ON THE STOOP:
Walked out alone into the fields, sat on the stoop of an
old caravan & got quiet. Birdsong, rabbit hop, pigeon swoop.
The world is crazy busy underneath a sky of languid clouds
that have no time for frenzy. I’m somewhere in the middle,
feeling the pull of ‘manny-things’ calling me to jump in
& jiggle. At the same time what I need is clarity & that
only comes when I pull back, sit quite & listen. A lot going
on here right now, most of it good-to-fantastic. A major
turn-around from not too long ago, but I wont bore you with
that. What you’ve been seeing & hearing is a direct result
of darker times transporting us into the light. I’ve sat at
the cross-roads a few times in my life, made the wrong choice
more than once & took the consequences. Here on the stoop
it’s like being at the confluence of giant rivers, relentless
yet beautiful. I’m watching them from the shore, checking out
the way they flow, the undercurrents, the whirlpools & rocks.
It’s good to step back just at that point when everything is
screaming for you to keep running. ‘That’s’ the best time to
‘stop’ & put the kettle on, breath & see what happens.
Some great work being made out here in the sticks & deep in the
city. Underworld, Rick, Tomato, Simon Taylor, John Warwicker,
artists we’ve grown with, but also the team around us, guiding,
feeding us, supporting us, letting us play in ‘the sand pit’,
which is all I ever really wanted. Now at last we have an
environment that gives us what we need & adapts daily to
changes in the weather. It’s fast on it’s feet & yet able to
laugh, really laugh & enjoy life. This is a frantic & yet
fabulous time, the time I must’ve wished for when I was a kid,
where grown-ups get to be children even when they’re being
responsible – the confluence of two giant rivers.
This weekend I would’ve liked to have been at the first ever
LAKE festival in Berlin. Our friends Efterklang, re-invernted
as a journey into the imaginations of artists getting off on
the energy of exploration, Yes, wish I was there. Tell me
how it is.
LIVING IN THE PROBLEM:
Didn’t get to porridge & poetry today & tea came much later
than the body needed. Brown bread & honey on the run, a
mug of water. Walk in the fields in the sun, the sweet smell
of green. Dog walkers stop to pass the time, their tiny companions
wipe their noses on our knuckles. People smile & wave, pull over,
wind down their windows, chat. We walk between the fields at the
back of the world hoping something good will happen,
when everywhere around us it’s already here.
THE OTHER BLOKE:
The phone rings, there’s an Irish voice on the other end,
“Hello, is that Keith?”
“Er,…no it’s Karl”
“Ah yes Karl, I’ve got your name down here in front of me.
Are you ok to do this interview?”
HIJACKED TABLE BABY:
A woman in a raincoat with a handbag reads the local rag
at ‘my table’. Yesterday it was a suit with a lap top
full of facts so of heavy he needed it more than me. Yesterday
morning all my facts were light – fair swap. John Martyn plays
Solid Air for my porridge, tea & poetry. Pulling the tea bag out
with bare fingers ’till the hot water burns I know I’m still
alive. Having nightmares every night, waking with gas clouds of
disconnected stuff bouncing round my head, but I’m sober, walking
straight, no desire to deviate. It’ll be ok – right?
If this is as bad as it gets I’m quids in. Pass the porridge
BACK ON TRACK:
Sunlit porridge, black tea & poetry. Some suit from out’ve town
has stolen ‘my’ table but it won’t bring me down, it’s only
castles burning. Glancing over his shoulder at his lap top
I wouldn’t want his day, so he can borrow the magic table. I’ve
got this pen & note book, a telephone receiving messages of
good will & energy direct from source. I feel the beat
of the kick drum, see rick’s face in my mind’s eye grinning
in the spotlight of a roaring crowd, 106 decibels & climbing.
Check shirt, bathed in the pink light of ‘REZ’ as I stand at
stage side, body spasming uncontrollably to his groove.
On the other side of the storm, in the light at the end of
the tunnel, what don’t kill you makes you stronger, lighter,
laugh-er. Still sober & alive I found a brother I never knew
PEACE, THE FINAL FRONT EAR:
A day drowned in screaming, resolved in gentle reconciliation.
Started sunny, got very dark & brightened up around sunset.
Fortunately all the tools fit, a spanner for every nut & there’s
no bigger nut than I captain birds-eye.
Back on the island enjoying gentle rain & clean air after three days
of heat & sleepless dust. Two gigs beyond belief, two roaring crowds
free-flowing energy back to us as the kick drum drops. Watching the
bands that took the stage earlier in the day I was unsettled by the
screams of their crowds, uncertain if we could raise a response even
half of what they all got. But the second we stepped out on both
stages, both nights, the noise coming to us from the crowd tore
the roof off. The fact that no one left & everyone left smiling
was reward enough for the sleep deprived travelling, showering with
borrowed gel, towelling off with t-shirts & breathing air-conditioned
dust for three days. When the stage crew & security shake your hand
you know something special happened, but I don’t know what it was
& it happened both nights. Was I there?