It is rare indeed to find video links at Hooting Yard, but… good grief, this is superb! Mr Key’s favourite beat combo, Henry Cow, performing “Living In The Heart Of The Beast” at Vevey in Switzerland in 1976. (It looks to me as if they’re in the middle of a field*, which may explain the absence of the standard lamps which were such a beguiling feature of their usual stage set.) Irritatingly split into three parts. Watch, listen, and learn.
Incidentally, “Living In The Heart Of The Beast” was the piece that prompted Peter Blegvad’s dismissal from the Henry Cow / Slapp Happy collective on the grounds of flippancy. Tim Hodgkinson wrote the music and, as Blegvad recalled in an interview in Hearsay magazine, “I was assigned the task for the collective to come up with suitable verbals, and I wrote two verses about a woman throwing raisins at a pile of bones. Tim just said, I’m sorry, this is not at all what we want. And he wrote reams of this political tirade. I admired his passion and application but it left me cold. I am to my bones a flippant individual”.
Well, it is a tirade, but it’s still magnificent.
*NOTE : This being Switzerland, I am reminded, most appositely, of the timeless quotationÂ â€œHere we are in the field of dreams, surrounded by fields of cows.â€ See here for the source.
Now that really is Nirvana for Mice and any other living thing that doesn’t have tin ears.
I remember the standard lamps. I was so pleased to get to play my first improv gig on the set of a production of ‘Hancocks Last Half Hour’
We had standard lamps, a table cluttered with the remains of a meal, empty bottles of booze and a FRIDGE.
I bet Henry Cow never had a fridge.