¦ dialling in from the Wild Trapeze ¦
Sitting in a cafe in Newcastle. Heaton. Rows of red brick Tyneside terraced houses. It’s “Get Carter” without the slag heaps and grim industrial decay – my childhood here in the 1970s. The grime has been replaced by gleam. Proud-faced Northerners. Good to be here.
The Wild Trapeze is one of my favourite places to spend time up here. Eclectic vibe. Incredible coffee and lovely food.
I am experiencing a return of the Mood.
The Mood. An oddity I have been living with since early teens. Once in a while I get this smell pervading my senses. The smell doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of my mind, a neurological ghost. The smell has a taste; every breath of air is dominated by the flavour. In my nose. On my tongue. And there is an emotional resonance that comes with it too. Always the same. Arrives. Gets stronger, then fades away in a few days. There are two flavours. This one, first experienced in the summer of 1982 when I was 11, starts like burned cheese and evolves into something I can’t describe. There’s another one, which I prefer, first experienced in November 1989 and reminds me of sitting down to start writing Oakfield, of Richy returning into my world and our lives changing forever, of Grassy and Adz and the whole Jesmond tribe going on.
So I am sitting here, 2015, with a smell and taste of burned cheese wafting through my sensorium, and a Mood that harks back to 1982.
I flew up here last night. Short hop with click-and-fly airline. Coming back to Newcastle has become a thing for me. A place to unwind. And a chance to spend time with friends who are like family. Plus access to the incredible landscape and coastal spaces up here. But mostly I am here to switch off my brain.
I’ve been working on the new Yellow Dawn for 4 months now. Feels like much longer. Has been a really tough challenge. Part of that has been dealing with the solitary existence and working in a world of fantasy day after day, weeks on end. A strange way to exist. The solution was to arrange plenty of lunch time rendezvous with friends who are able to get to the harbour during the day.
I am very excited about the new Yellow Dawn. It is all about a quicker narrative pace. More cinematic scenes and less browsing pages of rules. Play testing is likely to start happening end of June. And that is going to be fun with a capital N.
I pulled out a mug from Lone Pine’s kitchen cupboard this morning, making tea, and found myself staring at this design and a huge grin spread wide across my face. If you’ve ever seen Bullshot Crummond you’ll get why. Never seen Bullshot Crummond? World War I fighter pilot ace, Olympian athlete and professional sleuth? Here’s a taste of 1980s bonkers British brilliance.
Last night watched a movie I’d never heard of. Cold in July. Only came out in 2014. Describes itself as a pulp thriller. I think it is a phenomenal movie: tense, dark in places but with moments of almost comic humour. Really good.
So I have the weekend ahead of me. It’s going to be me drifting through Jesus Mound, Heaton and coastal walks. Fury of Dracula (1987), cook-offs and whisky drinking. Total blissful switch off.
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