my only weapon is my pen, and the frame of mind I’m in…

What can it all mean?

It’s been a long time since I wanted to just get out of my head, the news however is a constant onslaught of hypocrisy and spin doctory and shithousery. I have wanted to dull my senses, take a break, not pay attention any more, just for a couple of hours.

So the round up. Bad health care for most, rampant homelessness, social services that don’t even raise to the level of a joke and we are apparently okay with our politicians allowing our children to be murdered while at school because they don’t have the backbone to do what’s right for fear of losing their seat at the trough that is the senate and congress feeding the pigs.

Now that what I call a run on sentence.

I don’t have any solutions. Well I do but you probably know what they are so I’m not going to spout my liberal nonsense.

Take the time to see who is making the money in this, that’s where the finger should be pointing.

No I never got out of it. Apart from in the musical sense.

they were forever to be leaving…

Twenty or so minutes of perfect eighties psychedelia.

Is it an album or an E.P?

Those sunny California chiming jingle jangle guitars covering up songs of desolation loss and abandonment.

It has been at least thirty five years since I sat down and listened to this record. The funny thing is it doesn’t sound dated at all. Go figure.

The last track is the monster No Easy Way Down is a slithering nightmare working it’s way into your day to turn you around and leave you breathless. Insistent guitars and an organ stabilizing the whole thing. It’ll mess you up.

I used to listen to my bootlegged tape of this album religiously. Sitting on the floor and just soaking in the sounds. Usually in that slow time when the pub has closed in the afternoon as you waited for the pub to reopen in the evening. It was a solid diet of this Green On Red, Echo and the Bunnymen and Syd Barrett. It all made sense and none of it did.

Happy to have it back especially as I watch the primaries.

Though we rack ourselves on the rocks..,

It has just finally come to my attention that I like thoughtful melodic and somewhat romantic if ironic pop music. Especially if it is wrapped in a stylish album cover.

So I’d tell you all about this album how great it is and fun. I’d mention the clever lyrics and the melodies and clever retro yet modern hooks. The harmonies the brass sound and the interesting yet complementary drumming.

However all I’ve managed is to sit and enjoy it three times today.

I know it’s not their best. It’s a pale shadow of their first couple. But it’s so much farther ahead of anything else I’ve heard this week so there.

It’s something to do with the hopelessly romantic if melancholic Scots.

I had several posts of angst and anger that I abandoned for this.

I ain’t afraid to say I tried on your skirts…

I am trying not to be judgmental.

I really am.

The other morning I was driving to what I sometimes call work, I got to a school zone and slowed down to 20 or less as required, suddenly I was being tailgated by a raised full size pick up, he put on his bright lights and the row of super bright LED lights over the cab and started swinging from side to side. Then he decided to move into the turning lane and pass me while still in the school zone, an illegal move at the best of times. All I could think was where are the police as he drove his Police Lives Matter flag waving oversize diesel smoke belching behemoth accelerating through the school zone.

As I drove to work I was thinking to myself, do the ends ever justify the means? This is the excuse the Christian Nationalists and the GOP make for Trump, he won the election, he or his like will probably win the next. I saw a commercial for a local politician here in the Pacific North West, his tag line was if business can build a wall to keep looters out why can’t we build a wall on the border. We are entering another season of the politics of fear, fear the Russians(since the 40’s), may be good reason for this, fear the Christians, fear the Muslims, fear the young, the old, those who look different than us, fear men, women, liberals and conservatives, fear the educated, the uneducated, the elite, the poor, the working man, the unions. At what point do we say enough of this.

We don’t want to educate people, critical race theory may creep in, be careful what math you teach, control, dictate and do as you are told.

We have managed to control the population by keeping them stupid and unhealthy, anything that threatens this is a communist plot.

Aaaahhhhhhhhh. The answer Blitzen Trapper.

I was struggling with the new album when I first talked about it. After spending time with it and eventually getting to attend a live show I have now decided that it is a psychedelic masterpiece. Also Requiem may be the great lost Lindisfarne song.

Altogether it’s a bit of a strange album moving from weird to middle of the road via folk-rock and all out psychedelic oddness.

Live the band were a bit nervous. There have been some changes new members etc. Eric Earley is still there being enigmatic. About twenty minutes into the show there was a big smile and off we were back into familiar unfamiliar territory.

It’s been a long time since I was at a show. There were masks, bare faces smiles and swaying. It’s good to be at shows again.

At least after the anger of the start of the day there was a good end to the day. In the words of Neil Young.

“Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.”

See now I feel better.

Rant over for now.

A tree felling happened as well.

5-6-7-8…

Well it’s been an experience these last few weeks.

There’s a war, pandemic and well global chaos. I watched Tucker Carlson for like five minutes and lost all hope in humanity.

Seeking solace I entered into the dark world of Boards of Canada. I couldn’t face lyrics so something instrumental was called for. Swaying along to the rhythms and swirls of synths and random psychedelic murmurings.

Apparently influenced by the soundtracks of the 70s and 80s it’s definitely a foreboding atmospheric dark ride. Kind of like life these days.

It’s all okay though because the bluebells are blooming.

set the controls…

I’ve been thinking of all the albums I’ve listened to in my life staring at this ceiling.

I think that most of us have that patch or equivalent of ceiling in our lives. The thing we stared at and imagined ourselves somewhere else, doing something more exciting. If that patch of ceiling could talk.

This last couple of weeks I put my flying shoes on now I’ve found them to go see my mum. My second time traveling in the Covid times. This time was easier no restrictions entering the UK. I’m not convinced that’s the most sensible but it’s what it is I suppose. Leaving now that was another thing, Covid test plus electronic approval from the Homeland security people.

As an only child it has been tough with my mum 6000 plus miles away all alone after my dads death. The isolation Covid brought to the elderly had made things worse especially for the high risk. She has however managed and has recently begun venturing our with her friend, two old ladies linking arms for the ceremonial Latte at Costa, surely it is only the retired who can afford a beverage there.

So I found myself in my childhood bedroom staring many an evening at that same patch of ceiling. Remembering all those important records that made the soundtrack of my life. Especially those weird teen years. I was also remembering the arguments, the fights, the secrets that room carried, the laughter and the joy, most of all the music that fed through headphones into my brain and occasionally when everyone was out into the room.

I got my first record player at the grand age of 14, prior to that all music was played on the radiogram in the dining room, I am not sure what made my parents put it in the dining room apart from with the doors open music could be heard around the house. It was not a great record player, I got, probably a Curry’s brand starter player. I wonder in this audiophile age how we ever managed with such crappy equipment, especially as I watch in some places people discussing the sound of the record, the highs, the lows etc. I am surprised we ever enjoyed a record at all.

So the past two weeks or so, once Coronation St. was over and my mum tucked in I lay on my bed, stared at that ceiling and through headphones listened to the soundtrack of my life.

I began with Pink Floyd, in the order I heard them, Saucerful of Secrets, Animals, Atomheart Mother and then Dark Side of the Moon followed by Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Wish You Were Here and Meddle, later on I delved into The Wall but it never really clicked after the others.

One famed weekend for my parents I lay in my room and listened to Hawkwind’s Space Ritual on repeat, I was so obsessed with it they thought I was sick, I really though was just trying to memorize the whole thing before I had to give it back to the school friend I had borrowed it from, Later it was Hall of the Mountain Grill and In Search of Space that sucked the time.

There was the Christmas I got Seconds out by Genesis, Quark Strangeness and Charm by Hawkwind and Yes’ Close to the Edge, I was late for dinner and made to sit with the adults after as they drank sherry and nodded off, my dads chair was in front of the door so I couldn’t escape to my room as he snored through the Sound of Music. That night the ceiling got stared at relentlessly.

There was the weekend I borrowed The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from the library. I played nothing else that weekend knowing I would not be able to buy the album as it was a double. the following weekend I took all my cash and bought Selling England by the Pound on a stall at Kirkby Market. It was water damaged so reduced in price. I stared at that ceiling most nights after that for a month.

It was something of a nostalgia fest laying there headphones on streaming those classic albums into the night. My older brain seeing the patterns and whorls in that ceiling as I lost my mind to Hawkwinds latest archive release Dreamworkers of Time the radio sessions 1985 to 1995 proving they may be the best band in the world.

So I Did.

So we stopped at Safeway on the drive back from the beach, my grandson had to go and so did we, well, age at all levels causes this. So we pulled with the idea of peeing and getting a treat, these are equally important at all ages.

As we stood between the bathrooms deciding which one Cody would go in, the disembodied voice from the stall rang out, “this is the men’s bathroom you know…”

I ensured the gentleman sat in the stall we knew this. He harrumphed and eventually said. “well unless your gender neutral…” I chose to ignore this and he started mumbling about America and the past and the good old days ending with, “probably Biden’s fault…” Now there are many things you can criticize Joe Biden for but I am pretty sure he has not had a lot to do with how people identify themselves, again I ignored the disembodied voice eventually sang out “maybe it’s Trumps fault…”

He continued to mumble and fart and complain and I asked him, “do you think it may be your ?” To which he replied, “why don’t you fuck off…” So I did.

for the emptiness of war remains…

I got sick. Thankfully not Covid. I was coughing and hacking with a temperature. The temperature subsided but the cough has hung around. In more normal times I would have gone back to work. Suddenly however I thought about what those around me would think as I coughed and sneezed. So I stayed home.

But the guilt.

Am I malingering?

What will they think of me?

They depend on me?

How messed up a world when you are not allowed to take care of yourself!

So I sat here yesterday and felt guilty watching the war slowly unfold until I gave up and binged the Resident Evil series of movies. Alice taking on the corporations.

It’s 7:30 a.m. and most everyone has either gone to work or school or some combination, Ben will come over soon to shower and head out to school and I’ll be sat here again with my guilt and confusion at being sat home sick(?) the question keeps coming up “how sick am I?”

As if I have to justify this.

So I put Mark Hollis on the record player and sat still. Its a record that demands attention.

It’s a beautiful album and if it was to be a final statement then it’s all here. Passion, compassion and brilliance.

I was thinking what a loss when he stopped recording. Then I realized that it was really a gain for his family. How often do we do the right thing? Our work says they can’t do without us so we sacrifice, health, relationships and our own well being to be “productive” at work instead of in our life.