It’s quite peculiar to be walking down Rua de Latino Coelho on the way back from the psychedelic psupermarket and whilst waiting for a green light to cross the road there on the other side is a young couple and the girl is holding a rabbit close to her chest, not an everyday sight and considering that ‘coelho’ is rabbit in Portuguese I was expecting lots more rabbits to suddenly appear. The one rabbit we saw was a beautiful wide-eyed wonder with soft black fur. I asked her if I could take a photo of it and she and the rabbit obliged. We stroked it and asked its name, Mooncake, of course, whether it was anything to do with the Chinese pastry of the same name we will never know. I had a rabbit once, a beautiful white rabbit that lived in a hutch in the garden. I’m not sure how old I was at the time but at least under ten. One morning we came out of the house to find that the fox had got into the hutch and ripped the rabbit limb from limb. Sadly I can’t remember its name but I do remember the bloodied fur.
I hate cigarette smoke and if someone is smoking in front of me whilst walking on the pavement, I cross over. If someone is smoking in a doorway I give them a large berth. They probably think I’m overreacting but it really is a terrible smell if you don’t smoke and I used to smoke for The Wirral, or is it Wirral? It was The Wirral in the seventies but now it seems to be Wirral like it’s a town rather than a peninsula that juts out between Liverpool and North Wales, the River Dee to the left, the River Mersey to the right. I just read that a 16-year-old boy has drowned in the River Dee after going swimming in the hot weather. I nearly drowned in that river. We had a canoe and I think we might have even taken it on holiday but once I was in that canoe in the Dee estuary and it turned over and although it was shallow it was muddy, I put my hand down to the river bed and it just sank into the mud. Somehow I got out but it was a close call. We were so close to Wales and always went there for our holidays, I can’t remember going anywhere else. It never occurred to my family to try Scotland, they were Wales-mad and my parents retired to a little village outside Aberystwyth called Capel Seion which they always tried to pronounce in a Welsh accent that sounded more like a Cockney talking Turkish, it was so far away from how it was supposed to sound.
On the subject of smoking and pets, animals must hate smoke and as I write this I just remembered the scandal of the smoking beagles in the seventies. It hit home with my family because at one point we did actually have a beagle – called Beagle. Apparently, the experiments are still going on. My parents tried to have pets in their new country bungalow but although it was a sleepy village there was a road outside that saw some traffic and I seem to remember their last cat losing its life on the bend outside so they gave up. My mum gave up smoking after smoking her whole life, in her seventies. She caught the flu and suddenly stopped, she said she didn’t fancy it anymore after what must have been at least 60 years, imagine what she spent.
Changing the subject completely, a note on merchandise. I was looking at a website that is selling Gryphon’s latest album Get Out Of My Father’s Car! (2020) and also a Gryphon T-shirt for the album. The album is £19.99, the T-shirt £20. I’m a fan, I have all their albums. What is amazing about it is perceived value. An album takes years of knowledge, lots of money in different places, time and consideration, so many costs from the instruments you might need, the studio to record it and the engineer to make it sound good with an ideas man producer, the band members and then cover design graphics put together by a skilled graphic artist, the photographer and then the mastering and the manufacture and the distribution, the management fees, the agent fees, the cost to promote it and yet it’s cheaper than the T-shirt that costs very little to design, taking the album cover and placing it on a black cloth and the manufacture works out to be quite little if you order a reasonable amount. Perceived value is an odd thing. These days as only us nerds want to buy the vinyl or the CD, the masses are happy with a monthly subscription that’s the same cost or less than one vinyl record. Fair enough, that’s the world today but perhaps us musician types would be better off in the T-shirt business rather than the music business when you look at costs versus profit, effort versus outcome – or income.
Music today has been a mix of playlists and albums, one of the playlists was replaying the same songs too often so I listened to the whole of Paul McCartney and Wings‘ Band On The Run (1973) instead of the title track – again. I like that album a lot probably because McCartney is playing so many of the instruments and I like to hear a talented, non-virtuoso being creative. I then saw that there is a 3LP version of Rory Gallagher’s self-titled debut album (1971) coming out, so I listened to that, I love that album. After that, it went on to the playlist again and a couple of great tracks came up including Roy Buchanan’s Soul Dressing from the album Live From Austin, Texas recorded in 1976 but not released till 2012. I am a big fan of Roy Buchanan, he played a Telecaster like no one else, one of the great guitar players. I don’t actually have this album. I saw it on Amazon but when you click on the vinyl version a pic comes up of David Byrne – Live in Texas, so is it the wrong pic or the wrong album? I’m not willing to spend 25 quid to find out. I suppose I could send the seller an email, hm. Then came James Gang’s The Bomber from James Gang Rides Again, a great track. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I was listening to Amon Düül II’s Yeti (1970). It all makes me miss my archive.