Tuesday, March 31, 2009

John Cale

Ecstatic Gaucho is a seemingly locally-based blogger with, for instance, posts on the Brockley snow bride and the New Cross Knight (of which more soon). But I was particularly intrigued by his mention a couple of weeks ago that he had ‘Just seen John Cale getting out of a black cab in front of Goldsmiths College as I cycled past’.


It is well known that Cale studied music at Goldsmiths in the early 1960s before heading to New York and forming the Velvet Underground. According to his autobiography, he was voted ‘most hateful student’ by college heads of department and caused a minor scandal at an end of year concert in 1963 by playing avant-garde pieces of music such as La Monte Young’s ‘X for Henry Flint’ accompanied by the radical composer Cornelius Cardew and a rowdy audience. He also got reprimanded on a teaching placement in a local school for reading a class of 8-year-olds ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ - although the kids apparently loved it (Victor, What’s Welsh for Zen – the autobiography of John Cale, 1999).

In a 2003 interview he recalled a recent visit back to New Cross: 'I did go down to Goldsmiths and I thought my God nothing has changed. I mean the traffic is still shit. The way the whole convergence outside the building and everything else. The women’s dorm is gone which is a crying shame... I used to run upstairs up to the art department all the time. It was a lot of fun. They were all wearing mini skirts and you know, all the action was upstairs in the art department. I mean you’re around all these different kind of influences'.

Wonder what he was doing back in New Cross this month?


Picture: the world's coolest ever band, The Velvet Underground, with John Cale top right:

2 comments:

Ben said...

Gosh! As an obsessive VU fan currently in the employ of Goldsmiths, I can report that sadly no Cale-related activity has appeared on my radar of recent.

Anonymous said...

John Cale was actually at Goldsmiths earlier in March, for a photoshoot to be featured in Blown magazine ahead of him representing Wales at the Venice Biennale.