Sunday, June 26, 2011


Having bunked off work early on the excuse that I needed peace to complete my big presentation on the perils of vertical intergration and the merits of chucking it all over to some God-forsaken-shit-hole in the back end of nowhere, I ensconced myself in the wonderful calm of the reference library of Sevenoaks. Ah ! Calm. I pondered the subject.. I thought long an hard.. I considered the scope...I deliberated over moral issues ...God ! It just ain't happening. I retired to the cafe...I drowned myself in teas and knocked back several scones. Returning to library, I hesitatingly lifted the lid on notebook and faced the full horrors of the virgin canvas. Nothing coming...

Hold on ! What is this ! A whole wall of micro-fiche thingermebobs things ? Sweet Nelly Furtado - When did that arrive ? 'Hello there - do you have copies of the local papers from early '67 ? Why ? I think the Beatles visited Sevenoaks in...urm.. and I am interested in the sixties ...err... that is to say I am a bit of a Beatle nut...and.." There were some giggles from schoolgirls who appeared to be studying the Windmills of Kent. Bloody cheek - who are they to judge me ? Windmills indeed. Recogised one of them as a friend of my daughter. Oh crap.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sky of Blue, Sea of Green

I have read that Donovan ("No kids, before you say it - not Jason ! What do you mean you don't know who Jason Donavan is ? Anyway, not Jason Donovan...oh to hell with it. Leave me alone in my world...") I have lost the thread of it now. Donovan (he of 'A Gift from a Flower to a Garden" the cover of which reveals him wearing a technicolour coat... - Hells Bells ! That was Jason Donovan ! Am I having a stroke ? Was it Jason Donovan I saw last night ?)

Start again : I have read that Donovan (Leitch) contributed the above line to the lyric of Yellow Submarine (got there in the end). I have had a bit of a soft spot for the Pyschedelic Scot ever since my much belated hippy days which started rather late for me, between the Winter of Discontent and the Pistols first LP (I've gotta stop this tosh).

And so in '77 when the rest of the class were either banging their greasy towsled locks to Deep Purple or pogo'ing out the top of their Mohicans, I (alone, it has to be admitted) was scouring the racks of the Notting Hill Tape and Record Exchange for dog-ear'ed knocked-down Donovan LPs on my regular Young Person Railcard day trips to the capital. And it was here that it started with the gem of Sunshine Superman snapped up for a mere 40 pence. It continued with a very pleasing Donovan Live in '68.

Now, those friends who were more, let's say, 'with it' were understanding of my Beatles obsession but they drew the line at Donovan and, I suspected, cast each other exasperated looks when....Leave it will you !

And so on Friday night I (alone, it has to be admitted) made my way to the Royal Albert Hall to witness the Pied Piper do his turn. Arriving early, I bought a cheap-seat for a mere £20 and quaffed at expensive lager but what a view ! I was very pleased to be offered a free upgrade to a box - must have a lucky face - where I quaffed again and 'meditated' for a few moments (it had been a long day) in anticipation.

Was it good ? Well, I am glad I went because Sunshine Superman still rates as one of my favourite albums ever and the venue is really something. It was joy to hear those songs and, although his voice was a bit 'vibratto' ...and the orchestra could have benfitted from a little more practice ...and Jimmy Page seemed to miss a few notes (!) this was Donovan ! He wrote a bit of Yellow Submarine, you know.

The 40 pence album was long ago lost along with my original Strawberry Fields / Penny Lane single (in picture cover). I lent it to my mate during the Summer of Much-Content - he left them at his girlfriend's house then she dumped him. If you're out there Sandra Brown - I want my records back. I miss them a lot.