Occasional Writings

re. Keanu Reeves

To: The Editor, The Independent, February 20th 1995

Dear Sir,

I must take issue with the ending of the article in Friday's Independent Hollywood comes to Hackney on Ralph Fiennes forthcoming Hamlet.  This refers to 'a recent and ill-fated tradition of brainless Hollywood heart-throbs turned Hamlets' and more seriously that 'Keanu Reeves' attempt in Canada was a flop'. On many levels this jibe is both unworthy and frankly wrong.

Evan Parker at 50

written for The Independent, April 1994

I don't know why it was surprising to find out that Evan Parker is now 50 years old. After all, I passed 50 last year and we have been friends since the mid 1960's. Although he has been around for so long, in an unassertive way, the energy and (apparently) effortless invention in his playing seems somehow surprising in someone of his age. While there is little doubt that he is the finest saxophonist of his generation, he is also at the same time much more than simply a performer.

addendum to second edition of Derek Bailey's book Improvisation

Improvisation pt.2

As you can read elsewhere in the book, I put my bass in its case in 1966 and did not play it again after I abandoned improvisation as an ongoing, engaged, activity. This was partly a response to my growing disenchantment with improvisation but, in terms of the bass as an instrument, also reflected  my reaction to an encounter with a particular bassist whose playing struck me as a kind of confidence trick - one that, I felt at the time, was made especially possible by the improvising ethos.

re. Adelaide Hall

Fax to The Independent

I was sad to hear of the death of Adelaide Hall on Sunday and I was impressed by Steve Voce's thorough account of her life and work. I got to know Adelaide in 1989 when, at David Gothard's instigation I organised a full evening concert with her in the Studio Theatre at the Leicester Haymarket. We met in her flat in Baron's Court and I made band arrangements from her piano parts for the Leicester Bley Band - a group of staff and students who played the music of Carla Bley. Along with pianist Mick Pyne we rehearsed in the afternoon and played that evening.

FA/Manchester United

Letters to the Editor, The Independent, by Fax

July 3rd 1999

Dear Sir,

Two short items on your sports pages today raised my heckles at the recent decision of the FA to give Manchester United the chance to withdraw from the FA Cup.

Nick Leeson

The Independent (Letters to the Editor) March 1st 1995

(preceded by letter to Sally Groves, Schott Music)

Dear Sally,

C M Network

Letters to the Editor, The Independent, February 7th 1997

Dear Sir,

Sieg Heil

Letters to the Editor, The Independent, July 14th 1996

Dear Sir,

I enjoyed the article on the unfortunate translations of the names of certain British cars that you published the other day. There is one which could be added to this list which was frequently told to me by my old jazz partner Conrad Cork. The literal German translation of the unfortunate Triumph Acclaim is, I believe, "Sieg Heil".

Professor Gavin Bryars

Ferneyhough/Bryars at 50

Memo re. The Proms

Memo to the new Controller, Nicolas Kenyon, of Music Radio 3 (for The Independent) September 15th 1995

September 15th 1995

Memo: to Nick Kenyon

From: Gavin Bryars

Subject: The Proms

Welcome to your new job and the best of luck. On the few occasions that we've met you have always struck me as a thoroughly decent bloke. I wonder if I might offer a couple of friendly thoughts as you start to create your own ethos?

1. Don't programme anything in your first year that has anything to do with anyone's birthday or centenary.