All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015

THE GHOST HOUSE


I went to the Tate Modern last night. They asked me to contribute music for a 'Tate Track' - a piece written to accompany an artwork in the collection. (The Chemical Brothers have done Epstein's 'Rock Drill' and the Klaxons are doing Cy Twombly's 'Quattro Staggione' and there are various other peculiar combinations).

Whilst there we watched the Christian Marclay videopiece which is absolutely extraordinary. If you haven't seen it and get the chance, try to check it out - they are about to remove it I think. It's very, very clever and beautiful if you love music.

Whilst wondering home, I remembered the little house which used to stand at the edge of the western entrance forecourt and the time a few years ago when I lived there briefly. When I first came to London, I lost my innocence for a while in substances and I started to go rather down hill. One morning I got a bit bored of it all and signed up for some classes at the CIty Lit Institute in Holborn. There I met Martyn from the Tiger Lillies and Sophie his muse and manager and we became firm friends. They lived in a flat in Berwick Street in Soho but one Sunday evening on returning from a trip we all took to the country, they discovered that their landlord had burnt the whole building down. (We found out later that he did it to force them out and to get the insurance). They lost all they had - clothes, instruments, years of recordings, photos and letters. Everything. Anyway, a friend who was squatting in this little house in Bankside let them go to stay and they ended up being there for a few years.

It was a peculiar place which contained six little flats for workers from the time when the Tate was still a power station. It was very curious with a central iron staircase and one bathroom for every two flats. There was just Martyn and Sophie and a little old man who lived down below. It was spooky and felt rather out of time. I believe I once saw a ghost on the stair - although maybe that was just the wine. I can't remember how many times I walked down to the river from St Pauls and over Blackfriar's Bridge to see them. I do remember there were rats by the river then.

And I don't know why they knocked it down - there is nothing there now but an unused area of ground.

12 comments:

nell said...

how very sad to lose a place who kept to its own time and held its own ghost. unused ground is a poor substitute for a building with character. at least good friends remain as a reminder. it is better to have that than to find an old building reminding you of lost friends.

what will you be contributing to the tate track?

cheers,
nell

clerkenwell kid said...

oh something new i think nell - written for the painting - that's the idea. it should be done and up by march

nell said...

i hope it will still be up in may for me to see. after all...it is all about me. me, me, me, me.

cheers,
nell

Stella Polaris said...

Thank you for the lovely Valentine's day message, videos, songs and all, Stephen :) I'm not a big fan of VD (mainly because it's such an imported holiday in Finland, and why can't we just revive our own old holidays? but I'm not getting into that), but TRTW media always cheers me up for sure! And the card, too!

I noticed that Daniel Craig wasn't mentioned in the e-mail though. Should I be worried that he's abandoned I, Lucifer?

clerkenwell kid said...

nell

it will be up in may for sure - the rothko room - so don't expect bathtime...


tck

clerkenwell kid said...

stella

yes they lost daniel craig I'm afraid- either he is doing the next Bond or maybe he got too expensive or something

he would have bene great

Stella Polaris said...

You have got to be kidding me. Okay, now I'm annoyed. Craig would've been perfect. Damnit.

And I'm guessin this'll set the movie back some, if they have to find a new Lucifer.

Damn. Oh well. No use crying over spilt milk.

clerkenwell kid said...

yes - he would have been good - or Robert Downey Junior perhaps..

nell said...

yipeeeee!!! the tate in may it is!

also...screw daniel craig and screw robert downey junior. they should use jacques.

cheers,
nell

Stella Polaris said...

Stephen, I never thought of RD Jr. You're right, he would've been awesome, too. He has that playful air about him. He was great in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Although Lucifer must have a British accent. Goes without saying!

paulo said...

Tickets for the White Mischief have now been bought, although I dare say you've given away the secret location previously though!
Like the new track on your myspace also, so all is looking good.

hkoutsider said...

listening to the songs on the podcast tonight... darkness outside filled with misty fogs in unknown shapes...