This faded old photo hung in Zak’s flat in London, left behind by a former tenant. Now it lives on our fridge. It’s a weird scene. A woman and a man in a punt on a lake. She holds him by the coat-tail to steady him as he hurls a double-bass* into the water. Something has gone in already. The bow thrown in like a dart? In the background a sunny lawn leads up to a redbrick Tudor country house.
The man in white tie and tails, and the woman in strapless velvet and Alice band are like ghosts from thirty years ago beginning a long summer evening’s journey into chaos. God knows what’s actually happening here but it’s a haunting thing. Live with it long enough and you imagine you were there and can remember the sound across the water, a fantasy nightmare of morning-after dread. ‘Did we? Oh God!’
An illusion. It’s not summer, it’s winter. The trees are bare up by the house. So it’s probably not a garden party going off the rails. Art, not reportage. A bit of theatre. It’s not just rockers who smash their gear up. It’s a startling image. The mad sense of purpose, the sheer determination to chuck that bass. The energy between them. Who were these two? A singer and her accompanist? You can hear her voice in the photo. Wish we could read the photographer’s signature, Christopher Something. Kudos to him for an iconic image, a real slice of the time. It would’ve made a brilliant photo for a gig. Maybe that’s what it was for.
*Actually a cello I now realise! A very Happy New Year to you all.