All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


I just returned from Moscow again. We were playing at the Golden Mask Theatre Festival - a very wonderful thing and a great pleasure to attend. It was probably one of our best shows - with Jacques back in the saddle and Eyal creating a magical dream world around us. The Berlin artist Jim Avignon joined us on stage for some live action painting and a whole posse of Alex's friends from the animaiton studio came to hang out.

On Saturday, our friends Marina and Serezha had asked us to play an acoustic show at a hospice for the terminally ill. So we arrived at a very peaceful little building on a quiet street somewhere as the snow started falling. It was an unusual event - no samplers, no projections, no electricity. There was a small audience of patients and staff from the hospice and some little birds in a couple of cages. Some of the patients were in beds and barely concious - one man in particular sounded as if he was about to go at any moment. When Jacques started to play 'La Bete et La Belle', the birds joined in too. I felt moved - just to be there at all and have the opportunity to do this sort of thing - although I confess felt some awkwardness at singing these songs, many of which refer to death, in a situation where mortality is very present. There were a couple of kids there and that really tore me up. Afterwards, just before we had tea and biscuits, I completely lost it for a few minutes in the loo. How do you tell children they are dying? - how do they understand that and how can they still smile and be so pleased to see you?

Back on the street, with the city noises and the snow falling more thickly, we wandered back into our lives and that stupid feeling that it couldn't happen to us - death is for other people right?! Despite everything that has happened, I find it really hard to not imagine I will somehow go on for ever. Anyway it makes you think doesn't it? - and one of the things I always think is how connections with people matter more than almost anything.

So, hello to all friends - but particularly this time to my Russian ones - old, new and however brief..


Anonymous said...


very sweet of you. many people would shy away from that sort of situation.

my grandmother was the activities director for a nursing home. i would stay with her during the summer months and go with her to work. it was strange to spend my days amongst the elderly. i would find myself not talking about the future. i would stop and visit with those who seemed lonley and dread the day when a room would suddenly be empty. not all of the residents were old. several were young people suffering severe mental or physical handicaps. made for strange summers. i think it did me good. it was a lesson in the end. everyone deals with it differently. the inevitable conclusion to every life. harder with children. it is not fair, but fair has never been promised to any of us.

i hope to face the end with a smile. no being bitter, no regrets, and no worrying about leaving my mark. those i love are what will be left behind. a few kind thougts of me will suffice.

as you say....the show must go on.


clerkenwell kid said...

thanks for that nell. you are right - it isn't fair but it was a very positive thing for all of us i think


sveta said...

it was beauteful & i can say with certainty that in russia you had gained a great experince not only in music&stage&so on but also in phylosophic mood. your question about death of a kid is similar to dostoevsky`s one.
by the way i hope you enjoyed cold weather in fur hat. all of us - we were happy to see&hear trtw and also to dance&applaud.
would it be polite to send hello to don with your little help? evermind if it wouldn`t
thank you from all of us.

paulo said...

Is Jim Avignon that Neoangin guy? Still really enjoying the two songs I have of his, but haven't bought anything yet due to it being more expensive from Europe. Sounds like it was good anyway!

Not sure where to put this, so will add it here. Really enjoyed your set at the White Mischief night. Must say that we were rather pleased that you guys were on first, so that we could leave afterwards (and watch Peep Show), as the other bands didn't interest us. Was an interesting atmosphere anyhow. Shame there was no new songs played other than Kix, but maybe when you have your own gig again.

clerkenwell kid said...

Paulo, Yes it's that Jim - he's quite a perfomer too. he did a painting on stage during 'one more chance'

I thought the white mischief set was cool although we had various 'issues' - which is why the set was restricted - that was a shame - we wanted to play some new things too - next time i hope...

paulo said...

Cool. Should you ever get the chance, then it'd be great if he could play a gig with you guys over here, and then maybe I'd be able to buy a cd from him (and more trtw weld merch of course). Ooh, and forgot to mention how much I love your crazy sunglasses- where did you find them? I'm sure you've worn them at most of the gigs we've seen you at, but this last time I was just suddenly amazed by them for some reason.

clerkenwell kid said...

they're swiss ski gogges from the twenties. I got them at a shop calles 'Obscura' in the east village NY