Thursday, May 18, 2006

Brought To Book No.3

Finally finished Joe Boyd's 60s autobiography-cum-anecdote fest. Unfortunately it left me a trifle cold (and believe me, anyone who knows me will tell you that Joe's subject matter is of primary interest to moi) though I'm now kinda bookending the experience (hoho) by embarking on Graham Bennett's mighty tome on the Soft Machine, Out Bloody Rageous!. Anyone who's read Wrong Movements and Gong Dreaming Vol1, and who has a passing interest in what was shaking in London or Canterbury in the mid 60s will be familiar with a lot of the material, but Bennett's thorough approach finally ties it all together in an accurate manner with a style that's hardly emotive, yet still readable.
I find it fascinating how Daevid Allen was such a mover and shaker back then (worked with Burroughs and Gysin etc) and, as Robert Wyatt points out, was so very influential in his guitar stylings, having no roots in blues or R & B whatsoever. His raga style was very influential in London in the summer of love, though he himself admits that his awesome glissando technique was born while watching Syd Barrett playing at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream. Still, no Allen, no Hillage. And I believe Fred Frith rates him too. Praise indeed...
One last thing Allen did was come up with the best band name, ever: Mister Head. Long may he continue to do whatever it is he does. Time, nor anything else, seem to have diminished him one jot. See you in Amsterdam in November!

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