Blog & Photo Journal Archive

Jan. 15th, 2019, NYC

2019… wow…

Tempus has fugited big time… I have been just leading a life, and somehow 5 months have gone by… The autumn was spent partly here, partly in Texas, partly in Menorca – perhaps that’s why… I’ve not actually just been sitting on my ass in Westbeth, which is what it feels like at the moment – altho’ I am currently decked out in multiple sweaters, hat and gloves, the heating being somewhat impaired as a result of the great Build It Back campaign – the longer I’m here the more dysfunctional the building seems to get – but I’m not complaining…. I just bought a sofa that someone in the building was selling off cheap – not as elegant as the one I have, but bigger and a hell of a lot more comfortable (taking a leaf out of my sis’s book), so perhaps I can leave my bed in the alcove and read and nap in the sunshine just the same – verremos… I still have to figure out how to a) get it down into my apartment and b) how to get rid of the old one. Meanwhile we have a Kamikaze concert in about 10 days, so I am vainly trying to get my chops together…

Texas was a success, ultimately, although I seem to have had a sinus infection since then that I can’t shake – such ghastly weather, insanely hot and humid, and equally insane air conditioning in the hotel, how can anyone live like that?? I finally had a CT scan today, verremos otra vez… I couldn’t possibly record a book like this, if they ever offer me another one… or record, which we’re meant to be doing in February with Mr. Wau Wa.. The Alley went the distance, paying for as much recording time as we really needed, and it ended up sounding really good… Then on to Seattle, Ellensburg, Portland and Eugene – reunions with RB and Cathy, Joanne P, Sue and Mona, then Calliope and the big Ray hang – another grand reunion of an old tribe – it seems to be that time… really worth the effort – particularly as dear Ray then passed away in his sleep a couple of weeks later – he was done… we got it right, for once….

Thanksgiving, Solstice and Christmas in New york, all vintage – Nyack, Westbeth (a really good party this year) and Brooklyn (Beka & family), including Midnight Mass at St. John The Divine, always a treasure… And then to Belfast for the 50th, and final, Henry Tonk memorial New Year’s Eve Banquet. Getting on the ‘plane – actually, getting TO the plane at Stewart International Airport – I thought I was absolutely mad to even think about it, but it was totally worth it. Not just the Banquet – 12 courses (actually about 42), 12 entertainments (actually about 26) and 12 hours (actually almost 14), for a maximum of 60 people, about 20 by the end – but also, and even more so, the days of pre- and post- hang…. rekindling old friendships – neither Fred nor Gerry had changed one iota, nor Charles and Jackie; re-connecting with Doff Pollard, who lives in Whitby so I hopefully will see her in the spring when I return to Cotherstone (more about that anon); and then making new ones – many duets with Peter Nelson, ex-prof of my alma mater and all-round good egg, and getting to know Susan Herivel, John’s girlfriend before me and a great find… and of course John and Marcus – and Joanna, who managed to feed the five thousand every day for a week, somehow, without batting an eyelid, even with the most dreadful case of the lurgie… John built a giant Henry head as the centerpiece for the banquet stage (flanked on either side by King Kong, of course) – the head then had a ceremonial immolation the following evening – satisfyingly final, altho’ it was generally agreed that all was not over and that things would continue, tho’ not necessarily in the same form – midsummer bonfire with rites, anyone?

I shared a lovely Airbnb with the Lambla clan for the first 5 days, which was enormous fun – finding costumes, planning and making banquest courses and entertainments, reminiscing – and then spent the last couple of days at Sans Souci with Marcus and Joanna (and Susan and various others – a constant stream of visitors). Belfast has become a major international tourist destination – I went to the ‘Titanic Experience’ on Jan. 2nd, something rather more than a museum, very well done – not the sort of thing I generally would go anywhere near, but I thoroughly enjoyed it – most of all the SS Nomadic, the Titanic’s tender that is tied up nearby and is definitely my kind of ship – that gets my vote for the next banquet, if there is one. Altho’ it was all quite quiet, relatively, being the day after New Year, I was surprised at all the international tourists – turns out Game of Thrones was filmed in the countryside around Belfast… that explains it… good for them, altho’ tourism really is a the modern plague. I see it here in NYC, in Menorca, everywhere… I also got in a good visit to the Botanic Gardens , and the Ulster museum, where the Ulster Academy show was up, including pieces by both Marcus and Joanna, an all round startlingly good exhibition, and two fabulous dragons hanging in space on the top floor – more Game of Thrones, no doubt, but happy for it…

Meanwhile, back in NY … I have been offered a 3-week residency at the Graves Foundation in March – 3 weeks of isolation in the beauty of the northern CA landscape, no phone, no computer, no nothing, on my own. March was my 2nd choice, my first being late July early August, a time much beloved by academics, so little wonder they took me up on my less popular offering. So, altho’ tho I could devoutly have wished to stay home for another month, I will be heading west at the beginning of March, to start work on the Morris Graves piece with Joan Schirle. I applied to Opera America for funds – I should really have asked for funds to further Vagabond, but I figured Joan’s grant writing expertise gave me a better shot… I shall get none either way, so what does it matter?

I spent a week in Cotherstone in November, on my way back from Menorca, and hooked up with a woman who offered to help me airbnb the cottage – she does it with her cottage in the village (next door to Madeleine’s old place)- she’s made a real go of it for herself, so maybe she can help me – verremos yet again… after 5 years of coasting, it’s time for things to pay their way or say bye bye – time to get real….  I also had a final stay at Stopover Hall with Moppet & Johnny before leaving, complete with a soak in the biggest bath tub known to mankind – they move to the Farm before the end of the year – the end of an era, but Wal-E continues to reside in the barn, bless them…

I can’t bear to talk politics – both of my countries are so f****d I can’t bear to think about it…. the only good news is that we took back the House in November… now, if we could only NOT go through with Brexit, we might stand a chance to get back on track… wishful thinking, I’m afraid… On a more positive note, I have finally and belatedly taken up yoga – I am going twice a week, and oh how I wish I had thought to start this 30 years ago… What will this year bring?? God speed all who sail in her… and a Happy New Year to all…