Well, here I am back again, doing what the doctors forbid me to do. "6 months off the booze". Streuth said I, its a big issue for me. "OK 2 weeks off the booze". Oh allright then, that much I can deal with.
Anyway, nice to imbibe a couple of pints, in this weather which is so cold it chills the beer better than the fridge.
Thanks for the good wishes for my recovery, some pills (legal but opium spiked strong painkillers, for my back, yeah right) clashed with red wine making me violently sick. Next thing I knew blood was coming out of every orifice, the hospital could only find intermittent bleeding so I was not prioritised and bled for a week without treatment. I thought I was on the way out. Really frightening experience..
There seems to be one endoscopy tube in Heartlands hospital, and a huge queue of badly bleeding people queueing up for it. So unless you are really bleeding badly, all the time, join the back of the queue. A week it took to get the internal exam and it was confirmed I was bleeding in 2 places. I said will the treatment work they said they didn't know. Horror story.
However, I am now recovered it seems, feeling loads better, and just don't play about with drink/drug cocktails is my advice. I had suspected with drugs that something unexpected could go wrong, something unforeseen, and not to do with a heavy overdose. Well, it did. There was a lot of bleeding, and the drugs were legal. Nasty business.
I haven't felt like blogging, I did a couple of rough ones, but I prefer to always do it after a visit to the hotel bar where I take my mother every Thursday. She lost her wedding ring under the table there tonight, which amazingly was handed in and is awaiting collection. She also remarked that a builder friend of ours who was right next to us at the bar, has "very small hands" (loud voice). Still, she could have said "girls hands"- which is what she actually meant, of course. Mind you, she is in love with Malcolm, who comes from the roughest backstreets of Birmingham, and went on to make a lot of money. He talks in that Ozzy Osbourne accent, like the men on the ward I was on in hospital. They were all really ill.
One in the next bed had heart disease, diabetes, cancer and lung disease. He made a lunge for another who kept saying "nurse" over and over and over again. He had dementia and couldn't remember he'd just said it. The nurses had to drag the other man off him. I was driven mad by this dementia patient myself. 500 times all through the night- nurse, nurse, nurse....and the man in the next bed was saying, "Give me some dynamite so I can blow myself up. Then, give me a gun to shoot myself, and finally, piteously, "let me die". Then they were putting him through this agony. And all the time, "nurse, nurse, nurse" from the other side of the ward. I hadn't slept, and hadn't been treated after bleeding for almost week, not knowing if I was living or dying. Then the doctor came and said they'd be delaying my examination for another day. By this stage it was mental torture and my nerves were shot, they gave me tranquillisers. I was shaking, they moved me to another ward. I was really upset about the poor old man next to me as much as anything else. I told the doctor he was being tortured by them - he replied that the old man was senile and therefore his complaints were from a senile mind, but "let me die" sounds pretty clear to me. What is this thing with propping up life while prolonging suffering as quality of life ceases to exist? That man's flesh was rotting, you could see it on his arms. Also opposite me was yet another man with dementia. Only about 50, if that. It was a hell ward. But I was moved to a ward with these older, Sun reader type of guys on it. They had the Sun there. F****** hell, it was an encapsulation ward of right wing thinking. Still, I warmed to one bloke particularly, Ray, who looked like his legs were really badly burned. A really funny, amused man with a lot of personality and warmth. Apparently the doctors don't know what is causing his condition, he is in a wheelchair and has spent most of 9 years in hospital. A country music fan like myself, in as much as I like Dolly and Johnny. I reckoned there must be some medical expert in the world who could identify his problem, but he just said it was down to money, and presumably accepts what fate decrees. I think of him, with his ostentatious gold jewellry, a sure badge of poverty if ever there was one, and feel real sadness. God bless Ray. I knew a man, whom I liked, who bought 15 years of life. It makes one think.
There was little ventilation on this muggy ward. The 23 stone man in the bed opposite had hideous infected lumps on his legs, I could smell it. I was so desperate to get out of there, then they delayed my examination again but my reaction to this persuaded them to have me looked at. They doubted I was bleeding, but the evidence was manifest. To me. They said, where is the evidence, I said I spat it down the sink and deposited it down the pan. But the exam showed I was not lying.
I was ghost grey when I got out, but now I feel pretty much back to normal, and 'yippee' I've got another chance and will not be mixing drink and drugs again.
I did have bad back pain, which gave me an excuse to take 3 opiates which were prescribed for someone else by a GP. But of course, I wanted the high. I got it, and a lot more besides.
I have just ordered the 60s style pickups for my 12 string Rickenbacker,
and the compressor pedal I need to get a Byrds sound on that guitar. The 12 string has just sat there since I bought it 18 months ago, awaiting the modifications it needed to make it sound like it should. I just want to spend the rest of my life playing it, with that Roger Mcguinn sound. They are such beautiful guitars, hollow bodied Rickenbackers. I used to go into the guitar shop where the rockers went, where the guitar racks were lined with average looking guitars. Then I'd look at the Rickenbackers, it was like being in an art gallery. The Byrds Roger Mcguinn was a big influence on my early playing, but now I don't want to play too much like him. I just want to capture the sound he got, mixing all my influences into that sound, with a good dash of experimentation. Today I found a video of him solo doing Turn Turn Turn, it is art, it transformed my state. Maybe it will yours. Check the video at the bottom of this blog. My general dislike of rock music increases, as my appreciation of Roger's music increases. I love rock & roll, but only if it rolls. Rock cliché is embarrassing, and almost anyone could knock a few chords and leads out.
I have gone major overboard recently on Tom Petty, atypical rocker. No, not a typical rocker. Oh never mind. Once considered unfashionable, The Strokes endorsement has presumably made Petty a "cooler" figure. Not that the vagaries of fashion would bother someone of his standing and integrity. Listening to the double CD anthology I have, I find myself thinking that American Girl, along with Because The Night by The Patti Smith Group and
Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed are THE high points of 70s American music. Of course there's the soul music, but as far as white rock orientated material is concerned, I can't think of better records. I love Reed's beat poetry style, there's a track coming up on LP 2 which is like that. Patti Smith is easy to place, as another beat literature junkie, infatuated by rock & roll. And, I'll bet she hasn't changed much. Whereas Tom Petty, I know very little about. He does seem to be a dignified figure, who never makes a bad record. I was thinking what a load of dicks rock musicians tend to be - Petty is above and beyond that. On the anthology, I find his singing to be powerful and emotive, I love his Mcguinn/Searchers influenced 12 string guitar playing, his songs are economical and clever. Rock, but with all the nonsense taken out. Generally I don't think rock is a good medium for expressing masculinity. Petty seems kind of sensitive and tough, minus the embarrassing macho posturing I associate especially with the 70s. People with dodgy beards and flip flops, Laurel Canyon coke heads, the thing is surely that aesthetics are really important in music. I was impressed years ago by film of Petty live, wearing Cuban heeled suede (red) boots, there's a certain 60s beat thing going on there, and an obvious fondness of The Kinks. Damn The Torpedoes is an excellent album, too. The Heartbreakers must have been one of America's best bands as well. Some of the lead guitar sounds a bit dated now, and the drum sound, but Petty is timeless to me.
Another old timer I have been unexpectedly enjoying is Bruce Springsteen. I had failed to realise what a good lyricist he has been, judging by one song from his Ghost Of Tom Joad album. An incredible story about a destitute drug dealer, a vagrant who is hit by a car and crawls off to die under a bridge, such material has to be handled carefully, and I thought the song carefully executed. I suppose he is another man's man, who manages to be that without appearing to be a total dick.
Paul Weller's Illumination album is another I've been enjoying. Time has been kind to it, he really is a very positive writer, and a true artist who contributes something to society. It took me years to get into his stuff, but after I came out of hospital,
I wanted to hear him, funnily enough. Him and Dylan. I have been reading a book of Dylan's interviews, I honestly cannot comprehend what that man is on about at all. I read his autobiography Chronicles which had eerie hallucinogenic depictions of Mississippi and seemingly random references to various stages of his life- it was relatively un-obscure compared to his interviews. He seemed to be drawing a veil around himself, I love his music but I am tired of trying to make sense of his utterances. I liked his radio show. Occasionally he offers up pearls of wisdom but generally his interviews seem an exercise in obfscuration. Sid Griffin has just written another book about him, he tells me. Its called, old leather face with the cool boots. Not really.
On the stereo also this week, Primal Scream's mid 90's album Vanishing Point. A varied collection of experimental music, parts are deeply atmospheric in a druggy way. Plainly Bobby had had enough of the hard drugs scene, however. Parts of the album are very strong and it is certainly unique, my favourite track being the virtually peerless Burning Wheel. I can't think of a better 90s record, even by Oasis or Pulp. "Wheel" is a glorious psychedelic rock song with a great sounding groove, with Magical Mystery Tour style sound effects, and early Floyd Syd Barrett style opening guitar figures and organ parts. total early Floyd, of course that's the only Floyd I'm really into. The atmosphere builds (on "Wheel") then this thrilling track kicks in. It could be a great early Who song, in part. They certainly took their role as Britain's foremost avant garde group seriously. Their "Dirty Hits" collection is exciting. I loved their Country Girl from a year or 2 back. Their last album got panned by a leading broadsheet. I'm glad they're all still alive:)
Comedy, well its been my new boxed set of Porridge and Open All Hours starring the late Ronnie Barker. Another figure of my parents generation, I now consider him to have been something of a genius as a comic actor, and he wrote parts of the Two Ronnies under a pseudonym. He was always really good in the aforementioned.
I grew up on Not The Nine o'Clock News and The Young Ones, the older generations were in the reject bin for us fashionable kids, but, as they say, the good will out.
Re this blog, I aim to shape it up as a weekly music/comedy/film magazine style review blog, with Village Green Machine updates. I intend to do more proper reviews, this one is just a bit of a chat but soon I will shape it up more.
Thanks for the good wishes for my recovery,
Roger McGuinn solo performance of the Byrds hit Turn Turn Turn.