Weather huh? Plenty of it, just the wrong sort. So in the hope of scaring up a little summer and a little less wind, a couple of suitably titled tracks.
There is such a lot of good music around right now. There’s this, Heart of Sadness, from Sonny and the Sunsets. And Nothing more to say from Girls’ Names, a new band from Belfast. But mostly, there is the astonishingly wonderful album from Bills Wells and Aidan Moffat. Every track a standout but this is a good introduction, not least for the acerbic lyrics. If you do nowt else this afternoon, buy it and treat your ears to what is definitely the burdz album of the year so far.
One of my current favourite – alright, longstanding favourite authors – is James Lee Burke. He veers wildly from elegiac and thrilling to sparse and brutal from chapter to chapter and in Dave Robicheaux, the protagonist of so many of his books, we have one of the life’s truly tortured souls. Just like Rebus, he is as much the attraction as the plot. Another of his great skills is to paint a vivid visual picture of the locale – for Robicheaux, mainly the New Iberian peninsula in Louisiana. Having come late to the JLB fanclub, I have managed to read the Robicheaux series out of synch and have promised myself at some point, to hide myself away for a week with all of them – ten I think – and read them again in order.
If I had to pick a favourite it would be Tin Roof Blowdown. A native of New Orleans, this is Burke’s vivid and powerful lament for his city, torn asunder by Hurricane Katrina. He allows one of the secondary characters, Clete Purcel, to occupy centre stage. This is, above all, Clete’s story and all the pain that Burke feels for New Orleans is eloquently portrayed by Purcel’s struggles in the novel.
The opening chapter is one of the most powerful I’ve ever read. It’s Burke at his most political.
When I go back to sleep, I once again tell myself I will never again have to witness the wide-scale suffering of innocent civilians, nor the betrayal and abandonment of our countrymen when they need us most. But that was before Katrina… That was before one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere was killed three times, and not just by the forces of nature.
The forecast this weekend is lousy but it’s perfect weather for curling up with a James Lee Burke novel. Tin Roof Blowdown fits the bill perfectly.
And yep, the burd has proved a truism with this week’s flutter. We are obsessed with the weather. But let’s put Scotland’s climate/environment and our windy, cold and miserable May firmly in perspective. Have we had tornadoes (USA), earthquakes (New Zealand), mudslides (Malaysia) or volcanic eruptions (Iceland)? No. It’s not nice but it could be a lot worse.
Whatever you do this weekend, enjoy it. Just wrap up warm!