Robert and Alfie need no introduction to people the world over, but when I started this site, I couldn’t let an opportunity to “chat” with them about their time in Louth go begging. Since moving here in 1988, Robert has recorded four* albums (of his own), and, as he says, he has used a lot of Alfie’s words in his songs.
This is not really an interview, it’s more of a chat mainly because (1) Robert can talk for hours and (2) I don’t claim to be any sort of interviewer. Also, due to my technical inability, the songs that we talk about are not chronologically linked throughout the talking. Instead, I have published a play list – and listeners can choose how and when they listen to the songs.
There are perhaps some things that come up that are unfamiliar, even to Robert’s most avid fans. At one point, Alfie is talking about “The Fitties” which refers to Humberstone Fitties in North East Lincolnshire. The Fitties is a chalet park, and at one point, Robert and Alfie owned a chalet there, and sometimes, that is where they went to be creative – or just to get away for a while. In 1996 the area was declared a conservation area following requests from the tenants, although in reality, Alfie just about saved it on her own.
Another discussion sees Robert and Alfie giving their own, individual interpretations of ‘Shleep’ and perhaps for the first time in a recorded conversation, Alfie voices her personal insight into “Just as you Are” and “Attic” whilst Robert explains the link to his dad in “You You”.
Towards the end of this chat, we briefly discuss the “local” Arts scene in Louth, and Robert’s support to both musicians and artists in the town.
Finally, I can say that for once, the interviewer was easily more struck by “stagefright” than the interviewee. I just hope this ‘raw’ insight provides another perspective to the “Duchess” and “Old Rottenhat” and their incredible journey together.
Alifib – Obviously NOT from the Louth “era” – but included because this version is SO moving!
Wyatt/ Atzmon/ Stephen: The ghost within (Roz Stephens-strings/ Tali Atzmon-voice/ Gilad Atzmon- arrangement + clarinet/ Yaron Stavi – bass/Wyatt-backing voice. [Lyrics A. Benge)
David Gilmore (feat. Robert Wyatt): Then I close my eyes
*The four Wyatt albums written and recorded since being in Louth are:
Dondestan (1991) Rough Trade – Recorded: February 1991; Chapel Studios, South Thoresby, Lincolnshire
Shleep (1997) Hannibal – Recorded: 1996-1997 at Phil Manzanera’s Gallery Studio, Chertsey
Cuckooland (2003) Hannibal
Comicopera 2007 Domino – Recorded in Wyatt’s house and Manzanera’s recording studio, Queens Park
Dave Larder – October, 2017