Friday, March 29th

Once a giant date of political upheaval, now its proximity to April Fool’s Day just looks prescient. Even Uri Geller was powerless to guide us. Here’s Five Things with tariff-free content, a warm embrace and no backstop.

{ONE} GOODBYE SCOTT WALKER (NOT WALKER)
I first listened to Scott Walker properly when my wife was doing interview transcriptions for documentary filmmakers. She was working on Stephen Kijak’s 2006 film about Walker, 30 Century Man, and we had piles of DVDs of interviews and studio footage. Transferring the sound onto cassette tape while watching the unedited reels became a fascinating experience – Stephen was allowed to film the studio sessions for The Drift, resulting in long takes of discussions between his co-producer Peter Walsh and a variety of musicians. This included a carpenter building a plywood box in the studio to deliver a certain sound and resonance when hit, the now-notorious percussion (a side of pork played by Alasdair Malloy), and the brilliant guitarist Hugh Burns, being pushed into chords that were almost physically impossible to play, his hand stretched to its limits on the fretboard. Scott’s instructions to Evan Parker, that he wanted “clouds of saxophones”, gives a hint of the textures and sonics that he was after.

Stephen, collaborating with his director of photography, Grant Gee, filmed each of the contributors listening to a Scott track of their choice on a portable record player, a lovely invention that pulls you both into the world of Walker, and of his acolytes. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

As film director Atom Egoyan said, “I have rarely seen a biographical documentary that is able to make the viewer experience the perspective of a devoted fan, a concerned friend, and a complete stranger at the same time.” And I like singer Barb Jungr’s take on it: “In a rare moment Walker talks of the seductive quality, the power, of the baritone voice. Clearly, the gift he was given has been a double-edged sword. But this film reveals that he’s learned to wield that sword in a unique manner, and out there on the edges of music, where he walks alone, he’s leaving a magical, fairy tale trail that many may wish to follow, but few can.”

{TWO} SCOTT, ALMOST IN CONCERT
In 2012 I wrote about The Barbican putting on an astonishing show, Drifting and Tilting – The Songs of Scott Walker, a few years earlier. “It was more opera than rock. Scott, eyes hidden beneath a baseball cap, stood at the mixing desk conducting his collaborator Peter Walsh. It was all I could do to drag my eyes away and back to the stage, which teemed with extraordinary visions. The most arresting image? Possibly a boxer using a pig’s carcass as a percussion instrument. Or maybe Gavin Friday as Elvis (“It casts its ruins in shadows/Under Memphis moonlight”), perched on a stool, singing to his stillborn twin Jesse, while a bequiffed and backlit figure strode from the back of the stage until he assumed gigantic proportions, looming over the whole theatre. Whichever, it was an evening that lives on in the memory. Long may Scott run.”

{THREE} AS DAVID BAILEY DOES THE ROUNDS…
publicising his giant new Taschen book, I find this (below, right) in a book that I found, bizarrely, in a basement. Fashion students take note – and ignore Bailey’s cynicism.

{FOUR} HILARIOUS
Messy Nessy is a rather fabulous guide to Paris. This is from her always interesting weekly post, 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today.

Number 2. A Reminder that Barbra Streisand has a Mall (above, left) in her Basement. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” Streisand says. The mall at her Malibu home includes a doll shop, a costume shop and candy store where she serves guests ice cream. Ryan Murphy spoke of the time he had dinner with Lady Gaga at Streisand’s home. “We had dinner with Barbra and Jim, and Kelly [Preston] and John [Travolta], and Gaga and I. That’s all the people who were invited. And after dinner, she said, ‘Do you want to see the mall?’ And Gaga and I were out of that chair so fast… We went down to the mall and spent an hour down there. She pulled out her collection of gowns from Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly! And then she said, ‘Do you want frozen yoghurt?’ I could write a whole book about that night.”

What’s sad is how generic ye olde worlde mall looks, like it’s been lifted from a rather poor theme parks…

{FIVE} TWO BENCHES
… walked past this week, one in Hackney marshes, where a saxophonist sat blowing, lost in the notes and impervious to the thumbs-up from passers-by. The other in Knutsford, Cheshire, while walking the dog around a lake, with a quote worthy of Miles Davis, although it is, in fact, from American Composer Truman Fisher, a man who adored Count Basie, accompanied The Ink Spots in Hollywood nightclubs in the 80s, and whose works inlude Pocahontas in London and Requiem for Wyatt Earp.


{EXTRA} RBP PODCAST, EPISODE 19
Listen to this excellent episode for the stunning interview with Minnie Riperton by Cliff White. Minnie was an amazing person with an extraordinary voice, who died way too young. Guest James Medd also has great stuff on Hal Blaine, Charlie McCoy and Joanna Newsom.


{BUY} FIVE THINGS THE BOOK, HERE


If you’re receiving the email out, please click on the Date Headline of the page for the full Five Things experience. It will bring you to the site (which allows you to see the Music Player) and all the links will open in another tab or window in your browser.

Comments

  1. A shopping mall in the basement. Amazing. Lost for words.

  2. Yes. WTF.

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