Saturday, 31 December 2005

Al Stewart biography

While we were in Madrid I managed to read Neville Judd's biography of Al Stewart, which arrived from Amazon not long ago. Judd isn't a brilliant writer, but he had Al Stewart's cooperation and access to his family, friends, and associates, and I think he's made a good job of the book, which even has a useful-looking index. A pity about the rather silly-looking late-1960s cover photo; the man doesn't photograph well, but I think some better photograph could have been found, perhaps from his peak period of around 1977.

I'm certainly not Al Stewart's greatest fan, but I have most of his albums and I've been listening to his music for about 35 years, so it's interesting to find out more about his private and professional lives, and more background information about the songs than I knew already.

Night train to Madrid

After Christmas we spent four days in Madrid visiting Ana's friends and brother, who lives in Madrid and has just become a father for the first time.

We travelled to Madrid and back by the night train, in a sleeper carriage, which I've never tried before and don't plan to try ever again. We found ourselves trying to sleep in an ordinary railway compartment which had six rather narrow bunk beds (three on each side) in place of the usual seats. There wasn't enough headroom to sit up in bed, and the only bedding provided per bed was a sheet, a rather small blanket, and a tiny pillow. The bed was probably full of house mites as it gave me an allergic reaction.

Night train to Madrid

We were travelling with Ana's sister's family, so we had the compartment to ourselves, but it was rather crowded with four adults and three children, and none of us slept well; the children seemed to survive the experience best.

We'd have been much more comfortable travelling by day, seated, in the normal way.