Greetings - and have YOU heard Joy Division?! This is a question I have been asking around the past few weeks. Some ready-converts scoff and respond with a knowing laugh at my rare foray into the world of pop music. Others have not been so fortunate, and I set about them, obtaining their word that they will have a listen, and soon. I was always intrigued by their record company Factory Records from my work with Steve Martland, and subsequent close association with composer Joe Duddell, whose eulogies on Joy Division were always given an air of authenticity by his droll Mancunian accent. The (excellent) BBC documentary aired recently on BBC4 spurred me on to get hold of some music, and I have quickly come to obsess about Joy Division's album "Unknown Pleasures" especially. It has many rare things, all too absent from more commercially inclined music - pop, classical or otherwise; a natural honesty, originality, boldness, integrity and purpose. I am definitely inspired by this music; the band sounds great(clangy guitars, unexpected bass-line adventures, tubby driving drums) and the energetic turmoil displayed so selflessly by Ian Curtis really rattles. I might be behind the times, but it is all the more intriguing to be making this circuitous route "back" to pop music. Not just any pop music of course.... Excellent trips recently - a great honour to play with the Bergen Philharmonic and classic to see fellow Firrhill High School graduate Tom Hunter in the percussion section there - bravo Tom! The Higdon concerto continues to burn brightly in the US, and a big thankyou to Frank Almond and the Milwaukee Symphony who were so positive in welcoming such a loud drummer! The European premiere of this work is in December chez London Philharmonic - I have now played the work 21 times, with many more performances in the pipeline.
Well - somewhat jetlagged/partylagged from another great visit to Chicago (where I stayed with good friends Kevin McConkey and Josephine Lee, boy do they look after you!!) so off to the sofa to continue Michel Houellebecq's latest novel "The Possibility of an Island"...acerbic stuff!