It’s frankly been a horrid week or two. A trip to Aberdeen seemed to go wrong at every turn, starting with having a ticket in the wrong name, and ending with the return flight being cancelled because the incoming plane couldn’t land. The automatic landing system had been struck by lightning, the pilot, trying to land manually, overshot the runway three times, gave up and landed at Inverness instead. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard and bought a painfully expensive ticket to London on a later plane, only to enter the arrivals lounge by mistake one minute before the plane was due to take-off. I made it through security again, got back at midnight, complete with a newly acquired Scottish cold from which I’m still suffering.
The thick damp mass of unbroken grey cloud that completely eclipsed Aberdeen for three days contributed to and symbolised the relentless low-level misery and annoyance of nearly everything. I tried to console myself by reasoning that once you were in a plane, you could rise above the clouds and see the world from a different, sunnier perspective. Perspective is everything, I began to formulate in the self-help department of my brain, and indeed for a few moments (helped by some Pringles and 250ml of airline red wine) things did look sunnier (see picture, above left, taken from the plane).
But from the moment I landed, just about every plan I made for the following days got changed or screwed by someone else, and then when I finally had a chance to sleep it all off, I couldn’t, and ended up, by Sunday night, feeling as if I hadn’t slept for a week.
It’s no thanks to any cloud, silver-lined or otherwise, but there was a pin-prick of joy in this mess. Turning out his old flat, Chris came across a pile of cassettes (remember them?) which, when I connected my trusty TEAC to my Mac via my even trustier Apogee Duet yesterday evening, turned out to contain a recording from 1993 that we both believed to have disappeared for ever, and whose loss we have mourned intermittently ever since.
The material is unprintable and of no interest to anyone much except us, but I’m overjoyed to have found it again after 15 years. Also in the pile were a few other things dating from the same period, including a skit on a Raymonda solo that I threw together in 5 minutes which became a TBA, equally hurriedly thrown-together by Chris in the unlikely ‘studio’ of the music room at ENB, for Maria Teresa del Real.
All the equipment it was made on has long gone, and it’s very rough and ready, but sometimes sketches contain more of an idea than an eventual working-out might do, so for all its messiness, I’m pleased to have it back again. Indeed, it’s the very messiness of it, together with the grain (in the Barthesian sense) of an old cassette that’s been in a dusty cupboard for years that reminds me so effectively of 1993.