A sparrow in a hedgerow, a box in the alleyway outside Jess’ house with something furry inside. The gates of Morrab Gardens still open in the early dark. A walk down the narrow lane by the studio to the sea, a car coming down too fast. Walking past the fish and chip shop, two ladies in face screens inside, cars parked outside, hazards flashing, waiting for their order and at the sea, the high fence remains so we still can’t walk along the seafront at a time when we really need it. The groundwork looks done but the fence is still there. Behind the fence, strangely shaped giant stones that look like alien eggs have appeared. We can only presume that they are going to be decoration you can sit on but none of them look like they could take two people, a design flaw to ruin romantic walks for sea-gazing lovers that need to cuddle.
When we came to the sea we saw black waves, no moon, clouds up above and darkness, only the light pollution from the hanging seafront lights and the village glow of Newlyn on the east of the bay. On the west of the bay, the peninsula that is The Lizard shimmered in the distance. Down on the shore, the waves washed in relentlessly and underfoot you could feel the stones where last week’s weather had swept them into uneven ridges. Today though it was calmer, its incessant roar reminded us of our mortality, I love the phrase “puny humans”, quipped in sixties science fiction farce, was it the treacherous Doctor Smith from Lost In Space siding with the monsters? But the point, as you stand next to the power of nature under an ominous black sky, you easily feel insignificant in the universe.
The skateboard park was also dark but one young lad was managing the assault course anyway and further along outside the supermarket on the other side of the road, two more skateboarders were riding the concrete under the lights. Inside, the temptation of the baked muffins are the first thing you see and we quickly found our usual set honey, brie, cereal, until we sped out into the darkness past the new flagless flagpoles on the deserted front, the wires banging against the hollow poles. I had a sesh with Craig in Atlanta and had to get moving to make it on time. I’d dressed for a windy, dark evening but by the time we were on our way back I was disrobing in the street, way too hot to move at speed. At the archive, I threw everything off onto the hallway floor and made it to Skype with three minutes to spare. Hans followed Craig in Seattle and then it was double Californians In Space, Discovery followed by Enterprise over dinner.
Olivia is packing Mystery Boxes, handing me items to autograph, Handwritten & Illustrated Lyrics are next. The first MOAT album is running out as are the days for the campaign, only 24 days left. There are now two songs available to listen to, Gone By Noon and Acid Rain, the first 50% donators got an early listen to the third song, The Roadmap To My Soul, but it will be available for all ears from December 1st. There are autographed prints available of all these titles in the campaign. And now we have just added a cool T-shirt in various sizes. But after all, it’s about the music and that is coming, the first of a whole lot of new projects. Can we play live? We don’t know yet but we will certainly be trying and when we do we will be able to do house concerts that are also available as a perk.
It’s getting closer to that date! Presuming we come out of lockdown on December 2nd we will be attempting to make it to Portugal, hopefully in one day. Early train from Penzance to Paddington, Paddington Express to Heathrow, fly to Porto, arrive in the evening and begin one exciting adventure. Hopefully, I will be able to learn some Portuguese whilst continuing with French, how many languages can you learn at once?
Last but not least with the international football weekend coming up, congratulations to Scotland who beat Serbia in a tense penalty shoot-out to qualify for next year’s European Championships, their first qualification for a major tournament in 28 years.
Music today comes from Suzanne Vega’s play Lover Beloved, co-written with Duncan Sheik, Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers (2016) based on the life of author Carson McCullers who wrote a book with one of my many favourite titles: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (1940). The literate songwriter that is Suzanne Vega might be known to most for Luka (1987) but I’ve been a fan since the first album (1985) that I bought at the record store in the olden days of Bondi Beach before they went mad with the commercialism. That first poetic album showed no evidence that on her second album she would have a worldwide hit and if you ever followed her releases you might be surprised about how far away she went from that first record with her production styles. She was married to and has a child with producer Mitchell Froom who will be Crowded House’s resident keyboardist.
She made a series of albums called Close Ups, where she rerecorded her A&M owned songs, I’m a fan I buy everything she does. Last but not least I know Doug Yowell, her drummer, and two of her bass players, Mike Visceglia (longtime) and Tony Shanahan (guest and Patti Smith’s bassist). Why am I telling you this? Because Mike, Doug and Suzanne have been down to the archive. Whilst she was here I asked her if she had heard Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts’ version of The Queen And The Soldier (1995) from her first album? “No”, she said. So I played it for her. She didn’t really respond to it (I love it, great version) but she is a thoughtful person, I think she needed more time to think about it.