31 March 2005
25 March 2005
To all my kind readers, I want you to know I will be absent from the Information Superhighway until 11th April 2005. As I expect you know I am flying the Atlantic in a Boeing to take a road trip through some Southern States.
Work has been particularly hard this year. The churning relentlessness of aggressive change for its own sake is not conducive to a relaxed state of mind. So you see I am really ready for a complete break. I hope I can wind down enough to enjoy the experience. I suspect Mrs virgo will as usual have to endure a few days of tetchy irritability and over-reaction before calm settles.
We arrive in Atlanta GA on Sunday 27th March, slither into an unfamiliar car and head off on a long, roughly oval route for two weeks. These are the stopping off points where I have pre booked hotels for one or more days:
Stone Mountain GA
The longest stop is four days at Sanford. We have visited the Orlando theme parks a couple of times recently and although I want to be close to the that large centre of activity for shopping etc, I think this is better positioned for trips to the Atlantic Coast. For example I'm looking forward to exploring Merritt Island and other nature reserves.
I will have my Canon to record the view and who knows, there may even be something interesting enough to post here. Our two boys in their twenties are being left in charge of the house. I am hoping it will still be standing when we return...
"Mommy’s alright, Daddy’s alright
They just seem a little weird"
Cheap Trick – Surrender
21 March 2005
Southampton City Walls sit grudgingly alongside modern architecture and street furniture. On a quiet winter's day you can imagine arrowheads emerging ominously through the tall slits and helmeted faces peering down from the battlements. Then an incongruous crisp packet blows across the scene shattering the illusion.
There are windows sitting curiously at pavement level in places, illustrating that the ground has been built up significantly over the centuries. The waters of The Test lapped the base of these walls over 1000 years ago, yet a 2oth century town planner had the temerity to agree to a telephone booth.
I know some of you guys like to see these pictures so I hope you don't mind me putting up a few. There are more to come, particularly of the Bargate but I need to get over to town early on a Sunday to get pictures without people!
(I have been hacked off with Hello lately and you probably noticed I started using Flickr. However despite no help from Hello I think I have solved why pictures weren't displaying. I have renamed them without spaces between the words and these worked today. Fingers crossed.)
19 March 2005
Same seat every morning, cheeks shaved and black brogues polished. He never made eye contact, just seemed to look right through you. Sad, because a study of his face left you with the distinct impression he would be interesting to talk to. Sometimes he opened the briefcase with a soft click and slipped a liver-spotted hand inside. He might have been rearranging papers.
Alighting at the quay he walked purposefully towards the High Street each day. Somehow I always lost sight of him in the shifting crowd. One day last year as we queued to disembark I passed his seat and was surprised to see the familiar briefcase lying unattended. The old man was nowhere to be seen so I flipped the catch and looked inside hoping for a name. The case was empty. I never saw him again.
Green waves still buoy us passengers up each day.
16 March 2005
If you can tell all that from the piece below then I’ve made myself as clear as I can or you must be a mind reader.
Fingers lightly tracing my cheek
Green eyes inches from mine.
Entwined hours after meeting,
Soul lovers weeping for real.
Matched as only a pair can be
Dovetailed and blinkered to consequence.
Aching I remember your presence
My white-hot painful repentance.
Are you content now or restless
Your new car, new dog and house.
Trappings like those make you edgy
You need a friend not a spouse.
I condemned myself with a glass for our sin,
Your husband, my wife, both bled.
Am I over you now, do I give you a thought?
I can't get you out of my head.
I probably never said goodbye,
Just left you to scream on your own.
I sped to the edge and collapsed,
I couldn’t live with what we had done.
Gin soaked memories daily
Of a virgo scorpio affair.
I’m sure I don’t love you now green eyes
I just need to know where you are.
When you call me, you have to be dying.
Was that an unspoken code?
One day there’ll be no tomorrow
To carry this crippling load.
Our lives are running out so fast
It’s late but it’s not the last call.
I don’t need to know where you live,
Just don’t die, don’t cry, walk tall.
"We were lovers
We were kissers
We were holders of hands
We were make believers"
The Stills – Still in Love Song
14 March 2005
‘S’ from work was inviting me to see Mercury Rev at Southampton Guildhall on a spare ticket. Course I’ll come I replied, work tomorrow but who cares. I have heard a couple of albums but am generally unfamiliar with the band’s credentials. Nonetheless, keen for a second gig of the week, I screamed into town in record time on empty roads.
Support came from “The Duke Spirit” a London trad rock outfit I’d seen before. Debbie Harry attitude but without the looks or the voice. Enough said. Interval time and we ageing rockers swerved to the front with our thinning hair and knowledgeable good looks! I did not know what to expect but I have to say I was blown away by Mercury Rev. They won me over straight away with their entrance. They spent a couple of minutes waving to the assembled crowd of 600 or so and beaming wide smiles of genuine gratitude. Singer Jon Donahue seemed intent on making eye contact with everyone up to 5 rows back!
I was treated to music of the very highest calibre and coming from me that’s praise. Astral and narcotic in the extreme. Vocals were loud and clear, guitar was effects-laden and dreamy, drums were hard and fast, bass deep and sharp and piano high and bright. A thick and moody lightshow washed over proceedings throughout. These were consumately professional performers whose back catalogue I will be giving a severe going over. A rare humility pervaded the show even to the last. An encore was predictable but as the band grew ready to leave the applause quickened and an impromptu “one more” was offered. Sterling stuff.
“I'm so close I'm almost inside
Won't be long before the mystery is mine”
Mercury Rev – Racing the Tide
12 March 2005
"I know what’s on your mind my boy
I can see oh everything.”
The Libertines – Vertigo
11 March 2005
400 share shoulder to shoulder intimacy. Bathed arena soft deep crimson bleeding into green. Young and fragile, cracked delivery almost shy. Conor Oberst 24 and ancient. Poet, singer madman Nebraskan heart bare in Hampshire. Lank hair features covered eyeliner. Blue sweater no pretence. 6-piece stunning harmony, pounding bass drum thuds my chest. Guitars cutting through cigarette smoke, beer and sweat.
Staccato percussive chop on muted strings. Mandolin sweetness with mournful brass then pedal steel in full sway. His back to us then comment thrown glibly over shoulder. You may like it you may not. You may be indifferent. Old beyond youth ignores cameras popping flash. Near silence greeting ‘Lua’s’ brushed chords. Declared critic of our fried food. Bending upending bottle by the neck eyes staring piercing defying. Pregnant pause when I’m ready not before.
Pure beauty perfect pitch words of love and death. Plastic beer glass underfoot picture phones wave lofty salute. Screaming raging shouting hatred dread all true. Encore unaccompanied breathtaking rich. Plead yearn insist a bard of subtle touch.
“We might die from medication but we sure killed all the pain.
What was normal in the evening by the morning seems insane.”
Bright Eyes – Lua
08 March 2005
"Today is the greatest day I've ever known
Can't live for tomorrow, tomorrow's much too long."
05 March 2005
“Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer.
Well can you put our hands in your head, Oh no.”
Supertramp – Dreamer
04 March 2005
You shone like the sun"
03 March 2005
Another gratuitous picture of my guitar but today I make no apology. It suits the mood I felt half an hour ago. The missus went out so I cranked up the hi-fi and felt the noise. Now let me say this guys not my favourite but the song is a killer, loud, proud and simple.
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it till my fingers bled
It was the summer of '69"
Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
02 March 2005
New Forest ponies in the road are a common sight at Beaulieu. You just stop the car until they wander away and they won't be hurried! Last weekend's walk took me to Hatchet Moor where the new gorse was blooming. The vivid yellow attracts ponies, donkeys and cows all of which eat it. Quite alarming, as it must be as comfortable as chewing upholstery needles! However the cattle do have lips and tongues like leather.
There are 140 square miles of ancient forest and heathland just five minutes drive west of my house. I know I'm lucky but it's so close you take it for granted. I've lived in the county of Hampshire all my life so have walked this countryside a lot yet still I'm finding new parts to explore. It's a fantastic escape as you can walk for miles and not see a glimpse of civilisation.
'Hello' Picture Sharing seems to have sprung back to life so images are on the menu again. I couldn't see a monthly limit Grace, so call it a glitch. There that's a bit brighter today isn't it!
He had waded through stinking swamps for years not caring about anyone. His friends drifted off one by one until he was left only with leaches. They sucked him hollow and fell away when he left the bar. Learning to find good new people had been frightening. His new heightened awareness screamed for comfort not criticism. Since he broke off his affair with the bottle his senses were sharp as any razor.
He had discovered the capacity to love those he respected and he yearned for that love to be returned. Scrambling out of the deepest darkest pit had been a success but the price had been high. Sometimes it felt too high. He judged by his own dizzyingly high standards and his love demanded honesty and kindness in return.
Dimly he heard a friend’s voice calling him, reassuring him. The truth burst into his consciousness. She was really saying he had no critics but himself, everyone else liked him at least a little. He awoke crying hard. Hot salty tears of relief streamed down his cheeks. Now he had to try to explain those tears.
01 March 2005
I’m just waiting for that single perfect point in time to give them all a try”