Saturday, April 05, 2014


I've been ill for the past ten days with pneumonia, which is a good reason for not having written anything here. It started with a cough, then weakness and finally a fever; at first, I thought it was the return of the flu, but after a few days, when the fever got higher and longer, it was time to see a doctor. After pushing and prodding a bit, he listened to my breathing via the stethoscope, which is when he made his diagnosis. Apparently, the gross signs of pneumonia are the same as influenza, but internally, breathing makes a different sound. He prescribed antibiotics and continued rest.

The fever and mental confusion disappeared almost immediately after the first dose of antibiotics, for which I was very grateful. After a day or so, all I was left with was weakness - but an all consuming weakness: I could barely move. After a few more days of this, my pace improved somewhat, so that I was moving at about 50% of my normal speed. Today I felt much better and even went for my evening power walk; I intended to do only four circuits as opposed to my usual ten. After those four - which were taken at a modest speed - I feel as if I have walked ten; in other words, my recovery is not yet complete.

One wonders how I could have caught pneumonia; I assume that it comes from my many train journeys. There isn't much which I can do about this; there are people who travel every day and presumably don't fall ill with pneumonia. The only clear conclusion is that I have to boost my immune system, something which I worked on post pertussis but have neglected in the past few months.

Fortunately - but also to my annoyance - there was no contact with my doctoral mentor. Obviously I couldn't have done anything even if he had asked me to, but I am disappointed that contact can be lost for a few weeks. Maybe I have different expectations; certainly, in the later stages, I imagine that there will be only monthly contact, but it will be at specific times.

The only musical news of note is the emergence of a track called 'Reckless Jane' by Beverley Martyn (who was John Martyn's divorced wife); the song was written by B. Martyn and Nick Drake a few months before the latter's death and is unknown. "I couldn’t even think about the song for so long because it brought up so much pain. It took a while to finish after that point", says Beverley now. The string arrangement is particularly reminiscent of Robert Kirby's arrangements for Nick Drake.

I found the other songs which will comprise Martyn's new album, "The phoenix and the turtle", but didn't like them at all. I find her voice difficult to listen to and none of the arrangements were in a similar style to 'Reckless Jane'.

[SO: 3502; 2, 12, 30]
[MPP: 466; 0, 0, 4]

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