but sooner or later it all gets real…

The weekend, well Saturday.

A strange day. No TV news today, this was a decision someone else made, I have become addicted to information. I did however read the Guardian online. No good news.

I went outside at 8:30a.m. and came in to eat lunch and to cook dinner. I sat in the yard, IMG_3095.JPGin the rain at times and tended the burn pile. I also moved some cedar bark chips we had delivered and shoveled. Syd played with a stick, every now and then he decided it needed to be thrown for him so I did.

At one point I wanted a new blade for the reciprocating saw, I walked to the car and turned around. These things need to go on a list nowadays, no frivolous trips.

Yesterday as I stood around in the pharmacy, constantly moving to avoid contact with others I picked up some essential items that we were missing, pencil sharpener, puzzles for my mother-in-law, new windshield wipers for my car. These things are mundane but heading out to get them comes with a risk that has never been present before.

New list started:

Wood blade for the reciprocating saw




The list goes on, it gets bigger and bigger, things that were just a car ride away a couple of weeks ago. The other day I drove by a thrift store, the parking lot almost empty and a part of me thought “I bet there are some great record scores there.” I pulled in and then pulled out of the lot, it’s not worth it too many people.

I sat in the rain and FaceTimed with my mum. She is holding up, doing small jobs, baking cakes for herself, talking on the phone to her friends and watching the afternoon movie, reading her books. I have managed to make sure she gets her food and stuff delivered, she sends me lists all the time and I add things to the order. It’s quite sweet really. 6000 miles has never seemed so far though.

IMG_3102.JPGI have been working my way through some of my essential records, a bit of fear that I will maybe not hear them again unless I do it now. This is fatalistic and just another excuse to play the damn albums.

I have also been indulging in comfort foods, hmmm Shredded Wheat, wow what a sensation, it’s been so long since I ate them, I bought large biscuits though none of this mini wheat shit. This stuff is the stuff of culinary legends, essential eating, lots of cold milk and some sugar, what else could you ever need in a breakfast experience? Apart form I just ate the at 9p.m.

So one of tonights gems is Neil Young’s On The Beach. It feels apt. I have no idea if the title has anything to do with Neville Shutes book but it feels a little apocalyptic at times. I have written about this before I believe. If our re interested it’s here:  BEFORE


After that I dug deep into my listening past, sometime in the early eighties in W.H. Smith in Huyton I bought Orange by Al. Stewart. Yes Al is the least convincing of the hipsters but for some reason I find his confessional slightly uncomfortable songs to be really engaging. His penchant for history is also fun. This is the last of his truly great confessional albums. I always wanted to have such romantic adventures with young women. My long  hair flowing in the wind as I wore my sheepskin coat in picturesque spaces with a body contemplative expression on my face getting ready to quote Rimbault.

IMG_3104I used to buy Al Stewart records along with other records in order to hide the shameful record behind something a little cooler. This time I think it was a copy of Marillion’s Real to Reel that hid my shame. Now some would say this is not cooler, but they are wrong. You would have to have cloth ears to think Real to Reel was not cool. So that wold make the shameful purchase of Orange in 1984, when I probably should have known better according to my friends.

Orange is full of songs about Spain, Amsterdam, deceit, love, treachery, washing the sheets and Jimi Hendrix, what more do you need to recommend it. It also has Rick Wakeman pounding the keys and Bruce Thomas from the Attractions, before there was an Attractions, doing bass duties. What more could the love sick teenager need. This was also the first time I ever heard anyone apart from the Byrds or Richie Havens cover Dylan, yes I led a somewhat sheltered life at times. Also Al could play guitar as there is the requisite guitar piece this one also involves a cello which makes it better.

Later on I discovered that those sheep skin coats smelled like Catweazle had peed himself in them, this is a direct quote from the beloved Annie who drank scrumpy and Owd Roger snakebites. She would therefore know this smell intimately. Also mens hair, no matter how long and flowey,  never blows attractively in the breeze unless you are Fabio or Robert Plant, this is actually the standard by which mens flowing hair is judged, are you bodice ripping Fabio or Rock God Planty? Anything in between or less than is not good enough.

So all of this talk of Real To Reel caused me to drag it off the shelf. Remember the Fame label? Damn side two may be all you need to know about Fish era Marillion.

Side two if you are a genesis fan you will notice was recorded at the De Montford Hall Leicester where Genesis Live was recorded. However Forgotten Sons and it’s anti-war theme summed up the Falklands war for many, Garden Party and Market Square heroes was always a party at Marillion shows. Good way to end the night I guess.



One thought on “but sooner or later it all gets real…

  1. Some great micro-pleasures there Neil. I know Al Stewart not at all (sorry that sounds like a poor translation from Korean into English).

    I don’t own Real to Reel, not since my cassette collection hit the landfill.

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