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some notes on Graveyard Coitus

“Is there a band playing?” Lol Coxhill

“The body is a trunk of which one is only a leaf when one realizes one is dead, and that one is not outside but inside. For the dead man has only one thought, that’s to return to his corpse, to pick it up and to go on. But it’s always the corpse which picks you up, and one obeys because one is inside.” Antonin Artaud, to Peter Watson (1946)

I had arrived late (it must have been midday?) hungover from a night of drinking. I can’t recall the occasion, perhaps if I can find the diary for 1991 I might be able to piece it together and it might just pop up in my mind, but I just remember my head hurting.
Nick Couldry had phoned me up some days earlier (if I trawl through the box of answer phone tapes it’s possible I might even be able to find the message) and asked if I would be able to turn up for this gig, it would be a WAKE performance (a short lived trio formed in 1986 with myself, Nick and Adam Bohman).
I had brought with me the Wasp Synth, a lead or two, and a violin bow with a Shadow 2000 contact mic attached. By then I recall they were already playing, or perhaps just warming up. Adam Bohman on prepared home-made string instruments including a zither, and the usual found objects, and Nick Couldry on keyboards with effects, all manner of percussive and noise-making implements, and I distinctively recall a wok overturned, and a blue toy piano; they were all the rage back then. There was a generator humming, and a couple of amps.

Lol Coxhill and Mark Browne (on respective saxes) would join in with us much later in ‘the set’; perhaps they had already been on the stroll? For this was the London Strollerthon proudly sponsored by Cadbury’s. The LMC had been asked if they could provide some ‘entertainment’ en route for the London Strollers, but why the hell were we in the St Georges Gardens Burial Grounds? Perhaps this was some re-filling or final resting place (no pun intended), perhaps there was bunting and stalls offering refreshment, if so that memory has been erased from my mind. Anyhow, the public trudging through seemed bemused, or nonplussed: who were these odd looking ‘musicians’ and what was this racket all about? A few bewildered stragglers stayed behind, looked on, perhaps hopeful for some kind of Summer Jazz once the guys with the saxes arrived.
I’m not going to write about the music, other enlightened beings more able and paid to write can attempt that. I do recall at varying times very forceful playing by all, Nick Couldry ferociously bowing sarcophagi. And the sound of a dog barking, which we tried to play with, and children screaming. Perhaps they enjoyed it.

Fast forward to 1995 and Nick (Couldry) asked me to select ‘highlights’ for a release on his Polar Bear Recordings (a tape label now long-forgotten) the tape links I chose between the tracks, “Peristaltic Sounds in Gastrointestinal obstruction” and “Vox Romana - Six Passages from Virgil” (Latin) are from tapes recorded for me by the esteemed Adam Bohman.
There were some photographs taken that day, I know that, perhaps they will turn up in a decade or so."

Richard Crow, London, May 2015


released September 20, 2022

recorded 21 July 1991 at St Georges Gardens, Kings Cross, London WC1 as part of the London Musicians' Collective‘s contribution to the 1991 Cadbury’s Strollerthon

recorded onto cassette by Nick Couldry
edited and mastered by Crow in 1995

originally released as a limited edition cdR of 79 copies by Chocolate Monk [choc.307] in 2015
artwork by Karen Constance

[alternative version] recorded onto cassette by Robert Powell
tape transfers by Jim McEwan


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