I LOOKED AROUND AND HE WAS GONE
We played at the Last Tuesday Society’s Walpurgis Night on Friday. To my slight embarrassment, and possibly because of the German connection, until I saw Punchdrunk’s extraordinary ‘Faust’ a couple of years back, I always thought Walpurgis Night was something to do with sausages.
Now we don’t normally do club shows but we like Wynd and Suzette who run the society because they do interesting things. I suppose Walpurgis Night (which is actually at the end of April) is a kind of Norse Day of the Dead or Halloween and before the show I had the pleasure to meet and run the slides for Catherine Arnold who gave a talk on her: ‘Necropolis: London and its Dead’ (one of my favourite books about the city of recent times). Michael Nyman DJ-ed (yes, really) and Giles Abbott delivered a characteristically witty and potent story about Walpurgis. After the show a rather flamboyant Bacchanalia kicked in. My six months of sobriety have sometimes made such things a trifle difficult but these days they seem to lend an interesting, almost anthropological, perspective to the proceedings.
I liked the death-themed activities – particularly in a vault under London Bridge which always reminds me of the T S Eliot piece from ‘the Wasteland”:
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many”
I find it at least, if not more, appropriate to try to write about death as to write about love these days. I always thought it was a rather strangely neglected subject in modern music – apart from the Goth and Metal stuff – which is often just a bit silly. My favourite example is probably ‘Abraham, Martin & John’ by Marvin Gaye. That’s absolutely glorious and generally gets eyes moist in these parts. Do let me know your own favourites.
In the meantime here is a little thing from a private little show I did in the vault of St Pancras church last summer. We’ve done a few things in vaults of late and a friend secretly recorded it and sent it to me. I generally don’t approve of men over twenty five with acoustic guitars – but I’ll make an exception in my own case.