Saturday, 12 March 2016

Mist opportunities and the death of Keith Emerson...

At 0111hrs I woke up. I'd gone to bed early in disgust at the rubbish on television and spent some time listening to Radio Four, eventually falling asleep, but then, at the aforementioned hour, I was lying there, fully awake and determined to sleep. It must have worked. At some stage I found myself in a boat, loaded with refugees and out at sea. It could only have been a dream. Before long I was back in bed, lying there, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And so it continued.

During this time I considered an 'abort' text to Andy and Phil, but I figured it could wait until the morning. It was unclear whether I'd be riding on Saturday due to a meeting in Carshalton, but it was far from certain.

Time crept on. Soon Radio Four sprung to life: the news followed by Clare Balding doing a spot of rambling. I caught bits of it – a young boy recovering from leukaemia and somebody else from the Fleet Air Arm. I got up and decided to abort. When I reached my phone, which was switched off and resting on the console table, I switched it on and waited. An abort text from Phil as I penned my own for Andy. Later Andy texted me saying he'd had a cold all week and was glad of the lie in. Personally, I wanted to go for a ride. You can imagine, therefore, my frustration when the aforementioned meeting was cancelled.

There had been an early morning mist. Thick fog would be a more apt, but it was all irrelevant as nobody went out. Phil aborted because of the cold, Andy was relieved to miss the ride because of illness and I was supposed to go somewhere, but didn't. All-in-all, a load of old tosh, as my dad might have said.

Right now it's 1155hrs, the sun is shining and there are hazy blue skies. We're game on for a ride tomorrow, just Andy and I, but possibly Phil too, who knows?

Hard at it – Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
I read online this morning that Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame, has died. There's a rumour of suicide, making a sad story even sadder. Back in the day I used to love ELP. I had Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery, two brilliant albums. Personally, when they moved on to Fanfare for the Common Man I got bored and then, when Jim Davidson used music from Brain Salad Surgery as a kind of soundtrack for some television game show he was fronting, I realised it was time to stop liking them altogether. Things get like that: they deteriorate gradually and soon turn to dust. What was once slightly leftfield, mildly underground, becomes mainstream and then slowly dies. When I hear once cult rock tracks fronting television advertisements or game shows I know it's time to admit defeat and consign stuff I once considered cutting edge, or just plain edgy, to the wastepaper basket. Like when I saw John Lydon being interviewed by Piers fucking Morgan.

ELP was a great prog rock band, one of the very best, and those albums I mentioned above – Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery were excellent. Whenever I see an image of one of those old World War One tanks I immediately imagine ELP's half tank/half armadillo on the cover of Tarkus.

There seems to be a spate of ageing rock stars dying off at the moment. It started towards the end of last year with Lemmy and was followed up by David Bowie, some guy from the Eagles and now it's Keith Emerson's turn. Oh well, as a pal of mine might have said, "We've still got Rick Wakeman."

We'll probably take a drive to the coast and then a walk along the beach. If we do I think I'll take Brain Salad Surgery with me, not that my choice of music will be appreciated – or understood – by the other passengers.

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