Sixties Weekend at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Nigel Waymouth and I “in conversation” at noon on Sunday. Free admission! Then I introduce the film “Performance” at 2pm – also free; first come, first served.
A few days ago, an Albanian journalist wanted to know how I connected producing Pink Floyd at the start of their career (and mine) with producing a record of Albanian Saze music last week (“Saze The Day” on Kickstarter). I managed something banal about always being interested in music outside the mainstream and you couldn’t really find music much farther outside the mainstream than what the Floyd were up to in the autumn of 1966 or what my co-producers and I recorded last weekend in Tirana.
But it can seem like a kind of cultural whiplash to go from one to the other (in real time, of course, it took half a century). So yes, there is a soupçon of incongruity running into Albanians on the flight from Tirana to London yesterday who had seen me interviewed on Albanian tv; one wanted to talk about Saze, the other about Syd Barrett.
For me, it’s just part of my life’s rich – and very fortunate – pageant, going from recording a beautiful song from the Southern Albanian city of Permet around noon last Sunday to sitting down at the V&A with my old pal Nigel Waymouth exactly seven days later to talk about London in the Sixties.
Nigel is not only an old and dear friend, he is also a key figure in the London of that era, being a partner in the shop “Granny Takes A Trip” and co-designer of the great UFO silk-screen posters. The big question is who will get a word in edge-wise, as we both love to talk. I’m usually of the egocentric view that I’m non-stop interesting when I get going, but I have to bow to Nigel here; he’s got even more fascinating facts at his fingertips than I do, plus the ability to wield them effectively in a discussion. So I’ll do my best not to interrupt him. For anyone who likes listening to me rattle on about the Sixties, come along on Sunday and listen to someone who can talk circles around me – in a good way!
I have also persuaded Nigel to stick around and help me present the Ur-Sixties film “Performance”. I am sure many, if not most of you, have seen it. But it is definitely worth another look; I never tire of it and always find new things I hadn’t noticed before. For a start, did you know how closely it is linked to the writings of Jorge Luis Borges? Whose face do you think is at the bottom of that bullet-hole at the end? Borges!
I can bang on about the film endlessly, but will only do so briefly on Sunday. Nigel, on the other hand, has first-hand knowledge of the film’s backstory, having been a friend of David Litvinoff (whose head appears on the mysterious paintings stacked in the hall closet and who introduced the film-makers to the ‘boxing’ figures who play themselves in the movie), as well as being involved with the actress playing the French girl staying in “Turner’s” flat.
And of course, if you haven’t spent an hour or two at the Exhibition itself, now is the time to do so. It’s ‘YUGE’ as Trump would say, but unlike the Republican candidate’s ‘fingers’, scale in this case is very rewarding.
One exhibit that can only be seen on the V&A’s website is my edited interview (along with some other 60s veterans): https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/meet-the-rebels
If you like links, another one you might enjoy is this: https://soasradio.org/music/episodes/madera-verde-meets-joe-boyd when I guested recently on “Madera Verde’s” show on SOAS radio.
Come and say hello at the V&A on Sunday if you’re there.
Ciao for niao