So today England made it to a major tournament final by winning a semi-final for the first time in 55 years and I was thinking how little that means to some and how much it means to others. I was also wondering about the ecstasy of sport versus the ecstasy of music. I like a great football game, an amazing tennis match and a top snooker series but hearing the tone of Paul Kossoff’s guitars and the vibrato in his fingers or one of Jaki Liebezeit’s metronomic drum patterns, perhaps Rimbaud or Lorca’s poetry or one of Akira Kurasawa’s masterpieces – all these things I can associate with satisfaction, stimulation, inspiration and ecstasy but nothing seems to be as visceral as the ecstasy of your team winning in a major competition. It’s so complete, inside and out, roaring at the universe and so totally disappointing, depressing when your team loses. Denmark will be wondering about a controversial penalty that Harry Kane took, Schmeichel saved it and on the rebound, Kane knocked the ball into the net, 2-1, ecstasy.
It was a really beautiful day today, warm in the sun, cool in the shade and whilst I managed another 102 laps in the pool, Olivia went an hour north to check out a vehicle that we need for touring and getting back to England to sort the archive out. We were meaning to get something in Germany but this came up close by and at a great price, a great colour and with a bed in the back as well as space for some gear. So we have agreed a deal and Olivia will pick it up on Tuesday, it will be known as Ariel and is a light blue Nissan camper van from 1993 – now, where do we park it? Of course, it’s left-hand drive which will be fun in England, it has Portuguese plates and with a bed in the back, it means we can save so much money on hotels whether we are on tour or just exploring. It only has two seats in the front so no guests I’m afraid. We’ve been looking at some potential dates in Spain in October, we’ll see and keep you posted as well as posting pix of Ariel when she comes.
We have set a date to move out of the premises in Penzance. It’s the end of an era and in September we will move everything to the storage house in Wells in Somerset and from there, figure out how to take it all to Portugal. The camper van is going to be very handy as we will need days here and there to sort things out and if we can find a campsite we won’t be spending huge amounts of money on accommodation whilst we sort through boxes. I’m going to have to buy about 700 boxes which is going to cost over £1000. I’m sure there will be swimming pools around too to keep up the exercise and get clean. What an adventure. On the subject of swimming pools, I’m not sure what’s going on with the chlorine poisoning but after I’ve washed it out of my head all is well till around midnight. Out of nowhere, my nose runs and I sneeze for about an hour and a half. I’m actually wondering if it’s something else, like dust where my computer is or is it just the irritation takes time to reveal itself? Who knows? One last thing about the move, I’m just hoping that restrictions don’t hinder our progress.
There’s a mosquito in the room which simply is the world’s greatest mosquito escape artist. There are armies of spider detectives and house centipede mercenaries patrolling the shelves and the walls. There’s lavender being sprayed, Nag Champa incense being lit and attempts to lure the little monster towards the light in the hallway, all to no avail. Moments ago with all this going on, it just appeared in front of my computer screen and an attempt to send it to meet its mosquito maker failed. Alas, the hunt goes on.
Music today was some later Focus albums. Focus 11 (2018) and Focus X ( 2012). Focus were playing at the festival where Olivia and I met in 2016, in fact, it’s our five-year (meeting) anniversary next week. One of the first records I ever owned was Moving Waves (1971). I also saw them with my mate Boydy at The Stables in Milton Keynes of all places. But although it’s hard to beat their earlier records including In And Out Of Focus (1970) and Focus 3 (1972), I’m liking these later records a lot. It’s also hard to beat Jan Akkerman as a guitar player but I like Menno Gootjes’ playing and sound (he has no Wikipedia page).
Original member, organist, flautist and yodeller Thijs van Leer is still there, these days he resembles a hobbit. Drummer Pierre van der Linden joined Focus for Moving Waves and has since been backwards and forwards in the lineup but is now it seems a permanent fixture with Udo Pannekeet joining on bass (he also has no Wikipedia page) for their latest album replacing Bobby Jacobs. Great if you like this kind of thing.