Sunday, July 20, 2008

All T & No G

How about this? I am available in translation! Me! Well, not to get too excited because it was something done specifically for a foreign-language magazine but I can at least say that my work has been translated into other languages. Or, Finnish at least. I have three pages for the cover feature of issue #34 of Colossus magazine from Finland – an interview with Don Falcone of Spirits Burning, done at the request of Don and the Italian Black Widow Records label. Black Widow kindly sent me a double-LP vinyl of their new Spirits Burning release Alien Injection in return – a lovely package on heavy vinyl, really high-quality stuff. As for the interview, God knows what bits they used (Don sent me his interpretation of the parts used, I’ve not even tried to work it out!) but it’s nice to be in print in Finland anyway!

Yesterday we departed en-family-mass for the all-day music festival at Lanhydrock, near Bodmin, a country estate maintained by the National Trust. This was the first time the boys had ever been to a music festival but they seemed keen to give it a try and we thought it would be a great experience for them. Anticipating rain we set out with some trepidation and plenty of waterproof clothes – to discover that (as someone put it from the stage) the power of positive thought had brought us sunshine instead. So I am now sunburned and sore, and frankly, pretty tired, but we’re all very happy at having such a great day.

The list of bands ranged from a Jazz orchestra, through a ten-piece Soul band (which the boys loved because they knew most of the numbers being covered) and onto indie-rock and world music. We particularly enjoyed The Hollies (I’m not going to say ‘surprisingly’ because I still think ‘The Air That I Breathe’ is a great song) and local heroes Rosie And The Goldbug. Here I’ll note that Morgan and Niall, determined to be at the front, did not enjoy one of the Goldbugs attempting to dance with them - though their Dad enjoyed the dancers immensely and not because their gold costumes left nothing to the imagine. Honest.

Though the boys flagged a bit towards the finish (fortunately not so badly that we couldn’t make it through to the wonderful firework display at the end), we really enjoyed, despite their sound problems, the headlining Dandy Warhols and especially liked the African-Blues-Rock fusion of Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara. We all watched this rather compelling set from the front of the stage and it really heartened me to see my guys getting into something different than simply guitar-based white rock music. Apparently, Adams (who plays guitar) and Camara (who is a noted player of the riti – a traditional Fulani one-stringed fiddle) recently won a ‘Crossing Cultures’ prize at the BBC World Music Awards; their blend of North and South African sounds with electric guitar rock was terrific. It’s interesting as well, because I recently interviewed Simon Williams from Earthdance (formerly Mandragora) who was telling me about the work he does in India and Africa on bring together fusions of different world music. What we saw on Saturday evening chimed with what Simon had been telling me about his work in this area.

I interviewed Simon as part of the Free Festivals book - a progress up-date on the book’s myspace page is long overdue, and having been out and about a bit recently on this project I’ll write that up sometime this week. I spent a day down and around Brighton a few weeks back, meeting up with Michael Dog (of Club Dog fame), Simon, and Gary from 2000DS, who still lives a full-on life parked up on a scrapyard with his bus and various motors and, on the day I visited, awaiting eviction. All three are articulate guys, passionate about the legacy of the Free Festival movement and are excellent interviewees that have all brought something valuable to the book with their commentary.

Oh! T & No G! Right! Went down on Friday night to the Falmouth Princess Pavilion to see Suzanne Vega – the first time I’ve seen her perform since a gig at the old St Austell Cornwall Coliseum about seventeen or eighteen years ago. Courtesy of my review of her latest album in Record Collector in 2007, I’d been on the guest list for her gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last year, but couldn’t make it due to business commitments. Friday’s show was just wonderful, Vega has this ability to project to each and every audience member as though he or she is the only person in the room and is enjoying a one-to-one conversation about her life. Anyway, it was just fantastic to go to this show with my old mates Joe and Raymond (anyone remember Sunday nights downstairs at the Penventon in Redruth? Those were the days!) but I was just so tired when I got back that I figured I’d have a G&T wind-down with and then go to bed. I carefully poured out a measure of Gin, went to the fridge and got out the tonic, poured it into the glass, added an ice-cube and settled down to watch a repeat of Coupling for ten minutes or so whilst I drank my G&T.

Turns out, what I drank was T and no G; the Gin was still sitting there in the measure come the morning.

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