The rain woke me at 2am. It sounded like the gutters of all the houses in the street were overflowing. The noise was overwhelming, and the sound of the water splashing onto every surface imaginable filled me with that sense of comfort we lucky ones in houses have of being somewhere safe and secure. The others slept through it, and it stopped as suddenly as it started. I woke again at six, and the sky was yellow, that apocalyptic yellow that seems to augur the end of something and the beginning of something else. Nothing ended, and nothing started, and I fell asleep again. And when I stepped out into the garden this morning, the brown was just a shade darker than it had been at last light yesterday, the sense of a damp desert rather than a flooded plain. The frog sink (as we call the shallow butler sink at the end of the garden by the office) seems emptier than it did last night, and the second water butt has no water in it, except for a few desultory millimetres of stagnation that could have been there before. It seems like the night’s deluge was in my imagination, although I know it wasn’t. And it was still 28C in my office when I opened the door first thing.
Sod’s Law will be, of course, that the real lasting rain will come when I wend my way down to the BBC studios in Norwich this afternoon to do my postponed bit on BBC Radio Norfolk. I can imagine shaking the rain off me as I walk in there, still dripping water off me when I reach the studio on the second floor, and leaving a pool of water on the studio floor that won’t evaporate until well after I’ve finished my bit. Which reminds me that I once left my cap in the studio in yet another fit of absent-mindedness years ago, and thought it was lost forever, only to have one of the producers give it back to me a month later when I was back in there. I still wear that cap, which is much the worse for wear (and sweat), and, although I bought a new one a few months ago, I still revert to it as my favourite. Old habits and all that. And it’s comfy and worn, a bit like me.
The best news yesterday, that C alerted me to, is that Arctic Monkeys have a new album out in October. This comes four years after the much-maligned and under-appreciated Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, a fine jazz album if there ever was one, and nine years after the great A.M., which was a 9/10 album on any scale, with just one duff track on it. C and I went to see the band at Earls Court (before Johnson ill-advisedly approved its demolition and had it sold off to greedy developers – the place, not the band), and then again at Finsbury Park (which thankfully still stands, no thanks to said disgraced Johnson who clings on to his post for a few more weeks), and they were magnificent. I’ve always said Alex Turner (lead singer, writer etc etc) is either a genius or an arrogant bastard or both. After the Ears Court gig, of course, we hung around after the gig so C could see the man himself (which she did), then lost my Arafat scarf at the tube station (but recovered it), ended up walking most of the way into Central London, last train missed), and spending all night at Bar Italia in Soho, and then walking to Liverpool Street to catch the first train home the next morning. A long long time ago. I hope the new album is worth the recounting of these memories.
Interesting responses to the blog yesterday. Simple answer is – it has not yet entirely served its purpose, as the purpose is to write each day and to ensure I finish a novel this year. The thing is to moderate negative self-reflection. The thing also is, that the need to write, and to be a writer, is as often a curse as a blessing.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 190
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