Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 09/03/10

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Went today to record Jools Holland’s Radio 2 show. It’s due for transmission April 19th.  Two weeks dead before the album’s release. Good chat, covering childhood (we’re both south-east London boys), young adulthood and pop. Jools glides through it, barely breaking sweat as we cover much ground. I think he’s better researched than the airy air gives credence to. It takes a lot of rehearsal to appear so ad-libbing, so the comedians both great and average tell us. His band (good players: double-bass, drums , guitar, JH himself on grand piano, and a couple of cool horn players, carried me Live through the only cover on the “Stranger Comes To Town” album, Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End.”

The interview recorded a few other tracks from the album.  How many, how much time, will be devoted to this most enjoyable afternoon is, as ever, in the hands of the producer. But I had a fine time.

And on the journey, I realised I hadn’t remarked at all on my birthday. Freudian slip, I shouldn’t wonder! But I do thank all those who sent cards, and/or good wishes via the post/internet/website. To be thought of at all is gratifying; to be thought of at birthday time is still, somehow, touching. Paul, the Virginia Woolf book specialist and collector, blew me away with an amazing publication, including history and prints of the Edward Bawden lithographs. I hear from Paul, via email,  as I prepare to write this diary piece, and I determine to contact him, to speak. His phone does not pick up. I care. And will keep trying.

To "The Hurt Locker", and it’s been on the must-do list since last summer.  How do 150 screens out of 7,500 or more, then  more, and more, get to show this unique and astonishing piece? I learnt enough back at release-time to know I had to see it, but then I turned around and there it was, gone. As cinema/reportage, it is a one-off, superb to its boot-laces and beyond. Two hours, and you’d better pee and eat before you get in there. You won’t want to break the spell they cast. It has all the honesty and graphic poesy of “The Waves”, and that’s not small beans, is it Paul? It’s the best of the best in its genre, and maybe it doesn’t get better than that.