Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Robert Wyatt Biography

Folks, 30 October Marcus Odair´s Robert Wyatt biography on Serpent´s Tail is out there in old fashioned bookshops and on net shops for you all!

"Different every time. The authorized biography of Robert Wyatt" is a 400 page story (+ index, credits sources etc), containing most of what you want to know about Robert Wyatt. The story is told in a pretty linear (straightforward?) way, from the beginning to this day, which is fine with me, because it makes it easy to go back and read once more about certain periods and happenings.

You get all the well known (but important) stuff of course like family, Canterbury, touring USA with Jimi Hendrix, the bands and their famous members (Daevid Allen Trio, Wilde Flowers, Soft Machine, Matching Mole), the fall from Lady June´s window at a party in 1973 leaving Wyatt a paraplegic, the left wing politics, the magnificent solo albums and their guest musicians, and the guest spots on other people´s albums. Puh!

The book gets quite personal too, not hiding Wyatt´s problems with too much alcohol (but no illegal drugs!), not being confident about his musical abilities and depression. But thankfully the focus is more on all of his friends and, last but not least, his relationship with wife and collaborator Alfreda "Alfie" Benge.

The author links Wyatt´s personal life with the music and the Wyatt/Benge lyrics in a very fine way.

Great intro by Jonathan Coe, and nice chapter headings taken from track titles or parts of lyrics, and lots of photos (b&w), some of them bound to be new even for people who have followed Robert Wyatt for some time. Damn, I liked the one with Alfie and Warren Beatty from the the set of "McCabe and Mrs Miller"!

And of course, Robert Wyatt is a well spoken man! Here is one comment on his slow working rate:

"I am a real minimalist, because I don´t do very much. I know some minimalists who call themselves minimalists, but they do a lot of minimalism. That is cheating!".

Buy or borrow this book as soon as you can. Don´t steal it, that´s cheating!

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