Song Of The Daze
The only clip I can find for Q65 I’ve posted before and is four years out of date, that is to say, this is from 1966 and Afghanistan is from 1970, it’s a long time in R’n’R, especially in those days.