Cold days here in the countryside, feels more exposed amongst all these fields but sadly no snow yet – last year in the “snow zone” area we lived we had weeks of thick beautiful deep snow with lots of fun sledging and skating. Still I always love January, at least the idea of a new month in a new year, where everything feels possible somehow despite the hardships and craziness of life….
January is always a slow month for music, but after a somewhat wild interview with Cat Power in uncut magazine. I’ve been enjoying her new album of covers. I’m crazy-excited for the new spiritualized album coming out soon, and next time I make it to the big city I’m gonna check out the new Neil Young album “Barn”. I also really want to go to the cinema next time we can get a babysitter to check out the new Brian Wilson doc. That poor guy messed his fragile mind up with drugs, but his genius remains intact.
So I’m trying to hibernate and read, which ain’t too easy with crazy kids trying to copy wilykit and wilycat’s thundercats antics. Anyway I read half of Roddy Doyle’s “Love” but got bored of reading about some boring guy cheating on his wife so took it back to the library. I’ve got a Dave Eggers book “heroes of the the frontier” waiting for me to start though, about leaving everything behind and finding freedom with your little family. Perfect! I also got sent in the post today the latest copy of Mutuality – this ain’t really the place for religious politics, but it’s this feminist Christian magazine I subscribe too. It’s awful the way women have been treated and continue to be treated by the church. God ain’t no man, I know that for sure. My Mother as much as my Father….anyway…politics over. Haters gonna hate so whatever.
The radio is always cool. I got into this really mind-blowing story on Radio 4. It’s set 5 years in the future, but the world’s gone nuts and it doesn’t seem so surprising when you hear the news these days. I didn’t think it would be my kind of story, but it’s got me hooked. Check it out here
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.
Been so caught up in the merry-go-round of school/children/domestic bliss/regretting regret/to-do-lists that I’ve not had time to capture much in writings, either poetic or here. Doesn’t matter, as I read in an essay by the American essayist Mark Grief that people waste their time trying to write diaries or take photos because people like that…like me….he argues do not fully experience life, but merely live in a fantasy escapism trying to catch time before it rushes on to the next experience. He says better to just drift through…Well, Marky Mark, I’ve been doing that a bit too much recently, and it somehow doesn’t quite fulfil me. Maybe I’m into escapism as I need to record words more than ever these days.
For my birthday I had a HMV voucher so I picked up the latest albums by Neil Young (Peace Trail) and Thurston Moore (Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness) Neil Young is here is railing on in an enjoyable way about how he doesn’t understands the modern world, and he’s angry with too about people messing with nature, native Americans and the workers, and it’s full of energy and protest. Thurston Moore is a nice collection of breezy 10 minute songs, with flowing guitars and a relentless drumming by good old Steve Shelley. It’s got Debbie Googe on too, and it feels like early 20th century sonic youth. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve been listening to it a lot driving to and from work, and it’s got the right balance of escapism and interesting lyrics to keep you focused after a crazy day working in a little school.
Been reading lots of interesting things. Really like this Dutch magazine called Flow. Also got a copy of the always brilliant and funny PJ O Rourke “How the hell did this happen” in which he attempts to understand how the hell Trump got elected. Also the new Gwendoline Riley “First Love” which I’m hoping will win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, because it’s the best modern novel I’ve read in ages. It’s sad and brutal though, but as I watch “Neighbours” everyday for 20 minute blasts of escapism in sunny Australia with nice happy one dimensional characters, I need to counter it with something like Gwen Riley.
I try to be addicted to music, without being boring or pretentious about it, but there are only a few bands and singers who can really cause me to forget who I am and to lose all sense of time and space, and be so overwhelmed by the music I’m incapable of doing much really except letting it wash all over me. Mark Kozelek has that effect. As does Spiritualized, and the only other person is Norah Jones. I don’t know, there’s something about her voice and the mood and setting of the music which causes me to break out in goosebumps. If I’m at home cleaning the house or something like that I’ll hear it and collapse on the sofa and before I know it 45 minutes has passed and the kids need picking up from school. That’s why I’m pretty selective about what music I’ll have on at home, cause it can be an awful distraction.
Anyway, Blue Note celebrated 75 years in May and they had a little get together. Norah Jone did one of her old songs (and I’m one of the few people in the world who vastly prefer her new darker stuff to the old!) with a trio of jazz heroes including Wayne Shorter and .John Patitucci. You can watch that on the link below. There’s also a little covers album out next month by a little band she’s in called Puss’N’Boots (sshh!) and below is her breezy boozy cover of a Neil Young classic too.
Before you think I’m getting all soft, I’m loving the Orwells cd