Blesok no. 106, March-April, 2016
Black Hair of Love
Polly Jean Harvey is my blues, my winter in the middle of the summer, and the spring in that same summer. Polly Jean transforms herself as she wishes, always under the skin, on the lips, under the tongue. I would rather only list her songs and their versions, and then disappear mute in the darkness. Whatever I say will not be enough.
I am not sorry that some memories are blurred. Only songs remain from some memories. Provocative dresses and body movements. There are often helicopters flying low above the city in which I live. Sometimes I think that I could hit them with a rock. But my fingers only touch the ground and caress it. And I remember the song. PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke.
Which is bigger, to write 'The Mess We're In' or to inspire Cave for 'Boatman's Call'? as always, depends from which angle we decide to look upon matters, because there is lot of pain at stake. I know! The biggest thing is 'Oh My Lover' and the fatal surrender to what we consider to be love. In the end, love is just as we think it is.
Oh my lover (Peel)
Polly Jean Harvey very easily connects rock-and-roll and physical aspect into something fully inseparable, something that has its roots in the blues which she used to love as a kid, and it never left her. And one can see it, hear it, feel it. Everything intertwines in her moves into a combination worthy of a halo.
It was long ago when a French woman revealed to me the films directed by Hal Hartley. The first one that I watched was 'Simple Men'. Six years and four films later, Hal made 'The Book of Life'. It was the end of the 1990es, quite a convenient time about the end of the world. PJ Harvey is Mary Magdalene, while Jesus is played by Hartley’s favorite actor, Martin Donovan. I loved him from 'Simple Men'. Otherwise, Martin had a great directing debut several years ago with his film 'Collaborator'. Unfortunately, without Polly Jean.
'The Book of Life' was made as one of the films for the cycle celebrating the entrance to the new millennium. Jesus and Mary Magdalene arrive to modern day New York to make it even with Earth and once again resolve the issue of the Apocalypse. In the very finale there is also 'Yo La Tengo' as the Salvation Army Orchestra, and somebody would also notice the contribution of William S. Burroughs. Apart from excellent acting, PJ also gives two songs to the film.
The Faster I Breathe
The Big Satisfaction
An important thing happened during the Brit Awards ceremony in 1994. One of those that became holidays at the moment they were happening. Polly Jane Harvey shared the stage with Björk. They performed a stripped version of the Rolling Stones’ hymn, bringing into it sexuality at a quite new level. It was 'Satisfaction' one could not hear before.
And here I stop asking myself about the meaninglessness of my existence, efforts and strives. I surrender to Polly and Björk. Listening to them in 1994, I am fulfilled. There are no wars, no chipped nights of growing up, no need for the impossible.
I choose this 1994. And the one I think I survived, never happened. It was only a quite real nightmare. Björk and PJ, I surrender to you. I choose that you create my reality. Let us listen to jazz programs on radio BBC4 together. All of mine and the two of you!
Dark as the Deepest Sea
The first band in which Polly Jean played was called Automatic Dlamini. She joined them in 1988, when she was not twenty yet. Automatic Dlamini had been founded by John Parish five years before, and while many great musicians passed through the band, it is interesting that there were also two men that she founded the PJ Harvey trio after the Automatic Dlamini adventure.
Rob Ellis and Ian Oliver are a drummer and bass guitar player with whom she recorded the albums 'Dry' and 'Rid of Me'. She still works with Ellis and John Parish. A frequent guest on her stage is also one of the two most important badseeds – Mick Harvey.
Ambitions can cover what is important, and the older we are it does not become any simpler. There are also greed and envy and the disgusting things that follow; they surround us and we do not manage to understand what has happened and where all of those once wonderful people, without whom our days were unimaginable, have disappeared.
When you have those that you can count on by your side, the dark days can not cause any permanent damage. To start your rock-and-roll path in John Parish’s band, to play the sax, the guitar and sing on their first albums, and thirty years later still create with the same people, that is what counts. So that we do not end asked when we have said farewell to our own versions that had such a clearly set rhythm of their own. And the blues as well.
Dark Days (live)