Sitting on a big stone on the beach has become a luxury. That long list of things we take for granted has been glaring out from under the fridge magnet. There on the beach with the cucumber green sea lapping against my feet I feel grateful. A fishing boat was returning from its catch and we all know that sympathy for fish will never shake up the sometimes aggressive and defensive ridiculing entitled carnivores. As I look down at my leather shoes I wonder if the so called hypocrisy that these opinionated brutes throw at you has ever had them consider that veganism might be about one’s preferred diet, not proselytizing? I’m not vegan, I just don’t eat fish, meat or eggs, I do eat honey and cheese. It feels really good not to eat meaty anything, but why? When I gave up meat 37 years ago I went from always having digestion issues to never having digestion issues at all through food intake. A man in Sweden once told me that Swedish people don’t generally get indigestion. Ha ha. Claiming terrible food (nothing to do with meat) messed up your digestion and food in Sweden was better balanced on the whole. Fast food places have of course ruined everything. A quality burger store on the same street as McDonalds might not do as well, even if the prices were comparable. But back to eating meat, the idea that not eating animals is a good thing came to me later, it wasn’t originally why I stopped. Hindus are horrified at the thought of eating cows, they are sacred to them. Even as a meat eater I couldn’t see that killing a giraffe was anything more than barbaric and I guess a cow is a giraffe in an uglier suit.
Then there’s the wet markets. So in China people eat bats or snakes? Well in France they eat horse meat and frogs’ legs and snails. In Arabia they eat sheep’s eyeballs. In Japan they eat raw fish. In England they eat tripe, sheep’s brains, paté, in Scotland haggis. In Spain they eat goat’s testicles, in South America they eat all kinds of insects. In Norway and Iceland they eat boiled sheep’s head. In Africa locusts and everywhere in the world liver and kidney. In Papua New Guinea there’s still cannibalism. As a vegetarian the whole world seems to be making some bizarre choices about what kind of food they put into their bodies, especially compared with fresh vegetables. It’s a wonder that more people aren’t healthier, because it just feels so much better. Better in the body and better in the brain, unhealthy sickness is the worst. I don’t personally care what people do, I’m not an activist and it’s a free world (for some), but cigarettes and alcohol, sugar, meat full of hormones. It doesn’t really compare to…well as I said I’m not an activist or a preacher. As a lad growing up in the North of England I had to figure out what worked for me. My initial choices were either meat and two veg or beans on toast. I’d never eaten avocado till I’d been to Australia, it changed my life, but it took me 22 years to try it, just to be aware of it as food.
Perhaps learning to love animals or people is the same as learning to love music, it takes heart. I always wonder what people would listen to if there was no promotion, no DJs, no image. Like politics, what if there was no lobbying, arm twisting, bribes, threats? Families have been torn apart by Trump and he seems to me to be quite a vicious and vindictive man. A more honourable man might encourage rigorous debate between the different sides, find common ground. Unrealistic as it may seem for his congressmen it might lead to a more reasonable way of running a government if they voted with their hearts and not be under pressure from their peers or their constituents or through the fear of being attacked by the boss. A divisive man might suppress the opinion of his own people so as to halt debate with the other side. What’s the good of that? Your side doesn’t always agree with you, you don’t have absolute power, nobody should. Can you imagine living in that atmosphere, where you can’t say what you think or feel without getting abuse or ridicule. The polarizing of opinion has meant that there’s no chance of compromise or proper debate just fuelling the fires of hate with provocation. Society is still fighting racism, sexism and it wasn’t so long ago you could get attacked for having long hair. I remember getting hassled in Jamaica, because I had my ears pierced. In France they banned the hijab. How do we bring this world together? By leading by example and having a heart as well as power. This president’s radical policies are so hard to argue when he attacks anyone that doesn’t go along with his whims. You’d feel better if he was just a man with a different plan that you could reason with. Imagine that.
That sky was billowing with clouds today, a gusty wind blowing the clouds past the sun so the Earth was momentarily put into shadow. The air immediately felt colder. They say that one day the sun will burn out and if we are the only beings around this part of the galaxy and if we don’t have the technology to leave this place, then the human race will die, forgotten, a brief moment in time. Are we doomed to always look back on wars and suffering? Imagine if all our resources were put towards saving the human race instead of destroying it. The only solace is that overall it used to be worse but with 30 million filing for unemployment in America, it seems that the privileged mighty also have to learn how to suffer, but guaranteed all this will take a bigger toll on poorer people. The only equality in all this is that both rich and poor die.
Music today has been 1969 (mostly). Tony Visconti has remixed Bowie’s first album and called it Space Oddity. I bought it in Liverpool in the HMV Black Friday discounts and only just got to it today. That was an expensive day because there were lots of records that were 20% off that I wanted. You just end up spending way more than you would have done overall. This might have been the first time that I heard the name Hermione (Letter To Hermione) before J. K. Rowling came and made it a household name. I was enjoying Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud tonight.
Same year, Keith Christmas (real name) released his album Stimulus (CD). He played acoustic guitar on Bowie’s album. Sometime in the seventies I saw him live at Liverpool Stadium. It might have been supporting Hawkwind? Stimulus suffers a little from the era and the ‘jolly vaudeville’ as All Music Guide calls it, that appears way too early on the album (Bedsit Two-Step). But there really are some cool tracks on this record, you just have to wait for them. Track 1, Travelling Down, is a contender and also the longer Trial And Judgement.
In 1969 the concept of the groovy bedsit came to the fore with all kinds of Bohemians in furry jackets buying guitars and retiring to their rooms with beautiful long haired girls, tea and funny cigarettes. Al Stewart’s first album was called Bedsitter Images. His second, Love Chronicles, was released in 1969 and has lots of an uncredited Jimmy Page playing electric guitar with long wordy songs. Highly recommended. I met Al Stewart in San Juan Capistrano in California when I went to see him there. When he heard that a member of the ex band was there he wanted to meet me – he lived in California and I guess he had a radio. He told me that before John Lennon, Yoko Ono was his girlfriend.
The late Duncan Browne who died tragically of cancer at the age of 46 made Give Me Take You in 1968. (I have a CD.) Unlike most of the other British bedsitter, singer, guitarists, he played nylon string guitars. (Although Bowie was heavily into the 12 string.) Again wordy thoughtful songs. Colin Blunstone told me that they shared a flat in Earl’s Court. In 1972 he had a hit with the song Journey, played on acoustic nylon string guitar. My friend Ed Rogers recorded the song Alfred Bell from his first album and I played bass on it (I think) at Tony Shanahan’s studio somewhere in New Jersey. (He’s Patti Smith’s only constant musical companion these days.)
Next and back in 1969, Roy Harper and Folkjokeopus. It’s worth it just for the 18 minute McGoohan’s Blues, great lyrics and great singing. She’s The One – also great. If you haven’t brought Roy Harper into your life yet, stop everything and do it now, there’s a lot to get through.
Jake Holmes’ self-titled album from 1969 was his third. You know about the original versions of Dazed And Confused that appeared on his first album, The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes (1967). I always wondered was he trying to separate himself from the hip underground with that title, or was he just being clever-clever? By the time he got to this album he was in Nashville and not afraid of a Country influence, but there’s some good songs on the record. After this album he went on to co-write (with Four Season’s Bob Gaudio) all the songs on Frank Sinatra’s Watertown, sadly it didn’t really work out commercially, the album not making the US Top 100, still, imagine.
Today’s Song Of The Day is I Must Have Fallen from Nightjar. Drop D and sprawling.
I Must’ve Fallen
Greenest eyes overbite
Skin like light what a sight
When I first saw you
Standing there unaware
Your neck bare yellow hair
I already adore you
Fingers long that linger on
Singer sings a song so long
Especially for you
I wonder if you’ll hear the riff
The lift, the voices drift
All over you
I must’ve fallen in love with you
Your mouth that moves and soothes
And chooses words and coos
I just wanna talk to you
If I’m awake for heaven’s sake
Let’s not make mistakes
I don’t wanna hide from you
So come to me this plea
From me to you to see
If you’ll let me inside of you
You’re a dream it seems
Soft serene velveteen
I just wanna sleep with you
I must’ve fallen in love with you (I really wanna see you)