After three missed calls, about eighteen e-mails and any number of exasperated sighs I finally tied up the interviews with two parts of ELP this week. Greg Lake on Tuesday and Keith Emerson last night. For the teenagers among you this won’t mean much, but for men of a certain age ELP once strode the earth like a classically-trained behemoth. The keyboard player used to stab his organ (Hammond, this was before public self-harming was popular) and they once took an orchestra on tour, it cost them £6 million all told. This was in 1977 and caused what you might refer to as a rift in the band, they broke up two years later and said mean things about each other publicly. They’re now as close to being firm friends as they’ll ever be and due to play a one-off show (which might evolve into a few dates) at the High Voltage Festival at Victoria Park in London this summer. I’m actually excited. I know some of you look at me and think, Wilding, misanthrope, never dances alone at home or tells knock-knock jokes to inanimate objects or gets excited at the prospect of anything, but I do. Rarely, but it happens. Roxy Music and ELP both playing the same grassy knoll a week apart, I’m almost punching the air right here at my desk. You should come, we’ll drink pear cider and forget where we parked the car and then remember that we don’t have a car and that I can’t drive. That’s a good Sunday by any standards. Anyway, the interviews were great, Greg fell over in rehearsal and Keith’s condo flooded (not while we were chatting, that would mean I was bad luck), but they were still both relatively chipper. Roll on July.
Elsewhere, CCMS came out in Canada this week or it was meant to. My Canuck friends (Moose, Mountie and Geddy as I call them) couldn’t find it for love nor money. It doesn’t come out in Australia next week either. I’m hoping you’ll prove me wrong, Australia! On a book tip, I actually drafted the first chapter of the new novel earlier this week, all 5300 words of it. I think it’s good. The agent thinks it’s great, I thought he’d had a stroke or been given three months to live when I got that email (and if he has that won’t be a quarter as funny). I’ve decided that I’ve got to get it done before the Vintage paperback of CCMS comes out in February 2011. Imagine beards, tears and a lot of shouting – a bit like touring with ZZ Top in the Seventies I’d imagine – until then, poor Nuala, she has to listen to me tell jokes to the fridge as it is. I feel good about it though, I feel like it can be done. I wasn’t sure the magic hadn’t run out of me after book 1 (as it’s now known) was done. It’s the Laugharne Festival with Nicky Wire next month and then the Litro stage as part of the Camden Crawl (whenever that is) and then, delightfully, I’m doing Green Man as are the Flaming Lips and Billy Bragg! I sort of know Billy (he once wrote a song for me and Phill) so I’m going to stand by him and ask him to dedicate Levi Stubbs’ Tears to me when he plays and then drink pear cider with him and ask him if he wants to arm wrestle. It’s good to have a plan in place before you set out on these things. One more book thing; a friend of mine saw a girl reading Cross Country Murder Song on the Northern Line, I hope she’s alright.
ELP aside, I’m also writing my second Soundgarden article in a matter of months (it’s handy having toured with all these bands who are now making a comeback – I’m looking at my Faith No More gold disc as I write) and interviewing Train at some point. Their new album’s rather pretty. As is The Pineapple Thief CD, I’d tell you what it’s called if I could remember, but it’s out in May and could make them rich enough that they’ll all have racehorses by the end of the year. Oh and my pen came back, my righteous, ludicrously expensive fountain pen is fixed. Thankfully, I have some books to sign. Apropos of nothing, I’m forty-four next week, I really should get a haircut. Have a weekend.