It’s been so long and it’s hot. I love the sun but now I’m starting to worry. I hope it will rain soon. It reminds me of a book when I was a child that I loved. It had graphic illustrations on why the earth is perfect explaining – if the moon was too far away we would be freezing cold – scene of ice covering earth. If the sun was any closer it would be too hot – scene of red hot earth and nothing living and so it goes on but it’s haunting.
David Baron and I are releasing Endless Climb on 11 November 2022 on Here & Now Recordings and this blog post is dedicated mostly to a collection of postcards that I found on the North End Road from the 80s. I just couldn’t resist posting them. They bear no relation to my waffle but the incongruous nature of them was irresistible! Front and back…it seems to be largely a group of young film students corresponding to each other in the 80s…
A plane is leaving on Sunday to Trieste and I’m not going to be on it. It’s almost as if a part of me is going as I’ve done so much research so perhaps half of me will be on that plane while the other half stays behinds and waters the garden (if I’m allowed)! I’ll go in October -off season-when the Bora wind blows into your winter coat like a sail and hopefully you are lifted high above Piazza Unità d’Italia for a great bird’s eye view.
Otherwise winter will be spent like everyone else with a single lamp in the kitchen in the freezing cold not going anywhere. A Zombie Government, a tragic war… A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall…
Nobody reads this, that’s for sure, but I thought I would update this blog and I must promote the music. Not for me but for David and the label. I must and this is my way – too wordy to count as promotion.
I should be on Instagram and TikTok ….I should Tweet…but I never got the hang of Twitter at least I am still trying the Meta Universe, Facebook whatever. I have to think! How to promote?! So difficult…
I just find it more interesting reading other people’s posts ….or postcards as the case may be…
My boss’s wife died earlier this year. But what a life she had….she was married to Richard Harris (first time round). I found this cutting when he was just starting out in which she is mentioned.
She is buried at Brompton Cemetery which I know well – a place of tranquil beauty, wild flowers, where every season is visible from snowdrops, to bluebells to clouds of cow parsley in the summer as well as some exotic rare trees, ornate gravestones and a hundred life stories. I used to look up graves but one I never found was Surrounded By The Enemy, the Native American Lakota Warrior who formed part of the extraordinary Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the 1880s. It has a lovely cafe too.
I went to Prague in March and we followed by accident the footsteps of the famous Czech photographer called Josef Sudak. We found his studio but no one was there to let us in so we followed his ghost up Petrin Hill. Graham Guy Barratt took these photographs. A stone’s throw from his Sudek’s studio we found an entire book of photographs of him on that hill walking up it as we were. At the top is Strahov Monastery which holds a magnificent Library quite unlike anything I have ever seen (there are 20 monks left that live there).
I thought about the melancholic writing of Milan Kundera. This photograph fell out of the pages of The Book of Laughter and Forgetting which I bought second hand.
I thought about the eccentric Rudolph II and as we walked across King Charles’s bridge over and over again named after the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor for which Prague was it’s capital in 1355 I thought about him also.
We stumbled upon a small museum Werich Villa where Jan Werich a famous Czech actor resided before he went to America in 1955- there were many photographs of him and Jiří Voskovec the famous Czech actor, playwright and writer.
Multiple portraits of interbred Hapsburgs and their huge chins (as well as a whole room devoted to their dogs!) visible at Lobkowicz Palace the best museum in Prague that nobody goes to is where you will also see two of the most beautiful Canaletto’s of London up so close and alone and Bruegel’s The Hay Harvest.
As a result of Czechoslovakia being handed over to Germany in that terrible move by Chamberlain – the city remains intact unlike poor Poland. Then came the Communists, The Velvet Revolution and Havel….
I put the words (in English) of the poem called Fairy Tale by Miroslav Holub a relatively unknown Czech poet to David’s music on our record coming out called Endless Climb. I did a little bit of filming on a cascading slope of cherry trees as seen in the photographs of me above.
I loved hanging out again (this was my second visit to Prague) at Café Louvre eating goulash, a night cap at our corner bar talking to random strangers and drinking the best cocktail ever at the Hemingway Bar.
I loved seeing the boys now so young they seem, all dressed up as bananas being led by a giant gorilla and the smell that overwhelmed our hotel of cheap aftershave before they set out. By Sunday those tired Stags and Hens on the plane back plugged themselves into their devices and never said a word.
On music, I did some vocals recently for Karl Culley. I nearly performed with him on a couple of tracks at the Green Note but I couldn’t get there. The summer of strikes….Royal Mail next.
Instead I have been seeing a lot of music: I heard the brilliant teaches of Peaches at Royal Festival Hall, the hugely talented Oud player Joseph Tawadros at Kings Place then… The Labèque Sisters (out of this world) playing Philip Glass’s Les Enfant Terribles at Snape Maltings was as close to perfection as I can ever recall feeling in a concert. Astonishing.
I even went to see Holst’s The Planets at the Proms performed by the LSO on my own and bumped into Andrew Skeet. He did not recognise me down in the mosh pit of the Albert Hall (much the best place to be) even though I do his website! I am looking forward to Bauhaus at Brixton Academy next week! August is great in London. It feels so empty and there’s music still on every street.
I went to get close (literally huge at the IMAX) to volcanoes in the excellent film Fire of Love about Katia and Maurice Kraftt and spoke to the cast of Patriots at the Almeida – the best play I have seen in ages and what a great theatre.
Discovering the writing of James Baldwin has made me read again and a magazine called Yours Retro a monthly highlight. It covers all the old film stars and their lives and many fascinating behind the scene stories behind the big pictures from the golden age of cinema. I saw it once in the Co-op and knew I’d never see it again so I subscribed!
I am in my own world rummaging around just like Jarvis Cocker going through his attic cupboard in his brilliant autobiography.
Endless Climb is out on November 11 2022
Shoot The Breeze