Here’s what I know so far. My name is Richard Edwards. My friends and family call me Dickon, but these days I tend to proffer myself to strangers as Richard, in an attempt to be helpful. I live in one room in Highgate, a leafy area of North London populated for the most part by squirrels, polite middle class families, and like much of London, unemployable dreamers who never really fitted in elsewhere. So they came here.
I currently write songs for and play in the new musical combo Fosca. We’re in Wavelength studios in Chelsea next week to finish off tracks that will hopefully be released as an EP. The songs are “Girl Selfish”, “Action!”, “Leopard Of Lime Street”, and “Limbo”. I’m not sure which label they’re appear on: the aim is to record them first and find the right label later.
Our next gig is on Saturday December 27th, supporting Guernica at the club Blow Up, which takes place at The Wag at 35 Wardour Street, London W1.
We’re going to be onstage quite late, sometime after 11pm, which hopefully means I’ll be also able to catch Disco Pistol and Salad beforehand at their gig the same night. My little friend Charley plays guitar for Salad, but I’ve still yet to see her in concert with them. Having seen her tread the boards with Linus last week, I’m looking forward to seeing her cool, babyfaced androgyny onstage again. I’ve always maintained that I don’t have any real friends, more people who tolerate my presence. Or mistake me for someone else. But Charley’s one of these naturally friendly, gregarious creatures about town that is happy just to be with people, trading off each others personas alone rather than presenting the mercenary sheen of networking. It IS possible to be friendly in London and mean it, you just have to look a little harder.
There are four people in Fosca: David, Sav, Pete, and myself. I hope to get them to write a little about themselves for “6”, so you’ll have a less one-sided view of the group. There is, however, an unofficial homepage set up by Kate Dornan here, so do take a look at that too. I’m looking forward to others taking hold of the non-creative reigns as soon as possible. Although I have a publishing deal with Geoff Travis’s imprint of Polygram Island, Trade Publishing, I badly need management. I so hate organising things myself. The aspect I most like about Fosca is playing onstage, but at the moment my sifling passivity and fear of phoning people means that we only play gigs when we’re invited. Roll on the manager, and roll on touring everywhere forever. I’m rarely happy doing anything else.
As well as continuing the autobiographic themes of innate loneliness, unease, misfitdom and self-hatred touched on in the songs I wrote in the band Orlando, which I left in October 1997; I’m now also writing tales about other characters, dysfunctional persona sketches and songs about modern London, inspired by films like Patrick Keiller’s London and Ian Sinclair’s book Lights Out For The Territories. The house I live in is located halfway between Archway Bridge, the favourite London suicide spot, and Highgate Cemetery, with its gothic tombs and famous graves.
Today my room is a complete shambles. I have a large amount of overdue paperwork to sort out, concerning my severing of the cord with Orlando. I’m proud of just how civilized my leaving was, sad but matter-of-fact. No bitter animosites and legal wranglings, life’s too short. It’s a constant mystery to me why so many people run screaming to lawyers for the slightest quarrel or financial hurt. Lawyers are not exactly a breed well known for solving disputes quickly and cheaply: they can put whole lives on hold for months, even years, draining thousands in fees, and still the hint is not taken. I’m anti-legal. “If in doubt, sue” seems to be an American catchphrase that, like most things American, is beginning to catch on over here, and we shall soon be at the stage where one will not be able to leave the house every morning without first issuing the postman a writ. The lesson of Oscar Wilde (and, indeed, Jonathan Aitken) is that getting legal is only, in the end, going to make lawyers happy, not yourself. All you are actually achieving is adding to the amount of nastiness in the world. As if there wasn’t enough of that already.
As well as boring paperwork, I also have a huge pile of handwritten letters from around the world that really must be attended to. Not writing back to people is a terrible thing to do, and I’m afraid I have only pure listlessness as a defence. I tend to prefer e-mail these days, partly because it doesn’t involve anything tangible like paper, envelopes and stamps, but also because it means I can write to American heroes of mine like Peter Bagge, Maureen Tucker, Kramer and The Magnetic Fields, and get a reply by the next day.
Best get on, then.