After spending all day yesterday in the studio, today I was determined to get down to the sea, but first I went up to the pool for the midday mile. It was strange weather out there in the world, a cloudless sky, a dynamic blue ceiling, hot, but very windy. In the pool, the fast large woman told me she was still sticking to the medium lane, another fast small woman told her to come in the fast lane, which she did until she returned to the medium lane when more fast large and small swimmers arrived. She completely misread the rhythm of the medium lane, always catching everyone up, making them stop to let her by. She was like a guitarist playing the solo before the singer had finished singing the verse, the trials and tribulations of the swimming pool, I tell ya. Then she climbed out early perhaps seeing how her soloing wasn’t fitting in with the arrangement. I swam on like a madman, thinking I wasn’t going to make the mile in time and managed it in 47 minutes, a recent record but I went for it like a crazy fish. When I came out the showers weren’t working, first world problems.
Down in pasty land and greengrocer land, the day was shaping up to be another no courier day and potential sea jaunt experience. Olivia made me one of those protein drinks, vanilla flavour, mmm and we went to Specsavers so I could get them to put a screw in my glasses arm. You aren’t allowed in without an appointment and inside all the staff look like they are wearing hazmat suits. But I was astonished when the lady took my glasses at the door, fixed them and 10 minutes later returned with the arm securely screwed back on. From where we were standing we could see the sea in the harbour and it was really choppy in the wind. It was mint green with marshmallow tufts and at the harbour, the yachts and dinghies rolled on the water’s surge. The tide was high but unlike yesterday Blondie was cased up. We walked past the boats towards the prom and stood by the wall near the swimming pool and watched the sea crash into the rocks. It was churning like an angry monster, spitting and cursing, throwing out sheets of spray. It looked like danger, beautiful danger, nature’s ire but under a glorious sky on a beautiful day.
There were two biggish ships anchored off shore and as we walked past the Jubilee Pool there were sandpipers, swooping and diving into the wind at fantastic speeds. A lone seagull sat on top of the waves like the whole experience was a fairground ride. The spray was now coming over the sea wall and as we walked on the other side of the construction the sea was coming over onto where they were trying to lay new concrete on the almost completed ground part of the new promenade. I talked to one of the workmen, he said they were nearly done but it was pretty hard to work with this weather. He didn’t think the prom would be finished for quite a while, hopefully by Christmas I thought but then I realised we’d be long gone by then virus permitting as Olivia and I attempt to find a life for travellers in the new climate of Brexit and all the complications it has inspired.
There were parts of the walk where the wind just dropped and then appeared again. On the pebble beach, the tide was higher than I’d ever seen it and there were thousands of strange sea insects obviously disturbed by the gusty wind. One wonders where they were before, possibly dormant in the seaweed but today the seaweed was being thrown up in the air and any creatures that lived in it were thrown out too. We headed back to the studio via the supermarket, worn about by the walk, the wind (and the swim) and soon I had a preliminary session with Daniel in Tennessee. After an episode of Humans, I caught up with some emails (some) and then did French – Day 105 before wondering what I was going to write about today and what I was going to listen to. Every day is a surprise and I wonder what it will be like experiencing different cultures, travelling again and having new adventures that take me from the town limits out beyond the wild sea and into the wild world.
Music today comes from the uniquely named Fresh Maggots, a duo consisting of Mick Burgoyne and Leigh Dolphin from Nuneaton in Warwickshire. Their one and only album was released in 1971 and this is why I’m grateful for the resurgence of interest in vinyl as Sunbeam Records have re-released it as a double album with extra tracks. It would be impossible to find otherwise unless you have a spare £1000 and then it wouldn’t be a mint copy. But what’s it like? It’s early seventies 12 stringy, flutey Folk that sounds a bit like The Incredible String Band but not as mad and with fuzzy guitars. On Frustration, the final track, they are joined by frenzied strings. It’s the same school as Tyrannosaurus Rex but not as cosmic. Highly recommended, but it depends on what you like.
The first Blackfield album (2004) arrived in the post yesterday and I don’t need much of an excuse to play either this or the second album. The collaboration between Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen has given the world some lovely pastoral string-heavy Progressive Pop. Guitars, pianos, melodies and some thoughtful songs, moody, catchy, it’s intelligent Easy Listening. Highly recommended, but it depends on what you like.