Cloud’s Illusions

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Spring in Auckland – a stack of sun, reams of rain – and cumulus clouds like these reflecting both.

Clouds are for dreamers.

You can see what you want in their shapes.

Giant sheep and rabbits; Jesus; your late father’s face; portents of the future or maybe the outline of a Central Asian country…

Anything you like, everything  you could imagine.

All illusory, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Queen Joni once sang :

” I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

   From up and down and still somehow

   It’s cloud’s illusions I recall

   I really don’t know clouds at all ”

             – (Joni Mitchell, ‘Both Sides Now’)

 

 

Sunset On Suburbia (Muse Dream)

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A quiet midweek evening in the ‘burbs where I live, the terribly ordinary framed by the fantastical colours of sunset , with rain about to fall, and fall heavily.

I tend to think magic is often found in the most mundane things and places.

Or at the very least there is magic trying to break through.

As Irish pop band The Thrills had it:

“The suburbs dream tonight of finding their muse”

(from ‘ The Curse of Comfort ‘)

 

Hands Of Time

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One of those cool multi-faced clocks that tells the time in different places around the world. The clock is in Singapore but this dial gives Vancouver time.

Love the concept of world time zones – while  I am posting on my blog you may be asleep, and vice versa!

Or, on the longer time scale  – some are living life to the full, while others are about to pass away.

I was driving around town yesterday and a song popped up on my Ipod’ s random play.

“Hands Of Time” by the criminally underrated Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith . Great, gorgeous and wise song and rendition , but not sure that he actually wrote it.

Some reflective lyrics from it:

” From the moment we are born

We’re in the hands of time

As drunk on life as death is sober

When we say goodbye

 

Though it hurts to lose a friend

May it help remembering

For every door that closes in

One’ll open to the other side

Opened by the hands of time “

Those words speak deeply to me of time, the ultimate healer and changer.

Okay, time to go…

 

 

Sweet Temptation

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“Tempted by the fruit of  another

tempted  but the truth is discovered

what’s been going on

now that you have  gone

there’s no other

tempted by the fruit of another 

tempted but the  truth is discovered”

    – Squeeze, ‘Tempted’

 

Temptation.

It’s been going  on since Adam offered Eve off-the -menu fruit in the Garden of Eden.

And like an insect entering the above tropical plant, some forbidden things look alluring, but could lead to a sticky end.

The Squeeze song (still have the 45 single from back in the day!) was in the soundtrack to a movie I watched recently, and was played right at the end in a party scene, where are the characters nicely resolved all their sneaky affairs and tortuous relationships.

But that was a movie.

Tread carefully if tempted –  sweet nectar is isn’t always what it appears…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whistlin’ Past The Graveyard

“I come into town on a night train with an arm full of boxcars

On the wings of a magpie cross a hooligan night

I’m gonna tear me off a rainbow and wear it for a tie

I never told the truth so I can never tell a lie

 

Whistlin’ past the graveyard, stepping on a crack

Me and mother hubbard Papa one-eyed jack”

 

  – Tom  Waits ,‘Whistlin’ Past The Graveyard’ (1978).

 

One of the greatest songs about the resting place of the dead ever written!

Well, compared to songs about love, it’s a relatively small sample size, granted.

The way the gravel-voiced one growls and rasps his blues braggadocio poetry is pure (black) magic.

Excellent slink-through-the-night creep factor, but damn hard to whistle…

Link to the song below:

 

For The Want Of A Nail

“Everything seems to fail

  And it was all for the want of a nail”

     – Todd Rundgren, “For The Want Of A Nail” (1989)

Genius musician is proved slightly wrong in the form of this stunning traditional wooden Malay house on stilts . Okay, that is a massive lyric/subject non- sequitur,but  I just love both the song and the house, and there really aren’t that many songs about nails…

Or houses without nails  – not a single one was used in its construction, according to the owners. Mainly interlocked timbers, like a gigantic wood jigsaw puzzle. Amazing.

Right near  top of the list of coolest houses I have ever visited.

Hasn’t failed or fallen down yet apparently…

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Rumah Kampung, Langkawi, Malaysia  2010

Real Good, For Free

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“He was playing real good, for free”

     – Joni Mitchell, ‘For Free’.

The busker in the Joni song played the clarinet, and the songwriter expressed her admiration of the player’s skills.

Not just that he played for free, or maybe a few coins thrown into a hat – but that he was truly free to express himself, and not trapped by the machinery of the music business that she was in.

The guy in the photo, playing a community piano in Atlanta a couple of years ago when I was there, was like that. Melodies played for himself, mainly.

I’d seen someone else doing the same thing earlier that day – see Butterfly Piano Man. Never come across the concept of the community piano before, and adored it!

Both gentlemen gave me random, life-affirming moments as they played – real good, for free.

 

Wavelength: Signals And Wires

The old radio station at Musick Point, Auckland sits atop a peninsular clifftop ; its signals guided military ships and planes in the Pacific during WWII . Now, the humming of the wires is generated by an amateur radio ham group that keeps the spirit of the place alive.

Regardless of the messages sent, the symbols of the power of the airwaves always resonate with me.

Stations.

Frequencies.

Transmitters.

Aerials.

Signals.

Wires.

The magic of radio  –  on the road ,in the dead of the night : words, voices ,music – always the music.

Connection.

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Wavelength: Signals And Wires I

         

          “And I can get your station

            When I need  rejuvenation

            Wavelength

            Wavelength

            You never let me down, no.”

 

                     ‘Wavelength’, Van Morrison (1978)

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Wavelength: Signals And Wires II

Entangled

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“Sentenced to drift far away now

nothing is quite what it seems

sometimes entangled

in your own dreams “

– ‘Entangled’,Genesis (1976)

I listened to this old prog rock song for the first time in years in the last week, and took the photograph about the same time.

I am not sure whether the song and its lyrics influenced the shot, but certainly not consciously.Maybe though at some weird unconscious level in the way that music does,evoking a mood or place.

The album the number comes from was one of the first I ever purchased .I drift back in time and see myself as a geeky 14 year old reading the lyrics intently from the beautiful cardboard gatefold  cover, while the vinyl record spun on the rudimentary turntable in my bedroom. I played that disc countless times(entranced with ‘Entangled’!)

I was a bit of a dreamer as a teenager and the music took me back in an instant to my younger self.

So too the tangled tree branches in their veined pattern,to some more recent troubled and nightmarish times.

All is dream.

 

Autumn Almanac

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“Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow

So I sweep them in my sack

Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

     -The Kinks, ‘Autumn Almanac’

Thank you Ray Davies for reminding me that the above leaves ,and hundreds more, burying the back lawn require removal. Too lazy to bother with the sack, will probably deposit them over the fence into the park next door and let them rot there…

The song is an old fave of mine ,which dissects, but not without lowkey affection, a  mundane type of English life where nothing ever seems to change. Worth checking out if you haven’t heard it.