Entertaining Mr Sloan On The Village Green

Quite a long blog this week so you might want to Press PLAY NOW for a listen to England's Dreaming Spires while you read on.

Right, well this week so much shit has gone down in my life and our lives, it brings to mind a couple of those articulated trucks dumping 72 tons of horse manure outside the front door. Actually my sister's friend's dad went senile and ordered something like that, for the back garden, the only problem being his back garden had been paved over about 10 years previously. This particular man, actually, I will tell you about him. He was a friend of my father's called Bert. In the second world war, he asked for a cigarette following a wound, and the smoke was coming out of his back from the cigarette! Pets, and more so people. When they are really loved, oh dear, when they go, oh god and that's it. It hasn't been a good week believe me. Although, I am feeling a surge of something approaching joy as I write. I like a lot of things, life offers a rich palette but what a mistake it would be to ever think everything will be ok, more likely surely that pain and pleasure, joy and pain, laughter and sadness will remain firm friends, dualities, and so on. We seem to get the whole cement mixer of eventualities, ... and p.s. God bless you Gary.

Village Green Machine then. Got in and recorded a 12 string acoustic ballad, called Around Rushall Churchyard. This song for me evokes images of idyllic beauty, English pastoral late summers day tranquillity. I imagine those walks with my lover of the time perhaps to be even more beautiful than they were, with the sun setting so gloriously as it did over the canal. I was broken when I wrote the first 2 verses of that song. Creativity came so readily, it just seemed as if I was dossing around, it was an effortless lazy creation but I now think it one of the best I've written. Its probably better than Ghost Princess, the 12 string does sound beautiful on this song. And the later verses explore the situation which inspired the original song further, going into all the heartbreak, sadness, and I discovered how close beauty and sadness can be. And so it has been a joyous event, in this bitter-sweet way, recording this song.We have also done an electric version, a while back,surely influenced by Glasvegas as much as The Velvets, but its the new version I will put on maybe album 2, with the other version perhaps on an EP.
And so we discovered a spiffing review I think in Shindig! magazine, which said that in a civilised society my songs would be hit singles. Radio 6 seem to think so too, thank you for the airplay. Psychodrama was played next to SF Sorrow by The Pretty things, you can't pay me much higher a compliment than consider my music worthy of such affinity, thank you very much and I do mean that so very much, anything you want, Milk Tray chocolates, bumpers polished , etc what if I send a jar of my leek and potato soup through the post as a thankyou present? Today I blasted Candy and a Currant Bun by Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd on my radiogram, it sounded wild. I have bought some bottles of spirits with which to furnish the padded and mirrored drinks cabinet in the radiogram, I might have to have a little drink and a ciggie and blast Syd up real, real loud, I could say like now but its 2.28 in the morning. Neighbours are away actually so, I'll put Ray on, The Kinks singles comp. Next week I am hoping to record another more folky song, kind of Beatles/Dylan folk, do you know I mentioned the 'F' word to my brother and he pulled an expression of revulsion and crossed his arms in front of himself.There is a certain stereotype...but anyway I don't sound like that. Folk to me is PF Sloan, and The Mammas and Pappas. I would like to put an accordion on this next recording, which will be 'I Love The Music'. I am just listening to All Day and All Of The Night, it sounds so great. I'm glad I have an old sound, on the VGM stuff. I am grateful for and appreciative of the respect and enthusiastic appreciation which constantly comes.

Syd's Car?

Watched a crazy new DVD a couple of times, purely for research purposes entitled 'Entertaining Mr Sloan'. Starring the peerless Beryl Reed, this late 1960s Joe Orton film was undoubtedly scandalous at the time, quite obviously a deliberate ploy by Orton to scandalise the conservative mores of the day. Full of near nudity, charged with erotic suspense, the tale unfolds thus...ageing floozy in paisley mini dress Beryl encounters stripped to the waist Mr Sloan doing sit ups (I'm beginning to regret reviewing this) on his parents grave. Mr Sloan is a young offender, a loose cannon with only one thing going for him. Beryl lives with 'The Dadda' ah ha ha in the vicarage, seductively inviting him to rent a room with them. Her brother shows up, a conservative middle ages businessman in dapper attire. He warns her not to make a fool of herself again by being naughty with any more men, and makes haste to the young man's bedroom. Scolding the young fellow in the darkness of the room, and telling him he's be better off lodging elsewhere, he draws back the curtains, lighting the room and the, to his surprise, near naked man on the bed. At this point his manner changes, to feigned sympathy for the lad's plight. Later the young Mr Sloan punches and kills 'The Dadda', which upsets Beryl as it could mean she might have to hand the old man's pension book in. By this stage Beryl has , frankly had him (Mr Sloan), and her brother has dressed him in leather and employed him as his personal chauffeur, and so the bizarre 3 way love? affair unfolds as the old man's body turns greener, lol, by the moment. (PS sorry this really is disgraceful) What worries me is, its one of my favourite films! I wont give the ending away. I have read that the brother's car, a very cool pink American tail finned number with wallowy suspension, belonged in real life to Syd Barrett. I can't vouch for this, I may ask my friend *** Barrett about this. You know those pictures of Syd with the car?

Basil the rat

Also this week enjoying more insane capers courtesy of John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. I was never drawn to the whole Python thing, or to FT but, it is great Fawlty Towers. In the episode we watched this week, the waiters pet rat Basil disappeared. Not being a master of the English language, he was most distressed to hear there was Basil in the ratatouille. Sorry that joke will be totally lost on you if a) I've spelt ratatouille wrongly or b) you don't know what it is anyway...we've really got to find a clip of this or Entertaining Mr Sloan for you...lets face it, you might not know what basil is either, oh dear.....

Jefferson Airplane

Music, well when things get bad I reach for the stuff which matters to me the most and its been Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, a very special album for me. And, the Kinks singles album. Can't get much better than that...

See you later


Hi this is an addition to the blog, I must say I appreciate the steady rise in readers of this, I didn' t realise 1300 and rising visits to the website per month. God you know I am just a person talking, and really I don't even know why I do the blog. I don't really do it to get fans, I just do it, its part of my life. There is an element of personal disclosure I suppose. I am in the midst of a very anonymous suburban environment, living an enclosed (used to be!) private sort of life- and everyone else around here I can't relate to their scene. I am an eccentric, but only here, relative to here. If I lived in London or maybe Brighton, or even over at Moseley, I'd be deemed ordinary. But here where I live, it pains me to say, I am very much an outsider in certain respects. I find it interesting to contemplate the dichotomy of being 'different' while at the same time, sharing so much in common with fellow humanoids. I think the range of human personality traits is very interesting. Father Henry said, Christianity demands one responds with love to every situation. That concept is above and beyond anything I am in any state to contemplate, having just had someone threaten to 'rip my f****** face off' in a bar. One thing is for sure, the grit and ugliness of life, in an area (district) like this at least, is separate entirely from this love concept, a concept I believe in, but find hard to reconcile with some of life's realities.
It has been such a heavy week. A close friends mother being very ill. And an old friend has been given the last rights - a separate matter. Is, the human spirit quite a resilient thing? I really think it must be. When I was a kid I got crushed. Because of abuse, heartbreak, and being in a cult. I am smiling now though, as I write. Someone said to me that what doesn't crush us ultimately makes us stronger, and do you know, I'm sure from experience this is correct. I refuse to cave in, some people finally do. But I think it is younger people than myself who kill themselves, mostly. I got crushed but I fight back against life's blows now, I believe in adopting a positive attitude to life's worst eventualities, finding some kind of positive angle. And that doing so makes one feel better. And, this is really important. I will share with you, I used to suffer from clinical depression, positive thinking helps. If I sense depression creeping up I fight it like mad. Who the hell wants to live in a depressed condition? Just fight it, say to it, **** you, you *******, . It is an illness, it kills. But I have found I can fight it off and if I can so can others, maybe you. Do not positive thoughts engender positive feelings? Right, well if you are depressed, take a little space and spend some time thinking positive thoughts, about your situation. Tell me if you feel better afterwards, I think you will. I need to follow my own advise; so much shit has gone down in such a short space of time I have scarcely had chance to think at all but I will be thinking positive.

Love Mark

Reading Village Green Machine's ezine. Entertaining Mr Sloan on the Village Green
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