I took a day off. Pressures of work and a couple of personal explosions over the last few weeks have taken their toll. So I grabbed a spot of R&R. Which I mostly spent sleeping and listening to John Cale (I still got the euphorias after seeing him live last week!)
It’s odd, this close to squeezing out another novel, going to see Cale live again. He’s been one of my biggest influences since I first heard ‘fear’, back in the mid-seventies.
I’ve always seen Cale, not Reed as the prime mover in the velvets. Like Roxy Music, they lost the most interesting member after the first two albums, staggered on for a couple more before disappearing up their own arses (see Velvet Underground: ‘Squeeze’ lp; Roxy Music: everything post-Viva!)
I think what impressed me most about Cale’s mid-seventies’ trilogy was the way the songs had such inoffensive titles and yet the songs themselves were crammed full of evil and ugliness. As well as being shot through with a doomed romanticism. This grabbed my attention at fifteen and has never let go.
Other long-term influences have been Bowie, Richard Strange and Mick Farren. Who I’ll write about at some other point.