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Tuesday, January 01, 2002

Quiet City

The wheel keeps on turning and here we are again. Another new year, another new day. Resolutions? Goals and targets more like. Speaking of which, Hell Boy extraordinaire, Tom Redmond e-mailed with words of support and encouragement. As I sat in the yellow room (where I am now) with sunlight streaming through the windows, bathed in the reflected iridescent light, Tom's words arrived at exactly the right moment. What a gift !

Snow on the ground, frozen and impacted, means it's treacherous outside. We consider wandering out along to the beach but put it off for a couple of hours in order to let the sunshine do its work. Tom and Joe return from their mothers and immediately set about going into some elaborate fantasy game with little Sam from next door. The moment is heightened when the Police slowly walk down the street, peering into gardens, obviously looking for something. I play Aaron Copland's Quiet City as the first piece of music for the new year and tears well up. This is such a beautiful, dignified piece of music. I'm rarely unmoved whenever I hear it.

Last night, Debbie and I enjoyed a quiet new year (great connection to the above paragraph eh ?) and after a quick toast to uncertain times and we got to bed. Checking my phone this morning, I see I missed a call from the Kimberman. I'll check in with him later today.

Today, time spent tending to e-mails. I'm thankful to David Johnston-Smith (no relation as far as I know) for taking the time to send some kind words of praise for the KC book and helpfully point out that it's the Coen brothers and NOT the Cohen brothers as previously mentioned in my diary of a couple of days ago.

A review of the KC book has appeared on the Tangents website. For those who don't know it, Tangents is a great site featuring a broad and diverse range of musings on all manner of cultural events. The self-styled "home of unpopular culture" has all sorts of features and reviews which are well worth looking at. I filled in their Mass Observation questionnaire which is highly entertaining and occasionally provocative.

There's a review of Sylvie Simmon's biog of Neil Young just ahead of Rupert Loydell's once over the tome.

A heavier tome is Sid Smith's In the Court of King Crimson [Helter Skelter], as befits our finest prog rock soap opera, err, I mean band. Under Robert Fripp's iron-hand and direction, three, or is it four?, incarnations of King Crimson [each incarnation including several line-ups] have moved from mellotron excess to proto-new-metal, via improvised jazz, seventies rock-gamelan, and quirky 'double-trio' big band. Sid Smith has really gone to town tracking down and interviewing many of the members, and isn't afraid to let them voice their gripes and own opinions. [Only occasionally do you feel like shouting 'shut up' or 'stop whingeing' at some of them.]

Only Fripp remains aloof from it all; and to my way of thinking Smith seems to feel unable to discuss or criticize Fripp in quite the same way he writes about many of the other Crim members. Of course, Fripp is discussed, berated, adored and hated by many of those speaking throughout the book, but the author himself seems strangely afraid to take on the one who is clearly the guiding spirit of the band - however much he claims not to be. As well as the biographical sagas detailed throughout the book, there's also a track-by-track discussion of all the official releases and much live performance. It's a must if you're at all interested in the band.

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