We’ve had an exhausting month in Rabbit Land. We’ve only played four gigs which on the surface of it makes this our quietest month in two years. In fact it’s been one of the busiest - we’ve been burrowing our way through nine new songs which we’re recording next month. And we’re been packing a punch on radio too – in Deutschland, of all places.
Next week we go back on the road again with 4 shows in 5 days - and I can’t wait. While off the road I have been brushing up on my German in preparation for that interview and obsessing about Kurt Schwitters’ column.
Inside the houses he lived in, Schwitters made columns, adding layer upon layer of trash and leftovers of people he had met and worked with. He constructed his columns by hand with nails and glue and would leave cavities which he would cram with artifacts like the dog end of a cigarette smoked by Mondrian, the cut-off end of Theo Van Doesburg’s tie and a pot of someone’s urine, collected somewhere in the 1920s. As time went on the columns grew fatter and wider until the artifacts of past acquaintances were buried deep inside its form.
Now - while I was warming up a Cornish Pasty the other day - I wondered what memorabilia would fill the Rabbit Foot Column. And whether - if we were an even bigger band - we could ever support a statue of Nelson on top.
I imagined the frenzy when my column was eventually uncovered by Cambridge Polytechnic Archaeologists!
On drums Skippy Gannon would contribute a black and yellow polyester buzzy Bee outfit – to signify his time providing backing for Arthur Askey (1900-1982) on the British variety circuit. Our bassist Buzz would contribute the spectacles of the engineer Nikola Tesla, inventor of the first loudspeaker.
Neapolitan guitar wizard Carlo Matassa would fill his hole with Tutti Frutti ice cream - and perhaps a couple of the Charlie Patton 78s we enthused over when we first met, on a rainy night, back in 2008.
There is little surprise when looking into saxophonist Red Wilkins’ hole – where we discover his sandwiches. The only mystery involves the audience trying to figure out what is in the sandwiches.We in the band already know that he has tomato sandwiches. And for pudding, there will be some fruit.
Muggsy West would leave a selection of women’s make up bags. With these pinned to the surface of the column we recall the happy evening of February 2nd 2008 – when Muggsy first joined the band on stage, for a Charity Gala Dinner at Oxford Town Hall. At the time we were too poor to afford to buy a drink so while we sneaked around the room hunting for left over drinks he picked up a book of raffle tickets and proceeded to win 6 out of 10 prizes. These included – I remember it clearly to this day – two crates of Wine, a tent, a collapsible deck chair, and the aforementioned make up bags.
Trumpeter Bunny Eros has filled in his own hole and covered it over with plaster of Paris but I saw what went in and frankly, you don’t want to know*.
Further inside the column are the remnants of those who have not made it to Year of the Rabbit. I would be kind in my selection of artifacts, but realistic.
You might imagine the list of items to be: Kid O’Hara (guitar, Sep 07-Dec 07) – 1 pair of large glasses; Hurricane Madams (drums, Sep 07-Feb 09)– 1 camping stove; Spooky Cotman (trumpet, Sep 07-Sep 08)– a newsboy cap; Martin (trombone, Sep 08-June 10) – a kebab; DJ Simpson (drums, Feb 09-April 09) - a dog collar; Radiology Taylor (guitar, Dec 07-April 09) – a roundabout, built from Lego (as in 'if you don’t stop singing I will leave you at the fucking roundabout'; Blind Bill Fadden (Oct 09-June 10) – see Kid O-Hara; Lucky Nickerson drums, April 09-September 10) – a stopwatch, telling me that my Cornish Pasty is nearly done.
And so the Macbeth-Säule would take form to be proclaimed a masterpiece by both people at its opening night. But I can’t envisage a cavity to stuff the remains of Year of the Rabbit in - although the scraps and leftovers of its construction would be better gathered there than in a 20th anniversary 3-CD box set (with previous unseen photographs and line notes from yours truly). And God forbid I might leave space for memorabilia accompanying the 20th anniversary tour where I foresee such unworldly horrors as the “e-tshirt”, tickets downloaded on iPads with “exclusive downloads” and - worse of all – a hologram of myself, singing from beyond the grave. You could use your mobile phone to turn me down - and if you press the hash key twice I turn into Oliver Reed.
* It was an HTML code.