[Jandek] Jandek in London - 18th October 2005

Nicholas Horne nicholas.horne at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 04:23:07 PDT 2005

"I shouldn't have come here tonight."

 He's dressed entirely in black. Black fedora obscuring his face. Appears
from the side of the platform unannounced, sits on a stool, and flicks
silently through the songbook propped up at his side. Nobody speaks.

 He starts playing, endless open chords, minor discordancies, sings the
above as his opening line. Which is quite a funny joke - unless he
means it. The
tone of his guitar cuts through the hall. Such an abrupt metallic sound, too
sharp for comfort. The bass reverberates ominously when he hits the bottom
strings, a sinister crescendo every time. The crescendo never comes at the

 The audience sit in rows on hard wooden seats, their view of the stage
obscured by thick pillars reaching up to a gold-veined ceiling. We're
watching from the balcony, looking down on it all. The church is beautiful,
but a number of the pews are broken and the building smells of dust.
somebody will absentmindedly wander to the back and thumb through a hymnal.

 There's a documentary I remember about the storming of a Moscow
theatre. Footage
of the hostages, two days in, slumped in their seats, emotionally drained,
completely overcome by lethargy. Strange, the connections the mind makes.

 "I am an act of God. I am destruction."

 His playing becomes more percussive as the set goes on. He blocks the
strings high up on the neck and slashes across them. Stabs at them, the
sound jarring engagingly. His voice never changes, floating listlessly over
the noise.

 "I make happy sad."

 He tips his head back slightly, his face suddenly emerging from the shadow
of his hat. A courtesy to the photographer in the front row. And then he

 As we leave the church, it begins to rain. But you'd guessed that.
<jandek at mylist.net>
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