Bookstores

Robert’s bookstore in Lincoln city on the Oregon coast is exactly what a bookstore should be. Claustrophobic low lighting and books everywhere. So many books that they are often in piles in front of the shelves, piles on top of the shelves and collapsing towers of books everywhere.

It is a treasure trove with artwork about books, prints of book covers with the book attached. Cartoons and comic books in the corners and a dark corner of dvd’s by the bathroom.

We spent two hours In there and in a fit of self restraint I only bought two books. One an Eternal Champion omnibus by Michael Moorcock and another Moorcock of The Rituals of Infinity. There were other books but I did not have my list with me and my memory is failing it seems but I will be back.

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Which One’s Pink

I’ve seen The Wall three times now, once at Earls Court in 1980, the Tacoma Dome in Dec 2010 and again last night. Each time has been an emotional experience. The first one was watching a band we did not know was in the the final throes of it’s own demise, yes I know Floyd went on through the 80’s and is not officially over but lets be honest they were a pale shadow of the original, the second time was my friends birthday and then last night was a concert.

The amusing thing is that of all the Pink Floyd albums The Wall is my least favourite, even after The Final Cut. It never makes the same sense as a record as the live show, it does not have the emotional intensity or connection with the audience. It’s just poor fucked up Roger whining. The live show at least in this incarnation is poor fucked up Roger raging against the machine of which he is a part. It takes you from the tears of Bring the Boy’s Back Home to the creepiness of 20,000 chanting Roger after Run Like Hell. This is the point of the show in my opinion, we are all being manipulated by governments, the media and rock stars. The crowd cheers at the mention of pinhole burns and cocaine without remembering the fear, paranoia and sadness that inspired the lyrics, and then they all run for the exit without looking back. There is a forum on Roger’s site with one of the topics being how are you going to dress up for the show, who has the most authentic hippy tye-dyes. I know Roger sees the irony in all this but do the audience and poor old fucked up me went anyway.

Today was the first time I experienced someone not knowing who Pink Floyd were, for most of my childhood, teenage years and adulthood if that is what I can call it they have been a presence. I guess that presence is now waning which may be alright, they are no longer relevant to the youth  of today. They really have become the dinosaur punk tried to make them. The difference is all those punk artists had listened to Floyd or secretly continued to do so, now there is a good chance that an artist has not heard Animals or Atomheart Mother, they may know The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon but more as brands than relevant artistic statements. Music has moved on from Floyd but you can still hear Floyd in the music of others. The Flaming Lips sounds-capes owe a lot to Floyd as does the violence of Jack Whites guitar.

Something totally different is the sound of Floyd from the early 70’s prior to the monster they became. So from my favorite Floyd bootleg which is the Electric Factory in Philadelphia here is Fat Old Sun which has more passion in the solo than the two hours of the wall. Sorry it is audio only but search out the bootleg. It is Floyd at the beginning, Interstellar Overdrive, Green Is The Color and a massive Astronomy Domine.

Don’t get me wrong though I loved Roger’s Wall. I’m not going again though. I miss those four guys who knew how to jam instead of staging a spectacle, who dressed the same as their audience and sang about children’s laughter and holding hands. Floyd along with Caravan, Procul Harum, Fairport Convention, Gong and Soft Machine defined the very Englishness of the 70’s, gentle pastoral landscapes overseen by the dark satanic mills. Blake would have recognized fellow travelers in Floyd, well at least until Roger took the lyrical reins.

Fat Old Sun

When the fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin’ birds are calling
Summer’s thunder time of year
The sound of music in my ears
Distant bells, new mown grass
Smells so sweet
By the river holding hands
Roll me up and lay me down
And if you sit don’t make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling
Summer evenin’ birds are calling
Children’s laughter in my ears
The last sunlight disappears
And if you sit don’t make a sound
Pick your feet up off the ground
And if you hear as the warm night falls
The silver sound from a time so strange
Sing to me, sing to me
When that fat old sun in the sky is falling
No it’s not hippy shit it’s that English pining for the summer we all remember but are not sure will ever happen again or think that someone is going to take away from us if we admit to being at peace.

The Hills Have Ears

A week or so of listening and enjoying the music of Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts. Two songwriters that transcend there young age with the maturity of their songs. It takes a brave person to write a song about a bookseller in this day and age, it caught my attention because of the lines about the only constant in the characters life being his love of books and reading. Jamie has a deft touch on guitar and Katriona must be one of the finest young fiddle players around at the moment.

Also there has been an obvious rash of listening to the music of Ray Davies as we bought tickets to go see him last week, too much fun in too may ways.

Reading has been busy. I finished several books over the last few weeks and none of them were duds although one Brian Aldiss book was of dubious worth in so may ways but so much fun to read. The Year Before Yesterday was entirely too tempting on the bookshelf. A swastika wearing spaceman with a laser gun is too confusing, especially when he is stood on the moon without his helmet. Thankfully the insanity continued throughout the book, it was a strange fix up of two stories of alternate histories tied together loosely with an excuse of a mystery. Well I am going to hope it was a fix up although it really does not matter considering the amount of pleasure from reading it.

Also in no particular order was Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson which apparently is going to become a Stephen Spielberg movie. It is an intelligent and thought provoking book, although comparison to Terminator are obvious, it also has quite possibly the creepiest cover art in a long time.

Also this month was my second ever Joe Haldeman book with Camouflage. Haldeman’s Forever War is a classic, Camouflage is not a classic but it is a fun read. It concerns two chameleon type creatures on earth and their travels through history. One seems to be learning about humanity the other is more interested in violence and aggression although in the beginning they are hard to distinguish. I found the ending to be disappointing and too easy. Now Camouflage would make a great movie if someone chose to make it, it’s intelligent thought provoking and most importantly for Hollywood full of action.

Also listened to was Ellen and the Escapades. A great English band in that new tradition of folk bluesy English bands made so popular after Mumford and Sons. The truly refreshing thing is the confidence allowing singers to sing in their own accent not trying to adopt a transatlantic middle of the road accent like so many have had to do to be successful. The album has enough feel good songs on it to make it essential for the summer. Here is a suitably atmospheric picture of the band, probably in Yorkshire. Go out and buy the new album it’s called All The Crooked Scenes, you will not regret it.

Back to books, the last one finished was to To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I really enjoyed. It’s a well researched time travel book which is actually funny from start to finish, and considering the length that is no mean feat. Part homage to Victorian fiction and part romantic  comedy it really was a lot of fun. The amount of enjoyment I got from this book will make sure I investigate Connie Willis more.

Of course after such a sweet treat it was essential to jump right back to the conclusion of David Moody’s Hater trilogy with Then Or Us. This has been a thrill ride of a series, following Danny McCoyne and his fellow Haters as they systematically dismantle society. In this episode Danny and Rufus decide that the monster the Haters most resemble in fiction is the zombie, although they are still capable of rational thought but are consumed with hate and attack any of they Unchanged they see. I am about two thirds of the way through this book and still cannot guess how the series will end, every time I think I have a handle on it Moody changes the plot. This is really more horror than science fiction but as I began this blog with a vampire story what the heck.

Well that has been the last few weeks of reading and listening, along the way there was also Bruce Springsteen’s new album and I tried to read Embassytown and gave up. I will go back but I think my mind was not really into it.

Out Here We Are

Life goes on as do birthdays and reading and listening to music, April is a pretty special month with three birthdays, our eldest boy an our youngest boy and my Mum. It’s a month of singing and laughing and wondering were the time went. All in all a good month indeed and Ben went to outdoor school too.

Having three boys can be a bit of a chore sometimes, so much energy in the building. I love all three of my boys so much and it’s fairly obvious to anyone watching them that they also love each other, of course sometimes it doesn’t always look like they like each other but they are always there for each other and will always be that way I’m sure.

Here they are not long after the birth of the youngest and most spoiled of all Benjamin.

 

 

 

 

I’ve become quite unreasonably excited about going to see Ray Davies in July. Ever since I listened to Preservation Act II by the Kinks when I was a child I have loved the Kinks and this album is in all reality probably their worst album. Nobody would really argue with that estimation either it seems to be universally disliked. Of course the choices in my parents collection was limited to John Denver, Shirley Bassie and maybe a Beach Boys album, there was surprisingly no Beatles although I remember my mum singing their songs frequently. So that Kinks album became something different, it was garish, it was dramatic and at times ridiculous and I loved it. This album may also be the source of my love of prog rock, who knows.

I have listened to the music of the Kinks almost every week since I started listening to music, they cover all the bases from punk to rock and theater, they are funny, nostalgic, melodramatic and creators of truly beautiful melodies. Every record collection I have ever had included at least a Kinks greatest hits album. I never went to see them though, in a sense I felt that they could probably never live up to my hopes or desires for the show, also at times they were so uncool compared to what you are supposed to go see as a teenager, and by the time I had got over myself we had moved to the USA and chances became limited then Dave got sick and that seemed like the end of the chances. The chances of seeing the Kinks is limited but the other week I was checking out the Aladdin theater website and there was Ray Davies smiling. So we are all going, Tom, Ben, Chris, Michelle and Me to see one of the greatest English songwriters ever.

You have to understand the first two bands my kids ever heard was the Beatles followed closely by the Kinks. It is an essential part of their education musically and to explain what it means to be English living in America. One of the first guitar licks I heard Tom play was the solo from Waterloo Sunset, there was never a doubt we would go really, happily enough Michelle is being understanding. Plans are being hatched to start lining up at 5p.m. because the Aladdin is general admission and when you are gong to see a musical genius you need to be close.

So here is Ray in 2010  at Glastonbury: