Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Rockin'est Rollin'est Day

The rockin'est rollin'est day. It's funny how the mundane blends into the rockin'est rollin'est sometimes.
I remember bumping into Tessa Pollitt in Notting Hill one day, and she was just off to buy some hay for a hamster she was looking after.
Offsprog 2 had been painting her room and she ran out of paint; the paint shop in Barnet has closed down so I got on the tube to head for a shop where I knew I could get some. 
I'd interviewed Poly by phone in the morning, and she'd passed on Paul Cook's wife's number and suggested that I text her to ask if Paul would talk to me.
The reason I wanted to talk to him was that so many of the women I interviewed who were making music in the London area cited him as being an enabler- whether it was turning up at their gigs, lending his kit or giving help with drumming, or just generally being steady and trustworthy in what was often a hostile environment. 
There were other young men who did this and I think it is important to discuss this a bit more in the new version of the book.
On the train, I decided to send that text, with details about the book, to see if he might be willing to talk some time this weekend. 
My phone buzzed. 'If you can call in the next five minutes he can talk to you. He doesn't normally do interviews'.
F*ck! The train drew in to West Finchley, and I got off to escape the train-noise and punched in the number.
B*gger! There is no signal at all at West Finchley! I raced on the the bridge over the track. No signal there either! Finally, out in the street, I got a weak signal and called.
I had no questions prepared, nothing to record with, and only a half-run-out pen to scribble on a scrap of paper with.
He is indeed a good guy, and was patient with the bletherings from West Finchley. 
How I wish I had taken some prepared questions with me! But I can add his voice to the book, which is a book of voices as much as a book of analysis, and I am grateful that he took the time to talk; it was a mega-short interview which seemed to surprise him a little but I did not want to waste anyone's time by being unfocused.
It's Saturday, and I have just done two hours of checking Bethan Peters' interview. This has been a hard-working week in terms of transcribing, but well worth it in terms of new discoveries.

Zoot- thank you for your comments- very funny! I decided to delete them, as I do not want to break the trust of the people I have talked to in any way at all. I even deleted this post yesterday but have re-posted it as it's harmless.
It's interesting to see that Paul Cook is playing with Edwyn Collins at the moment, which must have made Edwyn's day. I bet he never thought when he was a young pip in Orange Juice that he'd share the stage with a Sex Pistol!


Phil said...

Thanks, that was probably wise... I forget this is a public place!
In case anyone is wondering, I wasn't saying anything uncomplimentary about Paul; just some old stories...

Anonymous said...

Helen have you read Neil Taylor's Rough Trade - Document & Eye Witness book? Some good bits on the Raincoats. And I bought their first album while up in Inverness the other day!
Rich C