In these pandemic times, human activity has been curtailed, and rightly so when considering the mortal threat posed by the Covid 19 virus. Of course, Emiko and I have had both shots of the vaccine, which has proved very successful in reducing the number of hospitalisations and deaths throughout the UK.
Nevertheless, it’s still possible to become severely ill from Covid, even if you’ve had a double dose of the vaccine, so I’m somewhat concerned about the government’s plan to lift all restrictions next Monday, especially as I’m in the extremely vulnerable group due to age and pre-existing health conditions. Currently, the number of people infected is rising again, and very sharply too. Hospitalisation and deaths are also on the rise. This new ‘Delta’ variant of the disease is far more contagious than the original strain and now accounts for 99% of all new infections. And the more the virus remains in circulation, the more opportunities it has to further mutate, perhaps becoming more and more immune to the vaccine.
Yet, even though restrictions are still in place right now, I see people acting with little or no regard to social distancing, hand sanitising or mask wearing in public. They seem to either think it’s all over or they’re totally ignorant of the dangers. The government are saying that when restrictions end on the 19th of July, the need to wear a face mask and continue social distancing will be down to individual responsibility, but they trust that the public will do the right thing. Well, I certainly wouldn’t bet on that. So Emi and I will continue to wear our face masks and try to stay away from crowded indoor gatherings. Better safe than sorry...
On a happier and more personal note, I’ve been playing my new ‘62 limited edition re-issue Gretsch White Falcon guitar a lot on my current recordings. I’m really enjoying the guitar which is beautifully built and sounds great with its vintage spec Filter-tron pickups. The only downside is that it has small, half moon ‘neo-classic’ fretboard position markers which are difficult for me to see as a result of my macular degeneration. The condition of my eyesight has deteriorated even further, despite recently getting new glasses. I was back at the eye clinic last week for more injections, (in both eyes,) and the sight reading tests showed a quite dramatic reduction of vision, particularly in my right eye. It gets harder and harder to see clearly. It’s all very depressing.
Nevertheless, I continue to record new music. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve amassed a huge number of tracks for the ‘My Private Cosmos’ album, far more than I need, probably enough for three albums at least. But as I’ve noted before, the more tracks I accumulate, the harder it gets to choose which ones to put on the album. One way to deal with it, is to make it another double album of course. I’m in two minds about that. Many of the songs are complex and lengthy and so may need repeated listens to fully appreciate. Keeping the number of tracks to a manageable amount may help speed that process. But on the other hand, that would leave so many other curious and interesting tracks out. I’m certainly not ruling out the double album route. We’ll see...
Meanwhile, I’ve been doing promotional interviews for Cherry Red Records who are releasing a luxury 16 disc box set of Be Bop Deluxe’s ‘Live In The Air Age’ album, due for release next month I believe. One of the interviews was for ‘Prog Magazine.’ The set features many more live shows than were on the original album so it will be a ‘must have’ item for fans. I haven’t received my copy of the box set yet but was offered the opportunity to hear the digital files of all the tracks a while ago. As some people might guess, I politely declined. I can’t think of anything more time consuming than listening to 16 CDs of 44 year old live recordings. Perhaps when I’m old and grey I might take the time to listen to them, for old times sake, but right now there’s so much new and exciting music to deal with. (Actually, come to think of it, I’m old and somewhat grey now!)
It’s strange how we perceive ourselves as still young and vital, (until we look in the mirror.) I remember doing the first of the live concerts at the Clothworker’s Hall in Leeds a few years back. Looking out at the audience I couldn’t help thinking, “why are all these old people coming to see me perform?” Then I realised that I was at least ten years older than they were...a sobering realisation! Time is like quicksilver, smearing the years, making a blur of events, people and places. Where does the time go? Down a very deep cosmic rabbit hole I reckon...
And so, back to ‘My Private Cosmos.’ Can’t stop the recording process quite yet, though not not too far to go now, hopefully.
Here’s the latest list of possible tracks that I have to choose from:
‘I Was Speaking With Orson Welles.’
‘The Dusk Before The Dark.'
‘Kingdom Of The Sky.’
'Silver Sparks And Coloured Stars.'
'Merry And Bright'
'An Acre Of Sunshine.'
'Friday In The Future.'
'The Listening Station.'
'Thunder, Perfect Mind.'
'Ghosts Dance In Ghostland.'
'When The Wind Blows All Away.'
'The Super Sensualist.'
'Driving Through England.'
'The Astronomy Of The Heart.'
‘Days Of Wonder.’
‘My Private Cosmos.’ (Long version.)
‘Under Fading Stars.’