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Peter Sarstedt… ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’

January 8, 2017

Isn’t it fabulous how music fixes time and place – it’s not a question. I remember this record as a young boy living in an English, south coast Devon holiday resort called Torquay. The faded Victorian grandeur of a turn of the last century health spa certainly the type of location Wes Anderson could have done something with.

Listening to and diving into the sophistication of ‘Peter Sarstedt’ song: Where do you go to my lovely’. Thinking of Sophia Loren and taking a girl called Susan for a curry and bottle of Mateus Rose to the Taj Mahal on Abbey Road. Benson & Hedges cigarettes and a diesel train shaped Ronson lighter, swopped at school, in the pocket of a bad lapelled jacket.

The record always reminds me of the apartment of a school friend whose mother worked in a nightclub called the Hideaway. The house was built on the top of a cliff and a huge picture window looked out across the town, the harbour and the crescent shaped Bay.

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Bruce Reynolds the Great Train Robber had lived a little further down the road, he’d actually hired a cot from the remnant shop on Market Street during his stay.

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That record – that front room, view and the experimental snogging of prepubescent’s in tight Levis’ now forever enmeshed with Marlene Dietrich, the haut couture of Balmain and exotic locations such as Boulevard St Michel.

…And you wonder – are the children still begging in rags on the back streets of Naples?

 

Moving On…

January 4, 2017

The brown pressed cardboard vinyl covered suitcase with its blistering chrome flip locks sit’s on a Roger Dean fantasyscape print.

The imagery of the print accurately fixing the 1970s and the music of Yes and Osibisa, cheesecloth dresses, joss sticks, acid casualties and Victorian asylums gravitating toward 2.5 twin and earth fire regulations.

The 1940s oak utility extending table – its leaves of hospitality sadly neglected, the breaking of bread and splashing of wine long gone like a Train Robbers fortune.

A dusty chair – functional and no doubt comfortable – made sad by the absence of regular arse polishing.

This scene of suspended departure almost mirroring the sort of memories, and sometimes odors, that fleetingly pass as you get older… and don’t you wonder if it is a precursor to the end game? Due to the clarity – old stuff coming back in its original packaging so to speak – the detail of the dying.

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’Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm” Bob Dylan

January 1, 2017

The storm was always inside me and now it has somewhat abated and now the peace rolls over me more times than it doesn’t. The endless possibilities – so near I could touch them – those possibilities out there – creative, spiritual and financial.

I remember my dad giving me a book, I’d’ve been nine or ten, by Sir Francis Chichester called the Lonely Sea & Sky – he bought it from a petrol station on the Newton Road. It was the first proper book I’d ever read; I wonder now how I marked the pages. Louise who took this photograph is from Chichester.

I’ve never been a sailor, I once missed a Danish trawler called the Iris to Esbjerg because they sailed on continental time and my watch when I got up was on GMT – I was still half cut on Carlsberg Special Brew from a late session at the Pine Court Hotel, Warren Road. Rod Hull asked me take his photo sitting between two dancers from the Princess Theatre.

I have always been in awe of the sea and respect it’s force and secrets. I love the sea, the spume, the ozone and the twisted bleached wood from Meadfoot beach that never got made into a lamp. I believe the sea saved me – being able to see it, being able to walk out of Lincoln Woods – being cosseted in so much natural beauty, balm for the soul, when my own life was so ugly.

It is now another country; it is now a memory that if I try I can feel it watering my eyes.

It will be a good year – I pray it gives all of us “Shelter from the Storm”

Photograph: Louise Burston

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Moorgate

December 29, 2016

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I went to the bank to pay in some dough; trying to fend off the red – a futile exercise. I was with my pal who works in Moorgate – he possesses an intense stare and a bulky padded jacket.

The door to the bank wouldn’t open and a cashier operated it from the inside explaining the automatic doors were faulty in cold weather. I asked him: “how do the banks manage in Iceland apart from putting bankers in jail”.

The connection a little obtuse but having the desired effect – all the ingratiating false bonhomie vanishing like the ‘Third Man’ down a post WWII Viennese sewer.

I persisted in my questioning, as there were three tellers in position behind the counter to the two of us. The now standing door opener with a public service, rictus smile got both barrels of “…it’s not a difficult question to answer” He mumbled some response like he “didn’t know” while a sitting colleague tried an aggressive stare from his monitor. The woman dealing me really took her time… all very predictable.

I realise I’m getting extreme – I’m getting angrier – as I get older. These poor bastards doing their jobs are probably the life and soul of the party in their dreams but in reality have the personality and banter of a Frozen Charlotte. Not a fucking poet amongst them.

I know my expectations of people are sometimes unrealistic. I know I’m flawed but I know I’m alive.

Hotel…Hotel

December 27, 2016

Teddy read that people who shave, wax, or trim their pubic hair are at higher risk of sexually transmitted infections but less likely to get lice. Between the devil and the deep blue sea it appears or maybe a vow of silence with occasional chanting and gentle masturbation. The ergonomic Home & Haus kneeling chairs are just a dream for the digital onanist.

Teddy always had reservations around his own defoliation due to police and institutional interactions. The alcoholic croaker in the Portland Borstal infirmary after telling the boy to cough, cupping his balls – announcing: “looks like we’ve got some livestock down here!” Later paint of magenta staining the HMP black Crown stamped white knee hanging pants. Crabs from a filthy police blanket in a glass brick lit, white tiled cell. The magnificent British tradition of body shamed sexual repression very much alive and present.

Bland as an accountants grey bodied, black leather seated, column change, Morris Oxford with bad chrome.

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Hotels keep creeping into Teddy’s posts… He recently read a book by Gay Talese, an American writer who is acknowledged as introducing a more storytelling element to journalism. The book is called ‘The Voyeur’s Motel’. It recounts the story of a 1960s motel owner who built a viewing platform running the length of the motel over a number of rooms. The owner would lie down on the thick-carpeted floor and watch and record the occupants through specially fabricated vents. You need to read it yourself for the pubic coiffures, TV viewing and murder.

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There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved*

December 17, 2016

The Georgian opulence of a seventeen foot crystal-flecked dome floated above a bare black-planked white room. Toasting the elegance, two industrial cast iron broad-finned white radiators mirrored each other.

Outside the snow fell as if dreaming.

In the bedroom she slept, pillow fluffed, snug and shadowed while he considered Chopin composing in the Spanish heat, canoodling with Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin.

The gold-badged black Marantz stereo majestically delivered Prelude in E Minor.

He walked to the petrol station across the road, his toes flexed in hand-knitted striped alpaca socks, a tight face of cold and underfoot the egg carton crunch of snow.

*George Sand

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May It Be Good For You

December 17, 2016

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