The Little People in my Head

 

I wrote this song the other day. I recorded it this afternoon. These are the lyrics, for anyone who would like to read them:

The little people in my head
are listening to what you say
and making notes so I’ll tomorrow
recall what you said yesterday.

The little people in my head
are watching every move you make:
they know I’m feeling hungry,
they watch the way you cut the cake.

The little people in my head
are wondering what I want to do:
they’re tired of doing the same old thing,
it’s time to think up something new.

The little people in my head
are whistling a song:
they’re asking me to play it,
don’t want me to get it wrong.

The little people in my head
are telling me to go to sleep:
they close my eyes, turn out the lights,
the little people, counting sheep.

The little people in my head
are tucked up in their little beds:
they dream of even smaller folk
asleep inside their tiny heads.

Copyright (c) Sackerson, 2019

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Blogging Prone

Getting out of bed in the morning has suddenly become a lot more difficult.  Nine o’clock has been and gone and I’m still prone. Many years ago, as a trainee social worker studying counseling,  I was introduced to bioenergetics or ‘body psychotherapy’ and lying here on this new mattress reminds me of the hours I spent back then laid in the ‘grounding position’,  arms by my sides,  feet lightly crossed.

I’m listening to an album by the improvised music trio Iskra 1903. It doesn’t exactly induce a state of mindfulness, it’s too frenetic a lot of the time  for that. It does,  however,  take me to a safe,  playful,  sometimes serene place.  Derek Bailey,  one of the original members of the group described improvised music (I paraphrase, I  think)  as ‘music without memory’ and I’m sure this has a lot to do with the effect I describe.  There is no ‘epic narrative’. By and large,  the musicians are focussed on the present moment and the immediate future. The overall shape of the music, it seems, is simply determined by what happens.

Be that as it may,  I  find I’m beginning to feel less serene and more thirsty and hungry. It’s probably time to get up.

Rantin’ Richie

We went to a poetry gig this afternoon at the Sip Coffee bar in Richmond.  Top of the bill was a local poet (and Sip regular) Rantin’ Richie. Home-grown culture with a bit of an edge to it is not an everyday occurrence round here. This afternoon was quite treat (and, as usual, the coffee was good, too!).

Local musician Tim Crawshaw came along as a support act, singing several songs he wrote a few years ago,  revived in an act of ” musical archaeology”, although they sounded new,  fresh and relevant.  Three of us stepped up from the floor – I  read three of my poems,  Barbara Hughes sang a poignant feminist song she’s written (sadly, although it was a real highlight, it doesn’t seem to have found it’s way onto the internet, so no link!) and Psy Harrison (singer with the Ceiling Demons)  borrowed Tim’s guitar and sang the first song, The Roses,  from the band’s album,  Nil.

The rest of the afternoon was given over to Richie’s poetry,  most of it taken from his new book,  From Wandsworth to Wordsworth. The foreword to the book was written by Attila the Stockbroker, which gives readers unfamiliar with Rantin’ Richie some idea of what to expect but Richie’s voice is his own and his range is greater than the recommendation might suggest. He name-checks Bob Cobbing and Gabby Tyrrell. While he was reading one poem (I think it might have been The Child of the Forest) I was reminded of Lawrence Ferlinghetti – and an interview I  heard on the radio with him a few years ago in which he said how the world still needed Beat poets. It was good to see they’re still around.

 

 

 

Rantin’ Richie on Facebook

Taking it Easy

Actually sitting down here with a bottle of beer.  It’s not something I do very often,  sit doing nothing.  Hang on.. . I’m blogging. The beer, incidentally, is non-alcoholic. There’s quite a lot of half decent alcohol-free beer and wine around these days,  which is good for me.  I’ve never been a great drinker.  I do like the taste of wine and beer but perhaps fortunately for me,  I like it more than the alcohol in the stuff likes me. It doesn’t make me merry, it just makes me feel ill.

I’m sure I’m not the only one: I’d go so far as to say that the alcohol-free option is so good now I  can see it catching on and becoming the norm. People might turn to it from the hard stuff the way smokers have turned to vaping. An interesting future: smokeless cigarettes,  driverless cars, alcohol free booze.. ..

Anyone who knows me offline will have heard me go on about Marc Ribot. I’ve been listening to a lot of his music recently. No-one I mention his name to seems to have heard of him. He does have British fans – it just seems to be the case that I don’t know any of them.  I assume, too, that he’s better known in the States. Perhaps part of the problem is that he gets involved in such diverse projects – jazz,  post-punk,  Latin American, free improv- that you never know quite what to expect next. He’s both a professional and an enthusiast: it’s one of the things I really like about him.  Is this the same guitarist I embedded two posts back,  playing jazz at the Village Vanguard?

Polar Bear

I would describe myself most of the time as reasonably computer savvy. I’ve even been known to delve into the registries of old PCs, tinkering with lines of digital gobbledygook to keep the old things going. However, what catches me out again and again is when technology takes a step forward and I’m left behind thinking I have to do something which actually does itself. Bluetooth is a case in point. I’ve had very little to do with it even though it’s been around for a long while. I hate to admit that I spent a few minutes looking round my car in the dark for a jack socket last night so I could plug the audio from my tablet into the sound system. After a few minutes, the penny dropped. Bluetooth, you fool! I turned on the ignition, woke up the tablet and hey presto, sound!

And it was all because I wanted to listen to Polar Bear. I went to one of their gigs at the Sage with my daughter (her idea) a few years ago and I’ve been listening to them quite a lot recently. Life-affirming, cheerfully witty and serious all at the same time.

 

 

Great Pinseat

Went out for a ride on Monday with AP.  We haven’t been out for weeks, what with one thing and another. As usual,  we drove over the hill to Swaledale – on this occasion, to Surrender Bridge.  Neither of us felt up to much,  so we opted to head up to the top of Great Pinseat (583m) via the Old Gang lead mine.  It’s a circular route of about five miles – a long,  gradual ascent ending with an exhilarating, bone-shaking descent back to the road.

The track up to the mine is cut into a steep, bare hillside overlooking a beck. As you make your way up the valley,  beck and track converge. At first the beck is too far away to hear but as you approach the old mine buildings, one becomes gradually aware of the sound of rushing water. This is the course of the “Coast to Coast” path.  It’s sometimes busy but today we only saw one or two walkers and nobody seemed in a hurry to go anywhere. There is plenty to explore here: just out of sight over the skyline is Healaugh Crag,  a jumbled mass of rocks strung out along the edge of the plateau above us.

When we reached the far side of the mine buildings we stopped for a drink. The track steepens briefly here. Quite soon it becomes a lot more desolate and exposed until you reach an area of spoil-heaps close to the summit. We took another break here.  It was such a bright,  sunny afternoon it was easy not to notice just how cold it was.

We were looking forward to the fast,  exciting descent back to Surrender Bridge.  However, we’d not gone far when,  bouncing over a rough section of the track I heard a sharp “clang” behind me. Riding over a rock I had just been bounced out of the saddle and instinct told me not to sit down again! I stopped to see what had happened. The bolt securing the saddle had sheared: the saddle and it’s associated  components had flown off. We recovered the saddle but most of the small parts were lost in the heather.

I didn’t realise how tiring it is to cycle without a saddle. It’s impossible, obviously, to sit down for a rest. Fortunately, we didn’t have far to go. On the way home we stopped at the nearest bike shop to see what could be done.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  When I got home I telephoned one of the next nearest, Arthur Caygill’s, instead.

They told me to bring in the saddle and the saddle-post, as they had a box of second-hand parts and might well be able to fix them together again. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a combination of bolts and clamps that fitted,  so I had to buy a new saddle post. When you ride a bike you quickly discover how a bike is an assemblage of replaceable components most of which are not too expensive. They shortened the new post for me and I took it home to reassemble myself.  Total cost £20.

Arthur Caygill was a well-known time-trialler in the north of England the early 1970s, before moving into bike-building. While we were sorting through the saddle bolts,  he told me about Arthur Metcalfe. Metcalfe rode twice In the Tour de France and won the Milk Race in 1964. His winner’s jersey (seen in the video below)  is on display in the shop.