Summa: diary (November 13-17, 2023)

For love is strong as death, / passion fierce as the grave. / … Many waters cannot quench love, / neither can floods drown it‘ (Song of Solomon (8.6-7)).

Love is a fire that burns fiercely on an inexhaustible supply of fuel. The combined forces of the New York Fire Department couldn’t extinguish it. Even if it was submerged under Noah’s deluge, love would remain defiantly alight – hot and bright – like some submarine volcano that’s constantly erupting magma from between tectonic plates on the seabed. Adversity is no match for love. Neither distance, separation, prohibition, discouragement (be that dissuasion or dispiritedness), and circumstance, nor even death itself, can dampen its flames. Love abides, whatever the external conditions and prospects.

John Harvey, Diary (May 12, 2018).

November 13 (Monday). 7.30 am: Another week; another named storm, as Debi moves across from the Irish Sea towards the west coast of Wales. Incessant atrocious weather has become an objective correlative of the world’s condition, presently. 8.00 am: Studyology, and a return to the track descriptors for the Spirit Communication album. In the background: Radio 3 Live. In politics: Suella Braverman has been sacked (rightly, in my opinion) as Home Secretary, and David Cameron (a former Conservative Prime Minister) returns from the wilderness as Foreign Secretary. This won’t play well with grass-root Tory, Brexit ‘leavers’.

I’m not a football fan, but it was moving to see coverage of Sir Bobby Charlton’s memorial service. In these days of politicians and celebrities who’re self-serving, lack-lustre, and liars mired in scandal, honouring someone who was upright, consummately gifted, respected, and loved by many, is as rare as it’s uplifting. An afternoon and evening on Pedalboard I and II.

November 14 (Tuesday). 7.30 am: I awoke with the Beatles’ Ticket to Ride’ (1965) playing in my head. 8.15 am: Studyology. In the background to writing track descriptors, I participated in a Facebook exchange with two friends and former band mates from my school days. They both play in a rock and blues band called Blind Man’s Bluff, and were debating where and when they (and me on this occasion) held their first gig when together in a band called Hunter. It was in the St John’s Ambulance Hall, Blaina, Gwent, in 1974 (in all likelihood), when I was 15 years old. I played a Stylophone through a modified fuzz-wha pedal into an amplifier. My strongest recollection of that evening is of the girls present and the coloured lights … which says more about me than it does about the performance.

1.30 pm: An afternoon divided between designing the cover for the new album and rationalising Pedalboard II. This board is dedicated to routing, equalisation, and emulation. It will be placed between the amplifier and the effects pedalboards.

I suspect that things have turned out for Suella Braverman, just as she had planned. Her outspoken comments levered the sacking, levered the opportunity to write that scathing letter, will lever her leadership bid. Let’s hope Braverman has misjudged the level of backing that she’ll require to win the contest.

November 15 (Wednesday). 8.00 am: Studyology. 10.30 am: The Tory’s scheme deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda has been scotched unanimously by five Supreme Court judges. Good on them. It would be a sorry day, even in Broken Britain, if the victims of persecution and exploitative gangs were once more victimised and made unsafe. A productive morning, writing. And there’s sunshine, too.

After lunch, I completed trussing-up Pedalboard I, and awaited the delivery of new equipment to proceed with Pedalboard II in the late afternoon and evening. I’d hoped that Keir Starmer would’ve allowed parliamentary members of the Labour to vote with their conscience rather than tow the party line on the issue of a ceasefire in Gaza. In the end, over 50 Labour MPs voted in favour of the motion and in line with the convictions and requests of their constituents — which is their obligation as elected representatives (whatever the cost, personally).

November 16 (Thursday). 8.00 am: Studylogy. Endless description. 10.30 am: A coffee in town with a friend; we’d waited four years for this. Life had somehow got in the way. Other than having brief and sporadic exchanges via Messenger in ther interim, she and I had had very little contact in the interim. Our conversation today ranged from religion, spirituality, the paranormal, extraordinary coincidences, memories of childhood, family history, loss, grief, and healing, to the necessity of just keeping going.

1.30 pm: Endless description (revisited). 4.00 pm: Studiology and the first-stage finalisation of Pedalboard II, as the sun dipped unostentatiously below the hillside. 7.30 pm: An evening of Uncanny BBC podcasts, while trussing-up the latest board.

November 17 (Friday). 8.00 am: A keen late-Autumn morning:

8.30 am: Studylogy. Onwards. I’ve yet to meet anyone — whether they’re a materialist, sceptic, religionist, or non-theistic believer in the afterlife — who wouldn’t countenance some form of communication from a loved one who has died, if such a thing were even possible. The complete and irrevocable absence of someone whose love, personality, voice, thoughts, warmth, and physical presence was once as tangible and undeniable as our own, presently, is barely comprehensible and, at times, unendurable. Moreover, the idea that their unique and priceless consciousness no longer exists in any form anywhere may seem to us to be entirely counter-intuitive. (He has ‘set eternity in the human heart’ (Ecclesiastes 3.11).) We rail against the possibility, because not only our love for them remains undiminished and still seeks its object, but also each of us will one day meet the same end. Moreover, we may be desperate to believe that the departed still love and long for us in return.

1.45 pm: The final finalisation of Pedalboard II. 4.00 pm: In the dying light of day, shop windows comfort and console.

See also: Intersections (archive);  Diary (September 15, 2018 – June 30, 2021)Diary (July 16, 2014 – September 4, 2018); John Harvey (main site); Instagram.

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