I was in Liverpool in ’98 studying Jazz, working in a bingo hall, smoking an infinite amount of marijuana. The horrible rocky stuff, that dull ambition-robbing drug that was instrumental in me not losing my virginity until the age of 21. Anyway, I digress. What I did enjoy about that time was finding the music of Nick Drake. It was other worldly and a perfect caveat for my smoking spliffs in the bathtub phase, making floating ashtrays with deodorant lids wedged into inflatable armbands.
His music was drenched in a tragic beauty, shrouded in a layer of earthy mysticism. I say earthy because Nick clearly had a penchant for nature and the seasons with songs like Fruit Tree, Pink Moon and Five Leaves Left. Although that’s a reference to running out of rizlas I’m told. Only three studio albums recorded, no video footage and only scraps of audio of his monologues are out there swirling in the aether. And of course the abrupt ending to his life from an overdose of prescription medication.
So we have to depend on the memories of others to construct an image of Nicks character, who is survived by his sister Gabrielle and Cally Calloman, the owner of Nick Drakes estate. I was lucky enough to interview Cally Calloman at the time of the release of Remembered for a While the authorised companion to the music of Nick Drake, compiled, composed and edited by Cally Callomon and Gabrielle Drake, with contributions from Nick’s friends, critics, adherents, family and from Nick Drake himself.
The audio (in the video below) is scratchy, in keeping with the legacy really. But it’s an interesting listen. Cally talks about the mis-truths in other biographies, dispels some common myths, the curious laws pertaining to the publishing of Nicks songs and there’s a whole lot of me saying ‘Wow‘ and ‘That’s interesting‘. Genuinely I was interested, although it comes across incredibly sarcastic.