I sit here bleary eyed after my trip to the big city, but what a trip it was. The highlight was always going to be the concert and so it proved. Messrs Jarrett, Peacock and deJohnette exceeded all expectations, and they were very high to begin with, as witnessed by endless standing ovations and I think four encores. It was a truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and as these guys have a combined age of 210, one that I may never get the chance to repeat on these shores. That said a continental jazz festival is even more appealing.
I was touched, nay astonished, by the humility of the trio, bowing deeply, almost prostrating themselves before the audience each time they arrived on stage or departed proceedings, always followed by very sincere namastes to the auditorium. Sorry boys, but it is our respect to you for a performance like that which is truly humbling, having been permitted to witness genius at work.
The travel though was less euphoric. Travelling south with all the treatment of first class started well, but after a hot lunch, and settling in to enjoy the opening chapters of Tahir Shah’s Sorceror’s Apprentice, I began to experience the type of nausea not experienced since the days of the smoke filled Number 57 corporation bus out of Glasgow city centre for the short trip home from the office, or even on a channel ferry fighting a nasty swell. I had to give up on the joys of Shah’s writing and window gaze, for three long hours, as the Pendolino coaches hurtled through the countryside. On the bends the cottages and even canal barges had the appearance of being crooked, resting at impossible angles, such was the effect of the tilting train. It’s not for me, at any price. The return leg made up for the nausea, being a slow train aimed to arrive back in Glasgow for breakfast after a midnight departure. The first class sleeping berth was fortuitous, especially at Bargain Berth prices, but sleep was largely elusive and I returned to Shah’s Sorceror around the breaking of day, some three hours before arrival. By then I had begun to notice a growing number of bites to my legs, though I don’t remember seeing tiny travelling companions as one of the optional extras in first class.
Before leaving the big city my emotions post concert, much of which was spent lost with eyes closed and moist, runneth over with a phone call, whilst among the late night throngs at Waterloo Station, from my chums over at the TV studio just minutes walk away. More on that one at a later date, but how I wished I had the time to wander over for one of those group-huggy things. Tears flowed and will do so for some time to come, from many sources. More humility, and a tale to be told.
As for London, well it never was my favourite place, but late afternoon as I wandered from Euston to Waterloo, the streets just teemed with life, too much of it for me. I did manage to break that walk at Stanfords in Covent Garden, spending time I could afford and money I couldn’t. It’s a bit like letting the proverbial wean loose in a sweetie shop. I did manage to look at, without making a purchase, the range of maps available for the possible camping and cycling jaunt in The Netherlands, at the back of my mind for next summer. For me London is simply bursting with too much of all the things I prefer to avoid – people, noise, smells. I could go on, but will prefer to let the good memories, and how special they are, linger for much longer. I’ll be back in London again in two months time, for another positive and personal experience. Dare I broach the subject of a trip further afield, Jerusalem in October, or Istanbul in November? Need to pick my moment for that one, bank manager first.