I haven’t signed a contract for a flat for years, I haven’t lived in a normal situation for years, a shower, a kitchen, a bedroom, a front door, luckily we are in Porto which keeps it weird. It seems I fear normal and I was reading part of an outrageous story of a man who went from England to Morocco one merry morn with just 100 quid and a tent and a railcard – his travails and his survival. It was an article in a major newspaper like it was quite unbelievable. In my time of hitchhiking and travelling in Europe in the seventies, I left once with 30 quid, no tent and after catching the late ferry from Dover to Calais arrived in France with no particular destination except for the vague notion of heading south via thumb. I had no fear, I didn’t think it was outrageous at all, I thought it would be far worse to stay in Liverpool – I was desperate not to be where I was from. It wasn’t that I had a problem with the north of England per se (except for being chased by skinheads), it was more that I figured there was a world out there that I wanted to see. Having said that I still never made it to India or Africa or China or Russia. I haven’t seen the pyramids, I haven’t floated down the Nile, seen the Taj Mahal, seen Uluru, or been to Alice Springs. I haven’t been to Tierra Del Fuego, the Amazon, the Sahara, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, possibly because they may have been mythical. I haven’t been to Florence or Reykjavik, the North Pole, Rumania, Bulgaria, or Turkey. Life is too short to stay home.
So seshes, moving in, and getting to bed late. The flat is cold and we are trying to heat it up, it’s a bill that won’t be included in the rent so we don’t know what the monthly cost will be. We left the portable radiator on in the bedroom last night, closed the curtains and the shutters, and settled down to sleep. A new bed and I knew it, I need to buy a pillow. I lay there tired trying to sleep, pretending I could, trying to warm up under the quilt but I could feel that my legs were still cold and I wasn’t dropping off (although my legs might). After a while I opened my eyes, Olivia wasn’t stirring and I looked into the pitch-black room – it was too dark. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, it was a sepulchre, I was so unnerved by it that I got up and reopened the shutters. Back in bed, I was happy to see shadows on the wall, dull light brought life back, I wasn’t dead.
I awoke at 12.30, the first morning in our home in Portugal, a one-year contract, we are staying here. Of course, we will travel when we can, it’s what we do, but if my residency comes through this will be our base despite trips back to England and the rest of Europe to play shows, travelling to America, and continuing to record in Penzance. I need to set up a small computer studio here, but I don’t have an electric guitar or a bass, just my Seagull 12 string. I don’t even have my Logic Audio yet but plan to sort these things out in the coming months. Olivia has a bass I can use in Germany which I can get when her dad brings the car down but that’s not until March. I don’t need a $10,000 vintage guitar for demos, writing chord progressions, and sending ideas to sessioneers for them to work on. I need a reliable 6 string electric guitar that will stay in tune, I’ll see what I can find here but at this point, I have no idea of prices.
I had seshes from 3 PM, Ahad, who is now in New York, Fred in Minneapolis, and Craig in Atlanta. So like yesterday, sesh with Doug, an hour after we moved in, and today seshes soon after I got up. The landlord’s partner came today to get the contract and Olivia told her about some things that need to be looked at, a plumbing smell for example, plumber coming, I hope they are more reliable than English plumbers. Tonight when I was done, I did my French lesson, Olivia cooked, we ate and we looked around the kitchen from the dinner table and wondered how we could make it cosier. The flat has wooden floors, no carpets, I wonder if we can make a trip to Morocco when we get the car and buy something beautiful for the floors, something that looks exotic, makes it cosy, helps with the cold and doesn’t cost too much because we went to the source to buy it.
After dinner, we watched the latest Star Trek: Discovery episode and then an episode of Enterprise (season 4) before I had to start writing. Colleen, Biggles’ wife, told me The Expanse is back too. The flat comes with a sizeable TV with Netflix installed so we can watch these super Sci-Fi epics on a big screen and experience all those special effects.
Music today was Paul McCartney’s album McCartney III. I’ve heard it once too quiet and once not loud enough whilst doing something else. It sounds like a mixed bag, some good things always and some patchy but I’ll give it some more listening. I’m looking forward to some serious sit-down and listening time to lots of records in the coming months. Missing the archive’s wealth of vinyl? Duh. The encouraging thing about it is that it’s a handmade record which might make it less bland than his last disappointing album Egypt Station. We’ll see.
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