Today I feel sad.
The kind of sadness that gnaws away in your solar plexus.
I’m not alone everybody I know feels sad. It’s like suspended animation, like the world is holding its breath. Like everything that’s awful is being hidden in plain sight. Like the Green Party have given up because the local Tories have allowed yet another property developer build another shitty housing estate where ancient woodland grew.
Like nurses and teachers and firemen and railway workers all having to use food banks.
Like racism and homophobia and nasty little acts of violence which are happening all around us – like throwing bangers through a letter box to kicking refugees when they’re down.
Compassion has been dumped in the dustbin and is rotting down with dirty nappies and cold tea bags whilst the dustmen are also vote to strike.
I lay down on my yoga mat and did 40 minutes with a handsome Indian actor, he was on the video and I was on the carpet.
Then I did another cd’s worth of stretching and bending and sending out love to the world, you know the way you do when you’re feeling mopey, sending out love to the world and trying to make the heart and crown chakra smile, when there’s fuck all to smile about.
Then I sorted out a whole pile of music and played jazzy versions of Christmas songs. I sounded like my mother, back in the day, when all pubs had a piano and my mother played like Les Dawson with all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order. She would vamp till ready, my mum, and if anybody felt inclined they would warble round the old Joanna like the Ashkenazy East Enders that we are. If he hadn’t decked her, my father and mother would sing in perfect harmony. She sounded like Ella Fitzgerald and he sounded like a bassier version of good old Frankie Blue eyes.
We always had music in my house. From Danny kay to the Russian Army Choir. From hymns to the her favourites like The Andrews Sisters. When I was 14 I was given a square black and white record player which I kept next to my bed. I had a limited number of vinyl; Cleo Lane singing weird jazz and Norways No.1 Mr. Greig. I would lie on my bed reading romantic French novels as the Holberg Suite scratched its way to its conclusion I would put down my book, dab away my tears and dream of a life away from Reginald Dixon bashing his organ of a Sunday.
And so my musical taste developed and I was introduced to James Taylor by my first ever boyfriend. Chopin I knew, Bach I knew, I even understood Debussy. But when I got a call instructing me to buy James I was told he sung out of tune but.. but indeed. He is still played regularly in our house.
And then I met the old git. A bass playing, drummer who’s father had the best embouchure in Leeds. The Northern Warbler took me by the hand, and made me listen to ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ by the one and only Stevie Wonder. I could hear the melody, and feel the rhythm but what I had never listened to before was the bass. There in all his glory was Nathan Watts accompanying The Wonderloaf and so a new world opened up to me.
And then I was in a band, writing and singing Political rock music. With a blaring saxophone and squealing guitars and me on the piano, we played everywhere from Borås in Sweden to Blackpool in Backpool. There are some folk out there who still have my two albums. In music shops you can locate them for £2.79. a piece cheap at any price. This morning, because I felt so blue I played jazzy Christmas songs with major 7ths and flattened ninths echoing all the way down to those halls decked with holly.
And then one day, in the 80’s whilst walking with the ‘oosbind in North London, we passed a wall with graffiti. Not a Banksy but a white wall daubed with STEELY DAN dripping in crimson paint. So begun a love affair with Donald Fagin and Walter Becker. We went to see them at the O2. I have films on my camera of Fagin but no Becker who had sadly died. Those tickets cost us over £500, we were scammed by the ticket masters. Over the last few years we have been entertained by the likes of Dirty Loop, Snarky Puppy, even the occasional 1975 and always happy to listen to JACOB COLLIER. But my go to for dinner is either CHARLIE HAYDEN or BOB JAMES, with a repeated booking of JAQUES LOUSSIER.
The soundtrack to our lives warm and mellow as the soup bubbles and the potatoes boil.
Part of my melancholia and watery eyes is a problem with my new glasses, the opticians haven’t got it right. A month of inhibited seeing. Maybe I’m not allowed to see what really is happening out there. This morning trying to put down a remote recording for a voice over, we had clamps and sellotape sticking up the script on the fancy mic. I still couldn’t read it unless I leant forward, stood on tip toes, and shone a bright lamp onto the fuzzy script through my new shite eyeglasses. I’m typing even more typos than ever so Bong goes yet anather lucratave movie jab.
I’m now waiting to go out to a performance in the local village hall where a family will be singing and playing together for £8.00 a ticket. Christmas comes but once year so we are supporting our local performers. I won’t be able to see them unless I hold my glasses to a side and crane my neck upwards to see them. It’s cheap at half the price since I now have double vision – I get two for the price of one.