Here are 3 short films that I did in collaboration with Roger Thorp. My contributions are in varying degrees of emphasis, starting with Frozen Song. Roger had the film and the basic piano soundtrack. I thought of adding the crows and the dialogue to the soundtrack and then the idea for the recording of the children singing somehow had to follow.
Transit, again is Roger’s film, but the soundtrack is all mine though I think I used a background ambience sound that Roger wanted in the mix. Actually I might try and do a better soundtrack sometime this year and put up this film again with the proper frame ratio.
This last film uses more air travel type footage which was photographed by Roger during a visit to the World Wide Video Festival in Amsterdam, but I edited this one to use as a video for a track on my album, Disparue. Credits for the musicians are on the YouTube page. It’s called The Airman’s Prayers.
In 1991 I spent a few evenings doing a recording session with my friend Andy Smith who is now manager of the PMT music shop in Bristol. Whenever I call in at the shop and see Andy he always tells me that he has no time to do any music any more, which is a shame because he is very talented. We worked on 2 songs, one which we completed which is called What Is It That You Dread? that tackled the subject of having a 2 year old daughter and an about-to-be-born son whilst the Gulf War and other atrocities seemed to be leading the human race towards Armageddon. The coda was from a radio recording that I made on the night when the US started the war with a precision-guided bombing raid on Baghdad. Now I wish I’d kept the whole of the recording, but all I have left is a very poor quality copy of the actual track. This is some of the dialogue from it
we continue to hear, er, an occasional round, er, go off in the background
they’re spurting fire into the sky, heavier calibre. I don’t know what they are but they’re more impressive than that used earlier.
Are things better today? I’m not sure when we live in a world where to some people Anders Breivik is a hero.
The other track we worked on was never finished – at least no vocals were ever added, but the recording quality was better, probably because the track was simpler and didn’t have so many added layers. I can’t remember who played what though I’m sure the drum machine programming was mostly by Andy and I think he played bass as well. I definitely would have done the rhythm guitar, but I suppose it’s the 2nd guitar that could have been me or could have been Andy. Sounds more like Andy to me, but sometimes I surprise myself.
Now, some 21 years later (my son’s age of course) I have recorded the vocals. I could do better but as usual I can’t be bothered. I have a philosophy which decrees that you shouldn’t work on things too much. If what you can do fast isn’t good enough then maybe next time it will be better. And there’s also a distorted guitar solo at the end which is another 1st take. In fact I wasn’t really thinking of it being a take at all, it was just to check the levels but once it was done it seemed adequate especially when you consider what I’ve just said above.
Compared to the serious shit I’ve described above re the other track, the lyrics to the song which I call Real are a reversion to my normal Nonsense. See the category Nonsense for further details. At times it seems like a John Cooper Clarke tribute, which is fine because I think he’s great, but there are definitely bits that are vaseyesque.
Like a woman at Birdland once asked me why I played so low, so much in the middle register, and not on the top keys. Well, I play where I want to. I can’t help it if nobody digs it. I’m going to play the way I feel. Certainly a musician should have training and should be able to play the whole piano, but once he has that ability, there may be something else he’s trying to prove.
For years I thought only in terms of wishing I could get a job for scale. And if I had it all to do over again, that’s all I’d want. I can truthfully say that.
When I can reach an audience, I feel as if I’ve persuaded them to come into my camp and accept what I am. You have to be careful not to let that tempt you either to phone in a performance or to become solicitous of the crowd. That’s why I stopped playing at one time. The pressure I felt from the audience made me want to do something for them I wasn’t able to do.
Nostalgia brings on anticipation because you know what’s going to happen next. When people start to anticipate, they become intense, waiting for what they know is going to happen. And this tension feeds their neuroses.
There’s no key! You just go ahead, and I’ll follow.