[Here is Paddy's eighth article for the Newsletter. It appeared in issue number 14 (summer 1983).]
I'm a night owl. I live in London. It's so noisy, most of my working happens towards the end of the day. The World Service of the BBC keeps me company, broadcasting into the early hours, as was the case the other night. Sarah Kennedy was reading a request from an Eskimo, who asked what singles Kate had out and what was she doing? The voice of London cut through the snowflakes with the reply: "...Kate's last single was There Goes a Tenner, and now she's back at the drawing board coming up with a new album..." This image seems quite appropriate. We've all been working on improvements, otherwise things couldn't progress. Kate's back into her writing pattern. Long passage of uninterrupted playing--with dance training for recreation--and all better than ever before. Her latest material is so good that it's going to be hard to sort out what not to include on the next album.
I've been playing one or two unusual things: harps from the African forests, bagpipes from Northumberland, temple drums from India and, since The Dreaming, quite a lot of dijeridu. This is due to Rolf Harris's kindness. He made it possible by giving me some lessons and an instrument....Sometimes I play it for so long I see wallabies.
Some people have asked me what the deep sound on the chorus of The Dreaming is. Reference to the sleeve notes reveals the words "bull roarer". It makes a sound like a motorcycle or an aeroplane propellor. It's sometimes described as a "spirit voice" A bull roarer is very easy to make from a ruler and a string about one metre long. Make a small hole about half an inch from one end of the ruler and tie the string on very tightly. Now take it outside, hold one end of the string and whirl the ruler round and round your head. It will start spinning and winding the string up like a rubber band-powered aeroplane. After a couple of orbits the string has twisted up so much that it releases all its stored energy suddenly by unwinding very fast, and the result is a rhythmic growl that feels as though it comes from everywhere. But take warning. String can snap under the extreme stresses, as did the one on The Dreaming, and if you listen to the track you can hear it hitting one of the soundproof screens at Abbey Road. Wait 'til we do it on stage...[We're waiting.] I've roughly calculated that rows seven to fifteen are most at risk. But don't worry, I'll take a spare just in case.
Back to the drawing board stuff. I'm standing in front of it now and writing on a tiny little section of it marked "Tour of Life II". I've just written "Take spare bull roarer". There is so much information written on the old drawing board--a little bit gets added every day--that the more we add the larger it becomes, so by now our drawing board is both vast and complex. I'm sure you can imagine some of the things. Staves and dots plot the routes for our musical cargo ships. Little black footprints and matchstick men show the paths up choreographic mountain-ranges. Cave paintings and computer graphics, next year's colours, satellite information. All this and things just too secret to mention contribute to our vibrational data-bank. Even as I write I can see Andrew (or is it J.?) skating over from the Newsletter section with a huge file of your suggestions. The odd question about mammoth-tusk xylophones and central African nose-tubes--you really do write some interesting things. I haven't checked the pidgeon-postbox yet, that's always good for a laugh. Actually, we've found them a very economical and discreet method of postal dispatch. In fact this very Newsletter may have been one of the lucky thousand to be sent this way. We're coming up with new ideas all the time, and we just write them down on the very drawing board that is now getting mentions on radio networks worldwide. Anyway, enough of my idle ramblings. I'm giving much too much away and I've got to finish this kangaroo costume before our dawn jog, so keep running up that hill.
Your ever loving
©1990 Andy Marvick