Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The poet, singer, songwriter and all-round eccentric Ivor Cutler died yesterday, aged 83. Ironically, following the announcement that he was retiring in the summer of last year, Cutler went through a bit of a revival. There was an interesting article at the time by Alex Kapranos, lead singer of the art-rock band Franz Ferdinand, beginning with a telling of the story behind opening lines of their song Jacqueline. It inevitably involves Cutler, and a girl called Jacqueline:
A friend of mine - a girl called Jacqueline - worked in a poetry library in London that Ivor Cutler used to visit. She became good friends with him, and went round to his house for tea a few times. She was pretty young, and pretty attractive as well. I think she was a little gauche, thoroughly charmed by the literary excitement of it all, and didn't realise he was maybe a little more amorous than she gave him credit for.

She described the scene to me of how she rejected him outright because he was just an old man. She said: "Why would I possibly be romantically interested in you?" And he replied: "You see me just as an old man, but I'm looking at you with the same eyes that I had as a young man." That was the inspiration for our song, Jacqueline, looking out through one set of eyes and seeing yourself reflected as you actually are in the gaze that comes back at you."

Interesting, no? To finish off, here's one of Cutler's snippets that I particularly like:
If your breasts are too big, you will fall over.
Unless you wear a rucksack.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Another Cutler-related anecdote from Holy Moly. This one's slightly less endearing though!

Ivor Cutler was a regular visitor to the Camden branch of Waterstones. He'd come in and hang about being a bit of annoying old man and would regularly remove his books from the Humour section and put them in Poetry where he believed they belonged.

These sections were in the basement of the shop and on one particular occasion, a couple of years ago, he'd been hanging about the shelves for what seemed an excessive amount of time. So one poor shop girl was asked to go and see what he wanted in the hope of getting him to bugger off. But as she approached he immediately started to walk away, turning to her only to say "I'm sorry my dear, I've just come."

His creamy smears were all over the carpet.