This is the Port of Marseille, by day, by night. As I fall asleep I think of Arthur Rimbaud roaming these streets before boarding ship to Abyssinia. I think of the young Isabelle Eberhardt, dressed in indigo and working the docks. Sleep has arrived. Bon nuit. Back in the morning.
This is the end of the night at Paredes de Coura, taken by Tony on stage. It was hard to say farewell, so strong was the energy and enthusiasm. The people singing Ghost Dance and People have the Power brought tears to my eyes. Blessings on all and thank you everyone.
This is last nights setlist. I am packing and heading to Marseille, still with the memories of last nights concert. One I shall never forget. I will post more. Last night, dominated by new generations,was a beacon of hope.
This is the band in Porto. Stopping by the sea before tonight’s concert. Tony Shanahan, Andy York, Jay dee Daugherty, Lenny Kaye. Tonight up in the hills, at Festival Pardes de Coura hoping to expand the night. Thank you Barbara, for the picture.
This is last night at the wonderful Musicalarue Festival in Luxey. Hundreds of volunteers unite to make this annual festival possible. A little village with a big heart. thank you everybody!
This is last night at the Music Festival in Luxey. We are back on the road. I will report later. Had a long drive and fell asleep and awoke and just wanted to say it is a great festival, happily blessed by goats! Now, drinking water and maybe back to sleep.
This is the young Ralph Fiennes as T. E. Lawrence, in the film A Dangerous Man. Just a moment to acknowledge Lawrence’s birthday as well as to salute the breadth of work of one of our finest actors. One could imagine the two gently colliding, conversing on our troubled world, literature, the sea, and the desert, in a small cottage, just outside Dorset.
This is devotion in three forms
This is fragments of rock and sea that seemed to me as if charcoal sketches of Seurat, who left too early to execute himself. I awoke early from a dream that ended with the painter taken by the hand by a small boy and led to a wooden boat with one grey sail.
This is a few exteriors of the magnificent Guggenheim Museum, the greatest work of the energetic, though inconsistent architect, Frank Gehry. Followed are a few shots of the masterwork The Matter of Time by the artist Richard Serra, its massive curves and scale in perfect harmony with the architecture.
This is early dusk in Bilbao. I took these yesterday after a visit to the museum. It seems I have always been drawn to certain scaffolding materials. Unusual netting that filters light in a unique fashion. There is more to report on Bilbao, but first coffee, and morning writing. After I will go backwards into yesterday.
This is morning process. From my window the sea is obscured by rain. This is a place I’ve never been. Ribadesella. A wonderful place to stop and simply exist. In the distance, beyond the sea, I notice the hills are as green as Ireland. In the evening transparent as an old Chinese painting. The fish is line hooked, and an air of simplicity reins. I have no pictures, but pages filled with rumination, merging with the continuous sound of the waves.
This is where we were,racing the impending storm. Bright clouds ahead I believe, as always.
This is on the road. Sitting in the backseat, moving through Northern Spain, pencil in hand, coffee in a paper cup.
This is last night’s setlist, the people and the light from tower of Hercules. It guided sailors 2,000 years ago. It’s stone stands, as we come and go with all our trials and tribulations, grateful to be here, placing the stones of our own lives among all others.
This is work.
This is with the fellows, Tony, Seb, Jackson, Ben and Darrell. A small, strong operation, where everyone double tasks. Tonight’s concert by the sea will be for the people, but also for the elements close at hand. It’s mild and humid today. I feel a great sense of communal wellbeing that I gladly share with you all.
This is morning coffee in Spain. Ready for new adventures, with a new book to read, which is an adventure of its own. Yuri Herrera. An unexpected gift. There is much to contemplate, to fight, to extend one’s hand for. All is action, that is true. But there are also the still spaces to claim for ourselves. Coffee, a book, an entirely empty breakfast room and the sea but steps away. Good morning everyone. Quiet for a moment. Action to come.
This is a toast to my son Jackson. One could not want for a finer son, magnifying all the best qualities of his ancestors. Happy Birthday Jackson. Live long and prosper.
This is a mourning wreath nothing but grief nothing but blooms cascading as dust nothing but hatred and the terrible cost
This is last night at the Altogether Now Festival. All braved heavy traffic, wind and pouring rain. But all prevailed, for a high spirited electric night. The energy was super human! Thank you everybody, and also gratitude for the gift of poetry waiting for me backstage, with a message that says it all.
This is my favorite backstage fare, our two set lists and a little ambiance at The Altogether Now festival in Curraghmore Estates, Waterforde. A small performance organized by poetry coordinator Raymond Bell, with Tony Shanahan,in the pouring rain under a tent to honor our friend and promoter, the late John Reynolds. And at night, the rain abating, in the field. A great night!! Shots with the people next. We had a long drive afterwards and I awoke late this morning Still waking up, so sorry for sleepy pre coffee report.
This is Barrington Pheloung, the beloved Australian conductor and composer, who gave us such wonderful, memorable themes for Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. Sadly he departed all too soon, on Wednesday past, but his work shall endure. May his spirit flow freely in music’s abstract and infinite realm.
This is how I like to spend a rainy morning on the road. ITV3 mornings. Miss Marple, Morse andThe Saint. There’s a wasp in my room. Seems merely to be taking refuge,or perhaps intrigued by Simon Templar. A good quiet afternoon before the nights concert. Writing, reading, watching my shows, that have a twentieth century feel, where the mind of the detective eclipsed the crime.
This is a place I’ve never been. On the way to Waterford, Altogether Now Festival. So beautiful to see the bees hovering over the thistle and lavender. The sign of the hound. The cascading ivy. My son Jackson gazing out past the green into the purple hills.
This is Jerry Garcia’s birthday in Glasgow. We began with the song Grateful for Jerry. And were grateful all night, for the unconditional love and energy of the people. Another great night in Glasgow, with the unique Patrick Woolf kicking things off. Thank you everybody, we will see you next time!! Always.
This is with Jim Carroll, one of the most blessed poets of my generation. Taken by Chester Simpson in 1979 in San Francisco. Jim was a voracious reader, embracing all from Frank O’Hara, the beats, punk rock to Saint Francis. He was beautiful, funny, unpredictable, and kind. Jim Carroll shares a birthday with Melville, Jerry Garcia, and Rambling Jack Elliott. Sending them, and all born on this day a salute from rainy Scotland.
This is Herman Melville. He died in York City and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. Believing himself to be a failure, he died a broken man. Moby Dick was a critical and commercial ruin, and he hid the manuscript of Billy Budd fearing more ridicule. A masterpiece and a classic that have since magnified the nearly forgotten writer. He was Herman Melville. Today, August 1, on his 200 hundredth birthday, let us call him Master, call him Captain. Call him Herman Melville. Long may his name endure.
This is it! All packed. 4 weeks on the road. As always, traveling light. So I can see what’s in front of me, so I’m fine if on my own. Its so hot I hardly know if I have everything. Okay. glasses, passport, Electric Lady t-shirts, bee socks, handkerchiefs, a book. But what book? A destination? Well, Glasgow, then on and on. Yep, it’s time to shove off, like a whistling postman from a whole other time. I will send reports. That’s for sure.
This is three simple things: A Noguchi lamp My toaster A smile sent off to you all from Rockaway. So many difficult things to navigate. Sometimes we need to rest, then do what we can, remembering to be grateful to be alive.
This is a few shots of color at twilight in the East Village. So much sun today, a bit of dust, not a soul around. I love it here. It still feels like New York. Not an old black and white photograph, but living color, welcoming and full of grit.
This is a photograph that was taken by Stanley Kubrick when he was seventeen. He always had an eye, yet his God given lenses sought for lenses not yet seen. So he could give us Spartacus, Barry Lyndon and the Shining. It was all about the lens-toric, spherical, dispersing light in that Kubrick way. Art and science, candles in the night. A belated birthday wish for a beloved genius, departed much too soon.
This is a farewell to Rutger Hauer, the marvelous actor and environmentalist, who contained within him a darkly revered replicant. Roy Batty of the shifting eye, the long black coat and skin that glowed of death to come. The actor infused his own innate qualities into the androids complex heart, breathing humanity into his last forgiving act. The dove sets wing again, for Rutger Hauer passed away on Friday. Now it is he who flies from sphere to sphere, off the shoulder of Orion, seeing things we humans would not believe.
This is a little picture with my friend the photographer Lynn Davis. It just slipped from the pages of my notebook. She is my coffee buddy, even from afar, for her devotion to coffee surpasses even mine. She has carried the components for making truly decent coffee in the most remote landscapes, while in search of the holy, known and abandoned. Her birthday was in June, but I was traveling and forgot. I suddenly remembered standing before an exquisite volcano in Iceland. Then I asked my friend to find us a pit stop. He knew of an outpost near a spring where a guy sold coffee from a broke down bus. And so that’s where I drank coffee in her honor. No gift, no call, but a silent cup.
This is my daughter Jesse, perhaps dreaming of unknown places. Many that she has been now seeing in her present travels. Mountains, great architecture, crystal lakes reflecting the faces of new people. Though I miss her while she works, studies and explores new territory, I am happy for each new adventure knowing we are never really far from one another.
This is a wonderful book, given to me by a dear friend who knew it would be right up my alley. Reading it is akin to kicking a can along the road of higher learning, with Simone Weil standing guard as her brother Andre scribbles equations in the cosmic dust. A book causing me to dwell in their realm and the arc above, where mathematics, as E.T. Bell put it, is the queen of science.
This is the typewriter, library and sleeping quarters of Mark Twain in the beautifully preserved home in Hartford, Connecticut. He dwelled here with his family, writing most of his enduring classics such as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and the Pauper. One can imagine him meandering the twists and turns of this marvelously eccentric piece of architecture, mulling through the twists of plots before dreaming an end in his beloved Venetian bed.
This is with my friend, bass player and audiobook producer Tony Shanahan, at his Hobo Studio. Though in the center of an exhaustive heat wave, we finished the recording of Year of the Monkey, due in September. We work very well together, sharing a similar work ethic and a good measure of laughter. I look forward to the unleashing of our common efforts into the world.
This is a moment of remembrance and deep sorrow for the 33 souls who lost their lives in the terrible arson induced fire in the studio of Kyoto Animation. So many gifted and motivated young people lost, who had unleashed their imaginations, collaborating on so much beloved work. So many prayers said. Many tears shed. Many flowers laid. Many realms in mourning
This is Hobo Sound Studio where I am recording the audiobook for Year of the Monkey. Our Tony Shanahan has been my producer since recording Just Kids. Its a unique experience reading ones own words, another dimension. The oral presentation is a true three way collaboration relying on trusted ears. We are joined with our engineer James Frazee. They will be spending the heat wave editing. I’m very grateful for their fine work, concentrative energy, and great coffee breaks.
This is visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia, winter 2005. Here the Declaration of Independence, outlining self-evident truths, was signed in 1776.I have always loved this site since visiting it as a small child. Philadelphia harbors much of our history from the Liberty Bell to the birthplace of Marion Anderson. Before this HallI think of the great thinkers and activists Thomas Paine and William Pen, striving for freedom from religious and imperial dominance and persecution, just steps away from where I am standing.
This is what democracy looks like. I am with them just as they are with us all
This is a little gallery of chairs in my travels. Chairs in niches of empty halls in certain hotels. Seeming almost ready to speak, perhaps a bit lonely. I can never bring myself to sit in them but I do hang out with them, observing the light changing over the texture of their upholstery. One of the exciting pass times of being on the road. So, here are a few chairs, please have a seat.
This is my work and eating table in Rockaway Beach. My late mother-in-law Kathleen made the gingham tablecloth for me over thirty years ago. Kathleen was a coal miners daughter from West Virginia. I suddenly thought of her today as I was eating cornbread and collard greens. She would make such fare on a Sunday then sit with her Bible. Often I would join her. Coffee, cornbread and scriptures at her table with a cloth very much like my own.
This is the bed of Frida Kahlo. When the beloved artist and activist lost her leg, she was obliged to lay flat for long periods of time. The sculptor Noguchi fitted a framed arrangement of several butterflies overhead so she may have something beautiful to look at. A gesture to contemplate on her passing day. A simple and meaningful expression of his deep care for her: butterflies to penetrate her dreams.
This is yesterday at Rockaway Beach. An overcast misty afternoon with Patti Hudson. We finished what work we had to do then walked along the water. She got a Coney Island beer and I black coffee at the concession stand. A good friend, a good slow moving day. contemplating the geometry of birds. We just hung out until it started to drizzle. Driving back we listened to Coltrane. As we pulled into the city the clouds dropped, followed by torrential rain, cleansing everything.
This is Paris on July 10,2005, on Marcel Proust’s birthday, a good day for remembering. I had just received a medal, the Commander of the Arts, from the hand of the Minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. When I was young William Burroughs received the same medal. While I was admiring it he told me I would have one some day. I know that we should measure ourselves through deeds, not accolades, but nonetheless I was very proud to receive it. Very happy that William was right.
This is a night of strange angles, spent with my teapot and little television. Watched The Cremator,a disturbing, masterfully casted film by the brilliant Czech director Juraj Herz with the cinematography of the singular artist Stanislav Milota. After being spun around in their expressionistic world I watched Endeavor. Also very interestingly shot, a system of angles unraveled by our dear Inspector Morse. My nettle tea gone it was time to sleep, the door was ajar in a distracting way but I lacked the will to close it.
This is the people of the 2015Glastonbury Festival singing to the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday. It was truly a joyous occasion. The gifts that he chooses for his birthday are always the same; gifts of action. That we strive to create a fluid atmosphere of compassion to spread and bind us as one people. That we tend to our planet and heed the cries of Mother Nature. Though our present administration refuses to comprehend and grant these elemental wishes, we shall comply. Happy Birthday to the Dalai Lama, who radiates the wisdom of the ancients with the smile of a child.
This is a little Blue Velvet moment. Not a reverberate shred of Van Gogh, but a sudden bone, slick and golden, with traces of red under the rays of the punishing sun. Funny how a film can claim for all time, in one shot, the green of a lawn, the curve of an ear. Or a sudden revelation, actually revealing nothing.