The beautiful Parr Hall on Palmyra Square, built for the people of Warrington by Joseph Parr and opened in 1898, was our home on Sunday night. The Rolling Stones performed here in ’63. Not too hard to drift back in time and imagine sitting in the dressing room, shooting the breeze with a young Keef.
Tonight’s gig was memorable for Bison’s ‘dance’ - following the girls on to the stage, Nick’s vocal ‘improvisations’, the spontaneous applause which followed Sadie’s ‘World Vision’ introduction to ‘Use It Up’ and a lovely post gig dinner at The Grill On The Square.
Monday is a travel day. We hit the M6 North around 11am. Blue signs. White lines. Spring skies on the way up to the lakes and on to the border country. Man’s natural state, according to Bruce Chatwin, is to wander. Here are some of my favourite quotes, from his book ‘The Songlines’:
“As a general rule of biology, migratory species are less 'aggressive' than sedentary ones.
...The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a 'leveller' on which the 'fit' survive and stragglers fall by the wayside. The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The 'dictators' of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the gentlemen of the road.”
“Sluggish and sedentary peoples, such as the Ancient Egyptians - with their concept of an afterlife journey through the Field of Reeds - project on to the next world the journeys they failed to make in this one.”
“... a Bushman child will be carried a distance of 4,900 miles before he begins to walk on his own. Since, during this rhythmic phase, he will be forever naming the contents of his territory, it is impossible he will not become a poet.”
Like Dylan’s ‘Rolling Thunder’ band of gypsies we roll north past the outskirts of other towns, other people’s lives, past farms and the remnants of Ancient Woodland which make me think of another great book – Sarah Matland’s ‘Gossip From The Forest’:
“Fairytales are one of our earliest and most vital cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient and primal landscapes. Both evoke a similar sensation in us - we find them beautiful and magical, but also spooky, sometimes horrifying....Maitland argues that the two forms are intimately connected: the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of the forests were both the background and the source of fairytales. Yet both forests and fairy stories are at risk and their loss deprives us of our cultural lifeblood. Maitland visits forests through the seasons, from the exquisite green of a beechwood in spring, to the muffled stillness of a snowy pine wood in winter. She camps with her son Adam, whose beautiful photographs are included in the book; she takes a barefoot walk through Epping Forest with Robert Macfarlane; she walks with a mushroom expert through an oak wood, and with a miner through the Forest of Dean. Maitland ends each chapter with a unique, imaginative re-telling of a fairystory. Written with Matiland's wonderful clarity and conversational grace, Gossip from the Forest is a magical and unique blend of nature writing, history and imaginative fiction.”
These are just snippets of my thoughts as we drift into the fading light. Others are working, watching a movie, talking, sleeping....