From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: “The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas” Part 1

In 1969 Nick Garrie recorded The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanisla, a lush folk/pop album. When collectors discovered it in the ’80s, it began fetching astronomical sums, and it was eventually reissued on CD in 2005. Garrie’s life in obscurity has too many twists to recount, but includes two albums as Nick Hamilton and an opening spot on a Leonard Cohen tour in 1984. The Moon And The Village (Tapete), Garrie’s first release in 23 years, is another subtle charmer. His mellow vocals are supported by arrangements that let his stories glow with a warm inner light. Garrie will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Garrie: I was taking a European Lit degree and got hooked on surrealism and, in particular, automatic writing, which was said to reveal unknown truths to the writer. It made perfect sense to me, and I wrote “Stanislas” in Paris thinking of my student gigs and “my window pane.” The rest just flowed, and I discovered that I was Russian, Stanislas—and not Scottish, Garrie. I had spent 10 years cowering at boarding school where bullying was par for the course, praying that nobody would discover my real name. I wasn’t alone in this. Tati and Gainsbourg were also of Russian origin.

I don’t much like to play it because it’s 5:30 long. I was opening for Camera Obscura at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire when I reached the last song, and some rowdy fans started chanting “Stanislas.”

“It’s too long.”

And a Polish woman screamed, “Well play half of it.”