Four months since the last posting here, I could say it comes and goes in a flash but that might not be true. As the lockdown month continues, the virus continues, the absence of music and sport and theatre and cafes and touching continues, and I’m resisting another superfluous rant. Life goes on, and so does death – Alec Sykes, founder of Wakefield Jazz, two weeks ago, in his 80s with covid complications – saw him sitting outside Mocca Moocho cafe in town not much more than a month ago, hale and hearty it seemed. And a young friend in Stroud, in more distressing circumstances. And all else seems a little insignificant.
But there’s still new music to listen to (and old) – in the car during the last week: Mary Halvorson, Steve Lehman, Winifred Atwell, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Fats Domino – I’m working through quite a list. And new books to read – (or not so new) CLR James The Black Jacobins (for the excellent Stroud Radical Reading Group), Arundhati Roy, Perry Anderson in New Left Review, endlessly trying to keep up with The Wire magazine before a new one arrives (and all the music that needs to be investigated). Corey Mwamba’s excellent Freeness hour on Radio 3 (Saturdays at midnight). Martin Archer’s Discus label providing a stream of essential music. But I’m not one for streaming jazz/music videos, so no recommendations there. We just watched DNA on BBC Iplayer, that was gripping and quite draining by the end – Danish, with the added bonus of trying to place actors from previous viewings (mainly The Bridge). And Roadkill (BBC) with Hugh Laurie covered a lot of political zeitgeist ground. Exam question: compare and contrast the careers of Fry and Laurie, with reference to their origins in (allegedly) alternative comedy of the 1980s. No deviation, no hesitation, no repetition.
Meanwhile, the sun is in a cloud, the wind is high, the garden is preparing itself for winter, the goldfinch are endlessly busy, Chet Baker is in the background and a healthy cycle ride is beckoning.
Album of the week: Mary Halvorson – Artlessly Falling with Robert Wyatt on vocals – what could be better?