I already want to find a way to stay in a nearby B&B,
Travel Lodge or house. Buying the tent was a mistake.
The problem is twofold. Firstly I really, despite
appearances, don’t want to be a moany git. Secondly, I have promised another
great friend that I would be there, in the field, in a tent. That produces
guilt-like feelings when I plan my escape. Curses!
Going to have another try at buckling down and dealing with
Nothing turns me into a miserable, mean spirited grump like
going away on holiday. Actually, I love going on holiday, but the first 24
hours is usually a terrible time where I have a get used to new surroundings
and being ‘relaxed’, which is not something I’m very good at.
However, over the years I have managed to get the
decompression time down to almost nothing and, more importantly, I’ve got
better at hiding it. Unless we are talking about camping. Then it all goes
very, very wrong.
I have nothing against people who like camping. Some of my
best friends enjoying sleeping out in the freezing cold under some sort of fire
retardant plastic sheeting and eating barely cooked food off a tiny, tiny
portable cooker while cows drop massive piles of shit nearby. That’s fine. For
My problem with camping is much more deep seated. It’s
probably something I will never fully understand without hours of therapy I am
never going to have. Suffice to say I like buildings with walls and a roof. I
also like sleeping on a bed. Oddly enough I have spent a large portion of the
last year sleeping on an inflatable mattress because of all the decorating and
furniture moving at home. But there’s the crucial point. It was at home, or at
someone else’s home. I was not sleeping in a field.
So why am I going on about this? Is it time for a random
rant or is there something more sinister at work?
At the end of this month my family has been invited to the
birthday of a very dear friend. This is a person I have huge amounts of respect
and love for so, of course, we all said an enthusiastic yes to her request to
celebrate her birthday by camping in a field near her house. My wife and
children expressed their enthusiasm in a refreshingly honest way. That is, they
love the idea and can’t wait to go. I have decided to stop being such a
miserable git about camping and attempt to enjoy what would be an otherwise
perfect celebration, without complaining.
To this end I’m going to buy a tent tonight and commit
myself to the deal. Commit. That might be a key word.
If you see no more posts on this blog about camping you know
I’ve wrestled with my demons and sorted it out so that no one has to be
irritated by my whinging and ungrateful behaviour. Stay tuned.
I saw Neil Cowley last Saturday in his tribute to the
musical life of Dudley Moore. As famous as Dudley was for his acting and comedy
performances it was music that was his real love. He played to deal with his
demons and he played beautifully. Neil Cowley did a fantastic job illustrating
this story with Dudley Moore’s own music and his influences. He neatly showed
how that story affected his own too.
I felt a bit jaded about my music listening recently.
Nothing quite hit the spot. I was saved from this luxurious problem by hearing
a band called Algiers on the NPR All Songs Considered podcast. Their full-on, powerful
song ‘Black Eunuch’ blew away most of the cobwebs.
I was also helped by Camille’s
classic (well, classic to me) album, Le Fil. This is my go-to album when
nothing else works.
Finally, I heard the new Andy Sheppard album, Surrounded by
Sea. Jazz is always hard to define but I came to this because it’s on the ECM
label which rarely produces bad albums. The line-up is double bass, drums, sax
and guitar. The guitarist adds textural support, rather than shredding and strumming.
I’m intrigued by this use of the instrument and putting it in a jazz context
makes it more compelling. I’m aware this is a personal taste and became even
more aware of how subjective these things are when I checked out reviews for
the album. In the Guardian, John Fordham wrote “the addition of Eivind Aarset’s
guitar playing “…gives the music even more breathing space.” In the Telegraph
Ivan Hewett says the music is “…suffocated by Eivind Aarset’s electronics and
heavily pedalled guitar.” I greatly enjoyed the album and recommend a listen.
If you like music that moves outside the mainstream (whatever that is) then listen to some centrozoon. It's deep, immersive stuff. Full of emotion, power and even a little humour. I love it. Tell your friends!