For Lowell and Kurt, too late

Long day. I don't like enjoy much about London at the moment but Saturday's pleasure is walking down to Camden to pick up the International Herald Tribune (IHT) and then walking back up to the Lord Palmerston for a big rioja and a slow read to burn off the demons. The IHT is the international (sic) edition of the New York Times and I buy it most days. Especially with the vino.

Today's edition included a review / feature on Kurt Vonnegut. Recommended. Kurt and Mark Twain are my two favourite authors in the whole wide world. Twain I don't read so much now but Vonnegut got me. He wrote short fiction and he was workmanlike, and constantly pissed off, and he loved people even after Dresden. Go figure. In George Plimpton's Truman Capote biography, Kurt talks about Capote coming round to swim in his pool at the height of the author's self-inflicted troubles. Kurt's account is flat as a board and as kind as casting an actress in a low light.

Soundtrack: Willing, by Lowell George. I don't know where I first heard Little Feat or Zappa. I still don't think either are very good, but they were there. Can't hang a man for that.

Lowell is Inara's dad. Inara's a peach. She's half of The Bird and The Bee, shown here covering 'I Can't Go For That' and later covering 'Psycho Killer' in white gloves.


Trip Checker interview (excerpt)

Leaning back in a patterned brown and orange booth of 246, the new space age arcade of Auckland City, New Zealand, Trip Checker enjoys a prawn cocktail and one of the latest drip percolator style coffees as the shoppers stroll beneath us on the ground floor. A week has passed since his discharge from Auckland Hospital: always bony and unshaven, the gentleman drummer is a little paler than usual. But he has kindly consented to keep the agreed appointment with Jazz Dispatch where we are keen to discuss his latest commercial forays plus rumours of a possible Muse Lounge reunion.

TRIP CHECKER: Is that thing on?

JANWILLEM DORIN: Yes I believe so. In 1969, you -

CHECKER: It's so damn small.

JD: It's one of the latest Japanese products.

CHECKER: And the mike picks up everything I'm saying?

JD: Yes. I was wondering if we could -

CHECKER: I'm hip.

JD: - if we could talk a little about Montreal.

CHECKER: That's a great town.

JD: Yeah?

CHECKER: It's a sweet gig. Yeah, I mean... we'd all meet up there, not in a planned way, you understand, but we'd meet up there see - I'd say to Clive [Janitor] and Elmore [Holdall] "see you at Montree." That was what we called it.

JD: Montree was your name for Montreal.

CHECKER: Swinging. [indistinct] So we'd be hanging around the tent. There were several tents, actually but the main tent you... [indistinct] ...the desk, right? And one of us would say - Elmore, usually, he'd say "let's do a gig." And we just would.

JD: With no rehearsal.

CHECKER: No, no. No rehearsal. Rehearsal's for squares, man! Rehearsal, I mean, hey, like we're not at school, you know? We're not like in class, this is not a class, man. You have to be there. You have to be there.

JD: But you had some sort of tonal framework, I understand -

CHECKER: No framework.

JD: Nothing? You had a scale worked out or something.

CHECKER: We had nothing, man. Nada.

JD: You just went in there?

CHECKER: You got it.

JD: And what if things didn't go as planned?

CHECKER: How could they? We didn't have any plans.

JD: I mean, what if things went wrong?

CHECKER: Then they went wrong. It's like life, you know? Why should Montree be any different?

JD: I think the danger is that the audience could think you were being indulgent.

CHECKER: We were always being indulgent. The only reason anyone ever heard us in the first place is because we decided to indulge ourselves by becoming a band. Everyone's indulging themselves. This interview's indulging you, I'm indulging myself by talking, you're indulging yourself by listening -

JD: Yes -

CHECKER: I mean, it's all indulgent, you know? We're all indulgent.

JD: OK. So, moving along -

CHECKER: I mean just moving along is indulgent. You dig?

Janwillem Dorin
Jazz Dispatch, 1974
Translated from the original by Kirsty Widdell
(First reproduced | Dec 02, 2002)