Oh no, Gentle Giant’s Ray Shulman has died aged 73. A major influence on me not as a player but as an adventurer, making me see that music could do many things. He was a multi-instrumentalist who played violin, viola, bass, trumpet, guitar, recorder, keyboards, drums, percussion, and vocals. As a producer he worked with Ian McCulloch, The Sugarcubes, The Sundays, and Trash Can Sinatras and whenever I hear that bass line on the opening track of Octopus (1972), The Advent Of Panurge, I remember thinking how he had groove as well as technique, aware of the mood, the tone, the accuracy, and the feel. He wrote the music for A Cry For Everyone, one of my favourite tracks on the album (inspired by Albert Camus, one of my fave writers), and three of the four tracks on side two. Another sad day for music.
I woke up early for me, 9 AM, but all I could see was a small room too full of stuff that needs to be sorted out and moved out into a bigger room full of stuff that needs to be sorted out – the electricity and water-free Archive. We didn’t expect to be waking up in another new place in Porto but here we are and the first stop today was Nuno the landlord to get a measure of what’s going on with getting the utilities sorted. We spoke, he’s cool, should be the middle of the month latest. In the meantime, we are doing what we can in the premises. Today I was building a record shelf whilst Olivia was chipping away at loose plaster on the wall. I opened up the windows at the front and the back to get airflow through the place and I opened up the blinds to get some light in. The plant was happy with that and the bottle of still water that we poured onto its feet.
We went back to the hotel and packed up everything that we didn’t need into two suitcases and then ordered a Bolt XL and took it all down to the place with the Taped Wonder. It was getting dark so we had to use torches in the back but the front was illuminated by the lights of a busy Friday night city street.
From there back to Suribachi for dinner, two nights in a row but it’s halfway between In Deep and the hotel, healthy, friendly, and good. Back at the hotel, I was shot and ready to sleep, still recovering physically from food poisoning, travelling and finishing the British dates. It’s not often that you play thirteen shows in a row, I was asleep before I could say I’m going to bed.