Yesterday was not a good day. Firstly, the podcast I listened to whilst walking Bruno was dull. Secondly I got bitten by a horsefly and it was really painful. I don’t think I’ve ever been bitten like that before. It’s still a bit painful today. I started watching TV in the early afternoon because the Test match was rained off. While I was watching “Babylon Five”, the through-floor lift that enables Roo to get upstairs started making a funny noise. The fuse box showed that one of the circuit breakers had tripped. This had happened the previous day as well and we simply reset it but yesterday, this happened three times in the afternoon. On one occasion, I had left my computer on and, after resetting the circuit breaker, it resolutely refused to switch on. I’m assuming that it was incorrectly shut down one time too many and now it’s permanently sulking and teaching me a lesson. I’m also assuming that everything on the computer is now gone for good. I did a backup a few weeks ago so maybe I haven’t lost everything but I had spent a couple of hours putting all my emails into folders because I was fed up with searching for things and now I can’t access these folders via my phone or this laptop so all my emails may have gone forever. Roo and I also phoned different electricians and arranged for someone to come in today and see if they could see what is going on. I was then unreasonably argumentative with Roo about our miscommunication. I tried to write this blog but couldn’t. Finally, to assuage my anger, I ate too much and drank loads of whisky.
This morning, I feel slightly calmer and I’m recognising that, as I get older, I get increasingly anxious when my routine is interrupted. In order to get the morning off to a better start I have put some Kate Rusby on to listen to and it’s working because she is an excellent singer and creates a beautiful mood.
I regard Kate Rusby’s career to be in two halves. The first part was when she was in a relationship with John McCusker, a Scottish multi-instrumentalist. He had a very big influence on the sound of her albums. She also played with some excellent musicians: Ian Carr and Andy Cutting played on all her albums and there were guest appearances from Kris Drever and Roddy Woomble amongst others. Drever, McCusker and Woomble combined to release a fantastic album called “Before The Ruin” in 2008. After she and John McCusker split up, she married Damien O’Kane, an Irish musician, with whom she has had two daughters. The sound of her albums has changed a little bit – as she has got older, her voice has lost a little bit of the stunning pure clarity that made her first seven albums so magnificent. The change from a Scottish collaborator to an Irish one has also modified the sound slightly. There is now more moog and keyboards and this is not always to my taste. She has also released three Christmas albums which are not quite as interesting as her other albums.
“Philosophers, Poets And Kings” is very good, though. It’s probably my favourite of her Damien O’Kane albums. My favourite song is “Don’t Go Away” and when I first heard it, I knew that I’d heard it before but couldn’t place where. It’s written by N. Gallagher – it’s an Oasis song from “Be Here Now”. Noel Gallagher said “It’s a very sad song about not wanting to lose someone you’re close to. The middle eight I made up on the spot — I never had that lyric until the day we recorded it: ‘Me and you, what’s going on?/ All we seem to know is how to show/ The feelings that are wrong.’ It’s after a row. Quite bleak.” I have Be Here Now” and I quite like it but I’ve just listened to Kate Rusby’s version again and it is stunning and a huge improvement on the original. As much as long term Kate Rusby fans don’t like Damien O’Kane because we all loved John McCusker, his guitar playing is very precise and very wonderful and it is showcased beautifully here. It’s interesting watching Kate Rusby singing because she invariably has her eyes closed and an inscrutable look on her face. It’s almost as if she is concentrating so much on her singing that she is a little cold and unemotional. Her singing is certainly beautiful and she hits all the notes perfectly but it is in strict contrast to someone like Linda Thompson who wrings every possible emotion out of every note. This is not a criticism, just an observation. Listening to Kate Rusby now is very soothing and I can feel my temper returning to normal. Or “the new normal” anyway.
The album features a mixture of jolly, up tempo songs and some more downbeat emotional songs. There is a great version of “Crazy Man Michael” from “Liege And Lief”. Another beautiful song is “As The Lights Go Out” which Kate Rusby has written herself. This is definitely written directly to me. “So with lighter heart and lighter tread, we can face the dawn with a smile instead”.
Today is going to be a better day.