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The state of the world leaves me speechless…

The state of the world leaves me speechless…

It’s been 5 years since I started this blog and photo journal, and I think it’s time to bring it to a close… for all the heartache and sorrow, it’s been an amazing period of time, full also with joy and wonder, and I am eternally grateful for all that it has given me…

Into the next chapter, whatever that may be…

que vaya bien, todos….


December 31st, 2016 Menorca

My 1st week here was like spring – real heat still in the sun, eating lunch out on the patio, even threw myself into the sea my 2nd day, in the bathtub, just to make sure I was really here (the water was incredibly cold!). And then cold enough at night for both fires. Perfect. And then winter arrived…but the house is in fine shape, sis keeps it beautifully, and with both fires going we are snug as two bugs… The garden was a wilderness – I had to try and curb my enthousiasm and not get carried away, but it was a good project to have.

We had my customary Solstice party on what turned out to be the worst day of the year, weather-wise – lashings of rain, total downpour, and bitter cold, which kept a few people away, but probably all for the best as we were indoors but not crowded, and it was all our local menorcan neighbours and friends, plus R&J and a few others. Diana had decided to join in the fun this year, instead of being bah-humbug like last time, and she made the most beautiful christmas tree out of boughs of the oak tree out back, stuck in the old painted stove pipe from upstairs that’s been lying out back for the past year or so – got a bunch of baubles from Mistral, and some fairy lights and hey presto! Magic… Julia also gave us early xmas presents of solar outdoor fairy lights, so we were all set! The place looked beautiful… I cooked up the usual storm, and then by the middle of the party succumbed to the head-cold that was doing the rounds and retired to bed – but not until l got all the burly guys to come and pick up the cama matrimonial and moved it out from under the drip in the corner of the room – classic… “It’s heavy!!” they cried…

Christmas was just the 4 of us gnawing on Bernard’s other leg (he wasn’t up for joining us, his health is not good, poor man, but was happy to give us a leg of lamb) and then that night the Pesh arrived – a great christmas present… she is a total delight – sweet, smart, savvy but not blasé and deals easily with people of all ages – a joy to have around. We had a great 2 weeks with her… in hindsight I suppose one week would have been less stressful for sis ultimately – I did ask her, way back when, if it was okay for pesha to stay through the 3 Kings, as she wanted to try and do a story on it, and sis said yes, of course, but I should have known better… live and re-learn… but overall it was great. Of course Jan. 5th and 6th were a howling tramontana which meant the Kings arrived by bus, not boat, and they delivered the presents on foot, not horseback – so there was no story to be got – but we had a splendid time anyway… Having upstairs as the guest room works wonderfully well – the guest can disappear up into their own world for as long as they like – even tho’ the upstairs bathroom is basically impossible, it’s so cold (we use it as the cold storage room), and pesha did most of her work huddled under the blankets.. it’s been a real winter, the first we’ve had for several years.

We got the garden put to bed, all except for some big-job pruning that sebastian will do, and I helped sis plant a small winter huerto. The bills this year are simply enormous – hopefully no major repairs next year (hope springs eternal!) and definitely no building projects.

I still need to spend at least half my year in Westbeth, but since it does seem that full-time co-habitation in menorca isn’t realistic, it’s all for the best. I am still a New Yorker, in spite of everything – my tribe is there, and what little work I have… and I need to finish the record! Who knows what next year will bring, anyway, both health-wise and world-wise? The future has never been less easy to read, so let’s just hope for the best and prepare for the worst (Pesha says she and her friends are coming to menorca to help run the finca, the minute the apocalypse arrives!)

Fasten your seat belts, everyone, we’re in for a bumpy ride…. I’m going to sign off now, don’t know when I’ll be back…It’s been exactly 5 years since I started this journal, so I think it’s time to draw to a close (not to mention the fact that I can’t bear to think about, let alone articulate, what’s happening here in the US!) Surrounded by white light may we be well protected by our angels and our guides…


Dec. 6th, Cotherstone

What a week. I have worked my tush off – rather more than I should have, probably, but I’ve done almost everything I set out to do. The potting shed is now a carpeted, furnished bedroom (only missing the bed, and curtains – oh, and the wardrobe), and a lovely room it is too.

Mick Carr came and took away sundry items, and in return will bring us a single-size wardrobe. And Moppet is making us curtains for both up and down stairs, with Peter Atkinson putting up the poles I bought, and the wall bracket lights (he thinks he may be able to use the old ones from Saltoun, which would be lovely!)

I put the upstairs back to rights, after the chaos of construction work followed by cousin David’s 3-month occupancy – both things I’m very grateful for, but tonight is the first time I feel the place cleared of the clutter and the piles and back to the peaceful place it was.

Also, and most importantly, today I finally sent off the Luristan bronzes and pots to the Ashmolean, after nearly 4 years of searching for a home for them – patience and perseverance… I am so pleased… they will be a collection in Mum’s name, and the money will be used to put a headstone, finally, on her grave in Skokie, so her name will be on both sides of the pond – only appropriate! Dad will probably be rolling in his grave (not that he has one!), Cambridge man that he was, but they were mum’s, not his, and the Ashmolean is the very best place for them – the biggest collection of Luristan stuff in the country – it’s not called the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology for nothing! I only hope they get there in one piece – I wrapped them in miles of bubble wrap.

I haven’t taken a single walk, except down to the river Sunday morning – too busy or too tired – but it’s been bitterly cold – next year…

Dinner with Jeff and Carol – his cancer is coming back, I fear, he will likely be starting chemo again in the new year. So unfair… Dinner with Mary Matthews and friends, very enjoyable folk… and I sang in the Messiah the following night at Barney School Chapel – really fun. Sunday lunch at Phil and Jane’s, supper (and bath!) at Stopover this evening… friends… the balm of my life…

And so to Menorca for a month on the finca with sis … plus a 2-week visit from Pesha, who will en route from Cairo to Istanbul, to start her new chapter – Happy Solstice! Bon Nadal! y los Reyes! So much good to be thankful for, to help balance the fear and anxiety about what’s ahead for the world. Stand and be counted… No more complacency, just tons of love and hope…. and resistance where necessary!


Nov. 9th, New York

Well, here it is, the future we’ve all refused to admit was possible… A populist revolt I can understand, the system is broken and too many millions have been disenfranchised, but THIS man?? Words fail…

It seems that both my homelands, on either side of the pond, have lost their marbles, lost the plot. First Brexit, and now this. Both of them were protest votes, understandable, yes, but NEITHER seem to have thought through the consequences – that their lives will be made worse, not better, by their choices. We have no way of knowing what will happen, given the unpredictability of the man who is now set to be one of the most powerful men on earth. Hillary won the popular vote [by 3 million votes, it turns out], just like Al Gore. That means many millions of people will now be feeling anger, fear, betrayal – where will that lead us? I cling to what Gail Collins said on the radio this morning, “the man is not crazy. Many defects – an attention span the size of a gnat (paraphrasing here), no regard for truth and accuracy, but he is not crazy.” I dearly hope not [but I’m not sure…]

We must try to love our enemies – hate will not help. But how do you tell that to all the ethnic and religious minorities that he has railed against with such racist bigotry, or the women he has insulted if not assaulted? And with the House and Senate both now Republican, not to mention the Supreme Court, where are the checks and balances? We the people…. It falls to us… It is OUR country… time to stand up and be counted, to become active citizens, not complacent couch potatoes (and I count myself amongst them).


October 10th, New York

One never knows, does one? (as Billie Holiday so aptly sang…) On to the next chapter, with my crown only half-way decorated…

Instead of the Kamikaze gig at Roulette being a celebration of Half Way Through Chemo, it turns out it was a celebration of No More Chemo… surprise surprise! It seems that after all the tests, done as a result of the blip after treatment #6, the cardiologist told the oncologist to “cease and desist” – my poor ol’ heart can’t take it, and is in a bit of a sorry state… so no more poison – yay! well, there will be 5 years of pills, starting in a month’s time – we’ll see if I can tolerate those… but no more Herceptin for sure, which is the one that was going to go through next August – so I am suddenly much more mobile and relatively poison-free… we just hope that my little ticker will mend itself (with the help of a bunch of nasty drugs, of course) so that I don’t have surgery in 6 months… I will do everything in my power to make it so… and meanwhile I have sewn the rest of the jewels onto the crown, just because… it’s fabulous… as is the wig that I unveiled at the KGC gig – electric blue Louise Brooks, now that’s how to become a member of the blue hair brigade…

The gig was wonderful, tho’ it damn nearly killed me – I was a total basket case afterwards, but it was so worth it, and the guys took such good care of me…
Roulette is a really great space to play in (with a beautiful 9′ Steinway), great acoustics, great audience, and we rocked it all, new and old tunes alike… I’m happy with my new piece – In The Lap Of The Gods – with just 2 short rehearsals, it came together at the gig, which is always satisfying… and we dug back into the archives to dust off things from the ‘80s and ‘90s, always fun…

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time up in Nyack recently – Rinde and Ellen are both gone for months so I have the run of their beautiful home whenever I want – it’s so peaceful up there compared to the city, plus we’ve been having the most glorious weather recently, perfect Indian summer… morning birds, evening crickets, deep blue sky, hot sun, cool breeze – very californian…

Two musical treats this w/end – Dudamel and the Venezuelans (aka the Simon Bolivar Orchestra) blew the roof off Carnegie Hall with their rendition of Messiaen’s Turangalila – they treated that crazy, massive piece the same effortless, but passionate, way Marcus treats his tuba like a harmonica – and then Bill Frisell at the Blue Note with his surf band – Greg Lees, Tony & Kenny – so much delight… and next week I get to hear Simon Rattle conduct Tristan at the Met…

Meanwhile this week I hope to start mixing the recording I started back in March – time to get back to work – it may not be gainful employment but it gives purpose to my life… much to be thankful for, particularly all the wonderful friends who have been by my side these past months – where would I be without you? thank you thank you thank you….

We will not talk about the continuing political circus – it beggars belief… as my friend Marika so aptly said recently, on the night of Nov.8th “hopefully we will all just exhale a sigh of relief together as we usher in the maintenance of the oppressive, systematic, racist, imperialist status quo, rather than global anarchy. Oy.”


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