February 20th 2019 (Whitley Bay)
7am. Breakfast in bed; poached egg, toast, coffee.
Miles Ahead, Miles Davis film. My favourite things – his bug-eye shades and coked-out cornrows, his chiselled cheeks and silver shirt (what is that, latex?!), circa Bitches’ Brew, which, now I’ve seen the makings of, begins to make more sense – a series of extended live jams mixed into shape by Teo Maceo – but, only slightly less impenetrable!
10am. Broom cupboard. Record a second guitar for an instrumental that may or may not become ‘Wet Sleeves’.
2pm. Mike W drops Fergus off. MW is off to London to watch a chess tournament at The Albert Hall, though, surely this can’t be correct?! Fergus, his Springer puppy, is staying the night here. We take a walk out on the Longsands. The sky is spring blue, but the wind is arctic. It skims the tops from the breakers. Fergus is inexhaustible! Drop into Surf Café for a pot of tea. Fergus, under the table, curls at my feet, soaking wet, dozes. I buy a ticket for Mike W & Alan Mc’s album launch, here in April.
6pm. Add a third, picked, guitar line to this morning’s work.
8pm. The Rockcliffe Arms with Dave & Jane B and Spanish Ian. Fergus, under the table, wrapped round my jeans, dozes. DB empties a pocketful of plastic tokens onto the table, left over winnings from his Christmas Quiz victory. He kindly buys all the drinks with these! The bar maid is painfully thin and the men at the bar frown as she spreads out the tokens on the counter and adds up their total, according to colour, with a movement of lips and tapping the tips of her fingers on her inconsiderable chin.
11pm. Take the scenic route home along the seafront. The puppy snaps at the snow. The ships in the bay sparkle like distant cities.
Midnight. Book a flight to Berlin.
February 20th 2020 (Whitley Bay)
A busy postcard from Nick B. I pocket it to savour at Cullercoats Coffee. I sit out the front at one of the tables and smoke and take a mug of tea and read it through several times. Nick B writes a great postcard.
The flat is on the market again. 6pm two Polish women and a babe-in-arms arrive. The flat feels suddenly crowded. I sit on the kitchen work top and listen to them speak as they walk around, which takes all of two minutes. The elder of the two speaks no English, looks very confused. The younger (her daughter, the prospective buyer) translates for me: “No TV?” I haven’t had a TV for ten years. Daughter nods and translates for mother. Mother tuts for some reason and they suddenly leave!
As I close the door behind them I see a card on the door mat. It is from TV Licensing. The gist of it being that an inspector had visited to check on there being ‘no television registered at this address’! Perhaps the mother and daughter and child..? Ha! Seems a somewhat convoluted and complicated cover, but a lovely coincidence all the same!
February 20th 2021 (Penn Beacon)
A tooth, worked loose over the year, a dog tooth, a canine, falls out as I brush my teeth. I study it for some time, a little sad, a little shocked, but, ultimately relieved. The dentist had been keen to have it out last year, but I found him far too eager. I put it in a red lacquer pill box with Greetings From St. Petersburg embossed on the lid (a gift from Jess C last summer). I return the pill box to its tiny space in the printers’ letter tray that hangs on the living room wall, along with a collection of things that I’ve found (and, now, lost) and try to forget about it. But how can you forget about something like this?