The Year of Living Deeply 19: Open letter _ A week with Mark Hollis


Dear Mark

I am sorry it has taken so long to getting round to writing to you, not least because you are no longer around to hear what I have to say to and about you. (I have found this happening quite a lot recently. I guess there is a lesson there.)




I wanted to begin with an anecdote, if you will permit me. I found myself standing at the front of a lecture theatre the other day, as you do, one of those vertiginous ones, where you have to crane your chin up towards the ceiling in order to feel that you are reaching the back row.

                                               the bridges that I’ve burned

I would like New Grass to be played at my funeral                                                           [for the record)



The news of your death had just been announced in the papers, and while there was some speculation about whether you had actually died


and I decided to play, a bit on a whim actually, a YouTube clip of New Grass. It was a lecture on creativity, after all.                                                      And

wheeze-wheeze                  wh                         eeeeeee                                           ze
it’s wheezy

‘should have said so’

and I could see the blank faces staring back at me                               -no one had heard of you or your band, I’m afraid-


I’ve just been listening to you for a whole week, your eponymous final album, I mean, on repeat, nothing else, initially it was a way of not listening to Brexit on the news, the PM show, The World at One, all of the usual, all of the, the noise that actually adds nothing, and what I have found is that it has taken over my

Wilf came in with a copy of it on one of his visits. Now I think of it I know you entirely from the recommendations of friends. Rupert’s tape of Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, back to back (tape means you

listen                                                                                                       to                                                                         every

thing                                                                                                   )

(is there a chair creaking somewhere in the middle of track 3?)

the ru

[bookended with silence                                                          ]                                                        [who does that nowadays?]

∞ mble


pop goes the

and one of my colleagues told me afterwards that one of the students who was looking most puzzled as the video played. Well, he went into the seminar and began talking and said. ‘I began to realise that that video was the whole point. The music with the images. The whole point. Of what creativity is.

makes me want to make music again

                                                                                                                                -one of the musicians is called Julie Andrews

                                                                    what else from 1998 has lasted?

Wilf said, no, keep it, it’s a present.

—————— taken over my ———————— my —————————–                                                                                                                             life—————————-

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