Dr Freud’s Cabaret – Update

Work has begun on my album – very exciting! I’ve so far recorded all the piano parts and vocals, and the rest is yet to come. Ed Mugford has been recording me, and he’s done a great job. I’m playing a beautiful grand piano belonging to my parents-in-law. Next comes guitar, bass, drums, and possibly a string section. We’re using Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s Histoire de Melody Nelson as a reference point.

I’ve recently been visiting some art galleries with my friend Paul Crane. We went to Peter Blake’s exhibition, A Museum for Myself, in Bath. Very impressive. Blake’s fascination with the world of performance, from Victorian circus performers to sixties’ pop culture, is presented through a series of drawings, collected objects, etc., minutely arranged. Beautiful, strange, and often rather disturbing.

Last week we made another trip, this time to the Arnolfini in Bristol, to see another exhibition of artists also mining this ‘museum’ territory. One of Blake’s pieces was there, too, and it did rather outshine the others, I thought. These included Susan Hiller’s ‘From the Freud Museum’, a series of boxes featuring found objects, texts, etc, inspired by Freud’s collection of antiquities at the Freud museum in London. I found some of Hiller’s references rather obscure, and the idea of a museum of a museum seemed a bit convoluted, but it set me thinking about interesting ways to present the album …

The Freud Museum in Maresfield Gardens was where Anthony Reynolds and I performed our first Dr Freud’s Cabaret show last year. It was sold out, and we rose to the occasion, if I say so myself. Singing the songs there was an extraordinary experience. I was slightly intimidated by the portraits and busts of Dr Freud looking down at us, but reassured myself that he would have approved. From my reading of ‘Studies in Hysteria’, on which I based the songs on, he seemed a very tolerant and compassionate man … at least as far as his patients were concerned.

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