October 21st, 2009


Africa after four David Cronenbergs

I'm rehearsing near Tower Bridge for the Brel concert tomorrow with a gorgeous-sounding ensemble of twenty musicians, under the direction of David Coulter and Mike Smith.

Apparently Robbie Williams was rehearsing in the same complex on Monday. Which is funny, because I sing about him in my updated version of Les Bourgeois. In Brel's version, one of the bourgeois-baiting hoodlums thinks he's Voltaire and the other Casanova. Since that's hardly plausible in a scenario set "down at the Lumberjack and Scallywag", I've changed Voltaire and Casanova to Richard Dawkins and Robbie Williams.

It's truly awe-inspiring to sing with a band of this calibre. It makes me want to rerecord all my albums with Seb Roachford on drums, Thomas Bloch on onde martinot, David Coulter on singing saw, and Roger Eno on piano.

Eno and I bonded over tech -- he collects miniature spy cameras, and was fascinated by my Camson (which I was using to make mp3s of the rehearsals -- tapes which may see the light of day here in a week or so).

I managed to amuse Eno with a couple of quips. When David Coulter said the MIDI demos we'd been given needed to sound like "a computer after four Cronenbergs" I said "Yes, because a computer doesn't have enough Africa in it. It needs to sound like a computer after four David Cronenbergs." Eno picked up the reference to his brother's theories and laughed heartily.

Back to work at 4. What larks!