Notes From A Fragile Island. 5

November 17th 2004 Crystal Palace

1 restring guitar

2 practice

3 fruit, veg, toilet roll

4 laundry

5 Pips (at school gates)

6 send article to NB

7 Santi

8 rent

9 bathe

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!

13 thoughts on “Notes From A Fragile Island. 5

    1. I think this is it. Different version to the one described at Alan’s. This was a single from about 2013 – but it’s enjoyable mostly for my friend Nick B’s photography. He filmed it on his phone one rehearsal and sync’d it with the vinyl. I gave it a shufty this evening and I’d never noticed Wendy F sat there at the back – sick of her life! It adds something…and it still sounds quite acceptable. Thanks Bill x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that’s the one, and it sounds a good deal more than ‘acceptable’. It kind of grown on me. I also like the Oliver’s-Army-piano on the intro (which could possibly have been reprised later in the song).

        Liked by 1 person

  1. he would say it with something of the boards, something of the greasepaint – I like that, I’ve jotted it down so I can think about it and the friends I have and there particular helloooooo’s!

    Liked by 1 person

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