Monday, November 24, 2014

Lindsay Cooper Concert

Originally posted on FaceBook 22nd November 2014.

Just about recovered enough from my trip to Japan to crawl out of bed after 12 hours semi-sleep. Been reading posts & comments about the Lindsay Cooper memorial concert, so thought it was about time I put some thoughts to paper. Several people have asked me why I wasn't playing on this (alleged) "Henry Cow Reunion". Firstly, to dispel any illusions, it was NOT a HC reunion - with the exception of Michel Berckmans, musicians from HC & other bands who played with Lindsay got together to play her music - I never played with Lindsay, apart from a guest appearance on one HC concert in 1974. But the main reason for my absence is the fact that my reading is not really up to scratch, & over the years I've been drawn more & more into improvised music - I can't even remember the last time I played any serious written music, but probably 20 odd years ago. I was invited to play on the concerts, but everyone involved knew it would be a knife-edge affair, with very little rehearsal time, & I thought it would be too much of a struggle for me, & probably a hindrance to the overall success of the project. As many of you know, the above-mentioned trip to Japan was to play at the RiO JAPAN Festival with The Artaud Beats, with Chris Cutler, John Greaves, & Yumi Hara. I also played 7 other concerts, the last 4 being in Tokyo on the same days the rehearsals took place, so it was a simple choice for me - stay in Tokyo & play with musicians I hadn't played with before, or come back to London & add perhaps a little too much of my well known chaos to an already on-the-edge performance. Most of the FB comments so far have been positive, although there are always those folks who complain that it was under-rehearsed & a bit rough at the edges - what did they expect? There was no arty-*arty funding, no rich patrons, no record company backing, no agents, managers, or other music industry parasites cashing in on some kind of imaginary nostalgic romantic glorification of the past, not even any real support from the music press - just a handful of dedicated musicians getting together as friends to pay homage to a recently departed friend in the best way they know how, & against all the odds. Thank you Lindsay for your contribution to a music form which will no doubt live on for many years to come, & hats off to all the guys & gals who put these concerts together.
PS. If there is ever a real HC reunion, I'll do my best to dust off the reading skills & put my all into it. Enough said.

Year & A Half Of The Snake

Dear readers...

You must have noticed a serious absence of posts for 2013 / 2014 - this period has been one of the most difficult times of my life since I last battled the demons way back in the 60's.
My dear old Dad got seriously ill on the 1st of January 2013, spent over 3 months recovering, got ill again, recovered from that, only to have a major stroke in September. 
After 6 weeks in hospital he finally passed away on the 5th of November 2013, at the ripe old age of 92. For those non-English folks out there, November the 5th is Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, when we perversely celebrate the failure of a gang of anarchists to blow up the House Of Parliament in 1605. The now infamous "Anonymous" masks are in fact Guy Fawkes masks. So he went out with a bang rather than a whimper, as we say!
Anyway, apart from having to deal with his illness, clearing out his house was a major job; then there was the funeral to organise, plus all the legal paperwork associated with selling the house, & dividing up his inheritance amongst all the family members. During this year & a half my health also deteriorated - aches & pains were so bad sometimes I had to cancel 1 or 2 concerts, something I've never had to do before. Fortunately it seems that most of this was stress-related, & now it's all over & done & dusted, I'm feeling much better.
So things are slowly getting back to normal (whatever that might mean) - I've just returned from a tour of Japan, & after a few days I'm feeling just fine - last year I was so exhausted after a similar tour I spent several days in bed, so.....I'm not complaining!
Next job is updating all things web-related, & uploading material that should have been online a long time ago - I'm also hoping to honour agreements I've made over this period to complete some online music collaborations - apologies to all those people I promised to send tracks to. 
Looking forward to a few (if not many) more years of making music & generally having some fun - more to follow.