Sunday, November 13, 2011

Duncan Fallowell: Krautrock, acid wildness and.... The Spectator magazine

Duncan Fallowell back in the 1970s
Lovers of krautrock awake! Spoon Records and Mute are bringing out a 40th anniversary edition of the classic, 'genre-defying' Can album Tago Mago this week.

As it happens, leading Arcatiste Duncan Fallowell provided the original liner notes which were taken from an article he published in Melody Maker in October 1971, reprinted for the reissue. He didn't really want them to, but the record companies said: 'Oh yes, that's the whole point, it's historical. And would you like to write some new ones too?' So, he has done so.

Duncan was the first person in the UK to visit band Can in Germany and write about them - he 'broke' them here as it were - and did it - guess where? - in the once old codgery Spectator. 'Can you imagine it now?' Duncan tells Madame. 'It was really marvellous of the Speccie to go with my wildness in those days which was down to the arts editor really, Kenneth Hurren, but George Gale and the wonderful Harry Creighton were amused by it too. I was 21, 22. It was young fresh acid wildness, not the Jeffrey Barnard sozzled old mackintosh wildness of subsequent Spectator years.'

When Duncan went on the hippy trail for a year at the end of 1974, Kenneth Hurren gave him a letter of introduction on Spectator writing-paper. 'By that time Kenneth had become Associate Editor because George Gale had been sacked - but Harry would never allow Kenneth to call himself 'editor' as such, which caused unhappiness,' says Duncan. 

'Harry liked to consider himself editor but of course he wasn't. Patrick Cosgrave, I believe, was also annoyed at not being called editor. Anyway this gave rise to the story which I include in How To Disappear (p 78) about the British Embassy in Bangkok which I used for a few weeks as a forwarding address. They were so astonished that I should be a sort of roving correspondent for such a magazine that they rang the Spectator office in Gower Street. Gill Pyrah, who was editorial secretary at the time, picked up the phone and asked them, "Have you seen him wearing tight, bright-yellow flared trousers?" "Yes, we have as a matter of fact." "Then that's Duncan".

'By the time I got back from India at the end of 1975 the magazine had been sold to Henry Keswick and soon moved to Doughty Street where Alexander Chancellor retained me as a columnist for quite a long time - but eventually my anarchies got the better of both of us and I went off to do the punk glossies Deluxe and Boulevard.'

Of Can, he adds: 'They fed my Dionysiac side and still do - but they are intellectuals as well, so this re-release of Tago Mago is a terrific feast for the mind and body.'

For more info or to order a copy, click here.

A flavour of the Can festival: click arrow once to play....

44 comments:

Sir Thomas Beecham said...

On the link it has the Facebook tab with 17k 'like' - is that 17,000?!!! And it's not out yet!!! I better have a listen . . .

Anonymous said...

Dunkypoo looks like Ryan O'Neal. I wonder if he has a funny daughter tucked away somewhere

Madame Arcati said...

Well if Gore Vidal can have a daughter hidden away, anything's possible.

Anonymous said...

Noboby believes Gore any more

Anonymous said...

And what's that round Dunkypoo's neck - the freedom of the city of Atlantis?

The Duchess said...

Oh get a room you old tarts

Henry VIII said...

I hate I Want More

The Duchess said...

And you're right (for once) about Gore's daughter - I know who she is and where she lives.

Dead Guitarist said...

There's a clip of Spoon live on Fallowell's Facebook page - which I see is open - does he have no privates? This is Can of Tago Mago period and would be better one to post. Cheers

Madame Arcati said...

Done. Though acid may aid listening.

Andrew Neil said...

We shall sue.

Anonymous said...

That tree appears to be doing something unmentionable to Mr F.

She comes In Colours said...

The tree was on acid too. Well, trees always are. They are what acid aspires to. Treeness and acidness are very related (as opposed to acidity). The way a tree waves about all free and yet rooted is so acid.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Spectator used to have a Grateful Dead type cover? Or was that Strange Days

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly everyone is so uptight and on a short fuse in the world today that I think we ALL NEED TO LET OUR HAIR DOWN xxx

Not Delia Smith Natch said...

p...s..y...che...delia smith

Louis don't mention my sex life Walsh said...

Don't think Can would have got far on the X Factor.

Anonymous said...

Does Molly still drop it?

Maid Marion said...

I still want to know about Jonathan King's sex life in jail

Anonymous said...

ooo I love that Spoon live - the way it springs up

Anonymous said...

This is great - freakout at last! on Arcati!!! C'mon, girl, rip yer pantyhose!! Next stop - well, 7 years later . . . was PUNK

Madame Arcati said...

I loved punk, me and Siouxsie Sue. So lovely to see her recently rediscovered.

Spectator subscriber said...

Dear Madame Arcati

I can't tell you how much I adore this post. The Spectator rocks! Somehow - it's timely. We need to loosen up and get more creative. I've read the Spectator for years but have never seen it go on an acid trip until now. Does the current editor know about this? Really they should do something to celebrate their glorious, jiving past and - let us hope- present.

A Spectator subscriber

Madame Arcati said...

We can only hope, poppet. Perhaps something could be put into their water cooler, by a bribed PA.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Can.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people haven't heard of Can - that's part of the fun

Anonymous said...

Delicious stuff on the Speccie. Did Duncan know Brian Inglis?

DRF said...

I only knew Brian Inglis from the Spectator parties at Gower Street. I knew Bill Grundy much better - if know is the right word because Bill was rarely sober. But then I never met him before lunchtime. Let's say we were quite often in proximity. I once saw him fall down the whole flight of stairs at the Spectator. He was an excellent madcap fellow. Johnny Rotten loved him too.

Thanks for you evocation, Madame

Best wishes, Duncan

DRF said...

Just to make it quite clear. I wrote about Can in the Spectator first - and only much later in the Melody Maker

scrambled brains said...

the first time I had acid I was sitting in Hyde Park admiring the flowers and suddenly Michael Winner and a film crew came into view. Talk about a bad trip!. You don't want to see Winner when your'e high.

Madame Arcati said...

You poor woodlouse. It's the thought of Michael Winner with an erection that terrifies me.

Julie B said...

There's a book to be done on alcohol and British bomemia, of which the Spectator was once a peripheral part (when it got off the toilet). I suppose booze petrifies the synapses which is useful career-wise.

Anonymous said...

The book would be better for not limiting itself to alcohol. SMASHED: Intoxication and the Arts in British Cultural Life. Fallowell or Burchill should write it

Anonymous said...

And you don't want to see Winner when you're low either

Anonymous said...

And I'd not like to meet YOU on an LSD trip either. Not that I've eve rtaken LSD

Deirdre said...

Blissful memories. Orgasm on acid the best.

Anonymous said...

dig the shades

Madame Arcati said...

Brian Inglis wrote a number of interesting books on the paranormal, such as 'Science and Parascience' - a welcome contrast to the hedonistic materialism and comforting cynicism of his peers.

The late Princess Elizabetrh of Toro said...

Taki is a cunt, right?

Anonymous said...

Has DF written about the Can people? What they have for breakfast, who they have sex with. I think we should be told.

Michael Winner said...

I have unfollowed you on Twitter you rude fraud.

Anonymous said...

Jah Wobble, David Sylvian and Brian Eno became disciples of Can, and I think Duncan Fallowell had a row with Bryan Ferry over something. Ferry had a sniff at Can and moved on to the cocktail lounge and a different sort of high society

Anonymous said...

And the sister of Can guitarist Michael Karoli was one of the girls on the album cover of Roxy's Country Life

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you - Bryan Ferry is best known now as the father of right-wing sons who whinny around the countryside after foxes. Sad.