Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Throwing myself at Brel

Four songs solo. Amsterdam, Fanette, Next (Au Suivant) and Statue. Amsterdam is the star... it's a simple song, but yet, not... like many of Brel's songs, it's a combination of a certain poetry with a simple chordal structure that drives the songs: repetition and rhythm and accelleration. At the end of the song you throw yourself over this cliff and you're left with.... with what? Perhaps as a listener you're left with the sense of a long silence as they fall into the next song.

Been watching DVD's of the man himself (mostly his goodbye performance at the Olympia). Brel in performance is fascinating. I've never seen a singer like him. Apart from a great voice and the belief in the song he also created these extravagant gestures to illustrate the songs. Normally I avoid any representation... if the song is good, if the words and music succeed in meaning something, then the song is going to work by itself: I shouldn't need to point out the stars when I'm singing about the night sky. However Brel's gesture's are grand, theatrical movements. Even with the sound turned off he's fabulous to watch. OK, sometimes (the DVD had a whole bunch of TV appearances that were less successful) I found myself thinking 'just sing the bloody song', but that was mostly under strange 'live' studio conditions when he seems less inspired.

We have two shows left and then we'll see what happens with the producers in the new year. Hopefully we'll be performing into the spring....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

thanks John

Just returned from a tiny cafe poetry reading by John Giorno. Must have been fewer then 20 people in the audience to see this giant of performance poetry. Thank you John Giorno. I go on stage tomorrow night and sometimes I wonder if what believe about performing is shared ... is somehow on the right road...that you have to give and give and give, and you have to take chances, and you have to expose yourself, and you have to be there, all your faults and attributes making you what you are... that generosity and daring count and technique is the smallest portion. And there was John Giorno, who I remember from his Giorno Poetry Systems record: "Sugar, Alcohol and Meat" with Kathy Acker, Ginsberg, Burroughs... and I lay in the dark and played it over and over and wanted to be some kind of artist of words and ideas.... and there was John Giorno, older, silver haired, pot bellied, handsome, strange, eyes closed, eyes shining, dancing as he sang and spoke his way through his poems and texts. Believing. Being there.

Once upon a time,
each other
very much,
and they made a vow
to stay together
until they all
and lifetime
after lifetime,
and endless
and doing practice,
they all realized
the absolute
true nature
of mind.
They were so
and overjoyed,
they started
and dancing,
and danced
and danced,
they were so happy,
in the shocked
of emptiness
and compassion,
they kept
on dancing,
and dancing,
and they danced away
all their flesh
and skin,
until there was
but their bones,
and they kept dancing
in their bones,
dancing skeltons.

John Giorno