November 17th 2004 Crystal Palace
1 restring guitar
3 fruit, veg, toilet roll
5 Pips (at school gates)
6 send article to NB
10 be good, drink water, breathe
November 17th 2017 Whitley Bay
Damp metro to West Monkseaton to record at Alan Mac’s studio. He picks me up from the station and we drive 30 seconds and we’re there! A smart family home on a cul-de-sac. The studio is a spare bedroom set-up. Cluttered, cramped and, seemingly, chaotic to anyone but Alan. Tea and chat. Record guitar and vocal for an enthusiastic Receipts. He knows the room well and the playbacks confirm the vibe.
Alan is patient and kind. Of the studio, he says, “It’s a hobby.” And there is something almost apologetic in the way that he says this. But there shouldn’t be.
Mike W arrives at 1pm (“to give you a lift home.”) The three of us sit around the kitchen table and drink tea and eat digestives from a dinner plate. We talk about the session. We natter about the local open mic scene. “A few of those guys have asked me to record them, but…” Alan says. And in the unspoken I feel very privileged and accepted. Grateful.
November 17th 2020 Whitley Bay
In the Co-op I find myself in the same aisle as I____. “Well, well, well.” I don’t know why I say this. But he continues to deliberate the confectionery shelves anyway. It was a halfhearted greeting anyway, and was buried further by my mask and the surprise, I suppose, of hearing my own voice. I turn and return to dairy. He would only want to tell me how pointless it is to wear a mask; he would only want to tell me about Magna Carta. I already have cheese, so I pick up yoghurt.
On the way home I ponder my greeting. It was something Nick B used to say from a bar stool. A hearty greeting he saved for close friends. He would say it with something of the boards, with something of the greasepaint. He would say it with gusto. Something I see that I didn’t have on me shopping for groceries. It was, anyway, not a greeting for I___.
When I get home there are almost a handful of envelopes on the doormat. And there is not a letter from Nick B. However, this evening, having a nosy at Orwell, a postcard from 2017 falls from the pages. Well, well, well!
A list today. It is reassuring to see more rights than wrongs!