Heading home today for New Year in London, and it's been a while since I've done that. Had a last minute panic record shop - got ZZ Top, El Loco, mint in shink promo for $1.99 and Montrose first album for 99 cents.
Saw the new Cohen Brothers film, True Grit. It took me ages to understand the accents. Good ending, I liked it that most of the cowboys had rotten teeth...
Flew with Brian Wheat to San Francisco (he's decided to come with me, to the land of the ice and snow), connecting home this evening. A very quiet San Francisco Airport.
I had Christmas day with Brian And Monique Wheat. They went out of their way and I sort of had a good time - even though I hate the day...
Went record shopping which is good in America as they generally sell records way cheaper than the UK. A mint unplayed LP is around $5.00 and Americans have not dumped downloads and discovered the culture of vinyl. Instead of sitting home bored out of my mind I was in record heaven, as for Christmas Brian had given me a huge record voucher to spend. Here's a bit of what I got -
Tubes - Young And Rich
Montrose - Paper Money
Streetwalkers - Downtown Flyers (a great record)
John Prine - 1st album, it cost 99 cents unplayed
Magic Sam - West Side Soul
John Butcher - Axis (I remember them opening for Def Leppard)
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Apocalypse
Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees, and The Blue Oyster Cult (good artwork)
James Gang - Live In Concert
Steppenwolf - Gold
Steve Miller Band 5
And I've been getting old movie soundtracks, mainly for the artwork
Patton - which has his famous speech
Ned Kelly with the Mick Jagger cover
Zachariah The First Electric Western
Some I already have, I just got them again for the mint covers...
Had a day walking around downtown Sacramento which made a change from Oxford Street and Christmas madness. Except Brian thought we should take some Christmas photos.
Had a good day so far, trained, ran, got stuff done at home, planned a trip to somewhere warmer next year. Got in good head space. A nice unexpected warming text from Paris. Things were good in the 'hood.
Off to Heathrow to fly to Sacramento via Chicago for a Christmas dinner with the wonderful Wheats. Checked in First Class United, got to the plane and found the steward, an overweight fairy wearing a Santa hat. He told me he'd swapped my seat.I looked at him with contempt and explained to "Alice" that he can't do that to the The Master without asking, even if he was in a tutu waving a wand. He looked very put out and I told him to wave his wand and move me to seat 1A. After he conferred with another of his kind that's what happened - not a bad day so far for The Master - "more Cote De Rhone and cavier please", served by my tutu-wearing friends.
I took photos over the snow-capped end of England. We flew over the Irish Sea the end of day - sunset and evening star and one clear call for me and may there be no moaning of the bar when I go out sea-sunset and after that the dark. A bit of Tennyson for Christmas - kind of suits it. Christmas brings a lot of darkness with the bonhomie of fake Christmas cheer...
Chicago - an empty airport covered in snow. I sort of liked it, walking around in transit no-mans land, I prefer this than sitting at home on my own. On to a foggy Sacramento. Arrive at midnight - met by Herr Wheat and Miss Michelle Berry.
My first Christmas Day in California, although maybe I'm wrong about that. I feel happy, if that's the right word, and I hope to stay that way.
And here's a message from a fellow traveller
I was flying United Airlines from Kansas city to Chicago yesterday
morning (flying on to Ireland) and it seems US airport security really
has it in for you. They pulled me aside and had to take out your new
Metallica book and put it through the x-ray machine by itself just to
double check you weren't trying to blow up the place because it showed
up as suspicious.
It's a great book, love the epilogue :)
Take care and Happy Christmas!
My right leg is still killing me, it just throbs all the time. Saw a specialist doctor today who said I've damaged my sacro-iliac joint. It's knocked out of place and twisted. Now I sort of found comfort in thinking I know what it is - until you have to explain what your sacro-iliac joint is and I've no idea. I just know it "hurts" and it isn't the cold doing it.
And the weather in London is still shit
Here's what I'd like for Christmas - the future Mrs Halfin.
Jean Pierre Leloir died yesterday. He was 79 and a great photographer. He started Rock And Folk, a French Magazine I used to buy in the foreign magazine shop in Old Compton Street in my youth. I got to know Jean Pierre and did a book with him - Led Zeppelin Over Europe. Like Jim Marshall it was an honour to have known him.
With both of them passing this year it made me think of my influences and who of the greats is still left. In my eyes Baron Wolman, who started Rolling Stone, and Barry Feinstein - it is like art looking at their work. No photoshop involved - real photographers, using film, and people forget that...
Sunday - "Still Raining Still Dreaming", or perhaps "Still Snowing Still Freezing".
Thought I should try to like the weather but, you know what, I don't. Here's Ross Halfin, Oliver Halfin, Peter Makowski and Gustavo Guerrero trying to like the snow...
Was playing Lightnin' Hopkins Live At The Bird Lounge Houston Texas. Thought 'this is nice and chilled for a Sunday'... I listened to the whole of side one until I noticed it was playing too slow - sounded great! And also Terry Reid, The River. A fantastic LP, and Pink Floyd San Tropez 1970. Plus a bit of James Brown on dvd Live At The Olympia Paris 1971.
Saturday and it's cold, snow and still freezing, and amazingly the trains were running. I went to London for a wander around - had a good day. The weather is now back to what it was when I was a young child. I don't care that much as long as the summer's warm.
Snowing in London again - cold, cold, cold. I got my Deluxe copy of the Jimmy Page book (I have number 2) and after becoming a bit blase about it, looking at it now I think it is a stunning book.
Spent this morning finishing off my travel book which will be out end of January. My fault it's late as I changed some photos. Without wanting to sound pompous I am happy with it. This is the first book of mine I've liked when finished with the layout, normally I'm sick of them by then. Genesis Books will be putting on their website how to order etc in early January and if you do want to order it you must send Genesis your email contact details.
I finally got around to getting "Ladies And Gentleman, The Rolling Stones", the film of the 1972 US Tour. It is terrible, badly filmed, seems to be shot all across the stage. It has no dynamics like say the Gimme Shelter footage. The playing is good and they are wearing more eye makeup than the female population of America. It has been so hyped it is disappointing. Mick Jagger's interview shows he can really remember nothing about the tour at all. Funny how the critics love the Stones, they are either very good or very bad and this is not good - trust me...
Pete Makowski has been raving about how he's re-disovered ELP. After watching the Stones footage I'll take Tarkus any day. Well, maybe I won't, I'll stick to NEU, the song LEB WOHL is a good way to end an evening.
A night out seeing Gogol Bordello at the Forum with Jimmy Page and Gordon Gheller. They encored with Ghost Riders In The Sky which I remember as a child - Jimmy thought it was by Frankie Laine. We got very well looked after, even given gambling chips to buy drinks and Eugene Hutz made a point of giving Jimmy and I the new Gogol Bordello cd as we left.
My son was asked in LA if I'm difficult - 'Difficult no, more awkward for the sake of being awkward,' replied Oliver. Okay, I'll take awkward. Don't mind that at all...
Ran around London today, ending up in the trendy east end of Shoreditch at the Soho House - not as good as the one in Berlin.
Here's some photos of Baroness in Melbourne I'd forgotten to look at
Had a flight from hell. Well, not for the normal person but my flight was oversold and Chicago had bad weather so I lost my seat and had to fly economy LA to London which I haven't done in twenty-five years. The food was shit, the service was shit, and the seat was really shit. I sat next to Oliver who looked at poor daddy and was trying not to laugh as he'd taken the window seat so I was stuck in the aisle getting annoyed by the riff raff in the back.
And we were random checked on the new LAX body scanners, plus a random hand baggage check - fucking LAX retards.
I ended up putting myself in a state of euphoria to put up with all this - woke up thirty minutes over London, landed, got home and it's freeeeeeeeeeezing. And the oddest thing is I don't feel too bad. Maybe I'm still "floating" over London and will land in the real world later today...
Have discovered NEU, the German band from the '70s, and got Richie Havens first LP for $2.99 in Amoeba.
Went to see The Black Crowes at The Palladium yesterday. I've had a good time seeing them again, like Metallica they made feel welcome. The Palladium was where I first saw Metallica come into their own and I've seen loads of shows there although I haven't been there in years - it's still a dump.
Black Crowes. See more...
Drove out to El Mirage, which I think is in the Mojave Desert, to shoot the salt lake beds. It was flooded (it didn't look flooded to me, just a few puddles ) and closed. Closed! I mean, how can the desert be closed? A three hour drive each way, a waste of the day, but the sunset was good. Clean and western, soothing, baking hot then as soon as the sun set, freeeeeeeeeeezing.
Only in America would they say a desert is closed. Baffles me, America, the land of the free, governed by so many rules. Six hours in a car is not my idea of fun, especially with my hungover son who was suffering after trying to put the fun back in Los Angeles. Serves him right for living after midnight.
I came back and rounded up Brian Wheat and headed back to Ago, being as I am a creature of habit. Oliver was off to the Roxy for Camp Freddy - I couldn't face it, watching people like Juliette Lewis murder classic songs. Ago was fantastic, it rounded off a very long day. Brian and I ended the night talking to Jimmy Page and Steve Strange, Irish super drummer and agent.
Los Angeles and it's warm - beats London in the cold...
Hung out with the Black Crowes which was fun, and Jeff Beck, plus Brad Whitford - even saw Sidney Poitier while talking to a "fragile" Kirk Hammet, who had been having too much of a good time with his new "buddy" Stevie Wonder.
Cold, cold, cold. I'm off to Los Angeles - here comes the sun, in theory. If I go to Hell I suppose at least it'll be warm.
Up at dawn to travel across London to Heathrow. Funny, no matter what you do security is always unpleasant, arguing with you about toothpaste being a millimetre too big. Morons, not a single person can think or use their brain. People talking at you with contempt. It's an American thought process - if you don't believe me you travel across the US airports and see - the brain dead security. I like the story online about the gay man ejaculating after a pat down - "Ker-plop! Have some hand cream". Serves them right for fiddling with his lower parts...
Travel use to be exciting, fun, a great day out. Now it is just stressful. After flying to Australia on Thai you think why does a US carrier check in have to be so hard? And the people serving you are ugly - seriously, look at the women on eastern airlines compared to "grab a grannie" in the US.
Took off on a fairly empty flight. In Business United has the seats looking backwards at each other like an army plane. My view was looking directly at someone else who wants to pay for a seat and look at someone you don't like (which I was), so time for a little cocktail of vicodan, lunesta mixed with lorazepam. I'm not advocating self medicating but what works works. I was flying on my own most of the way and it was a pleasure being in a world of own making. Woke up over Las Vegas with an hour to go.
Los Angeles and the sun was shining - fine by me...
Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing today, foggy and cold, fucking winter I hate you - I'll go to hell but at least it's supposed to be warm there.
Took a train from one end of London to the other (Cheam to Wanstead) to shoot a very ill Clive Burr who I haven't seen for at least twenty-five years. It was nice to see him but very sobering, he is not in a good way with MS and couldn't talk, but he had dignity. Came back across London to the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea to shoot a polite friendly Richard Thompson.
A day to make you think about life and what it can bring....
Some magazines - Billy F from France, Keith Moon from the very prestigious New Yorker, and a feature on me from Metal Hammer.
Been in Berlin which was like summer compared to London. I stayed at the Soho House, the old Stasi Politburo Building and it was very nice. In fact I didn't leave the hotel.
Came home to snow. I really hate the snow, horrible. Looks nice but being in it is another matter.
Some Bad Company from Wembley Empire Pool from the days when I was young. Never liked these photos at the time, I remember Lynn Goldsmith being there and throwing a fit and getting us all kicked out-silly old cow. I was pissed off at the time now in retrospect I couldn't care less.