Ramblings along the Way : Van Vliet ; complete
I feel some more explanation is required regarding my last posting " H2H ' .
The title refers to a journey I made on the Way , from the Hawkesbury Somerset (Lord General Robert ) Monument to the village of Horton ; a distance of two and three quarters of a mile.
In my posting , I wanted to convey how cold it was at the start of the journey ; the sense of dislocation , being taunted by blue skies and crystal clear landscape and yet having the reality of a numbing chill , which seemed to invade my very marrow.
The route , that morning had a dreamlike quality , with a sense of a time -lapsed reality ; so that the two jets in the sky appeared to hang as in a slow motion replay .
One thing , not included in my last posting was the view of Horton Court , a National Trust property , seen from " the copse of wood"
Picture 4 shows the Court; and again quoting from the admirable Mr. Burton " a house of great antiquity ; the oldest part of which dates back to the 12th century................. The old hall house has been much extended over the centuries , additions including a typical Cotswold manor and a charming , if slightly incongruous , Italianate loggia. " (p.117)
I was just about to include the hyperlink to this property , only to find the said website informing me that Horton Court is closed in 2010 , due to refurbishment ; so there you have it.
Returning to 'H2H' , picture 3 in that posting shows the vista from the ' higher ground '. It however does scant justice to the remarkable field of view which clearly shows the Severn and Bridge in the background.
' All is folly ' refers in part , to a Millennium project , involving building this white structure as a nesting space for swallows ans barn owls. Picture 3 in this post shows a different aspect of this 'folly'.
Finally , I wanted to allude to the notion , that we all need the company of others : therefore to contrast the 'chill of solidarity ' with the warmth of the interactive crowd , in this case the primary children of Horton School , who perhaps later will see a purpose in the upkeep of country paths and trails . We shall see.
Now for the Captain.
On the 7th February , I mentioned that I was reading " Beefheart : Through The Eyes Of Magic " by John ' Drumbo ' French .
Because of the small size of the print and the length of the book ( 864 ) pages ; I managed a chapter a day and finally finished last Wednesday 10th March.
Don Van Vliet (aka) Captain Beefheart , was born on 15th January 1941. A child prodigy ; particularly in visual arts , drawing painting and sculpture . He live for most of his formative year in the Antelope Valley , part of the Mojave Desert , in California U.S.A,
John French was for years the drummer in The Magic Band , which was fronted by Captain Beefheart. Picture 2 shows the group in 1975.
DVV had a king-sized ego which combined with an ' other-ness ' about his persona , made him a tricky customer to deal with.
The book describes in great detail , the arduous day to day life led in order to bring the music to completion ; for in spite if his talent , DVV was not a musician in the accepted sense . Thus not reading and writing notes and barely playing , harmonica excepted , DVV had to whistle , hum , and 'play' chords on the piano , in order to get his ideas across .
This information had to be painstakingly transcribed by John and then parts taught to various group members.
In rock circles , their main claim to fame was an album entitled " Trout Mask Replica " , which still finds an entry in the top 25 titles.
This record , in particular took many months of hard graft , worked as it was in a remote location , as shown in picture 1.
All of this great effort resulted in only acrimony , with no significant money for John or the group.
Nor did matters improve for subsequent releases ; which although John was not aboard for every incarnation of the group , he was able to talk to those members concerned and to learn what was happening .
DVV retired from the musical scene in the early eighties and developed his paintings to good commercial effect.
Unfortunately , It is widely believed that he has contacted MS and is in poor health. He lives with his wife Jan in a house overlooking the Pacific ocean , in an isolated spot in north California .
To sum the book up : it is in essence a long cry for release and I hope it proves cathartic for John.
Nevertheless , it is brimful of fascinating detail for beefheart fans and indeed a picture , to some extent of America in the '70s .
I thank John for his monumental efforts in writing this book and hope that it acts as a catalyst to spur him on to greater success , especially with regard to his new musical group.
and finally words from the Captain :
Captain's Log Jupiter Morning 03/10
" Glass never stops its liquid dance "