Friday, 1 May 2009

John Martyn: Addendum

On the subject of John Martyn, the Life and the Work and the interrelation thereof, consider the snippet above from a Scottish-produced documentary about the emotional content of music, made in 2007 and presented by Phil Cunningham.
Consider also the rather furious debate that developed below the clip on the YouTube comments space, where a few pronouncements about Martyn's personal conduct (some related to his treatment of his second wife) drew a hail of ripostes from those who clearly think this domestic matter is neither here nor there when you speak of a genius.
Another aspect worth a thought is Martyn's heavy Glaswegian accent here. Glasgow was part of his early life and I understand he returned there for his last years, during which this doc was filmed. Yet in the BBC 2004 doc, and in every other clip I've heard of him speaking, Martyn's accent was indeed more or less RP, with the odd joke-foray into mockney geezerdom.
Now those of us who have spent time in assorted corners of the country, or even the globe, do tend to have an array of accents for special occasions, and that's especially true of performing types; and, I think, doubly true of Martyn, also a lot to do with an artistic temperament inclined to conceal even as it supposedly reveals. That's what I get anyway from Martyn talking here about the blues as 'greetin', whingin', givin' out' etc, because it's 'good for the heid'. Rather than the 'intrinsic sadness in any creature', let's say...

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