Monday, June 29, 2009

Hugh Hopper RIP

The legendary Soft Machine bassist is no more. Andy Bard broke the news to me in Avebury on the afternoon of the summer solstice - he'd actually died a couple of weeks previously, but I'd missed the obituary.

I've since been listening to some of favourite Hopper-period live albums and bootlegs, LOUD with the bass turned right up. It's almost miraculous just how good they were, and how mighty his bass sounded a times.

The last time I saw him was looking frail, sitting at the back of a benefit gig that friends had organised for him last December. The first time was onstage at a one-off festival out at Merton Farm near Canterbury in 1990 (the precursor to the successful Lounge on the Farm festivals now held on that site, which is very close to Simon Langton, the grammar school attended by both Hopper brothers, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt).

Here's a very nicely put together video tribute someone has put together:

And this was just found on the PlanetGong website:

"Dear Hugh Hopper passed away the afternoon of Sunday 7th June. Our thoughts and love go out to his wife Christine, their young daughter Rosa, and to all Hugh's close family and friends. He was a lovely, unassuming, gently humorous man who was always a joy to be with - and of course he was a unique, stunning, innovative creative musician.

As we reached Fasano for last Saturday's Gong concert, Daevid told me he had received a message that Hugh reached the final hours and very early this morning as we queued for US work visas we heard the news that he had gone. Daevid just quietly said that besides Robert, Hugh had been the person he had played music with the longest. He will be so missed.

And here is a link that I was sent today to a nice interview with Hugh from 1998. It gives just a little flavour of what a personable chap he was."

"Hugh Hopper will be laid to rest at a natural Burial Ground in Kent this Thursday 25th June.

It will be a Tibetan Buddhist Ceremony to respect Hugh's wishes and there will be opportunity for a few musicians to play by the graveside to say goodbye. Afterwards there will be lunch at a local pub and then a gentle walk. No flowers please; however, donations offered will be shared between the Brabourne Ward at Canterbury Hospital and the Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation.

Do not cry because I die
Do not cry as I am
Drifting alone on the
Seashore of light
Rejoice in the light of love, my love
Into the pure light above
The Rainbow light where
I am free of suffering
And bright.

From me to Hugh and all his great friends and family
Christine Hopper

For those who wish to offer a donation instead of flowers for Hugh's funeral, Christine asked me to tell you that cheque (€/£) could be done in her name (Christine Janet) and she will dispatch it herself to the Brabourne Ward Canterbury Hospital and the Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation.

There will be a concert in Hugh's homage Saturday 27 June (20:00) at the Club LE TRITON in Paris - Les Lilas. You will find also CDs of Hugh's music. The benefit of this concert and CDs sale will go to Christine."


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