11/7/2007 - Yesterday

Yesterday I went for this big walk. I often wander out, I plan my route
accordingly. If I have something that I need to concentrate on then
I’ll take a bicycle path or an old railway, somewhere I won’t be
disturbed. If I want to see some life I’ll favour more populated areas.

I
was pretty random in the end, getting off at Cessnock tube station, I
thought I’d try to walk right through the Southside to the east. I was
a walking office. I had all these things to think about, and I just
couldn’t get into it. Instead of giving it up and heading back and
doing something useful, I just kept walking like that was my job or
something.

Those are the days that you question yourself…What am
I doing? Shouldn’t I be doing something useful? These are the days
where you fantasise about driving a bus. You know the start of Taxi Driver
when Travis gets the job because he drives around all night anyway, and
he figures it might as well be his job. I ought to have a job, which
involves wandering about Glasgow all day.

I love the bus
driver thing. I could take the early shift. I like that. I like being
up early, especially in summer. It would be a privilege to feel the
city waking up. It would be nice to have a little impact on people’s
lives, people that I usually just walk by.

Anyway, I’m
dreaming. I’m just looking for a little magic, and who isn’t? Who isn’t
trying to squeeze that little bit more magic out of their day? But it’s
tricky stuff, magic. It’s elusive.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons, knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree

Nick Drake, Northern Sky.
He was feeling it when he wrote this. You can tell because the
resulting song is…magic. But the magic didn’t last for that long.
Perhaps he was on a downer by the time he had his tea. Who knows?

Mick
handed me the music for this song yesterday. We’re going to play it at
the wedding of a friend in a week or so. I’m glad to because my friends
want me to sing it, but also because I love this song, like probably a
lot of you.

I was never a fan of the Drake when our group
started. I heard the Cello Song a couple of times, and that was it. It
just drifted over me. It wasn’t pop enough for me at the time, and I
was a pop Nazi in the early nineties. People started saying I sounded a
bit like Nick Drake when we started out. And Donovan. And Love.

I’ll
take the Love. We all loved Love. But I’d never heard Donovan. The
stupid thing is that when asked for a line description of the band in
’96, for a magazine, in irony Richard wrote

A 16 legged stramash which sounds like Donovan Lovedrake.

..or something like that. Well that sealed it. People then took it as read that these were our essential influences!

I came to like the Drake. Got to love the Drake! Never really Donovan though.

So
here’s me looking for magic. I couldn’t find it in the early morning
café. They were playing late Cure, so it was lucky that Marisa passed
by on her way to work. I skipped out and join her on her commute. We
part company at the bank.

I plan to go to George Square to try
out the free Council Wireless Scheme. She warns me that there is some
sort of piping rally in the Square. I can confirm the presence of
bagpipes when I pass a little later, so I stay on the bus, and I end up
here, at the old site of the Rottenrow Hospital. It’s a beautiful urban
space now. Strathclyde University sensibly and correctly made it into a
groovy plaza/park thing.

Still getting that feeling though. The
feeling that the barista or the hairdresser is plugged into their day
and I’m not. That’s what comes of spending so much of the day inside my
own head. Maybe if I told you about what I was trying to work on it
would help me to engage. I’ll try it, but forgive me for boring you. I
suddenly see myself as this poor rich architect, driven out into the
streets because his office hems him in. I’d have no sympathy for him at
all; in fact I find it hard to like such a figure..

So I got all
these songs, and they are like little racehorses and I’m trying to get
them to the finish line. (That’s how Trevor Horn used to think about
it. But Trev, what if your horses keep pulling up and going for a
wander or a bit of grass?) I’ve got a big pile of songs.

It
would be better if they were in a fixed state, because then I could
proceed to recording in a straightforward manner, after rehearsal,
arranging and preproduction. But the shadow of the film looms. Let me
take one song for an example.

I had this old song called Perfection As A Hipster.
Well the words seemed to fit very closely with a scene that happens
quite early on in the film. Or perhaps I unconsciously wrote the scene
on the back of the song. Either way is possible. Either way, don’t
think about it too much! Use what you have…

I think I would like
to hear this song sung like by the Shangri-Las. Nice big fat sixties
snare and kick, and three/four bratty girls giving it plenty of over
the top drama. Trouble is, it doesn’t make sense within the context of
the film. It really needs to be this guy that’s singing it, about a
girl who has just walked into the Charity Shop that he works in. It
needs to be the guy.

Even then I’ve got to change a verse or
two. I can make it a duet. I think I’m going to make it a sort of dance
where they circle each other around the racks of clothes and mirrors,
like two bullfighters. So all this affects what gets sung, by whom, and
what sort of rhythm and feel you end up with. It’s miles away from the
Shangri-Las, but then perhaps it’s all part of the fun. I might even
stop the song at various points for dialogue to take place. Or would
that be in poor taste?

So many decisions. Might need to go for a walk.

 

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