There’s a conventional wisdom with general anaesthetics which the medical profession never tells you about and that is that you should never make any important decisions such as taking out a loan or making a will in the week following treatment.
I never quite understood this, I have had a few minor ops in my time and to be honest the last thing I wanted to do afterwards was consult a solicitor, after I had a hernia op just getting out of the bath was enough work for one day.
I had however underestimated the brain warping effects of anaesthesia. A week ago I was enjoying walking on the beach at Tenby when a nurse started shouting in my face and I was coming round after day surgery. I was aware that I wasn’t quite OK but coming round after surgery is like recovering from a hangover, you are just happy to be alive and at first it does not really matter that you don’t actually feel that good.
And so I quite enjoyed a day in bed with my mind in neutral. This was the first time however that I have been sick with an iPad. In the past I would listen to radio 4 and emerge from my illness better informed. I now had an interactive window on the world which was probably a bad thing.
Regular readers will recall that last week I wrote about the band Man, inspired by the death of a friend, a Man fan, and a recent trip to Wales. It appears that my unconscious mind had not finished with the Welsh rockers, I started watching YouTube videos of every performance, I fell asleep during a Mickey Jones guitar solo, I awoke during a Mickey Jones guitar solo for a couple of days it felt like my brain was at least 50% Man.
And, worst of all, a couple of days later I took delivery of 10 Man CD’s.
And that really demonstrates why you shouldn’t make any decisions after a general anaesthetic. In my previous 58 years I had owned one Man LP, now sold. The LP ‘Man’ was certainly not one of their best but typified what the Man band experience was likely to be, namely a couple of rockers, a pointless country song and a couple of challenging psychedelic explorations.
I have a weakness for the Grateful Dead based on the fact that ‘Dark Star’ off Live Dead is one of my all time favourite tracks. Unfortunately in my opinion nothing else they ever did comes close and in my quest for anything else of that calibre I have had to listen to an awful lot of half arsed playing that wouldn’t get them a pub gig in Derby. Where Man score heavily over the Dead is the fact that they have great rhythm sections. Terry Williams the regular drummer was one of the best, going on eventually to play with Dire Straits where he certainly had a better paid but less challenging gig.
Like the Dead, Man wrote their own songs which were OK and had a weakness for country and rock and roll. Despite the fact that guitarists Jones and Deke Leonard could trot out rockabilly licks with a skill that Jerry Garcia could only dream about there’s probably a inauthenticity happening there, it certainly seemed a better idea for the Dead to trot out American roots music however half arsed it sounded.
And, also like the Dead, Man were at their best live. Their studio records to my ears are pretty so so but live the playing really takes off. As well as the west coast bands and rock and roll Man were influenced by Zappa and even Stockhausen and are willing to go well out there with the benefit of a decent drummer and bass player. Luckily they are well documented live, I can recommend ‘Live at the Padget Rooms Penarth’ just for the title alone.
I had thought, for a moment, in my post drugged euphoria that I had missed one of the greatest bands of all time. As the drugs wore off and I worked my way through 10 CDs I realised with some relief that Man are mere men, there’s relatively little in the way of memorable songs, in fact it seems the case that the less tracks there are on a record the better it is which flies against conventional wisdom. If you can sit back and enjoy the ride there’s a huge pleasure in letting the music unfold at it’s own pace as Man jam their way to the outer limits.
As a footnote, just to confirm my madness, I have also been reading Deke Leonard’s autobiography ‘Rhinos Winos and Lunatics’. I have read an awful lot of autobiographys in my time from mind blowing( Viv Albertine, Julian Cope) to dull (Phil Collins, Eric Clapton) and Leonard’s is one of the best, read it before you die even if you cant stand Man.
As a further footnote, in the early 70,s Man played a gig with David Bowie who was accompanied by Tony Visconti on bass and a conga player. Realising he might need to up his game Bowie offer them a job as his backing band!
So back to work next week and hopefully my feverish Man obsession will just seem like a crazy dream.
But first I’ve got ‘ Greasy Truckers present Man live at the Roundhouse’ and another 3 CDs to listen to !