January 2023 (2022 retrospective)

A year has passed… I will attempt a retrospective, just for my own understanding of time passing…

January and February passed as winters do, hauling wood, keeping fires lit – it was cold… And the worst happened… Joan fought bravely but lost her battle against the dreaded big C, and we lost her Feb. 1st. Such a gaping hole in the world… She will always be with me… living on opposite sides of the world as we did, her physical presence in my life was sporadic, except for the past 3 years of BIRD, the great gift… but I will always count her as one of the most important people in my life… not just a great and close friend, a sister in all but blood, but someone who had more faith in me as an artist and composer than anyone else I know, a huge thing for me… god, I will miss her…

March I went to Cotherstone for 10 days – the tenant had left and it was a chance to finally come to grips and get rid of stuff, as I had planned to do 2 years earlier when the plague struck.  It was very hard, emotionally, but with Moppet’s help I got rid of a great deal – emptied the attics, the garden shed and most of under the stairs… a small pile went to Hall Farm, which will eventually also go, I imagine… this was also an experiment in leaving Diana in the care of a friend of Anton’s, Mariana – which worked very well, I’m glad to say.

Hard on the heels of my return, Michael and Jodi came to visit for a a week, to celebrate Joan… a good time was had by all, they worked hard around the place, we had pretty lousy weather except for the day we went to Pregonda to add to Joan’s cairn, which was idyllic – Michael swam…

April I went to NYC for 3 weeks – got the hell out of Dodge, not because I had to, but because I wanted to – actually I did have to, I was at the end of my rope after 6 months of 24/7… I had wanted to wait until July so I could go to Joan’s memorial, but it was impossible… I caught the 3 weeks of spring, and had a wonderful time… Returned to the island in May to plant the huerto etc. and immediately started planning another getaway.  Since I couldn’t get to Joan’s memorial in CA, I thought I’d go to France and Alain and Gail and I could have our own – but July wasn’t good for them, and then Christian invited me to go to this Silent Film Festival in the foothills of the French Pyrenees in early June, and it all fell into place… Christian and Alice and I had a fabulous 4 days in Aneres – great films, amazing music, wonderful folks, all centered around the village cafe – then I took a train to Montpeilier, Alain picked me up and took me up to suave, where he and Gail and I had a two-day Joan Fest… so good to re-connect with them again…

I came home inspired, and started work on some kind of musical response to Nights at the Circus – only 30 years in the making! Who knows where it will go, but it was great to start writing again…. Pesha came to visit for 4 days, en route to her summer in Palestine studying some obscure Arabic dialect.  A great time was had until the day before she was due to leave, I slipped on the path down to BiniDali and did my ankle and foot in… long story short, half-cast for a week, crutches for 3 – a total bore.  She sweetly stayed on a couple of extra days, then a week later Amy arrived, and stayed 3 weeks – she’s about the only person I could take for that long – such a good guest and helper, and easy and generous companion… It was stonkingly hot, so she didn’t do much sight-seeing, mostly hiding in the shade or the pool – but she got me hooked on the evening G&T – I’m still doing it…

By the time Any left it was August, which was almost unbearable it was so hot, but we made it through somehow, and in early September I took off for 4 weeks in September – hallelujah! Mariana to the rescue… However, a couple of days before I left, I inadvertently pruned the top of my finger off instead of the plumbago – major fuck-up #2… Tried to get in re-bandaged in NYC the 3rd day I was there, only to end up spending 8 hours in the emergency room and lo and behold came down with COVID. (Actually, I’m sure I caught it on the trip over – British Airways via Gatwick and I was the only one masked on either flight, or in the airports).  O then spent 3 of my 4 precious weeks in isolation, unable to see my friends – argh!  I had scheduled a Kamikaze concert for Oct. 1st, but I was ready to cancel it, I was feeling so wretched, when Steven called and said “ doesn’t matter if you don’t even play, just sit there and smile, we need to do this gig!” – my first reaction was “thanks a lot, but I’m not just window dressing, and if I’m too sick to get my chops back in time, I don’t want to suck in front of the entire musical community”. “Suck it up” was his response, “ forget your ego, and do it for the the community – we ALL need it!”  So I did, and of course it was wonderful – altho’ I did plan 2 sets very carefully, alternating sax and piano and accordion – but I had to re-finger all the piano work since I still couldn’t use the middle finger of my left hand – Jesus… but it salvaged the trip – I don’t think I’d ever have dug myself out of the hole without that…

And so back to the island once more. Christian and Miriam showed up shortly after I got back for a wonderful week’s visit.  They worked like champions around the place, Christian in the fields and Miriam in the kitchen – heaven… such good friends I have, I’m a lucky so-and-so… and summer just kept on going… the days got shorter and the nights cooler, but the sun was still so hot, and the sea so lovely – the silver lining to the water getting so hot in August… swimming pretty much every day well into November, and a couple of times a week from then on.  Incredibly damp, and warm, so the garden became sooo lush – the fields knee deep in greenery, like Ireland… Some rain and grey in early December, then clear again – Solstice swim, Christmas Day picnic and swim at Son Saura with D&C… pretty great…

Christmas is always bad for sis and this year was no exception – she became nauseous the week before and was pretty awful for about 2 or 3 weeks – finally got the doctor out just before Christmas, but she (Victoria) was useless – basically said there was nothing wrong with her, but she should go to the emergency room if she wanted tests done – thanks a lot…

I made a new friend in the fall, named Anna – a producer, married to a bass player, they are from Barcelona but lived in London for 10 years so they have good English, which helps!  I sat beside her at one of the Alexander’s early music concerts – she had to leave early to go to another concert she was producing and I left with her – the two baroque guitarists were not in tune and my teeth were on edge.  We had coffee a few days later, and then they invited me for dinner – with Alexander and Marie Antoinetta – that was a great evening, and one we all vowed to repeat.  Both men musicians, albeit one jazz, one early music, and both women producers… Musicians – I just feel more comfortable around them than anyone else…

I was going to throw a Solstice party but in the end it was too much to deal with, and I spent the day by myself, swimming at Binibeca, making a tree out of oak branches from the huerto and decorating it, and making mulled wine just for me by the fire… lovely…  New Year’s Eve I also kept for myself – I turned on the upstairs water heater, got out a bunch of candles, set up some music, and had a long, hot soak in the bath – heaven… Expensive, no doubt, heating all that water, but not as much as going to a spa, and anyway I deserve it once in a while.  Need to do it more often.  Put your own mask on first, before helping others…. Talking of which, sis didn’t give me anything for Christmas, of course, so I told her she could give me a spa day at Sea Bruixes – or a half day… she agreed happily, and also allowed me to take off on Christmas Day for the picnic and swim – I had had Christmas dinner with J&R the night before… sometimes it works out…

And here we are, heading into 2023.  Last year doesn’t sound so bad in retrospect, tho’ I have glossed over all the bad stuff, of which there was plenty…Diana Is in some awful stalemate, something’s got to give one way or the other, but I don’t know how… But I had some good travel and some good visitors.  More of those please! And more music!


2022 retrospective


KAMIKAZE GROUND CREW FALL REUNION OCT. 1ST

The “annual” reunion at Westbeth, this year on Sat. Oct. 1st at 8pm. Who knew the Community Room had such good acoustics, and was such a fun hang? Some old music, some new music, some deep listening…

GL, alto & bari sax, accordion, piano and vocals; Doug Wieselman, clarinets, saxes, guitar; Peter Apfelbaum, tenor sax; Steven Bernstein, trumpet, slide trumpet; Art Baron, trombone; Marcus Rojas, tuba; Kenny Wollesen, drums, percussion & Wollesonics.

Westbeth Community Room, 155 Bank Street, in the far West Village of Manhattan.



January 2022

Menorca, as always…

2022 – good grief… can we just skip this one and go straight to 2023? I have a feeling that might be better…

To recap the last couple months…. November was the wettest month on record – ever… I think we had more rain in one month than we’ve had in the past 3 years put together… we quite literally saw the sun just twice in the course of the month.  Good Lord….  It made me realize how dependent I am on my outdoor life in order to feel life is worth living… It stopped raining in December, but there were still an awful lot of grey days – miserable…. and it’s been COLD, no warm spells where we could eat lunch out on the patio… However, any day the sun did manage to show its face at lunchtime, I’d pack a sandwich and bike down to the sea, find myself a corner out of the wind, in the sun – I even threw myself in the water a couple of times – bbrrrr! but that saltwater baptism, no matter how cold, and how brief, just makes me feel alive… I got in on Christmas morning (it was sunny, but cold and windy). and again on New Year’s Day with Cristina and David, Margot supplying cava and treats as per tradition –  it was grey and windy and really cold, but I had to do it, and Cristina kept me company, brave soul…

The bad news is that our electricity bills have gone through the roof – more than doubled – the past 3 months have been 220, 190, 220…. after the first shocker I re-arranged everything to run water heaters and pool only in the middle of the night, sis no longer uses her electric radiator (we now get through 2 butanos a week), but it made almost no difference. – I don’t know what we’re going to do…. plus of course we’re burning through wood at the rate of knots…not sleeping very well, needless to say, unless I take a pill…

Sis is much the same as ever.   I take her to physio once a week (only though the end of this month,  I think),  she does her exercises, walks around the pool and washes the breakfast dishes. – that’s about it… I should be grateful for small mercies – it could be a whole lot worse….

Had a lovely Solstice zoom with the NYC gang- that really lifted my spirits,  altho’ seeing them all just makes me miss my other life…

I did have a mammo the other day and they say it was fine, so that’s some good news… my left hip is getting jippier by the week. – going to have it x-rayed. altho’I’m sure it’s arthrosis, nothing to be done.  Oh, I’ve decided to stop with the letrozole as of Jan. 1st – see if I can hurt less…. Joan is not doing well at all –  the crazy last procedure she had did nothing at all, her onc now merely suggests hospice… FUCK… she is back home in Humboldt – at least there she has a wonderfully supportive community of friends and colleagues. Wish I weren’t so far away…. we talk quite often… and doug still calls me every Sunday evening, bless him… he got Covid, had a rough few days but is fine now, thankfully…

And so we lurch onward…

Nov-Dec ’21 Menorca