It’s a funny thing being in a band, particularly being in a band like The Real Tuesday Weld because you aren’t really sure whether it is a band at all – and sometimes, it appears that nobody else is either. Now, I like confusion and complexity and ambiguity and, of course, ambivalence but sometimes, perhaps, it’s good to set the record straight.
You see, it was never the intention to have a band at all. I was quite happy working in the studio with The Clerkenwell Kid, never seen and only heard on record. We refused every offer, bribe and prayer to play that we ever received. After all, what would be the point? It was never going to sound like the records unless we bored everybody with huge amounts of equipment on stage and really, why bother? But certain people (Tracy Lee Jackson) kept pleading and promising and badgering and bullying until, very reluctantly, it was agreed that we would have a little party, not a gig mind you but a party, at that delightful odd venue in Bloomsbury called ‘The Horse Hospital’. (By the way, if you don’t know the place, it really is worth checking out – it actually was a hospital for horses – it has a big ramp for animals with big legs, a rubberised floor with drainage channels to catch all the messy stuff and now holds remarkable film and fashion events).
So, I ‘DJ ed’. But everybody is a DJ now aren’t they? (How did that happen by the way? It’s all part of the democratisation of art I suppose – now critics, gallery owners and djs are just as important as the work of those they use.). Basically, I put a few of my favourite 1930s / 1940s / Gainsbourg / Morricone / Chanson songs clumsily on the cd players. We showed Alex Budovsky’s films, Glen Duncan did some readings and we all grooved around a bit.
But, as a surprise, in Tracy’s honour, I had secretly prepared a very short live set with my old friends Jacques Van Rhijn (Dutch aristocrat, great, great, great, great grandson of Rembrandt) and David Guez (French Algerian and James Spader look alike). Another old friend, the remarkable recluse Clive Painter did the sonics. We had decided to dispense with any attempt to sound like the records and performed quiet, sweet acoustic versions of ‘Anything but Love’, ‘La bete et la belle’ and ‘Someday (never)’.
Well, blow me down with a feather but it actually went quite well and, even more remarkably, we all quite enjoyed ourselves. But that really was meant to be that - until a week or so later, we got an invite to travel over to Athens and be wined, dined, watered and fed in luxury surroundings if we would only play a radio show and a little concert. We thought about it for a few seconds, said ‘oh, ok then’, learned a few more songs, dragged in Clive to play bass, bought some sunscreen and duly flew over to that ancient classical city.
Then, no sooner were we back in Blighty than the inestimable Ms Gail O Hara of Chickfactor fame proposed yet another live show – but this time in the insanely glamorous and monstrously mad borough of Manhattan. And so it went on: A residency in Clerkenwell, dates and tours in the US, Europe, the UK and Ireland, a host of radio sessions, David moving back to France, the peculiar and handsome Don Brosnan joining us, the wonderful classical geezer Brian Lee joining us, the live soundtrack to the Hans Richter film: ‘Dreams that money can buy’ (with the immensely gifted Cibelle and David Piper narrating), the odd funeral and Bar Mitzvah and so on and so on
What have I done to deserve this? I honestly don’t know – I mean I can’t play very well myself and I am surrounded by all these amazingly talented people who can! It’s a very, very good deal I can assure you. Rather unfairly, I tend to get most of the credit because it has mainly been me and the Clerkenwell Kid on the records so far – (with various guests including the band of course) - but if you have seen us you play live will know that that really is only half the story. It has been an evolving, collective, oscillating, ovulating thing and I am as surprised by the wonderful sounds being made as much as anyone else!
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, thank you. You really have been a wonderful audience but now I would like you to put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the band:
Jacques Van Rhijn: Clarinet
Clive Painter: Guitars
Jeremy Woodhouse: Percussion
Don Brosnan: The bass
Brian Lee: The piano and the violin
And, lest we forget, the remarkable:
Eyal Burnstein Visual Projections
Alex Budovsky Animations