Paul Gorman is…

Blessed & Blasted: Rock In Opposition 12.03.1978

Jan 24th, 2011

//5 Silverthorne Road, London SW8, 1978.//

Alan Freeman (BBC DJ): “The popular music press always branded Henry Cow or Art Bears as ‘left wing’. “
Chris Cutler (drummer, Henry Cow/Art Bears/etc): ”Of course. Extremely. If you hate this government, and everything it stands for.”

I witnessed Henry Cow live for the first time at a “free” concert held one afternoon in a room at Finchley Town Hall in 1974 supporting The Global Village Trucking Co.

The culmination of the performance came when guitarist Fred Frith trod on a tatty and evidently useless acoustic and brought the hat around to “pay for repairs”. Recognising this as a piece of “show”, I was simultaneously bamboozled and excited by the incomprehension I felt at their improvisations.

I also appreciated the anti-rock/agit-prop stylings, particularly Frith’s beanie hat and cricket jumper, and the insistence on sitting down during even the most energetic extemporising (was Jah Wobble also taking note? I shall have to ask him).

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