One of the problems of living different hours to the accepted norm is construction. I don’t know what time these people get up in the morning but it’s not long after we go to bed. Luckily as heavy sleepers, you would need the digger or the crane that swings the giant ball to come through our bedroom window to wake us up. We have long tiring days like anybody else, it’s just that they start later and finish later and this isn’t always compatible with the construction timetable. Having said that by mid-morning when we have had some hours of sleep (or should I say when I have had some hours of sleep), I begin to notice the stirrings outside and although we are at the back of the house away from the road at the front of our building, it’s hardly quiet. Generally, at night it is quiet here, so quiet in fact that I play the sound of rain falling to quieten the deafening silence. But when the morning comes and the world wakes up, small channels open up in your unconscious state and you begin to hear, the cacophony of construction.
They’ve probably already been banging away from 7 or 8 AM but I start to hear it around 11 AM and what a horrible incessant noise it is. It’s an industrial drill banging into rock, a metal machine gun on stone and I can see the culprit, an orange vehicle a few gardens away at the back of the house screeching like an evil insect from the afterworld. So there it is pounding away in my head, I’m semi-delirious, making it extremely uncomfortable in dreamland and very hard to sleep deeply. Then at midday on the dot, it stops – it’s lunchtime. That gives me a chance to drift away again which I do if I’ve had a particularly late night. If I’ve been stirred beyond redemption, I just get up – Olivia doesn’t, she could sleep through the end of the world. But the problem in Porto is that there are so many houses and sites that are being renovated, there’s a good chance that one of those sites is going to be in earshot of your bedroom window. In fact, just beyond where the evil crane operates, there’s quite a large piece of ground that looks like it’s being prepared for major construction. We’ll see but unless I learn to sleep with the window closed (which actually only helps a bit) I could be stuck with either earplugs or putting up with the noise and I hate earplugs.
Also, that’s not the only morning noise, there’s the dreaded leaf blower. One of the worst problems of being in a touring band is getting back to your hotel really late at night and being woken in the morning by the leaf blower. Why do they exist? It’s not like they collect the leaves, they blow them to one side. Isn’t that much like sweeping the dust under the carpet? It’s just cosmetic and as if a tidy road in autumn is as wonderful as a road of leaves to kick through. Ok, if it’s slippy and causing accidents then I get it but if it’s because someone wants the street to look like their front room, then, please!
Music today was Juju (1981), the fourth Siouxsie and the Banshees album, the second with John McGeoch on guitar as a full member as it was for Budgie on the drums. Opening with Spellbound, careering simultaneously into the distance and towards you with driving rhythm guitar and arpeggios, memorable melodies from Siouxsie and distinctive bass from Severin locking in with McGeoch and Budgie. Into The Light has some of the most inventive and strange guitar lines. The second single Arabian Knights has something of a dodgy video although aren’t they all in the eighties, luckily we can listen to the music without the videos. More interesting guitars on Halloween but it’s always the chemistry that makes standout parts possible. I suppose no one has ever compared one of the great post-punk albums to the Liverpool football team but for every Salah, there’s a Trent Alexander-Arnold.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that if Kate Bush was the madwoman who escaped, Siouxsie sounds like the mad sister they still have locked up. The band, Budgie, Severin and McGeoch, posing as doctors are breaking her out of the asylum singing and playing Monitor during the getaway. Night Shift is the hiding till they call off the search. Sin In My Heart is the awakening again with some great McGeoch guitar parts. Always a fan of Head Cut, it sounds like an outtake from Eno’s Here Come The Warm Jets if Eno was a wild cat or a serious scary cartoon-free B-52s with a fantastic vocal performance. It’s art-rock, it must have been great live. Challenging, evocative and finishing with Voodoo Dolly, it gives Patti Smith a run for her money, a glorious screeching 7 minutes, I’ll be playing this to the construction workers at midnight when I find out where they live. What a great album.