Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ghosting The North

When I covered Gordon Burn's sad death at the age of 61 I failed the spot this superb piece in the Quietus by Austin Collings which surveys Burn's achievements and looks at the 'Northern Noir' of his progeny David Peace. It serves as a fitting tribute to Burn's cryptic legacy. I have to disagree with Colling's criticism of Burn's treatment of character. 'Alma Cogan' is the finest novel I have read, and I found his creation and control of Cogan as a cynical, soiled star satisyingly complex. 'Happy Like Murderers' is the last word on True Crime; the exhumation and burial of a whole genre. Burn is not under-rated, but under-read; critically adored, while most of his potential readership simply haven't heard of him. As his prowess is acknowledged, his grip on the collective imagination can only tighten.

(This post originally published accidentally in the extinct Gravenhurst blog on 30/09/2011)

Bert Jansch 1943-2011

We say goodbye to Bert Jansch at the age of 67; a modest man, a musical giant, and his influence on mine obvious. When I first listened to 'Jack Orion', and heard him cloak 'The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face' in medievalist mystery, I thought "I need to be able to play that", and every bit of guitar work I have engaged in since has been an attempt to prize it open, to steal its secrets. It hardly need be said that it remains intact.

I'm so busy working towards the completion of another Gravenhurst album, (Jansch rip-offs multifold) that I only seem to log in and post here when someone awesome dies. It's turning into a crap little obituary column; syndicated deaths, sour milk skimmed off the back of others' work. I must write something of substance soon and shift the focus of the Notebook back towards grubby politics and grotty culture. For now, put on a Jansch record and bask in dazzling rays of bright and beautiful musicianship.