Olivia is at a wedding in Bonn, I missed the market mistakenly thinking it was this week when it was last week, the Liverpool game cancelled because of the death of the Queen and I already went into town yesterday. So, I decided that my day off was going to be BBC, tennis and Netflix, but then I got the times wrong and missed the women’s tennis final, no bother, I wanted them both to win anyway and could only have been disappointed for the loser. I watched most of the BBC series called Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame). Lots of people speaking Japanese which is always a thrill in itself. I also watched a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film called Divergent. I did Spanish, I cooked, I went to the shops for the ingredients and here I am listening to Grand Funk Railroad and writing.
There’s a small breeze coming in through the summer window, the regular midnight fireworks have finished and the Portuguese easy listening open air live concert from some distant venue is over, the streets are quiet. I can see stars twinkling in the sky despite having the lights on in the house, the sky is so clear but empty of traffic, no planes, shooting stars or Unidentified Flying Objects, just the persistent mystery of the universe compelling some to theorise, some to commit to explanations and others to simply wonder.
Science and magic, the supernatural and vivid dreams, all tempered by the reality of normalcy, the rent, the shopping and keeping a watch on your mental health in a troubled world. It seems that even those that have everything are worried but then again ‘everything’ is subjective. The unhappy rich are a strange beast, but your fiscal condition doesn’t direct your well-being. I suppose we have to accept that for as similar as we are, with all the ups and downs of being human in the end people are different to each other and culture dictates, through history, politics, repression, freedom and GDP. King Charles III, born of a queen to become king in a world of dubious balance.
In my world I discovered happiness through music, listening to the sound of something as simple as the papery snare drum on an old Grand Funk record can bring me great joy. Different days, different moods and different musical pleasures, sometimes visceral, sometimes intellectual, sometimes the sweetest melody, the most complex arrangement or the simplest chords, a beautiful voice, or an expressive voice with no beauty at all, just personality and the wherewithal to deliver the essential ingredient, impossible to determine but also impossible to ignore if that mysterious ingredient is present.
Music today has been Survival (1971), Grand Funk Railroad’s fourth studio album. At some point around this time, they sold out Shea Stadium. As a teenager this album was in high rotation, that grinding bass on the Stones‘ Gimme Shelter always made me happy. Analog energy, a three-piece, bass, drums and guitar, Mel Schacher, Don Brewer and Mark Farner with Farner and Brewer singing. Producer Terry Knight made Brewer put tea towels on the snare because he saw Ringo do it and created an unhappy drummer with a unique sound, a big old rock band with tea towels, perfect. I had a ticket to see them in London in the early seventies but didn’t go, I can’t remember why. I also listened to Sudan Archives today and thought about how differently music is constructed today and understand how awful Deep Purple or T. Rex must have sounded to the parents after Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller.