Saturday, 19 June 2010

syd, flag n things

18th June

Every so often--once a year, say--I have this urge to listen to Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn. This morning was one of those times.

Outside the bus windows the morning was bright enough to make you feel light and the west Oxfordshire countryside was on the cusp of wild beauty and rampant out of control wilderness.

The HTC was set to shuffle and I hit Astronomy, which was fine--good guitar vibes--as was the next. But then Syd Barrett's Matilda Mother kicked off and, yikes, the weirdness started.

There's a moment in Invisible when Sarah says something like she feels that someone's scratching their fingernails across her mind. Well, Syd's lyrics and the throbbing headache music felt like that.

I remember seeing a photo of Syd taken just before he died. A mild-looking late middle-aged man on a bicycle. The bike had a wicker basket, if memory serves. He had a woolly scarf and gloves. Long gone were the brainstorms and acid-induced ideas. But their legacy sure lives on.

Why do I return to those tracks? Well, sometimes--every three years, perhaps--you can find yourself in a relaxed-enough oh-that's-just-Syd-being-Syd mood to really enjoy a run of them. That's the craic. That's the high the mind craves (Steady!). As screwed a yearning as Syd's for the stuff that blighted his life. But safer, thankfully.

Continued, 19th June

Phew! Oxford term's almost over and it's left me drained but reasonably content. The reasonably refers to my self-doubts and wish that I could've done better. The students I've worked with have been great, putting in admirable amounts of effort.

Not that summer is going to be a breeze but I'm hoping to have a bit more time to tackle the weeds on the allotment, plant some cucumber seedlings and so on. If I can remember where the allotment is.

I've also got to do some more work on the StreetBooks edition of Invisible, which is due out on Thursday 2nd September. Btw the Anchor Book Club discussion of Invisible has been rearranged, by mutual consent, for Monday 13th September.

Meanwhile, on a Latin American theme, I was really pleased that the editor of Outline, the Bodleian newsletter, decided to publish both my pieces--one on the visit to the Bod of Marcelo Ebrard, Mayor of Mexico City (front page), the other about the donation of 19th century Colombian newspapers to the Bodleian by Dr Alvaro Holguin, grandson of President Carlos Holguin (the papers formed part of his private collection).

Btw went to the Latin American Centre summer party last night. Fantastic live music from the students! Thanks to Elvira and David for organising the evening!

Which is about it for the mo. Apart from saying that I took the pic of the yellow flag yesterday opposite where Lucy's iron foundry used to be in Jericho.

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