I went down to the station today to inquire about leaving Penzance on the 3rd December, the day after lockdown ends. There are no cheaper advance tickets, it’s too late for that, but not knowing if the lockdown would continue we were hesitant to buy in advance, but today they said: “the curve has flattened”. It’s going to cost £70 each to get to London and probably the same or less to fly to Portugal. I don’t think we could ever have imagined that planes could be cheaper than trains. But then I don’t think you could ever imagine that a pint of Guinness could be £5 when a quality second-hand record of a great artist could cost the same. Three pints and you’re getting something really special, five pints and you’re onto rarities or a brand new release. A week’s drinking and you could have your own record collection.
After the station, I walked by the harbour. The last time I walked here the sea was as high as I’d seen it, today the tide was out and the few boats that remained here were tilted on their sides as the water had receded and left them useless, like a swan waddling on land. The serene soft breeze in your hair as your sleek yacht rides the waves in contrast to the clumsy lump stuck in the harbour sand. They are like the swans with the beautiful image of them floating on the surface of the water or Duran Duran videos (haha). Boats have ugly clumsy anchors, swans have ugly clumsy feet, no water, no elegance.
As I walked along the road by the harbourside I noticed all the ropes and chains that moored the missing boats to the shore were still there. It seemed surprising that when they took their boat into hibernation that they didn’t take the mooring rope with them. Perhaps they know their spot and they know where they will be moored in the spring, or is it first come first served and the ropes and chains are public property? I heard once that the happiest day of your life is when you get a boat and the second happiest day of your life is when you sell it.
Sesh today with Matt in Brooklyn, some cool songs coming, Stefan in Germany had to postpone but then I had a chat with journo Fred Mills who’s going to help with a bio. All this promo stuff. Does anybody remember Led Zeppelin? No videos, no singles, no interviews, no promo, hugely successful. I suppose you can’t ever compare how things were and although times have changed I’m not sure how far mystery goes these days. It was ok for Kate Bush and Leonard Cohen, seventies artists and sixties artists that made mystery work, but Kate was pretty visible in the beginning. Michael Stipe made a point of being in the shadows and saying little, it worked for him but again, it was a different time.
If your music fits the zeitgeist then mystery works but if you are outside the happening scene then your mystery is just going to keep you obscure, but then again what’s wrong with that?
Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept that puts the fans in touch with the artist and that’s great if you want it that way. Not everybody does and really you can’t blame them. A lot of people communicate through the music, not as a personality outside the music.
With two weeks to go on our Indiegogo campaign, we hope to get to at least 75% of the goal. The goal was the same as Noctorum but this is a tricky time and perhaps MOAT is less known. But then Indiegogo doesn’t look like it’s going to go bust and run off with the money. Just so you know, my partner in this project, Niko, is a Swedish/German composer and multi-instrumentalist, I write the lyrics and sing all the songs, we both play guitars and bass but Niko also plays piano, vocoder and even piano accordion, he plays pedal steel and comes up with great melodies and if you are following the campaign you might have already heard two of the songs from the album and if you have donated then three are available. From now all three songs will be available to listen to if you have donated, the general public has to wait another ten days.
The best thing about all this is that in just two weeks a digital copy of the new album will be available to everyone who donates, whether they buy a CD, the vinyl, the handwritten lyrics, the mystery box, house concert or even a postcard. It’s exciting to think that it will be available to everyone. As soon as the vinyl and CD are manufactured we will send out the physical copies, that will be January before the street date in mid-February. So please preorder now and help us cover the costs of making this investment work so we can make more records.
Music today is Curtis Mayfield’s second studio album, Roots, released in 1971. One of the great Soul Funk albums along with his debut and on through his seventies albums, the Super Fly soundtrack and the anti-war concept album Back To The World (Curtis/Live! was also released in 1971 before Roots). His sweet soulful voice, anti-drug, peace and love message was a new black social conscience, a world also inhabited by the boy genius Stevie wonder. Sly Stone might have been in this world, too, if he hadn’t spiralled out of control with his drug use.
His song Move On Up from his debut might be his best-known song but all his albums are full of soulful classics and once you have investigated his solo career there’s his previous band The Impressions to look into. Curtis died on Boxing Day 1999 at the age of 57 from complications of diabetes. In 1990 he suffered a tragic accident when a lighting rig fell on him at a concert stage in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was paralysed from the neck down. In 1996 he released the album New World Order which he sang whilst lying on his back. He was a civil rights activist, a lover and a fighter and is sorely missed.