I was saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing of Virginia Anderson this weekend. I met her through watching the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble and then getting to play with them. I will miss her enthusiasm and encouragement and my thoughts go out to Chris and Virginia’s friends and family. Xx
Riding my bike home from work
in the not quite nearly night of the early evening.
My twin silhouettes, cast on the hedgerow from the headlights of the car behind me,
glide past my side as they overtake me
leaving me alone in the dark again.
My front light glints speckles of light
as it catches beer cans, bottles,
discarded items littering the grubby sullen roadside.
I think this light play is the only positive to another dull day,
until I reach the top of the hill and peer over my shoulder.
The waxing crescent of a silver new moon
hangs bright in the buff orangey pink light of dusk.
I stop and pull over to stare at it,
feeling undeniably alive.
I decided on a whim, neither having heard of them or heard them, to see them live on the basis of this photo whilst scrolling around Folk Radio. “What is that dude doing with a Gretsch in a forest?!?”
I did my utmost, too, to not listen to them, to not search out what they might be like before the event. I conceded briefly, though, when trying to encourage some others to come along. 22 seconds in to the the video for ‘Charmer’ and I was on shaky ground – “That dude is bowing a mandola?!?” I had to turn it off as I thought my head might explode in expectation.
The gig itself was wonderful. Two Fridays before lockdown V.1, an uncertainty of what was to happen both then and afterwards, this beautiful undulating cloud of sound drifted around the Guildhall – voice, strings and harmonium floating around us. This melding of different organic elements creating one gentle incredible, shimmering whole. It was wonderful.
I got to speak a little to Ewan and Lauren afterwards, mainly about guitar things and it took all my strength not to buy a record – I didn’t want that to become my memory of the evening and how it made me feel. But isolating at home afterwards, the sounds still buzzing around in my thoughts, I had to. And it’s as close to perfect as you could get. A total joy.
I cannot wait to see them again.
Hairbrush? Check! Screwdriver? Check! Love song to the insignificance of us all in the face of the vastness of the night sky played in front of Kelly Richardson’s Mariner 9 installation? Check Check Check! This was a wonderful experience to be part of that I am so very grateful for.
Just out of shot
(and never in focus)
Cat hair, dust
The past leaving itself in ever incremental layers,
The detritus of future’s friction.
For a finger to write upon it,
make it new again.
Anxiety. A nothingness.
General unease, a sense of fear coupled with an end of term feeling.
Half hour queues around a car park trying to make/not make eye contact with ourselves, to stare at empty shelves and wonder what next.
“What did you do in lockdown, Daddy?”
I worked. Everyday. Adding to the ever growing pile of pointlessness whilst trying to provide.
The air of uncertainty about you then somewhere else, lost in the rhythm of the day, then back again, cycling over near empty motorways.
And in quiet moments, the sound of birds breaking up the flow of thoughts, cooking, eyes following the light, the shadows. Just another trip around the sun, all of us just clinging on.
My Phantom Voice. In the wood and the strings of the guitar.
I feel a need to explain but does it matter?
Everything vibrates with an energy.
That it then gets put in a little digital box for you to (hopefully) look at (first),
(Hopefully) listen to (second) is both my doing
I really miss singing sometimes. I don’t miss the listening back, the (often) feeling of worthlessness of it all ; the difference between the feeling as you sang, the imagination of what it was and what it now is.
But I still do it all the same.
October, gateway to Autumn proper. Turning leaves, now falling.
But yet such chaos all around us. What will we notice in the clamour of it all? Possibly nothing.
Early September myself and Lee Allatson played out as a duo again. This time we tried a more song orientated approach leaving large spaces to fill out the room space as we found it. Above is one those moments.
I was hesitant to include my nervous spoken ramblings but decided to share any way. It’s not something I often do and it’s easy to be critical after the fact but then and there, when you are trying to think about it, the words just come out so. It was a great evening all round.
Please do check out some of Lee’s other work including the incredible Ka Safar