Wednesday, 22 April 2009

John Martyn: Looking Back, Over the Hill

Incongruously, I always associate John Martyn – huge, bear-like, intimidating - with my youngest daughter, Martha: small, doll-like - though equally intimidating when the mood takes her.

She was only a week or two old when I went over to interview John at his home in Thomastown in Ireland in September 2005. I remember feeling a little guilty about shirking my pressing domestic responsibilities and heading off to meet the big man, but I’m glad I did now. I’ve been listening to John a lot (more) since his death in January, and I find his work increasingly staggering. Much too deep to fathom in anything less than a lifetime, I fear.

I was recently reminded of my trip to Thomastown because someone kindly sent me an email letting me know that one of the two pieces I wrote about John following that visit (one for the Herald; the other for The Word) was loitering quietly in some unsuspected corner of the internet. It currently lives here, for those who are interested.

I enjoyed reading it again, though it’s obviously now a little poignant. Martha is now nearly four. John is dead. C’est la vie, old boy, as I’m sure the old devil might have said.

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