Monday, August 20, 2007

When the sun shone

I'm so unlucky in picking the right week to take a holiday that given this year's pathetic excuse for a summer you couldn't imagine that in the meteorological Russian roulette I'd manage to pick the loaded barrel and enjoyed a week away from the 9-5 in relative good weather and sunshine. But I did. So in the run-up to the incredibly long awaited move to the freelance lifestyle (that's redundancy if you want it spelt out - but, hey, I've been a 9-5 guy for so long I can only now see the positives), I grabbed a week of what Cornwall has to offer, let down my hair and relaxed. Which was great since it included a leisurely lunch gazing over the river at the Pandora Inn, a lazy ramble through the sub-tropical gardens at Trebah and down onto it's small beach where, unprepared for such nice weather at least Janet and the boys managed some paddling.

More serious watersports (if, let's face it, a somewhat overweight middle-aged man in a wet-suit can be taken seriously at all) saw Morgan and myself surfing (well, ok, body-boarding but surfing sounds so much cooler) at Portreath with, as it happened, a sizeable seal that was picking up the waves alongside us. Quite thrilling actually.

Record Collector last month featured the Hawkwind article that I'd sent them a few months back and though it needed some trimmings for over-length, it looked really good and ran to some eight pages including the full page advert taken out in support of the piece by my friends at Voiceprint Records. Really encouraging to see that in print, and in the same issue as a quick interview with Suzanne Vega that I'd unfortunately had to conduct by e-mail when all attempts to schedule a phoner into her hectic dash to Europe and the UK in July came to nowt. I've been a bit barren of major magazine pieces since the Damned interview last year so the publication of the Hawkwind piece came at a very timely moment. I'm now working up a few new ideas for various targets - following the advice I was given recently to pick ten prospects, consider what I'd pitch each of them ... and get on with it.

I also have a couple of book projects now taking shape. The Festivals book with Bridget Wishart is starting to take shape and early contributors will be receiving a questionnaire to get them started very soon now. We've received some excellent photographs from Stonehenge and elsewhere, and I'm hoping we'll be in a position to announce contracts and stuff really soon, though the wheels of publishing grind slowly. I've also started to gather material for another solo book, this time outside of the music genre so I'll say nothing more about that until I can see whether it really has good prospects, but short of there already being a work in progress on the subject in question I think it's a great chance to broaden the literary horizons.

Finally, mentioning the Damned, those old scally-wags turned up in Cornwall last Friday for their third appearance in recent years at the Falmouth Princess Pavilions. Honestly, they are a karaoke band ... but a bloody good one. They (unwisely I thought given the strength of the material) declined to play anything written this century, eschewing any tracks from 2001's Grave Disorder and dropping last years' excellent single Little Miss Disaster and keeping the set-list to Phantasmagoria and prior. But they really get the crowd going, can still pull a decent sized audience, and Dave Vanian clearly still has the wizen picture stored away in his attic that can be the only explanation for his lack of ageing over the years. I first saw them on their 10th Anniversary gig at Finsbury Park and I'd swear that Vanian looks no different now than he did then. I had my own Vanian moment once, at the insistence of the girl I was dating at the time - though it didn't do me any good in the longevity stakes I fear. Anyway, judge for your self at the gig photos I found on-line here and this photograph that surely I should have never let see the light of day.

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