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18th February 2014

Here we are on the 18th of February 2014. If you love Kevin Ayers and his music, please raise a glass sometime today. This last 12 months seems to have gone very quickly. I had a really strange moment a few weeks ago driving from Briançon in The French Alps to Turin Italy on a very dark night. I normally do the trip on the motorway, but this time I decided to take the normal roads, so off I went listening to Odd Ditties. Somewhere on the SS24 between Chiomonte and Susa, this track ‘Stars’ came on and it got to me, big time. Since then I can’t get it out of my mind and I think that stretch of road, which is very beautiful in the daytime, will now be permanently associated, for me, with ‘Stars’ by Kevin Ayers, forever. I’m happy about that and it was the first Kevin Ayers song I listened to today.

Just recently I had some lovely emails from Ramon Garcia who downloaded the Soft Machine John Peel Special radio show that I have. He said;

Montolieu by Eddie Castellan

Montolieu by Eddie Castellan

“I enjoyed enormously the link to John Peel Radio show; which I took a long time to listen to:
and finally I have, here in Carcassone, after a pilgrimage to the sites of Kevin Ayres: a pilgrimage I wanted to do, nearing a first anniversary of his passing: Thanks a lot: I enjoyed enormously listening to the show; in this cold night; like a cold shoulder; of Carcassone. I became very fascinated by Kevin Ayers after reading his obituary in Le Monde, and as I was working on a translation not far from Montolieu, Since then I became a great fan of his music, and life choices. Montolieu is very impressive, it is really a song by Kevin transformed into village, eerie indeed: and it was very eerie to imagine him playing his guitar at sunset, on the little wall which stretches from his house (the house where one would imagine Verlaine writing Les Violons de l Automne), and in front of Les jardin aux Anges, the nice bistrot on the other side: Wonderful place indeed”.

I asked Ramon if he had any photos of Montolieu, but unfortunately he had no camera, just a phone with a flat battery! So here is a photo taken by my lovely guitar playing mate Eddie Castellan, who lives at Fa, not far from Montolieu.

Have a great day everyone and remember to raise that glass.

Thank you Ramon for this, I hope you didn’t mind me sharing this with the rest of the World. I promised Ramon I would get something special out today, but it might be later in the week as I am really really pushed for time today. Watch this space it will be worth it.

Cheers everyone and thank you very much.

4 comments… add one
  • Curtis Roberts February 18, 2014, 2:02 pm

    Thank you Both, Rick and Ramon, for sharing this. It’s wonderful to read.

    • Rick February 18, 2014, 7:42 pm

      Thank you too Curtis.

  • Ramón García February 18, 2014, 10:33 pm

    Hi Rick: of course I don`t mind, it`s an honour. For many reasons. How could I return, if even minimally, the debt towards Kevin? I couldn`t take pictures, but I would like to add that probably he had found in Montolieu the perfect environment for his mental flora. Entering the café on Sunday morning, with many people around the table like in a film by Chabrol, and that warm atmosphere of the great oven on the right, I was flooded with the accords of “Town Feeling”, right out of where they came from: people enjoying their meal and wine, and the pale colours of the Aude houses on the terraced hill, so evocative of Deià, with the palms and gardens, and you hear inmediately the guitars entering in the middle of Town Feeling… We are used to think in terms of New York, or Paris, or London, like the center of the universe, but Kevin Ayers was far more wiser than that, he knew where the center really was, and as he spotted it, he was there. And then he was up to the challenge of being there: creating songs for that beauty, and making it alive in his voice. In Montolieu he woke up every morning sorrounded by the rythm of doors opening the myriad of bookshops in the streets (Montolieu is a “book village” and many of the beautiful Languedoc houses have been transformed into bookshops). There is an undescribably beautiful veranda overlooking the gorge crossed by the river: a place for troubadours, and the streets interlace like a phantasy by Dalí. Those secret moments of happiness hidden in his songs aim to materialize in Montolieu. He was not at all at the end of the world, he was in his right element, Kevin Ayers. And at the end of this day I would like to say that the debt mentioned at the beginning is practically unrefundable. He was an incredibly rich and inspiring musical company through all of my life, from my childhood to practically yesterday; I think that he and Ollie Halsall and others were instrumental in making the Madrid musical scene, through which I crossed my youth, very very exciting, and also adventurous, and sometimes like a trance of discovery (don`t know what, don`t know how, a sort of strange and unsuspected beach of inmaculate beauty at the end of the summer). To me he`s now a sort of Nicholas Ray of rock. And at the end of this day, 18 February 2014, I would like to say that he will always be alive in my memory, and would like to transmit all my simpathy to his family and friends.

    • Rick February 19, 2014, 1:25 pm

      Well that was some comment Ramón! Thank you again 🙂

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