Sunday, March 06, 2011

Wyatt in Whitstable

Robert Wyatt was in Whitstable a few weeks ago, and no one around here seems to have known about it until after the event (it got a mention in the Canterbury-area paper because of the local connection). What a shame. It was a weekend sound-art and music convention called "Off the Page", and he was there with his wife, the poet and painter Alfreda Benge, giving a talk about his favourite music and joining in with the panel discussions.

Wyatt sketch by Geoff Winston
sketch of Wyatt done during the event by Geoff Winston

Apparently, due to one of the CDs he'd chosen from having gone missing, he ended up singing the piece in question (Coltrane's "Naima", as interpreted by Les Double Six). Nothing on YouTube, so seemingly no one captured that on their camera phone. Oh well.

I first heard of this from Jim in Canterbury Rock, a proper old record shop in St. Dunstans that's seemingly been there forever. I bought my first copy of Wyatt's Rock Bottom there in the early 90s. Jim mentioned that a similarly venerable record shop in Whitstable, called "Rock Bottom", was one he started many years ago and named after one of his favourite albums. I'd always wondered if that shop was named by a Wyatt fan, or was just a badly named record shop (hoping the former, of course). It's just a few doors from what used to be the Bear and Key, the pub where The Wilde Flowers played their first ever gig on January 15, 1965.

Canterbury Rock Rock Bottom

I did find a list of his favourite ten tracks (probably just ten things he happened to like the day he put the piece together) in a magazine feature from 1975. I'm going to work through the top five in my next five Canterbury Soundwaves podcasts.

And then there's this (the last few seconds are just extraordinary...)


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