Radio appearance: Wed., 14 June 1995
London, England UK
De Chirico Street
Just driving home, turned on Radio 4 Kaleidoscope on and the presenter says
'and now my favourite singer/songwriter - Robyn Hitchcock'.
He played DeChirico Street (with sax accompanying) then was interviewed, then
The program is repeated at 9pm tonight (Wednesday), but is 10 minutes shorter.
If Robyn's on it again, I'll tape it. It was good so hopefully it won't be
dropped from the repeat.
I hope someone gets this in time to catch the program.
Perhaps whoever told Simon that he was on earlier this week was mistaken?
I'd be amazed if he was on twice in one week.
Here is what happened on BBC Radio 4's Kaleidoscope 14th June 1995.
-- "DeChirico Street" - Robyn plays acoustic accompanied by James Fletcher
on sax (as on "Flavour of Night").
("P" is presenter. Apologies to him - didn't get his name.)
P: Not having the powers of your own town planning organisation you've
named your song after this man - Georgo DeChirico, the pre-surrealist
R: That's right. Yeah.
P: So why?
R: Uummmmm...Well, he painted all these very looming pictures,
'specially during the first war; there was a lot of presence in the
pictures but there was hardly ever anyone in them. You know, there
would be all these things like punch-balls and grandfather-clocks,
P: The one I know is "Mystery and Melancholy" (?) which has got a girl
with a hoop and a long avenue of arches, and right at the top is this
looming shadow, and there's a sense that something's going to happen to
the girl, maybe.
R: I think something's always going to happen in those pictures, but
nothing quite does.
P: Is that one of the things that appeals to you as a song-writer, is
using patterns of words to suggest things?...you know... sentences that
would constitute normal speech, could never do. Your songs aren't about
boy meets girl meets man meets whatever, they are weird images.
R: I don't know. You have to condense things with a song. You've got
to get it all done in 3 minutes. So maybe you can't afford to use that
many conventional sentences.
P: But you like the idea of strange juxtapositions?
R: ...Well you've got to keep people awake.
P: Ha ha ha.
R: But on the other hand I think that if your juxtapositions are too
strange people just don't notice. Unfortunately that's why Trout Mask
Replica isn't playing in Selfridges.
P: The Captain Beefheart classic. Now, again, we're onto things that
aren't by you. You've got 9 CDs out simultaneously all featuring new
material. This is...ur...What's happening here Robyn?
R: (breathes heavily on mic.) Well most of them are ol'...They're all
old records but they've all got little extra bits tacked on the end.
P: New bits?
R: Well things that we're recorded at the time and weren't released or
P: And including a whole new album of previously never ever before heard
R: There's stuff that was lost, ur I didn't realise it was lying around.
I had a load of demo tapes...
P: Ha hu ho huuuh (funny gulp of air sound - probably a fly)
R: ...from 1987 or so..the, ur, cassette broke so I didn't realise I had
P: Is this because, let's be honest, you write songs faster than we, the
public, can possibly consume them?
R: I write a lot of stuff yeah, but I think you have to. Uuurmm, the
casualty rate, you know, I write...I put 10 songs on one album but I
write 40 songs for it. I mean think of the amount of footage that you
shoot for a film - I dunno what it is - you're lucky if you keep more
than 2 minutes a day or something. You know, in the can. So same with
song-writing. I mean I bet even George Michael has got loads of old
stuff lying around, but maybe he doesn't choose to release it.
Plays "Glass Hotel". Just acoustic guitar.
Programme ends with a few seconds of "Shuffling Over The Flagstones".
Just the first 3 lines, then as it takes off with that higher melody it
rapidly fades and gets slaughtered by the announcer. Ouch.
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