From The Desk Of Martin Carr: Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies Of The Male Back”

Martin Carr first made a name for himself in the early ’90s as the guitarist/songwriter of the Boo Radleys, whose Everything’s Alright Forever (1992), Giant Steps (1993) and Wake Up! (1995) remain essential listening from the Britpop era. The Boos disbanded in 1999, and Carr began releasing records under the bravecaptain moniker for the better part of a decade before issuing Ye Gods (And Little Fishes) under his own name in 2009. Carr is back with third solo LP New Shapes Of Life (Tapete), a compact, sophisticated and personal pop album inspired in part by the death of David Bowie. Carr will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Carr: Painted in oils by Francis Bacon in 1970, this was a (triptych) painting I spent a lot of time with last year when my isolation and self-examination peaked. A landscape that is both free to wander and impossible to escape. The figures inhabit a distorted reality, half in/half out of the cage like structure that surrounds them. It feels to me that all the action is happening inside the head of the figure; the two side panels show him shaving, but in the middle panel the mirror is dark so he reads a newspaper. I see the mirror as inspiration. Sometimes there is nothing there and all you can do is wait.

From The Desk Of Martin Carr: The Farm

Martin Carr first made a name for himself in the early ’90s as the guitarist/songwriter of the Boo Radleys, whose Everything’s Alright Forever (1992), Giant Steps (1993) and Wake Up! (1995) remain essential listening from the Britpop era. The Boos disbanded in 1999, and Carr began releasing records under the bravecaptain moniker for the better part of a decade before issuing Ye Gods (And Little Fishes) under his own name in 2009. Carr is back with third solo LP New Shapes Of Life (Tapete), a compact, sophisticated and personal pop album inspired in part by the death of David Bowie. Carr will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Carr: The most fun I’ve ever had watching the telly. I can’t imagine life without Adventure Time. All manner of life and death, including Death, is here. It’s highly imaginative, funny, scary and always underpinned with great storytelling. I watch it with my son, who tells me everything that’s going to happen just before it does. It has at least 10 memorable catch phrases per episode; a glaring affront to anyone like me, incapable of funny accents or impressions. The one thing I can do is drop farm animals onto my kids after I have secured yet another wrestling victory, like The Farm does in “Who Would Win,” the 21st episode of the fourth season (99th episode overall) in which Finn and Jake swear revenge on a lazy, bullying giant with a floppy head and a barn wrapped around his middle. He stands there and takes on all comers, beating them up and dropping cows and shit on them afterwards. He’s a cool guy—I really like him. There’s a faraway look in his eyes, a sadness that he tries to conceal. I could change him. I know I could.

From The Desk Of Martin Carr: Cadbury Chocolate

Martin Carr first made a name for himself in the early ’90s as the guitarist/songwriter of the Boo Radleys, whose Everything’s Alright Forever (1992), Giant Steps (1993) and Wake Up! (1995) remain essential listening from the Britpop era. The Boos disbanded in 1999, and Carr began releasing records under the bravecaptain moniker for the better part of a decade before issuing Ye Gods (And Little Fishes) under his own name in 2009. Carr is back with third solo LP New Shapes Of Life (Tapete), a compact, sophisticated and personal pop album inspired in part by the death of David Bowie. Carr will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Carr: Cadbury launched the Dairy Milk in 1905, and why anybody else still bothers making chocolate bars is anyone’s guess. I’ve done all the drugs, I’ve gambled, I’ve smoked, I drink … Nothing does it for me the way Cadbury chocolate does it. Creamier than a cow orgy and sweeter than the sun. It’s so sweet my teeth dislodge themselves and cower at the back of my mouth whenever they see some of that golden brown coming their way. To be kept in the fridge—it’s the law. (Boyle’s Law Of Refrigerated Choccy Bars, 1674).

Top Three Cadbury Bars
1. Wispa Gold!
2. Crunchie! (“Fuck you!” —my teeth)
3. Dairy Milk!

Special prize goes to the Dairy Milk Big Taste Triple Choc for services to diabetes.

From The Desk Of Martin Carr: 17th Century Scientists

Martin Carr first made a name for himself in the early ’90s as the guitarist/songwriter of the Boo Radleys, whose Everything’s Alright Forever (1992), Giant Steps (1993) and Wake Up! (1995) remain essential listening from the Britpop era. The Boos disbanded in 1999, and Carr began releasing records under the bravecaptain moniker for the better part of a decade before issuing Ye Gods (And Little Fishes) under his own name in 2009. Carr is back with third solo LP New Shapes Of Life (Tapete), a compact, sophisticated and personal pop album inspired in part by the death of David Bowie. Carr will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Carr: Boyle! Halley! Hooke! Wren! Newton! The Other One! The evolutionary process is such that there are always going to be people who are ahead of everybody else. That don’t feel right in their own century; they tear at the canvas, eager to get to the future. Polymathematical. Christopher Wren worked on muscle functionality, telescopes, microscopes, navigation, light and refraction. He built Hampton Court and St. Paul’s Cathedral and founded the Royal Society. Robert Hooke, the mystery, wrote and illustrated the beautiful Micrographia, was Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire, deduced the Wave Theory of Light, spoke Latin, Greek and Hebrew and discovered the law of elasticity (Hooke’s Law, duh), which is “Never twang an elastic band at your little sister’s face.” They lived, they loved, they drew, they built, they wrote their names on comets, they did terrible things to dogs, they observed, noted, drank gallons of coffee and they pushed. They pushed with all their might.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: Life And Stuff

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’m watching a bird disappear into a crimson sunset, and my mind goes back 40 years to waterskiing in the setting sun (after the clients) in the bay of Campesi (on the island of Isola del Giglio in Italy). The girls would come down from the hills and wave coloured handkerchiefs. When I left the island, they painted “Ciao Nick” in huge letters on the cliff face.

Last year I worked as Father Christmas (there were 15 of us), and in the summer I was in a pub staring at a rough-looking guy, and he swung on me.

“What you looking at?”

“Father Christmas.”

And he gave me the biggest grin I’ve ever seen.

To be honest, I’ve nothing much left to say except thank you for reading if you’re still there. And thank you for listening if you’ve got the album.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: Singing “In The Bleak Midwinter” With The Meadowbrook Montessori School

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: To my mind, the most beautiful English Christmas carol. The children sing it from the heart. Every Christmas, I go out to the Swiss Alps and sing the Christmas songs. And when I finish, I go out, and there is usually a band of chortling angels on the roof cheering me on.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: Leonard Cohen

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 opened for him on his Spanish Tour. He was wearing a black suit and was unfailingly polite and solicitous. He saw our tiny dressing room and immediately took us under his wing. After the concert, he gave my guitarist some champagne.

“He doesn’t drink,” I said.

“He does now,” said Leonard.

He completely changed the way I sang and taught me how to listen to an audience.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: I’m A Chameleon

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: John Lennon, interviewed on TV after the Beatles, asked what he listened to: “The Beatles.” What he was like: “I’m a chameleon. I blend in.”

I couldn’t believe it until I realised I was the same: rugby player, ski instructor, water-ski instructor, hot-air balloon crew and now care-home singer. I’m the wrong guy to ask about films and music and restaurants.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: Influences

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 brought up in Paris until I was six. Around the dinner table, we would start sentences in French and finish them in English. I was listening to all the great French singers—Brel, Brassens, Moustaki, Reggiani—before I hit the English and American trail. I taught myself guitar strumming along to “Blowin’ In The Wind.” I never had a lesson, but Dylan was a good start, and I wrote my first songs after that. The Beatles were a massive influence, but what I learnt from the French singers was that every syllable must count, and there was no room for any superfluous baggage. If you listen to Brel almost spit out “Ne me quitte pas” and compare it to ” If you go away on a summer’s day,” you’ll know what I mean.

Every song has its place on earth. I know that from playing in the care homes, but for me, it was taking the best of both languages. I had a young friend at school when we were both discovering poetry. In his best Norfolk accent, “You see, Nick, a poem’s like a stone: You keep it in your pocket, and you know it’s there.” Well in my back pocket I’ve got a film, and it’s been there since Jacques Tati leaned out of his rickety car to stroke a dog lying in his way. The film, you say? Les Vacances De Monsieur Hulot.

From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: “The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas” Part 2

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 had never been in a recording studio before, so I splashed out on a striped Biba jacket assorted with cricket whites and black patent mocassins. I looked ridiculous, and when I walked into the studio to find an orchestra of grumpy old men in cardigans, the scene was set.

We started with “Stanislas,” which I couldn’t recognize, and then Vartan (producer) got me under control. When we got to “Little Bird,” which I had written as a gentle strum, I was convinced the orchestra were racing through it to catch the last metro home. Vartan and I had words. By the last song, “Evening,” he was exhausted and said, “You do it how you want and take the instruments you need.” I sent them all home except a young, longhaired American trumpet player, and we sat on the floor and played it together joined at the hip.

I went for a pee, and one of the guitarists was there.

“Did you write this shit?”

I nodded glumly.

Stanislas was released some 40 years later, and even then I still didn’t get any royalties. So when some well-meaning journalist calls me a cult hero, I say, “My arse.”