IT’S early Friday morning and I am supping a glass of wine, listening to Galician folk/rockers Celtas Cortos and feeling I should set down a marker for my future self just to see where I was at this point in time.
Tonight I will be playing a gig at The Mill, Ballyduggan, close to Downpatrick. Although my band Samson Stone has been together for nearly three years this is only our fourth live outing but then I suppose that makes each gig an event rather than a routine.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll be heading off to Tennerife for a few days on a press trip which involves visiting a volcano, various nature reserves and a boat trip to do some whale watching and I suppose forcing myself to enjoy lots of regional cuisine.
The pisser about that is that my new Chinese doctor has told me to give up seafood and spicy food for two months. I tried to explain to him that I live on seafood and spicy (mostly vegetarian) food but he shook his head and said it was essential.
I really went to see if he could help my back, which is not chronically sore but can get quite strained and knotted, but while I was there I asked him could he give me something to ease the recurrent head cold I seem to have these days – which is where the abstinence from seafood and spices comes in to play. Next week when I get back for Las Islas Canarias, fine, but there is no way I am going to a Spanish island and not trying to find a restaurant with ‘navajas’ (razor clams) and a ‘racion de calamares’.
In terms of writing I met my publisher on Tuesday who told me that my new novel ‘ecopunks’ is scheduled to come out late next year. Good news. However, given the fact that Lagan Press is dependent on funding from the Northern Ireland Arts Council and that the Stormont executive is facing a major cash shortfall I wonder if that will impact on it.
Another publishing project seems to be making good progress. A short story I was commissioned to write is due to appear in a book out, published by Morrigan Books, next year called ‘The Red Hand of Crime’, which features some great writers, including Ken Bruen, Adrian McKinty, Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway and Sam Miller.
I met one of the anthology’s editors, Gerard Brennan, at John Banville’s reading last Saturday night and he was raving about the variously contributions, so as well as seeing my own story in print I’m looking forward to seeing how the other writers tackled the theme of a crime story based on a Celtic myth.
In terms of reading I am engrossed in the novels of Robert Bolaño at present - half way through the 900-page ‘2666’ and dipping back into ‘Distant Star’ and ‘By Night in Chile’. I hadn’t actually realised that he had become a publishing phenomena until last week and was quite pleased that I’d read a couple of his novels already. More on 2666 soon.
As well as Bolaño I have been dipping in an out of Jung’s ‘Memories Dreams and Reflections’, John Moriarty’s Turtle Was a Long Time Gone Vol I’, poems by Gabriel Rosenstock, Robert Graves, Yevgenny Yevtushenko and a critical study of the poems of Derek Mahon.
Half read and struggling to be picked up again are ‘The Angel’s Game’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, ‘The Secret Scripture’ by Sebastian Barry and the Bueno Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Monalban.
Also recently reread were Hugo Hamilton’s Disguise – best novel of 2008 – and John Water Lapsed Agnostic – yes well?
Soundtracks to my life at present are Senagelese singer Es Lo, Thelonious Monk, Johann Johannsson’s new album Fordlandia, Celtas Cortos (como siempre), Paddy Keenan, Horslips and Tinariwen.
Due to see Tinariwen in Dublin in a few weeks and Horslips in Belfast in September.
Haven’t watched TV in weeks and no desire to. News now and again but that’s it and more often on Al Jazeera or on the Spanish channel 24H than terrestrial channels.
Bhuel, sin é. Off to practice my chords for gig – Wishing Well, Blitzgrieg Bop, I Predict a Riot, That’s Entertainment, Echo Beach, Shadow Play, Should I Stay or Should I Go and (God help us) Born to be Wild.