You Call That Hot???

….London’s heatwave, described below, suddenly didn’t seem quite so amazing when I stepped off the ‘plane at Verona Brescia airport, and into a furnace. Now THAT’S hot!

What a marvellous time I’ve had for the last few days – great music, great people, great food, great weather.

The solo gig was at the Rivolta Art Restaurant (or something like that – not sure what the official name was) – a marvellous place in Rivotella, on the banks of Garda Lake. The gig was outside the front of the restaurant, so I had people who’d come just to listen, people who’d come to eat at the restaurant and people who were just walking by (which kind of reflects the healthy attitude to the arts that seems to be pretty widespread in that part of Italy, but that may just be the very groovy people I was spending my time with) – anyway, the gig went really well, despite a bizarre introduction from a slightly crap clowning troupe who decided to do a 10 minute show about 20 feet from where I was playing! Time to take a break… sold a pile of CDs, and paved the way for quite a few more shows in that part of Italy.

The next three days involved lots of recording – duo with fab guitar user/abuser, Luca Formentini, quartet with Luca and a rhythm section of Gianni Sabbioni and Frank Moreno, and trio with Luca and Moreno. The duo and Quartet were very good, Trio was good, but I think due to the kind of sound we’d go with the quartet, we slipped all too easily into trying the same thing, and in the quartet lineup I’d not been playing much in the way off basslines, leaving that to Gianni, so the trio was a little empty sounding when attempting the same thing…

Anyway, it was all good, got tonnes of stuff recorded.

Sunday night was spent at a marvellous Italian family birthday celebration, and due to my total lack of Italian linguistic skills (Ciao, Gracia, and a bunch of musical terms is about as far as it go at the moment, but I’ll be learning more soon… ;o) I ended up talking in French to a marvellous Italian artist called Albano Morandi. All in all, a great way to spend a Sunday night in Italy.

So I’m home now, glad to be back with the small person and aged feline. Time to get ready for Greenbelt next weekend, and to get back into finishing the work off on the album with Theo…

Soundtrack – now it’s Janis Joplin, ‘I Got Dem Ole Kosmic Blues Again Mama’, before that Sigur Ros, ‘Agaetis Byrium’; David Bowie, ‘Heathen’; in Italy, Bruce Cockburn, ‘You’ve Never Seen Everything’; Mark Knopfler, ‘The Ragpickers Dream’; Fripp/Sylvian, ‘Damage’; The Cure, ‘Disintigration’; The The, ‘The Naked Self’; David Sylvian, ‘Gone To Earth’; Bill Withers, ‘Best Of’.

Blimey, has it been that long???

Well, what’s happened since I last blogged? Well firstly, my hard-drive is fixed!! Yippee!! I got loads and loads of offers of help from blog-readers, one of which was an offer from Ted to fix the drive if I shipped it to him in Portland, Oregon. So I did, and he fixed it, and shipped it back, and all it’s cost me is a the cost of the new drive and shipping each way. Amazing. Huge gratitude to Ted for that!

For all of last week, I was on Lindisfarne (AKA Holy Island), off the coast of Northumberland, teaching at the Borders School For Life. The idea behind the school is based on the Scandinavian folk high school idea, where learning is pretty much for the sake of learning, rather than for the certificate that you get at the end of it.

The theme for this week was spirituality and ecology, the the many talks, classes and workshops took in themes of the Celtic history of the Island and Northumberland (Lindisfarne was pretty much the first home of the Celtic Christians in England), some stuff on the wildlife in the area, the notion of nature as sacrament, and some other ecological and economic stuff.

There was also a strong creativity thread, which included garden design, all sorts of arty things, and me doing a series on the parallels between music and language, and how to see music as an extended metaphor for communication – looking at music theory and improvisation and examples of language and conversation… It went very well, and much fun was had by all. The rest of the tutors included lots of experts in their field – professors of economics and sociology, design lecturers, authors and the director of the centre for human ecology! All round a marvellous week, and one I’m sure I’ll go back to next year whether I’m teaching or not…

Since getting home, the small person and I have been to a friend’s wedding, and installed a waterfall in the garden, that given the current heatwave has been doubling up as a foot spa. mmmmmmmmm.

So this week is going to be lots of teaching, getting back up to date with the duo album with Theo Travis (artwork nearly finished, just final touches needed on the track mixing), and then off to Italy for a gig on Thursday night!

SoundtrackThe Cure, ‘Disintigration’ & ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’; Cloud Chamber, ‘Dark Matter’; Phil Keaggy, ‘Acoustic Sketches’; Bruce Cockburn, ‘You’ve Never Seen Everything’; Paul Simon, ‘One Trick Pony’; Gary Peacock and Ralph Towner, ‘A Closer View’.