First

The last act, of the intensive week-long recording session, was breakfast. Jamie bought me a meal before leaving for Coventry, with his album. It was nearly sunny.

He mentioned in passing how a dear friend of ours had achieved a first, recently, in his studies. Through years of head-crushing, the pixie-fox Wilf had attained about as high a score as he might wish for, in an acute and unforgiving field.

I remarked at the difference, between this, our minor celebration of our friend’s achievements, and the relative fanfare that, for instance, had recently tide-swamped my own moment of glory – the advent of my LP, ‘Copernicus,’ – and the astounding gathering of souls who’d marked the occasion with such pomp, a few weeks back. How could the wailing exhaltation of this piece of work be justified, against the context of the incalculable labours of others, that goes on silently, all the time.

Jamie pointed out to me, first of all, that people came to celebrate my work that night, not because I’d done some work, but because it was fun. It’s fun for us, when someone does an album. It’s not fun when someone achieves academic success. It’s good work.

Some would argue that an artist’s exaggerated glory is unfounded and perverse. Jamie went on to say, with a dry but very jovial irony,

“We celebrate everyone else, Gus, with health, happiness, and money. We celebrate artists with a good time and a blue liver. And as soon as we’re bored, we leave.”

And so, amid such grim jocularity we concluded a week’s solid labours. Labours that have produced a truly fine piece of work, worthy of celebration, to any degree, and in whatever manner those who will enjoy it most, might choose.





Jamie Harrison’s (as yet untitled) album will be available in September, on Red Deer Club
Produced by myself, engineered by Biff Roxby, featuring John Ellis, Paddy Steer, Philip Howley, Rik Warren, Ellis Davies, Francis Lydiatt, with Nuala Honan, Kirsty Almeida and Alison Cegielka in the choir. It was recorded at Limefield Studios between the 17th and the 25th June.