Monthly Archives: January 2021

My affairs

As I approach the Beatles song age on Saturday I feel the need to vent something important worthy of my imminent descent into ‘old geezerness.’ Albert Steptoe springs to mind although Wilfred Bram/bell/well was probably about 42 when he played the role. Talking of maturity I once tasted a 100 year old port – it was unpleasant but certainly memorable – perhaps I will be similarly rancidly recordable in 2057.

To celebrate my Birthday, It would be nice to hear other people’s news that hasn’t been passed through the social media “remove anything remotely challenging filter.” So get cracking you lot!

I am happy to report that our four kiddies are coping admirably with Lockdown 2 (or is it 3) and so are we. I admit to a touch of lethargy but they be the result of our coal burning polluting stoves being too roasty toasty (soon to be banned I gather). Actually I thought the myeloma was back with renewed lockdown enthusiasm because over XMAS along with the lethargy the dreaded back ache came back I was a wee bit of a misery – anyway since then the back ache has gone away (an Xmas miracle (must have been my dedication to the Presepio (or in Neopolitan dialect Presebio – Angela (p’s become b’s in Paupisan) ) so I am very very very very thankful.

Despite that welcome deliverance I am preparing to embark on the chemo journey again as advised by the National Amyloidosis Centre and my consultant at York – a newly approved formula that includes another derivative of thalidomide – some other compound I can’t remember – duh  – and steroids! Hurrah. This was predicted months and months ago as my numbers slowly deteriorated and is not a disappointment or setback. I have done really well for two years with only a very slow slide toward the stage where this intervention has become necessary.  That may be down to the stupidly expensive herbal curcumin I take but that may well be snake oil. Though delighted by the prospect of the creative hyperactivity the steroids impart I confess I am not looking forward to feeling ill again or the monthly visits to the hospital given the current danger of death that trips ‘abroad’ (touch of Bridgerton there (wasn’t it a fab show – I fancied him too – and the WIGS!)  however danger of death in the current climate is s certainly not my exclusive concern so I plan to suck it up – besides I am probably 64 when you read this, so times nearly up.

Speaking of times nearly up – I am putting my affairs in order – not because I am pessimistic actually the opposite I am feeling very optimistic that I still have lots to offer and lots to add to my affairs that will consequently need ordering. Anyway the process involves purchasing a lovely bamboo box drawer set (something of a fetish of mine we now have three) from Amazon and every time I think of something that will confound my decedents I bung it in with the intent of explaining it later – so far it includes a scratchy awful video on CD of my production of La Pazzia Senile I did in the 90’s with no audience and an inaudible narration by a dear actor friend that should explain what’s going on – and  an equally inaudible live audio recording of an opera (Dirty Tricks) by my best friend Paul  Barker (concept by me) written in iambic pentameters (after Shakespeare) by Steven Chance – that SHOULD NOT HAVE FAILED TO DELIGHT IN THE WAY IT DID – cos it was rather brilliant – I will collect my catalogue of telephone box audio files in due course – my collection of old Eynsford memorabilia (mainly postcards) – all my poems and stories even the terrible and incomplete ones – the instructions for the telephone box to insure it chatters on in perpetuity – FAT CHANCE (sadly it would be months of work to document and even then I doubt I could communicate it in a way that would make any sense) – together with passwords to bill payment websites-  so that’s my legacy sorted out – inexplicable operas with associate funny and largely inaudible voices, a bunch of dog eared faded postcards sent by unknown people, and equally dog eared poems and bills.

The Uni work is intense – tons of prep and marking – the hard part is staying up with the tech. I guess it’s a good way of staving of Alzheimer’s but blimey modern software packages are so fiddly and so hard to remember (oh oh – early onset on its way).

I am planning but not producing the next live broadcast for the telephone box that talks like me. It’s for Easter Sunday so resurrection themes could fit the bill nicely. I am still obsessed with Berio’s sinfonia that quotes from Mahler 2nd Symphony (The Resurrection Symphony – aha) – so sampling a work that is a compilation of samples is suitably post-modern I suppose – but could be horribly dull – that’s as far as my thinking has gone so I have a bit to do.

I have also found another interesting alignment between my enthusiasms and heroes that may bare so telephone box fruit in the future. It’s probably not true but could it be the case that Charles Ives who lived close to New York heard or saw my anarchist heroine Emma Goldman (who also lived in New York up to 1919 when she was deported) speak at one of her rallies and as a consequence produced this text to a song in 1917.

This is just the last two verses of “They are There.”

When we're through this cursed war,
All started by a sneaking gouger,
making slaves of men
Then let all the people rise,
and stand together in brave, kind Humanity.
Most wars are made by small stupid
selfish bossing groups
while the people have no say.
But there'll come a day
Hip hip Hooray
when they'll smash all dictators to the wall.

Then it's build a people's world nation Hooray
Ev'ry honest country free to live its own native life.
They will stand for the right,
but if it comes to might,
They are there, they are there, they are there.
Then the people, not just politicians
will rule their own lands and lives.
Then you'll hear the whole universe
shouting the battle cry of Freedom.
Tenting on a new camp ground.

Here you will find Charles Ives singing it – really badly  – I LOVE IT

Further down the page are two other versions choral and band – both brilliant but kind of miss the vibe of the Ives original.

I really do feel a connection with Ives – sadly not his talent or genius – he was just so unencumbered by notions of appropriateness, taste, consistency, style, fashion, mood or anything – he just did his thing as it occurred to him on the day – oh how I wish!