[Jandek] Photos & London

rangoon rangoon at ntlworld.com
Tue Oct 25 04:56:41 PDT 2005

> The only photo I've seen from the London show:

...which is odd because, despite specific written warnings against
flash photography, many people took photos...

> That stage looks way too brightly lit for him, hehe. He looks like he's
> trying to physically crawl inside himself...

It *was* brightly lit (one set of lights that was turned off before the
performance was turned back on, making it immediately less atmospheric,
possibly by design), which made him stand out all the more as a
completely anomalous presence in front of the church altar...I was struck
by how vulnerable he looked on a number of occasions, but this vulnerability
was counterbalanced by how confident the performance was; watching his
fingers was quite disturbing, as his right hand moved across the guitar
in an unconventional, but nonetheless very assured way - no hesitancy
whatsoever, either instrumentally or vocally. I wouldn't go so far as to
say his playing was 'lovely', but parts of it were really affecting,
and unlike any recent album (in part because it was acoustic), being much
closer to songs off Twelfth Apostle and Graven Image (at least to my ears) -
and on a guitar in standard tuning too. The accounts I've read of the last
few performances seem to suggest attempts to revisit different periods,
the two Sunday Instal pieces being spoken word, and then Jandek playing
drums with a female voice (as on Somebody In The Snow - I'm assuming a
lot of the Jandek drumming is Sterling Smith, as the rhythms are very
similar to his guitar rhythms) - The Wire cartoon makes a bit of fun
out of Jandek's current ubiquity, but I have a suspicion that this
isn't going to be a permanent state of affairs, and that maybe thse
gigs are going to be for a predefined period, and then that will be it -
obviously this is pure supposition (as are most any speculations on
Jandekian motive), but my friend overheard a conversation between a
punter and one of the ticket people which suggested that this will be
the last time he plays London...but this is just hearsay, and could
mean nothing at all.

> Solo acoustic Jandek gig - those lucky London kids.

I was very glad to be there - I'm sure recordings will turn up as

My friend and I passed Sterling Smith with Barry Esson on Denmark
Street the afternoon of the performance, having gone to find the venue
beforehand, in what was a weird echo of the New York snap from the
WFMU sight (outside a shop, black hat etc.) - totally freaked me out,
but he definitely looked like he didn't want to be approached, so we
had the uncomfortable experience of passing him again (we went back
the way we came) and trying not to look, and seeing him looking at us
trying not to look at him...I've never been too uncomfortable talking
to artists I admire when those rare opportunities arise, but it was out
of the question this time.


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