Land of Napoleon and Cola

Dolly somewhere in the middle of Corsica March 2014

Dolly somewhere in the middle of Corsica March 2014 (Photography by Lettie)

A huge thank you to Anthony Phillips and Denise Arnold for being instrumental in my wonderful trip to Corsica. The kindness of the audiences and organisers was unprecedented.  On my way over I bought Mike Rutherford’s book which writes about the early Charterhouse days and the beginning of Genesis and his meeting with Anthony.

2110 Corse Ile d'Amour Moriani et ses environs San-Nicolao Edition Roc E Mare Fabrication Francaise Marque Deposee

2110 Corse Ile d’Amour Moriani et ses environs San-Nicolao Edition Roc E Mare Fabrication Francaise Marque Deposee

Villages de Corse Marignana Photographie J M Battini

Villages de Corse Marignana Photographie J M Battini

I did two gigs on two different parts of the island. The first performance was at Ustaria Di A Rota in Marignana and I was driven by the wonderful Denise with all my gear for 3 hours through gorges and mountains, down one single windy beautiful road.

Somewhere in the mountains of Corsica

Somewhere in the mountains of Corsica (Photograph by Lettie)

In the shadows of the snow capped mountains that looked like they had been sprinkled with icing sugar, through the evergreens, under the rocky faces, past the empty out of season hotel that reminded me of ‘The Shining’ and on on through continually breathtaking scenery.

Up in the mountains crossing from east to west Corsica March 2014  (Photograph by Lettie)

Up in the mountains crossing from east to west Corsica March 2014 (Photograph by Lettie)

Snow capped mountains of Corsica March 2014 photograph by Denise Arnold

Snow capped mountains of Corsica March 2014 (Photograph by Denise Arnold)

A wonderful restaurant and bar with it’s own theatre situated on the west of the island in Marignana was a trouvé. Despite the language barrier of neither speaking French nor Corsican, I did my very best to engage. Invariably I spoke Spanish to a perplexed Corsican audience! Cedric a talented sound engineer did a sterling job of helping me.

Ustaria Di a Rota Club March 2014

Ustaria Di a Rota Club March 2014

 

At Ustaria Di a Rota Club March 2014

At Ustaria Di a Rota Club March 2014 (Photography by Lettie)

Poster advertising Lettie's performance at Ustaria Di A Rota March 28th 2014

Poster advertising Lettie’s performance at Ustaria Di A Rota March 28th 2014

Lettie at Ustaria di A Rota photograph by Denise Arnold

Lettie at Ustaria di A Rota, Marignana (Photograph by Denise Arnold)

Lettie at Ustaria di A Rota by Denise Arnold

Lettie at Ustaria di A Rota by Denise Arnold

Lettie and unknown gentleman at Ustaria di a Rota photograph by Denise Arnold

Lettie and unknown gentleman at Ustaria di a Rota (Photograph by Denise Arnold) March 28th 2014

At Ustaria di A Rota pre gig 28th March 2014

At Ustaria di A Rota pre gig 28th March 2014 (Photograph by Lettie)

The second was at a club at the Tavagna Club in Talasani.

Tavagna Club 20230 Talasani

Tavagna Club 20230 Talasani

Tavagna Club 20230 Talasani 04 95 31 36 94

Tavagna Club 20230 Talasani 04 95 31 36 94

The organiser Francescu Marcantei is himself a musician and sings with an all male choir creates haunting spiritual music as well as traditional Corsican songs.

Tavagna in Veru Concert de Polyphonie Corse  Label Sergent Major Mosaic Music Distribution 2006

Tavagna in Veru Concert de Polyphonie Corse Label Sergent Major Mosaic Music Distribution 2006

Francescu Marcantei at Tavagna Club Talasani Corsia

Francescu Marcantei at Tavagna Club Talasani Corsica

I have been listening to his albums and it is clear the Corsicans love voices and perhaps my own music when it was it’s most bare and simple was the most effective. I therefore adjusted my second set to cut down on the electronics!  You can see a couple of performances on my youtube channel.

Corsica in Marignana Maria Saveria Cardi 1950 Cismonte e Pumonti Edizione 20229 Nucariu Corsica copyright

Corsica in Marignana Maria Saveria Cardi 1950 Cismonte e Pumonti Edizione 20229 Nucariu Corsica copyright

Corsica Foto di Francescu Cardi 1979 Canut corsu in a notte Chant Corse, la nuit

Corsica Foto di Francescu Cardi 1979 Canut corsu in a notte Chant Corse, la nuit

Corsica Foto di Francescu Cardi 1980 Muntange di Vicu in a matina Montagnes de Vico le martin copyright Francescu Cardi

Corsica Foto di Francescu Cardi 1980 Muntange di Vicu in a matina Montagnes de Vico le martin copyright Francescu Cardi

Corsica Capi Corsu Foto di Francscu Cardi 1984 (copyright of Francescu Cardi)

Corsica Capi Corsu Foto di Francscu Cardi 1984 (copyright of Francescu Cardi)

The trip was an adventure.   It reaffirmed to me that the new music I am doing with Dave Barbarossa and Mark Vernon is in the right direction at least I’m keeping it simple!

Denise Arnold on the beach

Denise Arnold on the beach

Thank you to all those that came and a special one to Denise for her patience and tolerating the time I spent creating bizarre photographs of these traditional dolls that have journeyed with me on various islands over the last two years.

Lettie in the mountains of Corsica by Denise Arnold

Lettie in the mountains of Corsica by Denise Arnold

In the meantime back in London the tracks with Dave Barbarossa will be done in the next few weeks and Dave is back with the Adam and the Ants so I’m thrilled he’s back on the big stages where he belongs. So my writing continues with Mark Vernon and will take me over the next few months. Cameron Craig has kindly agreed to mix this album.

Me and Mark at his Birthday party March 2014

Me and Mark at his Birthday party March 2014

I also have an electronic track from an artist in Italy to sing now I have retrieved the microphone David Baron has lent me from Funky Junk!  It seems so long since the last album with David and it’s all thanks to him that I’m even doing it.

Blue tit in Denise Arnold's garden

Blue tit in Denise Arnold’s garden

As a last note I bought a book called Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visted and Never Will by Judith Schlansky. I have continued to buy numerous copies as presents for people and as the plane  MH370 disappeared I looked up in this book any possible remote islands in the vicinity.

Postcard not known

Postcard not known

It is strange that one of the most secret bases on earth Diego Garcia which I pointed out looking at the map in the book, is circulating on the internet as holding a key. What’s even stranger is the pilot had this particular runway in his flight simulator. Despite the great tragedy of this for families involved and not to belittle that at all, it is the most extraordinary story of recent times.

xXx

(click on any image to make larger)

I was sad to hear the passing of Ronnie Terrill who used to follow my tour in 2009 with Peter Murphy on Facebook.  I saw him just before Christmas for the first time in ages. I used to spend many days talking with him, he used to collect garden gnomes, work at Ronnie Scotts and own various galleries before I knew him.  When I first arrived in London and met him in Finches pub, he took me under his wing and took me to all his haunts in Soho and Notting Hill and introduced me to a lot of people but I hadn’t seen him for years. You made me laugh. I’ll miss you.

Lettie in Corsica by Denise Arnold March 2014

Lettie in Corsica by Denise Arnold March 2014

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Bad weather but my hearts still in it….

From Photoplay 'now it can be told! The Jean Harlow Story Hollywood SUPPRESSED August 1937

From Photoplay ‘now it can be told! The Jean Harlow Story Hollywood SUPPRESSED August 1937

As the snowdrops bow their aching heads in the blustery weather forecasts that prevail through January and February, I think back often on the albums I have recorded and the time that has passed and I have to remind myself on the lost couple of years I spent in Oxford trying to record that album ‘Other Days’ which never saw the light. Sometimes people remark on those tracks I wrote with Mike, and then David Baron pulled me back to the Catskill mountains and helped me record ‘Good Fortune, Bad Weather’ which is work I am very proud of.  It’s possibly not been heard that much and I have yet to put it on Spotify.  The one thing I’ve been right about though is the bad weather!

Unknown coastal photograph

Unknown coastal photograph

Here’s a postcard of Dawlish in sunnier times.  My thoughts go out to all of those affected.

Hello Love, Do you remember This place? We fed the Ducks with aunty Iris & Beverly a few years ago.  Dad is trying to get a new type all our love Mam & Dad

Hello Love, Do you remember This place? We fed the Ducks with aunty Iris & Beverly a few years ago. Dad is trying to get a new type all our love Mam & Dad

I tried to do a film for every track but I started to do less because I exhausted a lot of my locations.  Secondly there’s a lot more films now (since I started in 2008) than there used to be due to iphones and most people don’t have time to watch videos and certainly Facebook is a hard place to put them up.

Anonymous photograph

Anonymous photograph

I have been so fortunate – I filmed ‘Cold’ in ‘The Deep’ in Hull which his now going to be City of Culture and ‘Pandora’ on the very last day of Streatham Ice Rink which will never be seen again. I filmed ‘Lucky’ on the way to work as well as ‘Everyman’ and others as you will probably see in my bedroom, on the roof, in the garden in Suffolk or at Southbank or Sizewell B!  They are vignettes into my life! Some of my other films were carefully transferred 16mm or 35mm film which I took to Stanleys in Wardour Street and edited so as far as I know will not have been in circulation or even seen before. You can see all my films on my Youtube Channel.

Obscurity is harder to come by which is why my collection of postcards are now littered with photographs which are unique.  I find such pleasure in the old, the obscure and the secret treasure troves of the past.  I do, however, also create new things.

Unknown photograph of tea room

Unknown photograph of tea room

I have been recording quite a lot in the last year or so.  I have three great tracks with Dave Barbarossa which are ready to mix and have recorded eight songs with Mark Vernon.  Mark began his music career at Cadburys so I found this to give him.  He then went on to manage PJ Harvey in the early days and John Cale.  It’s been a great experience for us both to record what will be an album in Brick Lane with this fantastic studio we found Dada Studios.  I am keeping a blog for our work under the title Unbeknown Records.  Please click on that link for more photographs that I shall be posting shortly and information.

Special Visit to Cadbury Bros Ltd Bournville 16th May 1962

Special Visit to Cadbury Bros Ltd Bournville 16th May 1962

Marko taking a picture of a squirrel from Dada Studios February 2014

Marko taking a picture of a squirrel from Dada Studios February 2014

The next stage though is all about money and unfortunately I lost one of my jobs after Christmas but I’ve blow dried my hair, put on my suit and I’m back in the saddle after a couple of interviews!

For tape in a hurry- Tops in electrical tape! Johns- Manville Dutch Brand Choose from a broad range of pressure sensitive electrical tapes.  Plastic, Friction, Rubber, Cloth, Paper ...

For tape in a hurry- Tops in electrical tape! Johns- Manville Dutch Brand Choose from a broad range of pressure sensitive electrical tapes. Plastic, Friction, Rubber, Cloth, Paper …

The plan (and I’ve had many before and usually the plan goes wrong!) is to release a single ‘At the Crossroads’ with three tracks in the next three months, and aim for Autumn to complete the project with Marko.    Before all this I need to pay for my microphone, which has been repaired and is still at Funky Junk an incredible place.  Thank you Dave!  I will be there soon!

Aside from all this recording I plan to go to Corisca for two gigs at the end of March which will be exciting and hopefully a gig in April.  I will, therefore, be getting out the instruments again “just for a little while, oh just to see you smile” (‘I Love You’ by The Velvet Underground)

So in celebration of St Valentine here’s a postcard I bought in Prague last year:

Den pro mou lasku 14.2 Valentyn -Leko 0641:20 27 70 Czech Republic

Den pro mou lasku 14.2 Valentyn -Leko 0641:20 27 70 Czech Republic

A very old postcard from 1906…..

Where Ignorance is Bliss 1906 Dear M, Hope to see you soon From you know

Where Ignorance is Bliss 1906 Dear M, Hope to see you soon From you know

A new one from Italy….

Lascia che il cuore sussurri al tu arecchio le sue parole, Vera Fotographia

Lascia che il cuore sussurri al tu arecchio le sue parole, Vera Fotographia

Unknown cutting that flew across the table at Portobello market and Lettie felt compelled to buy it when the next door trader kindly found it

Unknown cutting that flew across the table at Portobello market and Lettie felt compelled to buy it when the next door trader kindly found it

Because of my obsession with volcanoes at the moment and due to the fact one of our new tracks is written around them here is my ideal Valentine dinner venue a completely empty restaurant overlooking a huge volcano how romantic!

Dining Room, Volcano House, Hawaii Halemaumau firepit, Kileuea crater and 13,680 foot snow capped Mauna Loa Volcano are clearly visible through the picture windows of the new Volcano House dining room card by H S Crocker Co Inc

Dining Room, Volcano House, Hawaii Halemaumau firepit, Kileuea crater and 13,680 foot snow capped Mauna Loa Volcano are clearly visible through the picture windows of the new Volcano House dining room card by H S Crocker Co Inc

Love Lettie x x x

Lettie at Tintern Abbey photograph by a friend November 2013

Lettie at Tintern Abbey photograph by a friend November 2013

(click on an images to make larger)

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Tuesday’s child is full of grace!

The day after I wrote my last blog, Lou Reed died.  I cannot really explain how my music collection consists of so few artists perhaps because I never had much money to buy stuff and when I did I just explored one or two but Lou Reed was one where I had everything.   The program on BBC4 is a must see click here. I’ve read most of the books about Andy Warhol and the Factory and my obsession started  young.  Oh sad days when our heroes pass away.  Nelson too.  The rain today are the tears  of the whole world of those left behind who have lost loved ones.

Lou Reed photograph Billy Name: Factory Foto from Edie by Jean Stein edited with George Plimpton Grove Press New York

Lou Reed photograph Billy Name: Factory Foto from Edie by Jean Stein edited with George Plimpton Grove Press New York

I haven’t updated my blog for a while.  It takes such a long time.

A Street and Smith Publication Astounding Science Fiction December 1950 Shooting 'Destination Moon' By Robert A Heinlein

A Street and Smith Publication Astounding Science Fiction December 1950 Shooting ‘Destination Moon’ By Robert A Heinlein

I scan all my images by hand- there’s only one image so far which I have nicked from the internet. Things are too easy these days, I like to take the time.

From Eduardo Paolozzi Collages and Drawings Anthony d'Offay Exhibition 23 March to 22 April 1977

From Eduardo Paolozzi Collages and Drawings Anthony d’Offay Exhibition 23 March to 22 April 1977

I’m recording for what could be another album with Mark Vernon who spent eleven years managing John Cale amongst many others and I have to say one of my favourite Lou  Reed albums is ‘Songs for Drella’ written with Cale.  A beautiful piece of work about Andy Warhol.  He continues to work with the best however hasn’t recorded for many years.  It’s been a revelation for us both particularly as we do write well together and also some of the people we have met on our journey has been half the trip.  In particular I found an incredible young violinist on the Gumtree who if he is not a name in a few years time would be criminal.  Richard Moore and his incredible electric violin given to him by Nigel Kennedy was not only top company but has made a huge contribution to our tracks.  I will be posting more pictures and details on our blog of this work on our site Unbeknown Records.

 At Dada studios Bricklane 19 December 2013


At Dada studios Bricklane 19 December 2013

Richard Moore's gear Dada Studios, Bricklane 19 December 2013

Richard Moore’s gear Dada Studios, Bricklane 19 December 2013

In addition, the three tracks I have recorded with Dave Barborossa are sounding great particularly with David Baron‘s sweeping moogs on ‘Crossroads’ and my hope is to spend everything I have in mixing all these tracks properly in the New Year.  I believe you can cut the recording costs but not the mixing and my hope is to use Cameron Craig to mix all these tracks in the New Year.

The Happiest of Happy New Years postcard unmarked

The Happiest of Happy New Years postcard unmarked

The work, my day job, therefore is vital hence my lack of performing live lately. So Corsica was cancelled sadly but rescheduled for Spring and that was a lucky thing because the island was snowed over.

Here I am at the office Christmas party.

Ludwig Windstosser Werbung fur Energieversorgung 1960er Jahre copyright Fotoarchiv Ruhr Museum, Essen

Ludwig Windstosser Werbung fur Energieversorgung 1960er Jahre copyright Fotoarchiv Ruhr Museum, Essen

One of our new songs is inspired by my trip to Italy and Mount Etna and in particular this book that was lying around the house.  Here are the names of every active volcano in the world (click to make larger).

Active Volcanoes of the World from Volcanoes Geological Museum Crown Copyright 1974 Published by Her Majesty's Stationary Office for the Institute of Geological Sciences

Active Volcanoes of the World from Volcanoes Geological Museum Crown Copyright 1974 Published by Her Majesty’s Stationary Office for the Institute of Geological Sciences

I several wonderful things lately Hugh Cornwell was a big highlight at the Union Chapel, and a fantastic show at the Gate called ‘ No Place To Go’ by Ethan Lipton and his orchestra who I met afterwards on a couple occasions at my favourite local in London.  The Pajama Men and Eve Ferrett who I have got to know through mutual friends were great …..!

Dear Horace just a line to wish you all a very mery Xmas and a happy New Year from Ernie - Davidson Bros, Real photographic series. London and New York stamped Western Australia

Dear Horace just a line to wish you all a very mery Xmas and a happy New Year from Ernie – Davidson Bros, Real photographic series. London and New York stamped Western Australia

Age is just a number.  I feel like I’m being left behind but being broke and not being able to eat along with all the other terrible things I’ve done in the past because I couldn’t afford to get home, is I place I can’t go back to. I want to go to the Berkeley.

 Best Wishes and Christmas Greetings circa 1920

Best Wishes and Christmas Greetings circa 1920?? (looks later)

My godfather for my Birthday which was earlier this month did take us to Tramps which was quite an eye opening experience!  On the day itself  I went to see Stewart Lee who was fantastic.

Published by Meissner & Buch, London & Printed at their Works in Leipzig (Saxony)

Published by Meissner & Buch, London & Printed at their Works in Leipzig (Saxony)

I caught up with Anthony Phillips recently who also has his Birthday this month – the music I have written for Universal with Anthony seems to be getting used which is great news.  He was interviewed on Bargain Hunt this week click here at about 23.25 in.  You can find the tracks I wrote with Anthony under the ridiculous mouthful of a name Letitia Sophia Maclean.   Here is one.   Speaking of swiming…

this is my biggest indulgence lately although at times when I try and go to the pool like last time there’s some kind of problem- like last time a child was sick and I didn’t feel like coming back a few hours later like the lady suggested.

Unknown Photograph

Unknown Photograph

Yesterday, I got booked by two coppers for 3 offences on my bike – riding on the pavement, shooting a red light and going down a no entry street – I was in such a rush trying to chase my boss with a cheque to be signed.

dear maud I shall be pleased to see you if you can come and we will go for the hippodrome one night love from brother and sister 1908

dear maud I shall be pleased to see you if you can come and we will go for the hippodrome one night love from brother and sister 1908

I feel like I’m in such a hurry the whole time that I can’t stop until like now writing this.  I timed myself dressing my other boss’s tree 45 minutes, time to make him a smoothie 10 minutes, time to type a letter 3 minutes, time to make him a sandwich 10 minutes, time to make bed 20 minutes if I don’t take the blankets off and careful tuck in sheet behind it.  I used to work in hotels I’m fast I also learnt to type so 100wpm is very handy.

A Merry Christmas Novelty Card Mechanical Xmas Series No 1 Bamforth & Co Ltd publishers Holmfirth England and New York

A Merry Christmas Novelty Card Mechanical Xmas Series No 1 Bamforth & Co Ltd publishers Holmfirth England and New York

It is great to hear David Baron in America working with so many talented people.  The lovely Burnell Pines came to visit and I showed him my friend’s fantastic gallery called ‘Chart’ on Old Church Street, Simi Stone who is not only talented by a wonderful human being, Simone Felice who I had the pleasure of seeing live last year and my lovely friend Sarah Fimm.

David Ferry Petworth House, The Tropical Aquarium Oil on canvas 78cm x 54cm on postcard advertising Chart Gallery 'We Are Here' Print show 20th November 6-9pm

David Ferry Petworth House, The Tropical Aquarium Oil on canvas 78cm x 54cm on postcard advertising Chart Gallery ‘We Are Here’ Print show 20th November 6-9pm

Home made Christmas Card ' House where Beethoven once lived, on the Pfarrplatz at Heiligesistadt near Vienna Xmas 1951

Home made Christmas Card ‘ House where Beethoven once lived, on the Pfarrplatz at Heiligesistadt near Vienna Xmas 1951

Happy Christmas and remember a dog is not just for Christmas!

From 'How to Raise and Train a Great Pyrenees' by Edith K. Smith1964 by TFH Publications Inc

From ‘How to Raise and Train a Great Pyrenees’ by Edith K. Smith1964 by TFH Publications Inc

and Best Wishes For the New Year

xXx

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Turnaround there’s a storm ahead

Thank you once again to the fantastic Rune Ness for creating another masterpiece.  This time Rune did nearly the whole video from scratch.  It’s beautiful.  It makes me cry when I watch it.  I suppose I’m nostalgic too. Rune picked two songs from 2008 and of course, those songs have memories all of their own as time passes.  I do hope I can continue to write songs that touch people.  As October comes to an end and I’m ill in bed, its now getting dark at 4pm!

 Astounding Science Fiction October1951 A Street and Smith Publication published by Atlast Publishing & Distribution Co. Ltd


Astounding Science Fiction October1951 A Street and Smith Publication published by Atlast Publishing & Distribution Co. Ltd

I think about all the things I’ve been up to which is quite a bit of time in various studios. I have had the great pleasure of working with Dave Barbarossa who has made a considerable name for himself as a drummer in both the original line up of Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow but also now as accomplished author of ‘Mud Sharks‘ (Published by Ignite Books).

Dave Barbarossa in studio Oct 2013

Dave Barbarossa in studio Oct 2013

We rehearsed quite a bit before laying down the drum tracks and I do believe the songs (three in all) are some of the best I’ve written.  This collaboration is so unusual as I’ve never started from a drum beat and written that way.  I believe this has given the songs a completely different feel.  It’s been such fun to work in this collaborative way.  Dave has his own project Cauldronated click on the link to check it out.

Life is a journey and I’m on the train.

 The Valley Railroad Deluxe Boston New York Train built in 1927


The Valley Railroad Deluxe Boston New York Train built in 1927

I have also been working with Mt Vernon on some new tracks.  These are very minimal tracks with no drums.  I am very pleased with them.  I think we are going to try and do a whole album. So lots of recording and two gigs in Corsica with Louise Dodds coming up in November.  I’m so lucky I can manage to squeeze it around my day jobs.  I even managed a quick pitch with my dear writing partner David Baron.  It is now coming up to years since I last saw him.

Mt Vernon with Alex and George at Dada Studios, Brick Lane

Mt Vernon with Alex and George at Dada Studios, Brick Lane

Bewitching Welsh Witches National Series

Bewitching Welsh Witches National Series

 The Old Smithy Godshill I o W The Photographic Greeting Card Company Londo


The Old Smithy Godshill I o W The Photographic Greeting Card Company London

I’m trying to get a bit more focused on a target one to aim at and shoot but sometimes an eyelash gets in the eye and one needs a friend to help.

Unknown Photograph

Unknown Photograph

Mr Lewis Waller 'Robin Hood' Foulsham & Banfield

Mr Lewis Waller ‘Robin Hood’ Foulsham & Banfield

Unknown Photograph

Unknown Photograph

I’m trying to think of all the things I’ve been doing lately.  I went to the delectable Darren Coffield’s exhibition at my friend’s new gallery called Chart in Chelsea.  It was wonderful to meet my old friend Ronnie who I hadn’t seen in years.  He used to take me to all these haunts in Soho and West London. I really enjoyed that as well as Robyn Denny’s at Laurent Delaye in Cork Street.  Guy Sangster Adam‘s Mustered event was fantastic – his Cultural Pick Webzine and Mustered events are hidden delights within the garden of London and I have met many people as a result, through him.  I also owe a lot to  the Worlds End Bookshop situated at Worlds End on the Kings Road.  Another highlight was Travis Elborough’s launch of ‘A London Year’ compiled with Nick Bennison.  This is a huge diary of entries from everyone from Samuel Pepys to Alan Bennett to Dickon Edwards who I had a nice chat with.  He has one of the the longest running blogs in the England.  I have become a bit of a bore when it comes to one particular film I’ve seen lately; ‘La Grande Bellezza’ as it has been one of my biggest highlights in years.

I’m bored of being ill but I’m already feeling a lot better. I love my new Ray Bans I bought second hand off the Gumtree.

Lettie in front of her postcards

Lettie in front of her postcards

Apparently there’s a storm coming.  I’m bracing myself for it.

xXx

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September …’We sit late, watching the dark slowly unfold….’ Ted Hughes

Rune Ness a very talented filmmaker created a wonderful video for an old song I wrote on an album called ‘Everyman’.  It’s beautiful and haunting and even though we never met I do hope we do more in the future.

So I realise it’s been quite a while since I last updated and September came round quicker than I thought.

Astounding Science Fiction A Street and Smith Publication September Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement

Astounding Science Fiction A Street and Smith Publication September Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement

I thought I would have a Summer of concentrating on just music but it wasn’t to be so.  I ended up being quite busy despite many of the people I work for being away.

Foto Z Jungmann

Foto Z Jungmann

I also ended up walking for miles and my legs are just so tired they feel like glue so I’ve bought a rusty old bike.

Torquay Chalet Hotel 12th July 1947

Torquay Chalet Hotel 12th July 1947

One of the people for whom I work took me to the Royal Yacht Squadron for lunch for Cowes Week.  It was very interesting to take a tour of the Castle and look at the paintings which I had helped type up over the last year or so. It was a really foggy day and there were people positioned all over the Castle in the bedrooms with telescopes.  It was a complete revelation! A very strange world of which I know nothing!

'Solent Butterflies' racing under spinnakers Colour Photograph by Beken & Son Cowes J Arthur Dixon

‘Solent Butterflies’ racing under spinnakers Colour Photograph by Beken & Son Cowes J Arthur Dixon

Blue…

The welcome Elissa Landi gave Nino Martini when he returned has all Hollywood guessing.  But She isn't neglecting Tristan, her favourite mount, for the opera singer from Photoplay August 1937

The welcome Elissa Landi gave Nino Martini when he returned has all Hollywood guessing. But She isn’t neglecting Tristan, her favourite mount, for the opera singer from Photoplay August 1937

My favourite colour.

Photoplay August 1937

Photoplay August 1937

I adored this film below – so amazing to see the streets of Paris in 1961.  She reminded me so much of Blondie.

Cleo 5 to 7 A film by Agnes Varda 1961

Cleo 5 to 7 A film by Agnes Varda 1961

I love this map of the moon.  It’s a pull out poster and was created even before we landed on it.

Elger's Map of the Moon 1964 (before we landed on it) published by George Philip and Son Limited London

Elger’s Map of the Moon 1964 (before we landed on it) published by George Philip and Son Limited London

I’m so grateful to the supremely talented Brian Kavanagh for updating my website and doing more photographs which we shot in Brompton Cemetary which I find an intriguing place.  Due to the Government cuts (it’s a Royal Park in fact) a lot of it’s very overgrown and wild.  A very underrated singer called Tim Rose is buried there amongst many others.

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh August 2013

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh August 2013

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh August 2013

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh August 2013

I did a film for Michael Seymour who has just written his first book of fiction which is a gripping read.

I saw the fantastic Chris Spedding and Andy Fraser (Free) play in Portsmouth of all places! What musicianship! I also enjoyed the Eels in Oxford. I do like getting out of London at every opportunity.

I also started writing again.  Six or so songs.  I have been writing with Mark Vernon and three tracks with Dave Barbarossa whom I saw play last week who was phenomenal with his band Cauldronated and I hope to go into a studio very soon.  The reason I like to work with other people is I just lack the musicianship so it’s great to work over Dave’s fantastic drum tracks or over Mark’s keys.  It opens up a completely new angle for me.  Otherwise my songs start sounding the same.  I am also performing in Corsica with Louise in November on my new Roland Juno Gi which thankfully is a bit lighter than my old keyboard.

The conversation by Lettie

The conversation by Lettie

People have been coming up to me lately saying how much they like the music and I’m glad to say that it’s still being discovered.  It feels like a lifetime ago I did my first gig at the Blackfriars pub in Glasgow. My gratitude to David Baron goes without saying.

Please note name postcard to Mr A Sercombe Fore St Bovery Tracer Devon 1903

Please note name postcard to Mr A Sercombe Fore St Bovery Tracer Devon 1903

So much sadness and worry in this world we live in concerns me greatly as it probably does for you too. This is how I escape through postcards, pictures and music.

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Unknown photograph Buxton Crescent

Unknown photograph Buxton Crescent

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New Single ‘Ecstasy of Saint Teresa’

‘Ecstasy of Saint Teresa’ by Gian Lorenzo Bernini that is elevated in the Cornaro Chapel in Rome is based on the experience of Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun’s religious ecstasy when she encountered an angel who thrust a long spear of gold into her heart.  I have not seen this masterpiece but Mark Vernon with whom I wrote this track has and was very overwhelmed by it.

I spent many hours editing the film on iMovie as previously I used to do it on Windows and the only way to learn is to do it so in some ways its an experiment.  When I filmed it I had no idea what I was going to do.   The track is available to buy here.

I’m keeping this blog short as I have been working long hours and finally the Summer is here with all the good news to go with it; good weather and a British wink wink Scottish Wimbledon winner!

I love globes and I am very interested in World Fairs which were platforms for countries to show off their wares and industry.  I imagine they were like a grown up theme park.  They always created quite remarkable postcards and pictures and there were many in England beginning under Queen Victoria held at Crystal Palace 1851 ‘The Great Exhibition’.  This particular fair in New York below was very controversial as it went into bankruptcy but before it got left to ruin you could eat sandwiches from around the world at the Seven Up International Gardens Pavilion whilst enjoying performances from Broadway or you could go to see the Worlds Largest cheese in Wisconsin, the dolphins on display in Florida, then eat at Hawai’s ‘Five Volcanoes’ and at the New York City pavilion, take a simulated helicopter ride around the huge model city of New York.   The West Berlin’s Cold War display was popular but not as popular as Louisiana, which with it’s many bars replicating New Orleans, and the go go dancers at the ‘Gay New Orleans Nightclub’ proved an unmitigated financial success. The Jordanian  pavilion upset some when it displayed a mural demonstrating the plight of the Palestinians.

Unisphere New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Post Cards by Dexter, West Nyack, N.Y  The Unisphere is the theme symbol of the Fair.  Its top is 140 feet above ground level and the glove is 120 feet in diamter with an open grid of latitudes and longitudes supporting the land masses.  The reflecting pool beneath is 310 feet in diameter.  It dramatizes the interrelation of the peoples of the world and their yearning for 'Peace through Understanding'

Unisphere New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Post Cards by Dexter, West Nyack, N.Y The Unisphere is the theme symbol of the Fair. Its top is 140 feet above ground level and the glove is 120 feet in diamter with an open grid of latitudes and longitudes supporting the land masses. The reflecting pool beneath is 310 feet in diameter. It dramatizes the interrelation of the peoples of the world and their yearning for ‘Peace through Understanding’

So as I start my Summer holiday – here I am at the afterwork party!

Werbung fur Energieversorgung, um 1960 by Ludwig Windstosser

Werbung fur Energieversorgung, um 1960 by Ludwig Windstosser

World Airways' Boeing intercontinental 707C fan jets- the largest, most advanced aircraft in service today.  Designed with features to provide the ultimate in passenger comfort.  Equiped with fan jet engines allowing cruising altitudes up to 41,000 feet for calm, weatherless comfort with speeds of 600 miles per hour

World Airways’ Boeing intercontinental 707C fan jets- the largest, most advanced aircraft in service today. Designed with features to provide the ultimate in passenger comfort. Equiped with fan jet engines allowing cruising altitudes up to 41,000 feet for calm, weatherless comfort with speeds of 600 miles per hour

World Airways is not a carrier plane anymore it’s top secret.

I have been very fortunate lately to have seen some of my favourite artists of all time playing including Peter Murphy (who was out of this world), Laurie Anderson with the Kronos Quartet (out of this world) and tomorrow, Blondie with Hugh Cornwell in support at Kew Gardens, out of this world.

I am planning on writing new tracks this Summer.  I’m starting with a skeleton on Cubase.  Dave Barbarossa has kindly agreed to drum.  I’m also have some vocals lined up with another songwriter.  I miss my friends in America, David Baron et al, but England will do particularly when the weather is this good.

I will try to organise a gig in London in the Autumn before I go to Corsica.  I have been invited to play there in late November which is very exciting largely as a result of my friend Anthony Phillips who never stops believing in me like others do – it means an awful lot because as time goes on one feels more and more swamped by life and work.  I cling on like clingfilm to a plate.  I’m having a look at my whole live set up to see if I can’t make it a lot easier for myself.  I need to be light; I need to throw stuff away, I need to clear my head and simplify.  Life is maths summed up in algebra; Lettie + postcards and stuff = time lost not doing music – day job -distractions= less time = 0

xXx

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April said ‘May I came in?’ June 2013

From Tarzan to 'A Day at the Races' with the mad Marxes to 'The Emperor's Candlesticks' has been the lot of Maureen O'Sullivan in the last year from Photoplay Magazine August 1937

From Tarzan to ‘A Day at the Races’ with the mad Marxes to ‘The Emperor’s Candlesticks’ has been the lot of Maureen O’Sullivan in the last year from Photoplay Magazine August 1937

I had the…..

 'The Loveliest Night of the Year' The Great Caruso' starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth published by Francis Day & Hunter 138-140 Charing Cross Road London WC2


‘The Loveliest Night of the Year’ The Great Caruso’ starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth published by Francis Day & Hunter 138-140 Charing Cross Road London WC2

The gig at the Hippodrome was fantastic.   It used to be a theatre, then a nightclub called ‘Talk of the Town’ and now it’s a 24/7 gambling den!  I bumped into my old next door neighbour Phil Kay going into the next show.

London Hippodrome Program 30th November1929

London Hippodrome Program 30th November1929

It was such an honour to perform with Reuben Richards and his wonderful band the Soul Train on a beautiful song he has written called ‘Missing You’.

Lettie performing with Reuben Richards at the London Hippodrome 19 April 2013

Lettie performing with Reuben Richards at the London Hippodrome 19 April 2013

It was also great to only have a harmonica as my only baggage.   It reaffirmed my love of performing. I was, therefore, thrilled to be in such company not only of Reuben and his fantastic band the Soul Train but also Otis Grand.  I am, therefore, very excited to be playing in Corsica in the Autumn and I’m rethinking my whole live set up.  I have an eye on a Roland keyboard and I have been talking to them.  I need something light.  I am so grateful for David Baron and all the work I have done up till now.  In fact an animator Rune Ness is editing some of his animation for two songs off ‘Everyman‘.  It’s testament to our work that songs form five years ago are continually being rediscovered and that people really like them!

Nancy Rice The Mill on Glossette Series No 73 postcard to Else Hawker dated 1915

Nancy Rice The Mill on Glossette Series No 73 postcard to Else Hawker dated 1915

In the Summer I have time coming up and I’m concentrating on new material.  The new song I have written with Mark Vernon is being mixed again on Wednesday and has been renamed ‘The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa’.

'Ecstasy of Saint Theresa'  (1647-52) in Cornaro Chapel, Rome by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini

‘Ecstasy of Saint Theresa’ (1647-52) in Cornaro Chapel, Rome by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini

I have created a video but nothing seems to work as much as a still image.  I have also completed two tracks with Anthony Phillips for Universal Music Production, under a completely different name.  It’s good to have two sides to my music as well as being able to have a day job that enables me to have such flexibility.

Mrs Jolly Will Typing It For You 'Theatre World' June 1954

Mrs Jolly Will Typing It For You ‘Theatre World’ June 1954

It has taken me years to find a job that can give me this.

Natalie Castle 5 Rollesby Way Lonodn SE28 0181 311 2369 printed by Woodgate-Loydor Ltd, Teddington, Middlesex

Natalie Castle 5 Rollesby Way Lonodn SE28 0181 311 2369 printed by Woodgate-Loydor Ltd, Teddington, Middlesex

On top of this I have managed three tracks with Jonny Taylor a very talented young songwriter.  It’s interesting hearing our voices together.

Cartolina Postale (Carte Postale) of Taormina unmarked

Cartolina Postale (Carte Postale) of Taormina unmarked

I haven’t been able to update for a while as I took another trip.  A project I have been thinking about that involves a camera.  Another island and never could I have imagined I would have travelled so much in the last couple of years.  It’s good to leave the attic.

Lettie at Lido Mediterranean Taormina Sicily (May 2013)

Lettie at Lido Mediterranean Taormina Sicily (May 2013)

I watched Fellini’s ‘Il Bidone’ (1955) in Betrand Russell’s room and looked at the sofa Greta Garbo had lain, when she announced at thirty five she was retiring announcing to the world ‘Let me alone’, the murals of Frank Brangwyn RA, the paintings and poems of Henry Faulkner, letters of Tennessee Williams, the spirit of Caitlin Thomas, the ghosts of Robert Kitson, Daphne Phelps and Concetta.  This house, a living museum, is called Casa Cuseni and is unique.  It lies in the shadow of Mount Etna in Sicily.

View from the top, Mount Etna to the right May 2013 (Photograph by Lettie)

View from the top, Mount Etna to the right May 2013 (Photograph by Lettie)

Unmarked postcard bought in Taormina

Unmarked postcard bought in Taormina

I saw my friend Erin Lang perform last week at the Slaughtered Lamb.  I adore her – not only is she a lovely person but a really great musician.  Her new material is very haunting.

Another friend Michael Seymour (who did my album cover for ‘Good Fortune, Bad Weather’) is showing his work in a group exhibition next week of Pauline Boty (6 March 1938-1 July 1966) at Mach Schau  1.2 Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Soho W1B 5PW on Tuesday 4th June 6.30pm -8.30pm.  She died tragically young and was considered the star of the Royal Academy, and the only female pop artist.  She was also an actress and there is footage of her on youtube in Ken Russell’s hard to find now, ‘Pop Goes The Easel’.  Please do come down.

Pauline Boty at Battersea Fun Fair 1964 by Michael Seymour (Copyright Michael Seymour)

Pauline Boty at Battersea Fun Fair 1964 by Michael Seymour (Copyright Michael Seymour)

Here are some images that I have been collating together.  I am now a bona fide ephemerist collector having received my membership card (or am I just a hoarder!).  This I found at the Worlds End Bookshop.  Last time I went into the bookshop I didn’t leave till 2am.

 A Newcomer First Views Hollywood from Movie File January 1938


A Newcomer First Views Hollywood from Movie File January 1938

 A Newcomer First Views Hollywood from Movie Life January 1938


A Newcomer First Views Hollywood from Movie Life January 1938

I’m looking forward to the Summer when I will be writing again!  I think I have found the perfect place finally.

The Lido from Minehead Holiday Guide 29th Edition 1960s

The Lido from Minehead Holiday Guide 29th Edition 1960s

A game of miniature golf……

From Minehead Holiday Guide 1960s

From Minehead Holiday Guide 1960s

 'I Know' by Carl Stutz and Edith Lindeman Featured and Recorded by Perry Como B Feldman & Co, 64 Dean St London 1959


‘I Know’ by Carl Stutz and Edith Lindeman Featured and Recorded by Perry Como B Feldman & Co, 64 Dean St London 1959

 'Time Waits For No One' music and lyrics by Cliff Friend and Charlie Tobias published by B Feldman & Co Shaftesbury Avenue


‘Time Waits For No One’ music and lyrics by Cliff Friend and Charlie Tobias published by B Feldman & Co Shaftesbury Avenue

xxx

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Unknown Postcard Rotary Photograph Series.

Unknown Postcard Rotary Photograph Series.

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