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I remember listening to ‘As Tears Go By’ as I smoked a cigarette with a disconsolate Michael in the tarmac playground of a school in that poor district where Eva lived. Two years later he was playing the Hammond organ as the resident keyboards man at Ronnie Scott’s old place, with Dudu Pukwana on sax.
Instead of doing that they would have insisted that she simply sing a standard to which they already had the rights.
It didn’t get anywhere particularly, even though at the time she said that she preferred the B-side.
Anyway, she sang it, having altered the lyrics of the second verse.
And as yet, as to dancing, I had not the faintest clue.
Notwithstanding this, I starred as the principal and only dancer in the school opera that winter.
Drew Hardie promptly put me right about my attire in his dour Scots way. But none of them had deigned to glance in my direction anyway.
Although I was a decent gymnast, had even won the senior gym competition while still a junior, I still had matchstick legs and ghastly elbows with knobs on.
They were all drifting away from me, these images, and perhaps my advocacy of the poetry of a bygone age was a vain attempt to suspend my own past and to keep it, keep it from passing.
I was becoming an urban person and losing my own keenness for the hounds.
As schoolboy intellectuals, we didn’t approve of ‘As Tears Go By’We disdained it. It compromised her dynamic, hard-hitting talent, her intelligence, her very existence. And of course, since she has become a robust songwriter and chanteuse with the sardonic quality of Lotte Lenya.
She knew enough about good poetry to know that the lyrics were trash. I think I must have told Marianne about my sitting next to that wonderful actress and singer in Sadlers Wells, at the first night of a production of BOYHOOD SLIPPED OFF downstream.
Our mothers shared certain characteristics: they both befriended the friends of their children, and they were both single mothers in an age when this was less common than it is now. And so I discussed Clemency, or rather my hopeless love for her, with everyone. Then we were felt – Eva leaning towards Goethe, combining love with philosophy and poetry; my mother speaking quietly about the past, about an indelible thing in her, her love for my father, who had died before I was born.