lockdown love

Well, last time I wrote this in January I said it’s been the strangest year I’d ever known, so seems likely this one will easily top that! Before all this craziness I was about to start a new blog about my little life here looking after three wild kids under five, and my trips to Germany to see my other two slightly bigger but just as wild kids. So that kind of got scrapped, because nobody – and I mean nobody – wants to read a weekly blog with some jaded guy going on about missing his kids in Germany, and listening to a scratch Larry Norman “I wish we’d all been ready” every day crying into his burnt porridge….

So instead, I’ll just stick with wordsandguitars , but yes it’s absolutely heart-breaking to lose hopping on the train (boo to nasty airplane pollution!) pretty much every month to spend a glorious few days with my kids across the channel. Every day when I wake up it’s the very first thought in my mind. I can’t even write a throw-away poem about feeling sad because I just don’t have the focus. So…with that in mind :-

I cherish the simplicity of life here now. Having nowhere to go. No plans. No work. We are lucky to live in an extraordinary secluded little spot, surrounded by countryside on our doorstep. Writing this looking out from the bedroom window at the rolling hills, it calms me and thrills me. Spending all day with three little children is intense but I’ve never seen them so happy.

Here are my highlights, in no order

Tblog1he cool quranatine – this is a ridiculously long radio show put together by the always-entertaining Henry Rollins. It’s pretty much 4 hours of stories and rare gems and music by little punk bands I’ve never heard of. You can dip in and out of it whenever you feel like, I tend to put it on when I’m baking yet another batch of peanut cookies!

blog2

newspapers – I no longer bother to really listen to the news, like I use to in the “old days”. I’d go crazy if every hour I was reading the latest updates. I tend to listen to a bit of the one o clock radio news but that’s about it . However 3 days a week we get a a delivery of either The Guardian or The Times. The newspaper girl drops it off into our letter box as the morning birds start singing, and what could be better than starting your day with a cup of coffee and flicking through the paper. Of course I don’t get to actually read it properly until the kids are asleep…

blog3

Letters – sure sure, I use skype and facetime and all that to chat away to friends and the kids in Germany, I also love using the landline telephone but nothing quite beats a written letter. Most of the time I use the typewriter, and the post being a bit slower these days somehow just makes the whole experience that much enjoyable. Somebody says “hey, I wrote you a letter and posted it today” and then for the next week or so you’re checking the post to see if it’s arrived. Simple pleasures.

Reading – so many great books around, at the moment I’m reading the swirling “around the world in 80 trains” by the awesome Monisha Rajesh, Anne Tyler’s latest “redhead by the side of the road”, peanuts comics, and Carrie Brownstein’s (sleater kinney) “hunger makes me a modern girl” All well worth checking out this spring.

blog4

Baking/Cooking – In the good old days, just weeks ago, I tended to do a bit of baking ever so often with my little 3 year old who always loves baking but these days it’s become pretty much part of the daily routine. I guess we go to the supermarket so infrequently we don’t really have biscuits and cakes in the house anymore from the shop, so we are just baking them. Making our way through the be-ro cook book. We get a lot of vegetables too from a nearby farm, so always cooking something healthy too.

blog5Games – when the kids are tucked away, and dreaming of little bear or star wars it’s time for scrabble and music quizes with a candle flicking away by the board, and a record spinning in the background and if you’re lucky a cup of filter coffee and some organic chocolate.

Stay safe and do the right thing.

Peace xoxo

 

 

 

2019 the year the moon faded

It’s been the strangest year I’ve ever known, the moon we once shared all night has gone but fragments remain, giving me hope for better things in 2020….Meanwhile these are my highlights of 2019

Album of the YearRemember Sports “slow buzz” This little punk rock band blew me away in the spring when they released this album. It’s fast and upbeat lyrics about fighting back against failing love just completely blew me away.  I got it on cassette too which makes it extra special too. A pretty much perfect record, and easily a highlight of not just 2019 but the entire decade. Woah, it’s that good!

Film of the Year – The first half of the year I spent Sunday mornings at the town hall in Folkestone watching kids films, and then the second half I’ve been occasionally watching things that the postman drops off thanks to good old cinemaparidso. A couple of films I’m waiting to see, Marriage Story and Little Women, seem pretty rad, but as not seen them yet I’ll have to go for something a bit crazy. It’s this Hungarian film called Sunset, and it felt like a dream. I saw it in a little town frozen in time in Devon, and the whole night felt so wonderful and so warm. It’s probabbly not a Friday night fun film, but if you are stuck  watching it in a tiny arts centre in Devon with a few pensioners pushing 90 it can add to the charm.

Book of the Year – I’m reading the new John Le Carre, but too early to call that book of the year. It came out a couple of years ago but I really enjoyed Kim Gordon “Girl in a band” with it’s snapshot postcard entries of fragments of her life in and out of Sonic Youth.

Play of the Year – Again, so many good things I miss, but I did catch “Home, I’m darling” which was really fun. Also I have a cozy memory of drinking a whiskey at the balcony during the break, and watching a rather odd looking man climb out of a flashy sports car outside the theatre.

TV Show of the Year – Err, I guess I can’t say Neighbours can I? I need that liberal Melbourne lifestyle escapism these days more than ever. Apart from that, I loved both the Eric Clapton documentary Life in 12 Bars and the energetic yet sad life of Inxs frontman Michael Hutchence in Mystify. Both were shown on the good old BBC.

Concert of the Year – I saw Rural Alberta Advantage earlier in the year, and my heart was frozen in time and I lost all sense of reality just losing myself to their awesomeness, Fantastic concert, great great band.

Comic of the YearArchie Married Life 10 year anniversary. Need I say more?

 

 

 

I thought this love would last forever…

8 months ago since I last wrote here, some little poem I scribbled in a cafe in Folkestone of all places…

Anyway, I thought I’d just stop. Stop doing things, but then strangely life got more busy and crazy and insane and beautiful. These days I hardly every have a moment to write a poem, let alone a story. My daily bible reading plan that I started at the start of the year says 19th March. Books and clutter fill the house. Laundry everywhere. No meal plan done so who knows what we’re eating later.  As I write this  my 1 year old son rather hypnotically keeps throwing books off the book shelf, but I’m just going to let him explore his creativity. I wanna smash it up, Sam, smash it up. Tidy up times come, tidy up times go 🙂

Still, it’s all good. It’s life, and as crazy as it is it’s still our little life. I guess it’s too early for Christmas films, but I’ve already started watching them. Channel 5. Always the same story, always everything is broken but then saved by the magic of Christmas. I still believe.

I picked up the new Norah Jones EP which she wrote with a bunch of hipsters like Jeff Tweedy. It’s short but beautiful, perfect for the wintertime drinking hot chocolate and dreaming about a better world. I’ve also got Mark K’s latest, more rambling blah blah blah. I miss Red House Painters. Then I’ve been listening to Larry Norman and the Cure. I’ll put some tracks of those at the end if you feel so inclined to check them out.

I’m reading Kim Gordons “life in a band”. Finally reading it, it’s been gathering dust here for a while barchieut it’s a great snapshot of a time and memories swirling with the intoxication of trying to fit it. Then she goes on about Thurston Moore being an asshole. He probably is though….

I saw this and it’s on my Christmas list. Looks crazy good. 10 Years being married to Bets/Ronnie. Means nothing to most people, but those Archie stories keep me sane sometimes.

It’s all sold out anyway, but I was hoping to go and see this interesting looking play God’s Dice in London. While there I was going to check this out about the awful treatment of the Roma people in Nazi Germany, no point hiding from sad things. Doesn’t work.

Anyway, I guess I better go and tidy up those books now. He seems happy, I just hope my Dostoevsky isn’t ripped up. Cool little discussion on Radio 4 the other morning about Crime and Punishment which you can hear here. That book changed my life, I remember reading that on an airplane back in 2001 whilst the plan was filling with smoke and some crazy guy started screaming…it wasn’t me.

More soon. Here are those vids. Better go tidy up those books, just hoping Dostoevsky hasn’t been ripped up.

 

 

Birthday letters never sent

time eclipsed responsibility

edged off the horizon

my jet set life twisted and dived

into a burning broken heart, but still we

play feel good tunes on repeat

 

Every night…the same dream –

we stroll under soaring moonlit truth

to a marching melody of forgotten love

and rainbow hope

 

Morning comes, morning walk

through wildflower fields and I count to 224,

and deconstruct letters never sent

as a distant church bell so softly and sweetly calls

 

but I’m not yet out of time

as fragmented circles surround me

with no straight line solution

ready to seal my fate.

 

Written 21.5.2019, Folkestone, England.

 

 

Days of war nights of love

Eight months have gone by now, last time I wrote it was Zwischenzeit …a time of in-betweens….now, it seems to never end, uncertainty, My life is stable, but Brexit bores are everywhere I look. I meet someone who seems kind and caring, then they say something dumb like”Oh the sooner we leave Europe the better!” and I just smile and think you are fucking nuts.  Newspaper articles confuse me, so I turn to home life, to snapshot this peaceful view from my bedroom window where I can hide away from life. I listen to music, I read books and I make long telephone calls. Away from politics there’s much to do, like making food for my family (now I mostly skip the analysis I find all sorts of fun things in the newspaper to enrich my life, like the recipe of the day!)

I still believe. I still read adbusters, I still want to break down falsehood and lies and hysteria and all the things that disrupt a life lived less ordinary. I still pray and read the bible, and I still look for meaning. I saw a book yesterday, funnily enough it was after we met my capitalist father for coffee, and this little book was called “Not working why we have to stop working”. At that point my 2 year old daughter starting crazily running around and throwing books around so I couldn’t investigate further. Still I love the title.

Moment of joy >>>> taking the train to London, having the most perfect cappuccino I’ve ever tasted at a little Italian cafe but having to drink it at super speed as it took them 10 minutes to prepare this perfection. So I guess it seemed rude that we drank it in under 1 minute because we had to get to the theatre to see “Home, I’m darling” which was about as enjoyable as a play can possibly be!

Music I’ve finally picked up a Mark Kozelek album I’ve been meaning to buy for months, it’s heavy but enjoyable. I listen an awful lot to the wonderful Tom Petty boxset, and I’m loving the Norah Jones interview in Mojo magazine.

I’m going to write more, much more. It’s how I figure out meaning in this crazy lost but enriching and beautiful world we share.

something good

Zwischen means not being too far away, reading newspapers and books, but no writing. No poems or stories, nor is it the time for tears or to start a whole new project, or way of life. It’s not a time to, once again, set a match to everything and watch the whole thing burn.

It’s a time to wait. A time to sing silly songs in your bedroom as the clock strikes 2 pm. It’s a time to put on a hypnotherapy cd and fall asleep within 2 minutes as the calm kind lady on the cd tells you to “go on that magic carpet to a special place you don’t need to tell anyone” . I don’t know what the lady says when I’m asleep, but I try not to think of Ian Fleming’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” ( where innocent people are hypnotised as they sleep to distribute bacteriological warfare agents throughout various parts of the world!)

It’s a time of in-between. Of taking a couple of weeks off school, to go on some beautiful walks in this amazing part of the world, to watch films and daydream about a better world. A time to spend an inspiring morning at an alternative school, there is a better world. You just got to find it.

I saw Wonder Boys the other night, I haven’t got round to reading the book yet, but I love this film. It’s about a writer, whose kind of washed up and his life is falling apart. Soundtrack by Bob Dylan. Here’s a clip :

 

winterThe closest library here is a few miles away, it’s the kind where you still get your book stamped with the due date. It’s very charming. Anyway, I picked up Winter by Ali Smith, I’m a quarter way through. It’s very well written, like a snapshot of our lonely lost times. I also bought a book when I was in the city called “Why go to Church”. Funny title, but last time I went to church was 2 churchmonths ago and I counted 9 other people there, all far older than myself. Later that Sunday I couldn’t recall what the “message” was. These days I get better insight at the primary school daily worship assemblies. So, we’ll see.

To finish, here’s a beautiful little song. It was sung at the Oscars. Crazy world, but crazy love.

 

things are changing

i had to escape. I moved far away, to a very old house down a little lane, where there are no cars, and not many people either. I live here where when you wake up, and it’s snowing outside, there’s no button to press for heating, you’ve got to go outside and gather some logs to make a fire to keep your family warm. It’s so quiet here, it’s a cottage lost in time. A place where you heat the water with coal, and a beautiful area where I’ve got a job at the little rural school across the fields.

It’s not a place to hide away and accept loss, and to cry about things gone wrong, it’s a place to re-connect with the world around you, and to be creative and to fight for believe in life and in love.

I feel home here. It’s where I’m suppose to be, hidden in a country cottage reading newspapers, writing poems, listening to music and embracing life for what it is, not to call it harsh or hard, but to accept the beauty of a single day. Walking home from work, I’ve never seen such epic stars above me which illuminate life. I have no choice but to look up and lose myself in the wonder of it all and marvel at Creation and Gods love for all of us.

Then there is music. I can’t get by without it anymore. We drove into the city today, for I still love the pulse of  electricity around me, and I picked up these albums.