Let me sleep just a little longer, say six more hours? Sleeping isn’t really on the agenda when you’re moving a record archive, studio, book and film collection and household goods and furniture. Olivia isn’t here; she’s in the storage with Fred and Gerri Ann, trying to not lose precious time there while I am here directing the load onto the truck which at this point is watching the boxes of vinyl and CDs disappear through the window with part of the shelving. Tomorrow we continue with the shelving and the guitars and amps, the effects, and all the bits and pieces of a musician’s world – wires, picks, slides, capos, percussion, it’s a pantry. The last shelf I pulled down was one for the dump and I smashed it with my foot and as it fell away from the wall the whole back was covered in mould. Time to leave this place, not just for space but for health. Incense isn’t really covering the smell and the creatures that lived down there behind Frank Zappa, The Zombies and Zior are suddenly exposed running for their lives after 15 years, generations of disgusting bliss.
As the space opens up in the archive room I realise how amazing it will be if I can find somewhere six times bigger and instead of going on a diet to fit between the shelves you’ll be able to walk around the aisles in a headdress with a panther on a lead. Which reminds me, Olivia has told me that Mabel the campsite cat has had kittens. I was expecting the men who came to pick everything up today to have kittens when they saw how many heavy boxes there were but Andy the driver moved me from my flat in Ladbroke Grove all those years ago and he knew what to expect. They made it look easy with the speed at which they shifted everything. It’s the beginning and it’s a long way to the end, but stage one is on the way to being complete and all I can do is be optimistic about the outcome and keep the dream alive. They’ll be waking me from my dreams tomorrow when they return at 8 AM.
I’ve been saying goodbye to all the local people I’ve got to know in the shops and from the street. I mentioned some of them yesterday, and more today – Pete and Claire and Richard at Smiths, Libby and James and Shelley in the other charity store, the lady in the old-fashioned vegetable shop, Sonja in the jewellery store where we had our wedding rings engraved with the mistake, haha, and where I bought Olivia’s engagement ring. Lots and lots of familiar faces of people I don’t know but I’ve seen around. Ryan in the Co-op didn’t seem to realise that it had been 10 months since I last went in there, he just spoke to me like it was yesterday as did Calvin who also works there the day before. I saw Irin at the Indian where I had dinner tonight, then there’s Liz who looked after the archive before Aram. The list goes on, and some of these people have already gone from here years ago and consequently, their names escape me.
Once Suzanne Vega and her band came down into the archive as did Tir Na Nog when I wasn’t here. Paul Simpson was here too. I asked Suzanne if she had heard Kate Rusby and Katherine Roberts’ version of The Queen And The Soldier and she hadn’t. I played it for her but it seemed to wash over her and her New York cool but the next time I saw her she was lovely. Every local musician has been down here and this is the place where we recorded all the Noctorum albums, MOAT’s Poison Stream, Space Summit guitars, Ahad Afridi, Arktik Lake vocals and guitars, Atlantaeum Flood, Nightjar, Brix Smith et moi and lead vocals and extra guitars and bass on the Jerome Froese und ich album (Brix isn’t French). It’s an end to an incredible run of writing, recording and listening. Thank you to everyone that made this happen, Dare and all the musicians and everyone who listened to what we did.
Music today was The Mamas and the Papas, 16 of their Greatest Hits (1969), AC/DC‘s Let There Be Rock (1977), Bill Withers’ Greatest Hits (1981) and Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy (1973), followed by 130 Led Zeppelin songs in a row – moving music.