I bought a new electric guitar. Was it a whim? No, it seemed like the right time, or at least a better time than there’s been for a decade or more. Somehow, as I feel its weight in my hands, the years slip back, fold in softly on themselves, liquify. Flickers from the past play out on the projection screen of memory: moments of friendship, of intensity, of solitude. Minutes becoming hours becoming the book of days. It was once my instrument; maybe it’ll be so again.
In the meantime, there’s the sea; there’s always the sea. I can offer you 40 seconds of it*, but you should repeat these 40 seconds as often as is necessary to fashion your own sea. A friend once said—or rather sang—that the sea is madness. But it doesn’t have to be.
Anyway, the guitar came today, a few days earlier than I’d anticipated. I wasn’t ready, but its arrival does feel like a turning point, or more likely a signpost to somewhere else. I’m not sure where that is yet, but the draw of the unknown is intoxicating, isn’t it? Sometimes we just have to walk the coastal path and see which sea it finds.
* This sea is from Cambo Sands, Fife, 4 March 2023. Other seas are of course available.
22 years ago: a rare Glasgow performance by Richard Youngs and me, put on by the inestimable Liam Stefani as one of his Scatter nights at the legendary 13th Note.
Richard and I performed a bowed bass guitar duo. Also on the bill that night was remarkable saxophonist Tony Bevan. We were lucky to have the opportunity to play a trio with him: bowed bass guitars and Tony’s subterranean bass saxophone.
Both the duo and trio performances are here to download for free/pay what you like on Liam Stefani’s Scatter Archive.
Released today, Distantsis a collection of compilation tracks, online pieces (self-released and released by others) and some other oddities. There’s one very short unreleased track, which comes from the same sessions as Suburban Electrification.
There are 28 pieces across more than 120 minutes, and there’s a lot of variety in tone and texture—something for everyone, perhaps? I’ve set the release as “pay what you like” so you can download for free if you wish. If you do want to pay something for it, today (Friday 5 June) is one of the days when Bandcamp is waiving its fees so today would be the perfect opportunity for a purchase! (And all other releases are set the same way, too, in case there’s anything you’re missing…)
Fine sand is poured from a pouch, trickled onto a tray or table, fingertips are used to find figures, tracing, erasing, effacing, shaping . . .
The mysterious art of sand reading explored in text by Mark Valentine and music by Brian Lavelle, with black and white photography by Jo Valentine.
This collaborative project is published in February 2018 by Seacliff Press, a small press Mark and I have established. There’s a Twitter account here for occasional news items.
Professionally printed 16 page booklet with professionally duplicated CD. Limited to 120 numbered copies, of which 100 only are for sale.
Psammomancy is available from Mark direct: contact markl [dot] valentine [at] btinternet [dot] com, removing spaces and replacing the words in brackets with characters.
(Note, the fifth character is the letter ell not the number one.)