Just gone half eight on a hot Saturday in Bristol – it’s still 27c: warmer than Corfu for one day only – and I’m almost relaxed. No. I am relaxed. I can’t stop thinking about just about everything in the world, but I have got ice cold Pilsner Urquell and Steely Dan playing merrily in the foreground. Not actually THE Steely Dan – what would they be doing in Stoke Gifford? – but a recording of them, called Two Against Nature. God, I love Two Against Nature.
My partner doesn’t like later Steely Dan stuff, claiming it’s discordant and it drives her mad. Well, it is very jazzy, and rocky, and bluesy and always abso-fucking-lutely brilliant. But on a Saturday night, when everyone else has gone out, except us, I remember why I love the Dan more than any other band.
There’s no noise around here except Steely Dan from our house and a loud and cheerful children’s party a few doors down. Occasionally, a plane flies over, a novel sound since Covid shut down much the aviation business, as it surely will again very soon, but that’s pretty well it.
We are not far from the main railway lines running north, south west, east and west and the Ms 4, 5 and 32 are a short drive away but there is no wind and so no swishing and rumbling. Oh and Keith Carlock’s brilliant drumming on the title track of Two Against Nature. “That’s discordant”, complains a distant voice from the end of the garden. Then the horns and Walter Becker’s guitar drown the complaints. And Keith Carlock plays like two men, two brilliant drum playing men.
I’m happy at home today. We could have driven to a country pub but that would have meant one of us not drinking beer. That’s just wrong. Who goes to a pub not to drink beer? Imagine the inventor of the pub looking down on you. “He’s drinking fucking orange juice and lemonade. I didn’t fight two world wars for people to drink orange juice and lemonade.” And he’s on to something. And drink-driving, even one pint; that’s just wrong and I used to do it and I could have been nicked, maybe even hurt someone. I’ll sit here instead, with my Pilsner Urquell and my Steely Dan, which is actually a dildo used by two lesbians in William Burroughs impenetrable ‘The Naked Lunch’, page 118 I seem to remember. How the hell do I remember that? I can’t even remember where I went this morning.
It’s gone 9.00pm now and the sun is slowly sinking down. It’s only 26c now. And the Dan are playing Jack Of Speed, although I am getting excited by the prospect of West Of Hollywood, the Dan’s last GREAT song, truly great song. Reg the cat is crashed out by the garden shed, our pond now has the tiniest, babiest frogs, big fat pigeons are eating the bread I threw out because I accidentally left it out of the freezer when I was sorting stuff out and I have an empty glass.
My partner’s family came around earlier for scones with clotted cream and jam – the diet continues tomorrow – and we enjoyed the ride we were on, until Boris Johnson shuts everything down again in a few short weeks. For tonight, Johnson can go fuck himself. I’ve got Steely Dan, Pilsner Urquell and it’s still hot and dry. Tomorrow can wait. I rather like today.