Hugh Cornwell’s Culture
New, in a series in the Irish Examiner.
What and who influenced Hugh Cornwell?
I studied for a PhD in southern Sweden and was off the off the cultural map for a while because it was quiet out there. On a trip home, around 1972, I rang my friend up in London. He said. “We’re going to see David Bowie tonight at the Astoria in Finsbury Park. Do you wanna go?” I went, but I hadn’t heard of him.
It was the Ziggy Stardust tour. It was a big concert moment. The songs were great. The sound was superb. For a live concert, it was like listening to a record. You could hear every word. It stayed with me. Ever since for a gig, I always say to whoever’s doing the sound, “Listen, everything goes under the voice. I’ve written these words because I want people to hear what I’m singing. I don’t want it to be buried. The voice is important.”
This Land is Mine
A film I was astounded with is This Land is Mine. It floored me. I could not fault any little cog, any part of its make-up.
I’ve always had a great pleasure from watching The Misfits with Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach. It was the last film, coincidentally, of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. It was written by Monroe’s husband, Arthur Miller. It’s directed by John Huston. It’s stunning.
My father read a lot, but he never read novels. He thought novels were flights of fantasy that didn’t deserve attention. So I bought him Moby Dick. I told him, “Dad, it’s a novel, but it’s interesting because two-thirds of the book is about the whaling industry of the early years, off Nantucket, about how they lived on the boats, what they did with the whales, how they made candles and how they entertained themselves.
It’s like a documentary. It’s fascinating about life on the sea. Don’t think of it as a novel.” But I don’t think he ever picked it up because when he died, I looked through his books and there it was pristine as when I’d given it to him.
Hugh Cornwell Podcast
And if you want more Stranglers in your life? Dublin South FM have put together a podcast about Cornwell’s solo work as well as his Stranglers’ classics.
It includes a Hugh Cornwell interview as well as highlights from his Totem and Taboo album and also some classic Stranglers tracks.
1. No More Heroes (Stranglers)
2. Totem And Taboo (Hugh Cornwell)
3. Hugh Cornwell Interview
4. Just Like Nothing On Earth(Stranglers)
5. Perfect Day (Lou reed)
6. Peaches (Stranglers)
7. Along Again Or(Love)
8. Strange Little Girl(Stranglers)
9. Love Me Slender (Hugh Cornwell)
10. Golden Brown(Stranglers)