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The Culture Interview – Louise Kleboe, singer


10 Minute Read

Louise Kleboe is a singer and composer, plus she plays piano and guitar. She was born in Cornwall and was brought up in the Orkney Islands. She currently lives in Clerkenwell, London. Her voice is operatic and her attitude and singing have been compared to Kate Bush. She opened the Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and 2019, she will be doing so again online this year. Check glastonburyfestivals.co.uk Her new album Verdant is released this week. You can pre-order it here.

 

You were brought up in the Orkneys, how did that affect your singing?

The weather and landscape there are tumultuous, unpredictable, like a wild barbaric symphony. My dad found a guitar in a skip and did it up. When I was 10, I got a book from Kirkwall Library and taught myself guitar. I loved that massive guitar. I performed my first song that I composed “Wild and Free” at the Orkney Folk Festival and on St Magnus Day celebrations in front of thousands of people. When I was 11 years old I was totally unselfconscious!! Sir Peter Maxwell Davis worked with our school music department, I was his glockenspiel player of choice!! His music was ultra-modern, atonal…it really fitted that unforgiving, stormy world. I was surrounded by folk music, the hundred violins, accordions & guitars of the Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society…what a sound!! Pure Cape Breton energy. The song “The Oyster Catcher” is about this time and it features that rhythmic violin loop that conjures up the call of a sea bird lost to the wind and it has the youthful exuberance and determination that we can change this desperate trajectory. People on Orkney care about each other and care about art and music and are leaders in alternative energies, wind power, solar power, tidal power. I did my first recording there in Attic studios at age 12.

When did you discover you had such a powerful voice?

Then when we moved to Cornwall, my teacher Mr Bosustow heard those early Orkney recordings and offered to teach me classical singing for free. I lived in a single-parent household now with two younger siblings and I was a young carer for my disabled parent and we were very poor. I could never have afforded private singing lessons. At this time of being a young carer, I had very low self-esteem and the singing lessons really helped me feel better about myself and process the difficulties and trauma I was going through. I was asked to sing with some famous jazz bands in the Bude Jazz Festival which was a brilliant lesson in improvisation and thinking on my feet!! Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald became my heroes.

And you studied music at Trinity, how did this influence your trajectory?

Studying singing at Trinity College of Music was a shock after a very deprived existence in Cornwall. Suddenly I could buy a Mars bar whenever I wanted. It was so exciting being introduced to musical theory and exploring polyphony in the hallowed company of Monteverdi and the Jazz/Opera of Gershwin.

I generally hung out with the guitarists…they were more laid back. Know what I mean?

How did you partner up with Alfie Thomas musically? I love the combination of that punk accordion and your soaring voice.

I left college early to become a full-time carer for my disabled parent. After a while and with no opportunities or time to pursue a career in opera, I decided to give up singing altogether. The vicar of the local church asked me to do just one more concert before I quit, a solo spot in a carol concert in the Regents Park Housing Estate. Alfie was dragged in by his little daughter. He heard me sing and later wrote a song for me called “Stillness”. He said that I create stillness around me when I sing. He was writing music for film at the time and our shared love of Shostakovich clinched the deal!! Alfie has an unusual mix of punk-folk attitude (he was in urban-folk outfit Band of Holy Joy) and orchestral sensibility. We clicked immediately, we formed a band “Society of Imaginary Friends” where punk accordion meets opera/blues to explosive effect and have written two full-length operas together.

Tell me about opening Glastonbury in 2017 and this year online?

Glastonbury 2017 was my first experience of singing at the incredible opening ceremony in the green field, although I had previously performed on the amazing Arcadia Spectacular giant Spider stage as “voice of the spider” at Glastonbury Festival 2011. The Opening Ceremony in 2017 was a magical evening, a hot sultry Solstice night. So special, my first experience of working with that incredible team of fire dancers, choirs,  druids,  drummers, sacred women, the Native American  “Water Protectors” of Standing Rock and pyro-mystics and the atmosphere of the 65,000 joyous people. It is always a wild journey that starts in January when we are asked to write and perform the music and songs for the next ceremony. Everything associated with the Glastonbury Festival is extreme and super-charged. It is a Sun Festival and is very male in nature. The opening ceremony in the Green Field balances this extrovert male energy with female energy with gentleness, love, healing and compassion. It’s the opposite of the corporate music industry side of Glasto and has its roots firmly in the original free festival.

It has been an honour to have been part of the Green Fields team in 2017, 2019 and now this year sadly in lockdown but still vibrant and energised. I think the online 2020 opening ceremony will be very powerful and emotional. I am singing “We’re a Real Force of Nature” and this message feels so strong and true in the performances and messages from all involved. Normally people don’t get to see the fire dancers or any of the participants close up so hopefully, this lockdown version will be a real treat.

What was the process of creating your new album Verdant like?

You won’t believe this but “Verdant” grew out of me moving my studio (Laptop, Speakers, Table) from the bedroom to the front room of my flat in Camden. I was going down a very dark cul-de-sac with my next album. Then my friend Carol who knows about these things told me to move the music production area to a more positive energetic space and suddenly the songs started to flow…the concept finally crystallised when I was moon-bathing in that incredible May Flower Full Moon.

Alfie and I have been heavily involved in the Green/Environmentalist movement for many years. We wrote music for Franny Armstrong’s film “The Age of Stupid” and are painfully aware of time rapidly running out for the earth and for our children and all of the living creatures of this amazing planet. Verdant starts dreamy and shifts into anger and desperation but is determined and hopeful in the end.

Do you and Alfie write the songs together?

Most songs are 50/50 collaborations. We are both composers and lyric writers and swap roles all over the shop. But I am the one who is most careful about LEVELS when recording, mixing and mastering!! Alfie’s punk side means he always has the knobs rammed up to 11!!

How do your politics affect your lyrics?

I am passionate about what is happening in the world. It seems to me that we are being led down the garden path by a bunch of criminal, ignorant, narcissistic psychopaths upholding a man-made economic system that works against the planet, society, equality and love. Sadly it sometimes feels like I am shouting in the wilderness or just into a social bubble. We have never been more isolated than this time of social networking. But I can’t keep silent about the madness that we are descending into.

You’ve also made soundtrack music for films?

People often describe our music as being “cinematic”. We write music for film. It’s an exciting process because the image becomes the voice with the music in the supporting role. It is a different skill I love to explore. I love the film scores of Bernard Herrmann, John Williams and Nino Rota. Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow’s score for DEVS was great and we are currently loving Adem Ilhan’s score for the hilarious “Avenue 5”. It’s a really healthy art form at the moment. I’ve got to tell you about my proud moment when I recently won the “Best Sound Design” award at the Southampton International Film Festival for the film Night light.

Tell me about a couple of the songs on the new album – Virus and The Garden?

Our song “The Virus” from “Verdant” is a twisted operatic duet between myself and the amazing tenor David Pisaro who sang the part of Bill Gates in our rock opera “RAm”. He has a brilliant messianic, almost psychotic edge to his voice. The Virus is a premonition. We recorded it in Autumn 2019 secretly in a church over the road (someone left the doors open). No sign of COVID yet. I sing with trepidation about the virus leading to the death of truth and David comes back at me saying that the virus is his crowning moment as God of Earth. It is quite crazy how reality has just caught up with the song!!

“The Garden” is a question about where exactly we humans fit in, in the great scheme of things. What kind of animal am I?

I hear lots of different influences from traditional folk songs to Indian drums?

Our ears are open and we paint with a very broad palette, we have worked with some of the world’s greatest musicians on “Verdant”. For example Anselmo Netto, Brazil’s master of percussion, Kiranpal Singh’s delicate waterfall of sound from his Santoor and Tabla and Oxhy, a brilliant young producer/ composer who created beats for one of our tracks.

You finished the album during lockdown in the woods. How was that?

Our friend very kindly offered her cabin in the woods just before lockdown so that we could carry on recording at a reduced pitch of anxiety. It was an amazing offer as Alfie has diabetes and would be vulnerable if he caught COVID. If you listen closely there is the sound of birds singing on vocal tracks. We drink coffee, we eat things but the joy is missing. The taste has evaporated. The tragedy is always there in the background and the knowledge of a huge climate Crisis around the corner, it feels very biblical – pestilence and then famine.  It’s a very important lesson about priorities. Nature has finally had a rest from us humans, which is so wonderful. We saw otters and a huge snake side-winding by the door…birds of prey…the insect population is healthy, especially the ticks!!  Spooky, beautiful and precious and undeniably “Verdant” but for how long? We need Nature but Nature doesn’t need us.

You’ve been compared to Kate Bush and Grace Jones in the Telegraph?

Yes, I have often been compared to Kate Bush and I find the comparison a great compliment. Although I don’t think our voices are really that similar as my voice is deeper. I suppose she has a folk edge and classical leanings and she isn’t afraid of departing from musical norms. So we are similar in that way.  Grace Jones? She is a stylish and a formidable presence on stage with massive charisma…so…OK !! Wow !! Both wonderful comparisons, which make me happy.

AofA People: Kath Best – Singer, Songwriter, Artist


12 Minute Read

Kath Best is the sort of jazz singer who sends quivers through your body. She’s also wildly eclectic. Here she answers our Q & A in the most fulsome manner so far…

WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

Kaski (Kath Best)

WHAT IS YOUR AGE?

55

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Actor. I try to do what needs doing. Writing songs. Designing trumpet parts. Putting costumes together and renovating flamenco dresses. Feeding back. I like to function in collaboration. It’s a tribal thing that is easily evaded by default but essential to healthy incentivised existence. In general, left to my own devices, I do what can’t be put off to another day which is why I thrive well when deadlines and travel force an element of drive.

WHERE YOU LIVE?

In the present. In space. In a cave. In the City. Under the stars in a field. Dwelling – on the past. On choices about the future. Off the state in order to be available for what’s important. Cooking with Children in Adventure Playgrounds and being there for loved ones. In rehearsal. Where ever I am in observation of myself and others. Viewing the parallel universe.

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

The seeds of experience begin to bloom and reflections bring a deeper self recognition. It’s a relief to arrive at any age. Change is inevitable and can’t always be accelerated to reflect youthful buoyancy. A slower pace has its merits. Frustration and expectation go hand in hand to create conflict at times but the necessity to create an illusion diminishes as this and other quirks of wisdom become nuggets of acceptance – enlightenment even. But I don’t think this comes only with age – I just have more time to notice as I am less compelled for the sake of being engaged.

As ‘bouncing back’ becomes less immediate and the need to create an identity is abandoned, I begin knowing who I am and find reassurance in that. Age is proof of life and like bread and remedies,can only be evidential in conjunction with time. One of my songs describes time as a “heavy thing – brought forward for so long…” It’s about understanding the idea that each of us ages through the process of something beyond our own life span.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

I have a Son. I have time. I have grief and joy. I have an eight-hob range and a washing machine. I have silver highlights and skin that goes brown in the sun instead of pink. I have perspective relative toage – though I don’t think either relies on the other altogether.

At 25 it is easy to be caught up in things about life that occupy a space to the exclusion, or even oppression, of wisdom and truth. Money is one preoccupation that I have sometimes given up on; nice but it doesn’t rule my world and I try not to allow the lack of it to diminish my chances of survival. I had more then than now and I  was also in better position to barter my life as a sexual being – not that I was aware of that then.

Now I’ve got “Ain’t Got No – I’ve Got Life” playing in my head – and memories of Nina Simone at Ronnie Scott’s on my 25 th – or was it my 24 th ? That’s another thing I have now – flexibility around detail. Then I had an inherent desire to conform but was always driven by expressing myself artistically. Having spent my youth creating in performance and expecting to be accepted with no training and little aptitude for business into an industry just for who I was. I guess that 25 was the point when I realised that training to reach ones potential was an essential part of development. Now I have that I do have a better understanding of how discipline allows this age thing to take me into the unknown with more confidence.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

It can be compelling and taboo at the same time so it’s a bit of a tightrope journey. The adventure of sex as sexual maturity unfolds, reveals in equal measure the importance of shared experience andindependence. Sexual maturity is highly regarded and really amazing but like pregnancy it is rarely talked about. Like a flower!!! It’s blooming marvellous – if you can get it right. There is a seasonal rhythm to it and the underworld of attraction runs deep. Finding the right sexual partners is not always easy.

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Humans seem to morph themselves to fit in with expectations that spill into our subconscious lives from the media and social political climbs, so I’ve had to dig deeper to get a meaningful understanding about what really counts and to bring that understanding in from  others. It’s always been a bit of a hit and miss affair for me. Now that we as a society, judge the practice and culture in relationship values across the globe, I can’t help feeling that ‘we’ are still finding a new balance. Having broadly questioned the values of monogamy and accepted that choice and freedom to change are fundamental human rights, we have to re-evaluate how far along the road of finding the perfect balance we can ever be.

Driven by forces beyond their own essential value, relationships struggle to survive. For my part relationships have been muddled by expectation and growing up during a sexual revolution. I find thatrelationships that go before are carried forward. I maintain a relationship with my son’s Father. It carries a cost and has it’s perks. But that relationship is not always viewed favourably by other men and, more importantly, not always been ideal for me as the visa versa kicks in. Yet, after a certain point, I’m not sure I consider this to have been a matter of choice – people bond and one becomes an article of possession on an ethereal note – for having shared experience and practical issues play their part in solidification. But the weighing up of pros and cons negates the fact of ‘what is’ being what is and ‘what’s not’, simply not existing.

Perhaps if our own feelings about relationships were separated from the relationships themselves then the latter could exist more freely for what they just are without the pressure of impending change, emotional highjack or pre-contextualised expectation. That’s my hope and the treasure of my experience. Love lost is never gone. It continues to reside as the invisible glue that holds all of life together.

I have to believe that as my legacy unfolds.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Physical and financial limitations bind us and I’m sure my perception of how others feel or might feel as a result, inform the choices I make as much, or more, than my own feelings and desires. But money buys freedom – it’s hard to join in or take off without it. I have to keep life as simple as it can be in order to feel free. Total freedom is the benchmark.

“Jump on In, Ah ripple and stream, Just to taste! Was this place, we were living in a dream, Or just a phase? Pluck Pluck Pluck it up, Be ‘eard in a wide sense, by those inner ears for a, A spell to, Break out in – BREAK OUT”. (Missing Words 2005)

I never feel completely free from my experienced self. Teetering on the precipice of engagement for fear of entrapment only to realise that I am already ensnared so doing. But the freedom creativity in art affords, seems almost infinite at times and safer – for those around me too – although the edges get blurred by the process as it merges with a less conscious and sometimes foreboding spillage of ‘ideas’.

Then integrity and choices come to challenge the real spirit of Art as it gets caught up in the confines of fashion and sex appeal and I am compelled to engineer and design a perspective for how it might be received; making it accessible or hiding it between layers of alternative interpretation. It seems that ideas are free and I capture them and cook them into something palatable. I have avoided many trappings but not all and so exposing this dichotomy seems good way to keep it transparent. I am free to do this – in art but not in relationships or other walks. In art one can be playful without risking offence.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

I am proud of knowing anything that cannot be put into words. I am proud of not being proud. I am proud of being. I am proud of work that has stood the test of time and of the patience I have in not needing to understand my own work immediately or to create anything so deliberately that it stops being what it would want to be.

I am proud of hiding beneath the weight of despair and being quiet until the rise and fall of life fill the space around me from within. I am proud of baring my soul against the wind and letting go oF invention.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Nature. Doing what is required. Being a spring. Giving in to insightful ideas. Eating fresh seasonal produce that hasn’t been de-energised by the trauma of production. Circles of light. Sleep. Yoga. Boredom. The mission of collaborative creativity. The slightest thing. The enormity of space. The power of sound. The vibrancy of all things.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

In transit. In the village. At the heart of a journey. Unveiling a song. Arranging parts. With my Son at home. Cooking. Passing the time endlessly with a friend. Bathing in shallow waters under the sun. Going somewhere new. Embracing change.

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

My creativity goes with me wherever I am but it goes beyond that too. I think it belongs everywhere. I am not always in touch. Being in action has creative potential. My song “Effect on Everyone” seems to be about destruction – it is about the creation of negativity. Where as another song “Driving”, had it’s first audience as a couple of bible bashers came through the gate just as it was finished one early morning after. The last line of the song “Praying’s just another way of saying…. Visualisation!” was the only part that visibly resonated with them and because of that the whole vibe of the song was transformed. Controversy immediately contextualised as it resonated to highlight something about their creativity – of doom.

I then realised that it had the potential for blasting through my own negativity as well. So it became a feel good rock and roll number instead of a third rate musical representation of a movie playing in my head with a hangover – not because I changed it in any way – it just gained a dynamic through its own essential communication.

Where does it go now? Do I need to know? It could be a movie or a painting or series of photographs. I guess it’s like the wind. Once it’s passed through us it’s out there and exposure can make or break it. But it can’t help reflecting in some way at some point. Not always yet.

The moment of release can be chosen or left to chance. Once exposed it is transformed as it travels on and who knows where it goes after that.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

If you think of something, it is the right time to act on it. Waiting twenty minutes will separate good ideas from compulsion. If you wouldn’t eat it don’t put it on your skin and visa versa. Any boringtask should take no more than 15 minutes – if it’s still boring after that it isn’t worth it. Rhythm is the route to a free mind. Money is a means to an end. If it feels right then it is – Just get on with it. Sleep is good for you.

AND DYING?

Dying seems natural and, as long as it is, I think it’s fine. It’s hard to accept responsibility for it. There’s no escaping it but it often feels tragic. I try to age gracefully and understand the process of death as a gradual letting go. The more you give the more transparent you become and perhaps that allows a greater connection to begin. “Ids” is a song about war and the layers of sediment left in its wake.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

The art of Dreaming is one I haven’t mastered – at least I guess that can’t be true. But it’s only in the last five years I even began to dream consciously – deliberately – we are talking about waking dreams, right? But yeah! Not so much – I’m still recovering from recently shattered dreams. They seemed to affect everything. The connectivity in dreams is almost more powerful than action. Art is a great dream catcher for me as, when dreams aspire to make reality and collaborative means feel precarious, hope flounders in the dream space. “You can say I’m dreaming! Well, what is life, Without a dream? Don’t ask me how I’m feeling, Or I might lie, For now, it seems, That all my dreams, Rode in so fast. And the rose I held for you, Has come off.” Chorus from Iceberg In Bloom, 2014.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

Inventing Magnesium Socks. Winning three consecutive rounds of Twizzle at Chalford Mens Night and whipping one of them several times in the lap department with a wet tea towel after a speedy mop up of the hot drink he’d spilled. Buying traffic light green mohair yarn and knitting fishnet stockings with it. Doing yoga at the Life Centre in a halter neck dress. Accepting an invitation into the fishmongers’ back room for a smoked salmon roll. That’s a few contenders – outrageous is a judgement so it might be none of these.

You decide.

AofA People: Barb Jungr – Jazz Singer


1 Minute Read

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

62

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I live in a small red brick block of flats in Pimlico, and this has my home for thirty years although I long sometimes to live by the sea and l do look at Rightmove Flats for Sale whenever I am avoiding doing something I ought to be doing. I long for a balcony looking out towards the sea. I think that must be something akin to living in some kind of heaven. I look out on trees and I do love that, the changing seasons are writ large when you can see trees every morning with your extremely strong and properly made coffee. Pimlico is a great base for a singer because it’s walking distance to the West End. I can get buses home from gigs which seems like a luxury now that public travel in London is free for me. I’m Barb Jungr and from Pimlico the world is my oyster.

And it’s great to have that travel thing because I use trains and buses and tubes a lot in London, and I walk. Walking is wonderful, it’s one of the greats. It’s a mobile office, it’s meditation, it’s relaxation and it’s health-giving. Although possibly not in the middle of the pollution. Also walking is something I can still do, as running I can’t do as much as I used to. I am, I discovered, while running in Central Park NYC recently, the slowest runner in the world. People with Zimmer frames were faster than me. It was galling at a deep level. We soldier on.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

Of course when I was 25 I was able to stay slim through other means. Performance (which included performance enhancing substances) and general mayhem. Now fitness is down to yoga, which doesn’t include acrobatics. I loathe and detest classes where people use yoga as a means to display prowess that ought to be in a circus. I like yoga classes where there’s a lot of quiet meditative unfolding (and creaking). At 25, I had no interest in quiet meditative anything unless it was listening to dub, and I didn’t creak. So in a way I’ve learned patience. I say, “in a way” because I am possibly the least patient person in the world, still.

Which means I have little patience now for the insanity of being in love but lots of patience for the act of loving. That’s to say, the state of loving, of learning and loving as much as is humanly possible. If anything, I think that is the benefit of meditation, which I do daily, even on tour. There are some things that test that though – they include the government destroying education and the NHS, the developers with no taste or care for community. I would like to encounter these people in a lift. They need to be informed about different opinions. Pelted with kippers. They need to be made to understand. Its up to us to make sure there’s something for those who come after us. So I’m a meditative, not very patient, raging storm and flame Goddess, often.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Free as a bird is how I feel. But I know and am deeply aware that’s a huge blessing and a luxury and not how most people feel or experience life. I’m pretty sure this is down to music, people and nature.

Over the years I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to travel and make music and meet musicians everywhere and then when I started to do more theatre work, meet other practitioners and learn.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

I’m proud of going over ‘The Bad Step’ on Loch Coruisk on Skye. I’d seen pictures of it and many times walked from Sligachan over the Coruisk and also from Elgol at the other end of the loch, but I never dared try fully because of ‘The Bad Step’, which is legendary. It has reduced grown men and experienced climbers to tears. The path connecting Elgol and the loch mouth goes down to the icy water’s edge and then appears to stop as a massive piece of near vertical sheer rock intervenes. You traverse the rock by hanging on to it for dear life and edging along a tiny ledge with tiny hand holds. It’s my idea of hell, actually, as it combines two of my least favourite nightmare scenarios – height and water, in one delightful package. I was encouraged to try by a couple of young Czech hitchhikers I had given a lift to, who went one in front of me and one behind, coaching me over the rock face. It was, for me, a hell of an achievement.

I’m also proud of walking overnight for 40 miles nearly non-stop around Rutland raising money for The Corby Core Theatre and operations for kiddies a couple of years ago.It was my biggest endurance test. I’m proud of that.

I’m proud of nearly every musical or theatre performance or recording I’ve been a part of, because you always start from the same place of nothing no matter what. I’m proud of doing Aikido for 10 years despite the bruises, and of doing yoga now for going on 20 years despite being rubbish at handstands.

I’m proud of my sis (now gone from this plane) who got all her staff out of a building that was a target in DC on 9/11and had a limited time before leaving herself. I’m proud of my other sis (also gone from this world) who faced death and dying with more dignity and humour than I could ever imagine. I’m proud of my mum for leaving war torn Germany and making a new life as a young woman in England. I’m proud of my dad (now gone) for surviving the work camps during the Second World War and learning to laugh again. I’m proud of my friend Ernest for coming here on kinder transport and at 86 receiving an OBE (whatever I think of the system, it was magical). It’s a long list.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

The sea, mountains, travel, great books, good films, wonderful people (this isn’t in any order by the way), friends, laughing, collaboration. All of it: books, cinema, theatre, great TV, terrific writing, wonderful melodies. Flowers, I find flowers inspiring. Seeing a ladybird on a concrete wall. Watching a lazy lizard sleep in the afternoon sun on a style in Kent. The trees outside the window, bare in winter, lush in a summer breeze. Nature, music, food, and life. I think life is a gift, you get one, do your best with it. So many people start life with so little, we are so fucking lucky.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

So I’m happiest making music, writing music, making theatre, walking, laughing, yoga-ing, cycling, loving. That’s when I am happiest.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

I dream of walking across the desert again, and of performing in opera houses for some reason. Of returning to visit friends in Africa and Burma, Sri Lanka and other less frequently visited places. I dream of playing the piano properly rather than as I do which is like a five year old beginner. Of speaking French fluently rather than like Mr Bean. I dream of having two dogs and what their names will be. Of horse riding across the Carmargue, and walking around the base of Mount Kailash.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

And Outrageous? Moi? Oh no. I couldn’t say. That would be telling.

AofA Interview: Ray Jones – Singer/Songwriter


1 Minute Read

Ray Jones, 65, is a Portobello veteran despite his Taff roots. Infamously, he edited the Roughler in the 80s, which a Portobello mixture of Tatler and Sniffin’ Glue. More recently, he has published 3,000 Hangovers Later which is a compelling photographic account of The Warwick Castle during the same era. Ever-prolific, he now has a single out Hey Cowgirl with his C & W band, Glory Bound on Dec 15th. The same date sees them performing at that evocative venue, the Maxilla Social Club off Latimer Rd. Go Ray Go…

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF, YOUR NAME, WHAT YOU DO, YOUR AGE, WHERE YOU LIVE 

My name is Ray Jones, I live in Ladbroke Grove London W10, I write and am singer and songwriter in the band Glory Bound I am 65 yrs old

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?
 
It’s OK, its just that you have to realise that every ache and pain is probably for life now.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

A better vocabulary and a lot more confidence.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

Irrespective of age, I feel like I’ve been sold short in this department. Probably through my lack of bullshit.  As Connie says to Smiley in Tinker Tailor etc: ” We are the great underfucked.”

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Not been in one for a long time. I put this down to my lack of eligibility really. It’s a bit of a mystery, there’s not a girl I know who hasn’t been out with at least one bigger twat than me. Not one.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

As a bird. Since I’m not reliant on booze, fags or drugs, I’m on fast forward.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

My new record. ‘Hey Cowgirl, (which way’s the Rodeo?) with my group Glory Bound (out on Dec 15th)

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

This daft world.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

When I feel I’ve given my best to a situation or project.

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

Anywhere, but usually saved for the ‘Crime channel’ where I get song ideas.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Keep on keeping on.

AND DYING?

A bit like Philip Larkin’s “not so much frightened of dying. But scared shitless of being dead.”

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

My night dreams are an extension of my days – so pretty boring.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

In 2015 I appeared naked in the film Under Milk Wood.

In 2016 I sang my song ‘All a bunch of Cunts’ at a Class War demo outside White Cube Gallery.

Surprise Me

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