Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Life of Two Halves

Slightly delirious day at home suffering the effects of food-poisoning, slumped on the sofa reading Marcus O'Dair's biography of Robert Wyatt, Different Every Time. One of those very rare occasions when I could read a music biography from cover to cover in one day, and accompanied by music all the way through: Wilde Flowers, Soft Machine 1-4, Matching Mole, Rock Bottom, Live at Drury Lane, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard, Shleep and Comicopera.  Good book, divided naturally between pre- and post-June 1973 when he fell from a 4th floor window, broke his back and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Before, he'd been a bit of a beatnik, played in bands, principally as a drummer, sang occasionally, sowed his oats and got regularly plastered. Afterwards, he went solo, stopped drumming,  focussed on singing, became politicised and found contentment with Alfie Benge, his muse, manager and creative counterpart.
It was an interesting exercise, following someone's life over 400 pages in a day, with the soundtrack to match. We've never met, but I feel I know him quite intimately now.

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