WAS my Blog (Hey! I’m not really a blog I’m a magazine - but not your usual sort of) Magazine. BLOGZINE. It's stopped being anything now, as of April 9, 2008.
But what is online stays online, and what's here is what happened while it was happening. The Chinese above, in Pinyin, is huānyíng, and it means “Welcome” and it’s meant. The girl (pictured) is my television lawyer, just in case. E&D is (or was) a mix of poetry & reviews and sometimes charmingly gentle rhubarb (sometimes with hot custard); it has a heart of rolled gold & the word ‘acerbic’ (is that related to ‘cynical’?) doesn't come into it. There are music reviews too, of gigs at the local music halls. This bit was on hold for a while because I was in China for two years, but now I'm not, though I'm going back soon. Anyway, everything here is all a kind of mysterious (I’d like to say it’s sensuous but it isn’t) zone of gentle & benign happiness (whatever the hell 'happiness' is), where headaches disappear & people are friends, & your shoes never need cleaning, & I hope you enjoy it.
This is a re-designed site, launched in October 2006. You can view the original website, and all the stuff published there, by clicking here.
Oh, & if you want to find out about my poetry, please go to my Home-From-Home which is a site almost as heavenly as this one.
I saw Michael Chapman play at The Maze about three years ago. He was a name I remembered from listening to John Peel’s “Top Gear” when I was still at school back in the late 1960s, and though I’d never bought a Michael Chapman record I figured if he was playing ten minutes away from my door then I’d go and see him. He was great. Just a class act. So when he returned to The Maze last week it seemed more than reasonable to go and see him again.
It was kind of funny at first. I went with my friend Jill. We’re both 55. One of the first things she said was how old everybody in the audience was. She was right. It wasn’t like there were loads of walking frames around, but there was quite a lot of silver hair. I’ve got grey hair, but I felt quite young. Chapman is now in his sixties, I guess, but boy, can he play guitar! He split the set into two: in the first half he played solo, and later he was joined onstage by his band. I’m not even going to mention how old some of them looked. If I’d been an undertaker maybe I would’ve been measuring them up in my mind. But they played a storm. I have no idea what songs they played, because I don’t know any Michael Chapman songs, but it was all really good. Some folky stuff can be really glum and meandering and somewhat devoid of life, but life was what this show was absolutely full of.
A few days later (last night, to be exact) it was Mike Heron at the same venue. Mike Heron who a long time ago, with Robin Williamson, was The Incredible String Band. I also saw Heron a while back in one of the recent reincarnations of the String Band (read the review here), but this time he was solo, although he did have his daughter Georgia alongside, on occasional keyboards, percussion and voice. The only Mike Heron stuff I know is the ISB things; other solo stuff I have no idea about. On the evidence of this show I’d have to say that the old material is way better than the new. I don’t think my lack of familiarity with the new songs made any difference. I don’t have to know songs. But half the set was String Band golden oldies, and for melody and energy they left the new things standing. It was a rotten night outside. My Chinese teacher and I had trudged from her house for over half an hour in snow and rain to get there, but it was worth it to hear “You Get Brighter” and “Log Cabin Home In The Sky”, from “Wee Tam & The Big Huge”, and a startling “Swift As The Wind” from “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”. I grew up on that stuff. And when we got outside at 11 o’clock the snow was gone, replaced by rain.