It seems an age since I’ve posted, for which I apologise. In only a few days I’ll be getting on a plane to Boston for the start of my fall US tour, so it’s high time I updated my blog.
The steamer trip was fantastic. I brought my family across from New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2. First time I’ve ever done it by ship, and it was terrific. Instead of arriving jetlagged and losing several days to fatigue (and nights to sleeplessness), we arrived refreshed, entertained and well-fed. My favourite part of the trip was an ancient maritime historian who lectured each morning in the Planetarium on the Golden Age of Ocean Liners. Among the eye-openers was the fact that at the end of the ninettenth century I had an (almost) namesake writer Morgan Robertson, who (a) invented the persicope! and (b) in 1898 wrote a novel about a giant luxury ocean liner which hit an iceberg and sank at great loss of human life, and was named…. HMS Titan!
“Well, that was in Chapter One”, said our lecturer. “In Chapter Two it turned out the iceberg was home to a tribe of neolithic eskimos, and the whole thing went to pot. He was really a dreadful writer.” I accosted him afterwards and told him that my name is Thomas Morgan Robertson, and he immediately got terribly defensive, worrying that I must be descended from said rotten novelist. I reassured him that although I was named after an ancestor called Morgan, he had been dead for many years before this guy got famous.
So. Here we are in England. It’s great here and we’ll be staying for a year. My kids have just started school, and are loving it; California schools being what they are, this is a big step up. The weather’s very warm and pleasant, and our house in the country is surrounded by green fields, marshlands full of migrating birds, and we see more Thames Barges out our window than cars.
I’ve been gearing up to start on my new album. As was ‘leaked’ a few days ago, I have this plan to record it using only solar and wind energy. This will be hard to pull off, but it’ll be the culmination of many years’ ambition. It may be perceived by some as me jumping on the current green bandwagon, but that’s really not the case. For a start my wife and kids have all been passionate about reducing our carbon footprint for many years. We bought our first all-electric car in 1990 and now have two Priuses. The five of us usually generate half a trash bag of rubbish per week, the rest going to compost and recycling. Yet I think the other major part of my contribution is via my music and lyrics. As you recall, I wrote a song in 1980 called ‘Windpower’ and I’ve been interested in alternative energy ever since. Sun spots are also an area of great intrigue for me. Wind and sun can be harnessed not only for energy to power my recording, but also as variables that can affect the music itself. Obviously the seasons, tides and equinoxes will all affect my mood emotionally—but I can also use several parameters as input to the music directly, a form of sonification on a large scale.
This is a long-term project, and I’m planning on documenting the whole process. It will take time to get right, and some outside money to set it up, but I’m fortunate in that the TED Conference community includes many of the most brilliant thinkers, inventors, architects and scientist on the planet, and many are willing to help me with my project.
But first, off on tour. I’m heading to New England for the first leg, with the Jazz Mafia Horns, whom I’ve never brought to the NE USA before. Very much looking forward to jamming with them, and trying out a couple of new songs I’ve been working on. We can work on them on the tour bus and in sound checks, and hopefully work them into the set. I feel kinda guilty that I STILL don’t have a whole new slew of songs to play live—but I don’t feel like I’m retreading old ground, as this month a whole new set of audiences will get to experience the fab Jazz Mafia Horns. And then I’m back off to London for some UK dates. As you know I only played a couple in the UK in 2006, which went very well, so this is a chance for regional audiences to check out my solo one-man show.
It’s nice to be back online!