A Sad Start
On Friday March 3 Ivor Cutler died. I featured a song from Ivor in Sleephouse Issue 5
where I wrote this of him:Ivor Cutler performed his last show in Feburary 2004 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at the grand old age of 81. Behind him stretched a life as magical and unconventional as any you’d care to mention. Cutler, the perennial outsider, was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Scotland in 1923. He went on to record numerous albums, perform a number of John Peel Sessions, be a teacher in an experimental school and also star as Buster Bloodvessel in the Beatles' ill-fated Magical Mystery Tour.
Cutler’s music is always playful, some might even dismiss him as a comedy act, but something about this curmudgeonly Glaswegian shines an enlightening seriousness through even his most unhinged and naive works. It’s as if the true nature of reality can only be glimpsed through a child’s kaleidoscope.
It’s an extremely sad loss for music, Ivor was a true original, and a man who I feel has always been poised on the periphery of my life. As a small child I would watch the Magical Mystery Tour over and over again, and my dad always tell me how great Ivor Cutler was. I largely ignored him and it wasn’t until university that I stumbled across Jim O’Rourke’s cover of ‘Women of the World’ and noting how great this song was, I made a mental note to explore Ivor’s work. Somehow I never did, and Ivor Cutler was again consigned to my personal memory hole.
Then last year, on a particularly dull Friday night, I switched over to BBC4 and caught the documentary Looking for Truth with a Pin
. The documentary, telling the story of Ivor’s incredibly singular life, was revelatory. His unique personality and stubborn determination to stick to his principles, no matter how strange, blew my head off. Determined to not miss the chance again, I finally discovered Ivor’s music, and spent the entire weekend lost in his peculiar world.
Since then he’s been ever present on my stereo and probably will be forever. I’m sad that he’s gone but he’ll always continue to inspire me and countless others. His death seems natural, which, as far as death goes, is the best anyone can hope for. I’m sure he’s up there in the "Beautiful Cosmos" right now, a crotchety old man playing harmonium in the stars. Jim O’Rourke: 'Women of the World’
, Drag City, 1999) Ivor Cutler: ‘Beautiful Cosmos’Ivor Cutler: ‘Once Upon A Time’
And here’s a performance of ‘Shoplifters’
from the 1970s BBC program Old Grey Whistle Test.Ivor Cutler @ Amazon
Hey there, this is the first post of Sleephouse Radio Livejournal. I’ve set up this Livejournal and the all-new : Sleephouse Notes Blogspot
to deal with the overspill from the Sleephouse Radio Podcast
. I’ll be updating this reasonably regularly with stories and mp3s that I can’t fit into the bi-weekly podcast.
The podcast will continue, of course, and notifications of new podcasts will also appear on this blog. Just imagine, Sleephouse Radio on your friends page!
To start with here’s some links to all the previous editions of Sleephouse Radio:
Issue 1Issue 2Issue 3Issue 4Issue 5Issue 6
Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoy.