Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 17/03/09

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Sunshine in East Anglia at last. Been months since I last made a proper assault on the woods. Coppiced hazel and stacked logs in the woodshed, passing a calm, solitary few hours. The notes are there, in notebooks and on scraps of mini-disc. Tunes and couplets, simple rhymes and deeper thoughts all jumbled, randomly acquired and noted over the past few years. There is only one way I will collate it all into coherent songs, and that is by booking a recording studio. Plan to call Pat at Gemini later today, and then contact the band. I know that if the room is held, the band is assembled, and serious money will be changing hands, then I will deliver. It’s the old journalist in me: never miss a deadline, but always get oh-so-close. Cheltenham worked out pretty well, even though I didn’t get there. If you backed Psychomodo in the festival’s last race, the Grand Annual, you must accept defeat through gritted teeth: he was going well, seemed relaxed and confident in the van for the first mile, then went backwards quicker than the ebb tide. Burst blood vessels, nothing worse, but it meant he had to be pulled up. Gary and his co-owners will have felt a hollowness in their stomachs for a while, but most owners and serious betting folk are decent losers, always seeing the bigger picture and believing in tomorrow. Amused me to read about one website reader who made good money backing Vicario, a gelding trained in the north by Don McCain, thinking in all innocence that it was Vacario, part-owned by me, trained in Lambourne by Charlie Mann. Only one letter in it, but it meant a good profit for one lucky punter. Ours will be out later this month probably. Forget his first hurdle race, trailing in last. He was given a good schooling round by Noel Fehilly once he realised the young horse was jumping too big and wasting energy. Charlie will get him right. We have faith in this horse. That’s enough of this. Tea and toast beside the keyboard, now back to the hazel. Reed buntings, four males, on the lawn. Some people don’t get it at all, the thrill of seeing a rare visitor for the first time. But they mix with a flock of yellowhammers (they, too, are buntings) and ignore the bullying robins and blackbirds, and it’s a great sight. If you get it.....

SH