While we’re on the subject of the Latitude Festival (and, let’s face it, I have been banging on a bit about it as of late), I was pleased to see that the minimalist composer Michael Nyman (he of The Piano soundtrack fame) will be “curating a programme specifically for the intimate environment of the Music and Film Arena.” That sounds like my kind of shit, that does.
I do like Michael Nyman. It’s not so much because of his score for The Piano, which I didn’t care too much for as a film, to be honest. (For one thing, the protagonist is a scotswoman who, from an early age, consciously decides that she’ll never speak to anyone ever at all. What’s going on there, then?). No, the reason why I like Michael Nyman so much is because of his work with the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. As I’ve said elsewhere:
I was a bit of a Peter Greenaway nut in my teens. For a certain type of subversive but sensitive teenager in the 80s, Peter Greenaway films were a staple of the late-night Channel 4 schedules. They were arthouse films that featured an abundance of nudity, so I suppose you could say they provided a valid, intellectually legitimate excuse to watch dodgy softcore smut while your parents were out.
Well, Michael Nyman’s music forms an integral part of Peter Greenaway’s films – you can’t like one without liking the other. That’d be like saying you’re a big fan of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, but all that Ennio Morricone music really gets on your tits.
Thinking about Michael Nyman has got me thinking about the satirist Victor Lewis-Smith. Here’s what Radiohaha, the online radio comedy encyclopaedia has to say about him:
“Victor Lewis-Smith is a talented comedian from the ‘dangerous’ end of the spectrum whose career has, alas, been almost entirely eclipsed by the rise of Chris Morris,who tends to occupy similar ground.”
That saves me having to say it. Years ago (it must have been 1990 or thereabouts), he had a Sony Award-winning show on Radio One that was fiendishly clever and very, very funny. It consisted of comedy sketches and crank phone calls interwoven with Zappa-esque musical interludes. I still have episodes on some TDK C90 cassettes somewhere. I must dig ’em out at the weekend.
He also indulged in painstakingly crafted musical parodies, including one called “Process Music” which satirised the repetitive Baroque stylings of Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. I’ve been scouring the interwebs to find it but to no avail. Shame, really. I’ll probably have to resort to an old TDK C90 cassette, instead.
Here’s some other stuff by him: