From British daily The Morning Star:
A note of hope
(Friday 12 October 2007)
INTERVIEW: Robert Wyatt
by JOHN GREEN
ROBERT WYATT speaks about love, music, being British and his hope for future of humanity.
Robert Wyatt has been making music for 40 years, but the quality of his output and his popularity, far from dimming, just seems to increase with time.
His debut and renown with the band Soft Machine is now far behind him, but the injury which he suffered in 1973 when he fell from a third-floor window and confined him to a wheelchair, is still very present.
Despite this terrible blow, he decided, with the invaluable help of his partner Alfie Benge, to fight back and to embark on a solo career. …
His latest offering Comicopera is immense in scope. It splices in songs from Spain, Italy, Cuba and a number of other countries while inter-layering observations on the smaller things of life. As much of his work, it is complex and very personal, but that only adds to its fascination.
The moods shift restlessly. He provides us with images of bustling, creative humanity, but then finally vents his rage about Iraq. …
“On the whole, I could live with the boring council meetings and the funny little towns if it weren’t for the realisation that, once again, we are at war, that, once again, we are on some sort of crusade against somebody who has never seriously threatened us at all.
“The thought that my tax money, which I want to be used for schools and hospitals, is being used to intimidate and crush foreigners, makes me sick.”
“There is a song which Alfie wrote about being bombed, having just seen footage of a man wandering about his house in Beirut looking for something – a piece of furniture, a photograph? Maybe a child.” …
Surely, are also good things happening in the world, we ask.
“It’s like green grass growing quickly while the heavy feet are too far away for a while to trample it down. The US are busy in other parts of the world and Latin Americans are seizing the chance to assert themselves.
“So there is an optimistic note at the end, but I had to get out of Britain to find it.”
Wyatt doesn’t buy the Morning Star every day, he admits, but he likes the features pages with people such as Ken Livingstone and John Pilger, but, he says, “I really buy the Star for the news I find in it.
“It publishes news that others don’t. How else would I know that, in China, the unions won higher wages for underpaid workers in McDonalds?
So is he still hopeful about the world? “I think to be pessimistic would be an outrage to all those brave people around the world who are trying to make it better.” And Wyatt is certainly contributing to making it better with exciting music.
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