Friday, June 22, 2007


Richard Thompson, Pritchett on marriage

My little review of Richard Thompson's Prospect Park show last night has been posted on NewsQuake. Mainly I was astounded by the undiminished vitality of this 58-year-old virtuoso (whose first solo album, Henry the Human Fly, remains the worst selling release in the history of Warner Records.) The performance, in the form of 17 shiny FLAC files, is available here. As for my piece, I began this way:
Originally I had no plans to write about Richard Thompson's performance last night in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. I was attending the show as a civilian, with neither pen nor paper nor even a cell phone for a few handy, low-resolution photos. What's more, the heavens opened about five minutes into the show, driving much of the audience to seek shelter under trees, awnings, and about one thousand umbrellas. Surely this would be enough to dampen the spirits of any performer, let alone one like Thompson, who has spent the last four decades trying to expand his reach beyond an admittedly fanatic cult.

Instead, the 58-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitar virtuoso seemed eager to defy the elements. With the rain still sprinkling down and bolts of lighting going off like apocalyptic flashbulbs, he led his four-piece band through a consistently brilliant set. There were songs from Thompson's newest disc, Sweet Warrior, including a hypnotic take on "Sunset Song" and his rambunctious anti-war rocker, "Dad's Gonna Kill Me." But he also favored the audience with several gems from Shoot Out The Lights, the 1982 magnum opus he and Linda Thompson recorded as a husband-and-wife team. And toward the end of the show, Teddy Thompson clambered onstage for a ravishing duet performance of "Persuasion," originally composed as an instrumental for the soundtrack of the 1990 film Sweet Talker.
As usual, you can read the rest here. And here's another treat, from Jeremy Treglown's biography of V.S. Pritchett. Did Sir Victor, in his long, pipe-smoking, artistically hyperactive life, ever write a single stupid line? Perhaps not. In any case, here he is on marriage, in a letter sent to Gerald Brenan during the early 1940s:
[M]arriage is obviously a sacrament because it is such a violent state. To call it an agreement between two people to live together--à la Bertrand Russell--would be a masterpiece of understatement. It's a civil war, with victory celebrations, banquets, enormous advances, inexplicable retreats, persistent guerrilla work, comfortable lengths of blitzkrieg, marvellous intelligence work & plenty of stretcher bearing....

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?