The 17 plus

Meanwhile…I had to stop listening to the new recordings given the crisis of confidence documented previously; I managed a ten day abstention. It was quite a discipline in truth but a necessary one. People always say that having a decent break and returning with fresh ears alters perspective and they’d be right. So, a couple of days ago I listened to it all over again and am pleased to say it’s getting better all the time. The next job is sorting out the running order; I’ve drafted one for Rob and I to fuss over in the coming weeks, it reads like this.

[To Hell with] Fashion
Actions Speak Louder
Sometimes I Feel Like a King in Spite of Myself
Women and Men
Welfare Statement
Nurse of the Year
Sun Comes Up, it’s Tuesday Morning
Blind Mans Bluff

On Wednesday night I attended Bill Drummonds 17 book signing meet and greet event at Waterstones Bookstore on Deansgate. The third floor room was packed with an assortment of boho-muso-artsy types, the mood was warm and welcoming. I sat by Rob Cotter from Analogue Cat, those troubled frogs were mentioned again, that and being back in Denim. Bill’s presentation was sharp, talking about the 17, the choir in his head, the music of the Land Rover and the epiphany of The Ledge. He also talked about destroying his original copy of Strawberry Fields on 7inch vinyl. I’ve just finished reading 17. It’s a diary type read skipping in and around the theme that all music has run its course. It’s more personal than 45 and more humble than The Manuel. It’s as if Bill is refusing to accept that any perceived musical overloading of time, age and memory is inevitable. He’s still looking for the key to the door in his head that leads to the next door. I admire him for this as much as anything else. The music of the 17 is essentially participatory and attaches no value to music as a recorded medium. At the end of each performance of the music of the17 is deleted. I could go on here but…well, you’d be better off reading it for yourself.

When I worked with Bill in Belfast a few years ago some of his ideas behind the 17 were taking shape. I fondly remember him becoming most animated at the prospect of all Irish Traditional Music being wiped out over night, with no more fiddly dee. Now that would be something…we had this kind of half imagined campaign going on. It’s still going on now in my head as we speak. It’s just not quite happened yet.

We met up with Bill and John Hirst after the signing in the Chop House which is probably the most expensive pub in Manchester. Either that or I just don’t get out enough to notice. This coming Sunday night I have a gig with Mark Morris from The Bluetones in Basingstoke. I know…it’s bloody miles away, VP x

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