Almost 18 months have drifted by, and here in England the last few months have felt surprisingly normal. Face masks seem pretty much discarded at least where I live (which is fine by me), gigs and plays sell out, and the cinema was packed when I was there the other day. Travel is finally possible again, and this summer is still fresh in my mind with such vivid and colorful memories that I’ll cherish forever…Today though the news ain’t so rosy, and we’re taking a step back but I keep finding not only joy but also refreshment and meaning in simple pleasures. Walking through the forest, running along the beach, radio shows, baking, newspapers, getting a new cassette for my stereo. In the autumn we moved house, to a place we call evergreen cottage, in a tiny little village surrounded by fields. Right now, the fire is lit, Christmas is looming and whatever the news tells me I can’t stop making plans, even if they get delayed and distorted the world can’t shake them.
So what’s been happening? I saw an Arthur Miller play down at my little local arts theatre earlier this month, and it reminded me what a brilliant writer he was. The dialogue was fresh, the acting spot-on. Check out the trailer from although a bigger and more flashy show in London – it’s still A View From the Bridge and it’s still rad.
Whenever you move someplace new, one of the first things to do is join the local library. We’re super lucky to have a small library which is surprisingly packed with some great books. First thing I saw when we walked in was a load of Jack Kerouac books, some of which even I haven’t read yet. Anyway it was here I picked up a Raymond Chandler. A writer I guess I’ve been meaning to check out for the last 20 years or so, and although it’s a slightly more mainstream that I usually read, he writes like a dream and the way he can describe people and their emotions is really something special. You feel like you’re right there, in the rain and dreary city streets, full of sophistication and style but tinted with a lot of regret and pain. Perfect winter reading really. I also got Hans Fallada, a guy who really lived the crazy way he wrote, more of him in a second….
Although I suppose by far the best book I’ve read this whole year is “the good Germans”.
My history teacher always said you can’t ever say “THE” about an entire country. You can’t say “THE Germans” in the 1930’s, and what I loved about this book is it’s all about strength and resistance amongst quite normal people. School teachers, writers (like Hans Fallada), church people…Sadly though it doesn’t end good for any of them. It’s my book of the year, focusing on very different personalities but each resisiting the brutality and violence they saw as their country fell apart. Check it out, a fantastic read.
I’ve been listening to Hiss Golden Messenger these last few days. What else? Wild Pink always provide a bolt of optimism in my life. Tom Petty of course gets me through dreary lockdown days at the beginning of the year. Love the last few albums, including her short film, by Taylor Swift, Lana del rey and Norah Jones. Mark Kozelek’s 2021 album might not rank up as his greatest work, but it’s intriguing and soundtracks a guy going stir crazy but somehow surviving during lockdown and broken hearts. New Neil Young album out pretty soon too. Writing of whom, I also really loved the David Crosby “For Free”. My album of the year though is Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth with “Utopian ashes” – all about broken marriages and sadness, it ain’t the feel good album of the year (which if you looking for it, goes to Remember Sports “Like a stone”). Enjoy these videos, and Merry Christmas xoxo
FUTURE >>>> here.