Vesba is next on my westward trek down the eateries of Goldhawk Road. It is a Fuller’s pub aimed at the 20-30 market. There is a regular live music night by someone called Jason Norris.I have never heard him but have seen him from the back because he performs with his back to the window. He seems popular and I believe the genre to be Pop/Rock. So not a gig for Chico Chica yet. Our Latin/Lounge strains have yet to adorn the Goldhawk Road sound world except perhaps in the form of rehearsals at my house.
Being a Fuller’s pub means I can buy Honey Dew beer on draught. Yippee. I love Honey Dew and I had a pint of it with my pizza. I can’t remember the topping but I do remember I enjoyed it. I suppose that means it was good in a rather bland, forgettable way. My companion had a New Yorker Burger. I discovered this is a burger with a cheese, bacon and chicken topping. Chicken!! It sounds like a burger for people who can’t make up their minds. What struck my companion and me was that the meals were served on wooden chopping boards rather than plates. This is obviously a 2011 idea dreamt up by some catering design consultant which will run its course for a few months.
Getting back to Conrad, which I have a tendency to do, I have been thinking about how artists need to feed the imagination. Some argue that an artist must be tuned into the Zeitgeist so as to tell the story of the times. I prefer to choose sources that others avoid or more likely, don’t even consider. This is one reason why I find Conrad so compelling. So many go with the flow, when it comes to their reading. They choose which ever titles are being talked about , reviewed and advertised. Instead of joining a book club I would rather read what others don’t read. The one drawback is there are fewer conversational opporunities.
It’s hard to explain my reasons for liking Joseph Conrad without sounding like an English professor and that is what I most want to avoid. To say that Kurtz in Heart of Darkness represents European civilisation is not only obvious and unnecessary but it also spoils the fun. A reader can can get enormous pleasure from Heart of Darkness just by reading it. All the representational aspects which academics love so much, works best when it operates sub-consciously. It’s best to avoid the academics. Their work is aimed at those poor souls who have to write essays. If you want insight into an author, read essays written by other writers. In Conrad’s case, Virginia Woolf and Henry James are good. For me, the best way is merely to point the reader to those sublime passages that Conrad keeps coming up with and which mark him out as a writer of the highest quality. Here I have typed one such passage from The Outcast From The islands. It is about Lingard, who, up to this point, the reader is made to understand is a successful and benevolent trader. I will leave you with this antidote to those How-To-Be-Successful books you may had the misfortune to read.
‘Consciously or unconsciously, men are proud of their firmness, steadfastness of purpose, directness of aim. They go straight towards their desire, to the accomplishment of virtue – sometimes of crime – in an uplifting persuasion of their firmness. They walk the road of life, the road fenced in by their tastes, prejudices, disdains or enthusiasms, generally honest, invariably stupid, and are proud of never losing their way. If they do stop it is to look for a moment over the hedges and make them safe, to look at the misty valleys, at the distant peaks, at cliffs and morasses, at the dark forests and the hazy plains where other human beings grope their days painfully away, stumbling over the bones of the wise, over the unburied remains of their predecessors who died alone, in gloom or in sunshine, halfway from anywhere. The man of purpose does not understand, and goes on, full of contempt. He never loses his way. He knows where he is going and what he wants. Traveling on, he achieves great length without any breadth, and battered, besmirched, and weary, he touches the goal at last; he grasps the reward of his perseverance, of his virtue, of his healthy optimism: an untruthful tombstone over a dark and soon forgotten grave.’
Let’s hope my reading of Conrad and suchlike will give me enough self-awareness to avoid Lingard’s fate. But I have to say, a sense of purpose is needed to push through the Chico Chica album project. It is taking so much longer than originally planned partly because it’s hard to have everyone available at the same time but also because mixing always takes longer than you think. I am particularly grateful to Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios and Andy Lafone. Jen Ruppert has also helped the project by bringing her video camera to the studio. Our friends recognise the passion Chico Chica are putting in to the project and are responding in kind.
Gratitude is a kind of happiness so allow me to wallow in my thanking mode. Regarding my recent home refurbishment I’d like to thank Steve Davies the mortgage broker -(if he can get a mortgage for a Jazz musician you know he’s good), Matt Keeler of KSK Architects and Tom Kennedy of TFK Services (the builder).