I was awake at noon, I nearly got up but lay down again and unbelievably four hours passed. Sleep took its hypnotic fingers and enticed me back to that mysterious place that we go to each night to wander the streets of our dreams where strange encounters mystify us, confuse us, shock us or inspire our imaginations in worlds that might have been. The problem with getting your body clock upside down in the cold wet dark of winter is that the window of light is short and if you miss it, the next opportunity also has a narrow access because missing it means you are not in bed again till 5 or 6 AM and definitely not awake before noon or later and it’s dark again at 5 PM. So, the answer is, suffer, get up in the light, fight to stay awake, otherwise, you’ll be up all night working and sleeping during the day, wait a minute, isn’t that what we do anyway?
The wind and the rain won today, the unwelcome clouds, low, hanging in the sky like giant dead black moths, the birds nowhere to be seen, avoiding the deluge, huddled in trees that were doing their best to shake them out. The lawn looks sick, dead leaves strewn on its face, the gravel in the road busy with small fallen branches, little sticks, weakened and tumbling onto the driveway. Headlights reflect off the wet road, double dazzling the eyes, the orange glow of street lamps exaggerating the emptiness of the streets, not a soul about, no one dares to raise a challenge to the elements, no defying the spikes and needles of sharpened raindrops, the weather always wins.
We went to Nobbi’s Record Store in Beuel (East Bonn), he was there beating off the rain beast and closing, bringing in the crates from the street, me promising to return tomorrow. It was early evening but nothing seemed to encourage you to stay out, it was like the humans had given up, the restaurants sat empty, half-hearted lights lit their windows, just, the owners resting their weary heads on their chins wondering if it was all worth it. The rain, the dark and the rush hour traffic made it hard to drive. Up the road, close to Königswinter, a traffic jam, the same traffic jam that occurs every night heading south and every morning heading north, the eternal roadworks that never seem to have anyone working.
It’s difficult to imagine how anyone could be against ‘home office’, the money saved, less stress for the employees, less office space cost in expensive cities for the employers. Their conservative reasoning, the ‘team’, the truth, people work harder when they are more comfortable at home, they work longer hours, they get their work finished, they can take breaks that aren’t $12 sandwiches and a rush, indigestion and a queue at the coffee shop. No dress code, often ridiculous mandatory high heels for the women and that stoopid rope tied around your neck for the men. It’s a no-brainer, there’s another way but it takes society so long, so so long to see sense.
Returning to the safety of the house, we are faced with our own new reality – moving when we get back to Porto. Out of the blue, the landlord wants us out (in order to do renovations), perfect timing after being away for three months and UK dates around the corner, no Ariel and only 22 days to find somewhere, sign, move in and leave again, no pressure. What’s the point of arguing against the inevitable? Lots to think about, lots to do (always) but as long as we have music, words, and art, the inconveniences are relieved, really they are.
Music today has been The Wonder (1990), the Tom Verlaine album that I played on (uncredited). I definitely play on Stalingrad, possibly Shimmer but when I played on the record there were no vocals and I was asked to play on this and that so I’m not sure what they used. Susan Myers sent some pics from the show in North Carolina in the late eighties that has Tom playing my 12-string Takamine. Thanks, Susan.
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