Hopefully, this week will be the last week of the saga of the ear and the associated headache. I was so happy today to wake up with a normal headache. It was a stuffy room, too hot and my eyes were hurting from staring at the computer screen last night for hours, so not a surprise really but somehow a relief. Olivia went to her Portuguese lesson and I tried to sleep it off but soon realised that I needed all the windows open, the air flowing, the light and the daytime needed permission to enter. You need to blast it out of you, it doesn’t work if you seal yourself up. It can’t escape through the narrow alleyways, it needs wide-open spaces, it needs the breeze, regular gusts through open doorways rather than heavy curtains hiding you in the darkness. But, by the time Olivia came home, I still hadn’t physically been outside. I had a sesh with Jackson in Portland and afterwards, before dinner, I told Olivia I needed to get out for a walk. Out of nowhere, she said, “Let’s take Ariel out to Foz and see the sun set into the sea”.
Foz is 15 minutes away and a posh seaside suburb of Porto. It was just what I needed and we were soon racing towards the sea trying to catch the spectacular sunset, watching this huge glowing orange ball descend and disappear behind the line of the horizon. We arrived with the sun still visible and just about ten minutes before it slipped out of sight. We parked in a dubious spot but it was late and there weren’t so many people around so there wasn’t going to be anyone checking on the parking. We went across the road to the promenade and there it was, this giant magnificent circular ball of fire slowly sinking into the sea. There was a fisherman standing on the rocks and I took some pictures that were somehow made more special by his presence in the frame. In that ten minutes, the Earth moved and the sun was gone, it all happened so fast.
Comedian Sean Lock died yesterday. He died of cancer at the age of 58. I liked him a lot and I always remember one of his jokes that I might share with you sometime. Stand up seemed to become some new social Rock & Roll and it made you wonder if all those people that used to buy records, go to gigs and follow the music, were doing it because that was the choice, the comedy scene hadn’t taken off as entertainment for young people. Comedians seemed to be more for the older people. When I was a kid, I remember Morecambe and Wise, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Dave Allen, and Benny Hill. It was all TV variety shows. My father had little time for pop culture and I certainly saw him scowling at the irreverent Monty Python crew. They almost made him as angry as Scott Gorham’s hair or Russell Thompkins Jr., the vocalist from The Stylistics, whose manhood he questioned because he sang in falsetto.
Music today has been another man with lots of social conscience-inspired lyrics. I saw him live once, I think it was at Long Beach Arena. Unfortunately, I saw him with someone who’d seen him in his early Asbury Park days and considered this mega concert to be a sell-out. I ignored her and enjoyed it anyway but it didn’t help. Tonight I thought I’d listen to four of his albums, his first two and his last two. So I listened to Letter To You (2020), Western Stars (2019), Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973), and The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973). Although the first two are pre the breakthrough album Born To Run (1975), before the classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978) and featured an incomplete classic E Street Band lineup with Vini Lopez on drums (and his busy foot) and David Sancious on keys, they are evolving classics. Out of the last two records, I’m liking the later one, Letter To You, much more than the previous one, Western Stars, although they both seemed to be critically acclaimed. I think Springsteen fans like everything about him, I like him when he nails it.