Aslan and Doctor Mad are now one, as of yesterday. It is known because I was there and I saw it with my eyes. There was food and drink and music and even dancing. And love too, of course. I had a blast, as did many other peeps and I hope, with every fibre of my heart, that those two did as well. There’s a great deal of planning that goes into one of these unions and I’m guessing there comes a point in the evening that those most important parties in question must simply stop to enjoy the sights & sounds. That is my hope. We are staying at The Eight Bells Inn in Chipping Campden and it’s the best. I’ve been here before on trips with the lion but this is a first for residence and it was the corrct choice. Their menu is excellent, the beer great, and as for the property itself? It’s 14th century and full of time. These were all things that I knew and all reasons why I booked it a year in advance. I doff my hat to them.
‘The Lou Reed Songbook’ is what some people might call a bootleg. I’m going to go out on the wire and suggest that unless it’s a passion project, it could also be plagiarism. Fortunately, it would appear to have been put together with love by the most innocent, blessed of souls and now it has found its way here, to our cave of rare, wayfaring objects. There is no boring data sheet regarding date, origin or typeset anywhere to be found, in either the front of the back. I have looked. My aviary spies tell me it’s from the mid ‘70s (let’s say 1974) and that does look and smell [really] about right. It contains hand typed lyrics from the first three solo album releases, plus the beast that is ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Animal’ and has almost everything a core Reed covers vocalist / nut could ask for, including that front cover which might be the most Fan thing ever. We used to have history textbooks at school with the same binding and finish, I’m sure.
I think I picked this for this week in part because y’all fuckin’ deviants went to the trouble of emailing us to say that you liked the books that were delicate & difficult to keep open, necessitating the use of my weathered foetus hands. I don’t know what’s wrong with you but I’m not one to yuck on your yum. Knock yourself out. It could also be because the lyrics somehow manage to be charmingly, disarmingly incorrect with wild abandon and my guess would be that whoever typed this out did not share a first language with Lou. Either that or they never actually new the lyrics and liked the ones they wanted to hear? A friend of my parents used to sing these words in the car: “My man ain’t got pneumonia, he’s got his trumblees.” Now, I don’t know what a “trumblee” is - her daughter did, at the time, express some relief that she couldn’t be certain it was something foul - but she was singing this song and those are almost certainly not the original lyrics. I like them more though.
‘A Night At The Opera’ (EMI, 1975) was Queen’s fourth studio album and it’s a full package. At the time of its release, it was supposedly the most expensive album ever recorded and it sounds like it too. Roy Thomas Baker pulled of a masterstroke on production and the finished article is beautifully put together with tastefully baroque design & sleeve notes. A certain individual (who’s name I shall refrain from dragging sideways into this mess) was of the opinion that I am a tart for stocking it in the first place. They are aware of the timing, which is everything and are absolutely correct. These things don’t usually happen by accident around here and I also don’t care. Look at this thing: It is mint to the point that I have yet to dare removing it from the slip! Freddie & Co. ripped the title straight from the Marx Brothers film and were open enough about that so I have precedent for both good taste and common sense. Maybe.
Recorded at various studios across a four-month period, May was on the money when he said that much of it “is very intense and very ... layered.” As a whole album, I think he’s right, with ‘A Night At The Opera’ drawing from ballads, dixieland, the harder end of rock and prog rock. There’s a metric tonne happening in terms of content. That being said, Mercury claimed they had restricted themselves…I think he was probably talking in terms of harmonies and layering but he must have heard that song, right? Perhaps he just meant that more had gone into the lyrical side than normal. Whatever the case, it topped the UK chart for four weeks and has sold something in excess of six million copies worldwide, to date. Something tells me it’s more than that, particularly after Rami’s turn earlier this year and there’s no way that an OG pressing is gonna sit tight for long.
Today you get what might be the last of those market shots that I picked up while on my meanderings a couple of weeks back. There are two great ones; of the Sunday camera stall - that place is just terrific and there’s not much those guys don’t know about photographic relics, the like of which I and many of ye are so inclined toward - and the vinyl stand (also terrific) that pops up there like it does. There’s another outside the Brick Lane Bookshop that has that wonderfully tongue-in-cheek composition of two apparently quite disparate demographics, and a further snap of a poor guy who was just trying to buy some noodles when the wind changed. It has been said by many a correct person, including myself, that I’m an asshole with a camera. It’s true and if you require further article of incrimination then please, by all means do raid the TMAX gallery. Elsewhere, there is a mood shot involving beer, cigarettes and a pair of legs that could be called a late night tale, as well as a great portrait of The Lady Ess herself. I have no idea where or when I took that last one but I’m glad it turned up. As Leone was always fond of championing, it’s always in the eyes.
We’re off for drinks and nibbles at the lion’s parents house a little later today. My sires are also on site and so we shall be tagging along with them when they leave the Cots and Wolds. I have been abstaining mostly from drink of late but last night was an exception to the rule. Somewhere at the back of my skull, there is a rave going on but I’m only getting the bass and I hate it.
Someone manifest a bloodied Mary.
JD - TACOCAT