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Chatting with Robert and Alfie

I chat with Robert Wyatt and Alfreda Benge about their time in Louth, his music, her lyrics, and some other related stuff.

Dave Larder - October 2017

"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. "

Play List

- Dondestan: Costa, Shrinkrap
- Shleep: Heaps of Sheeps, The Duchess
- Cuckooland: Old Europe, Forest
- Comicopera: You You, Out of the Blue

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 Gilmour (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

- Re-mastered and re-released as “Dondestan Revisited” (1998)

>> The interview on the LAAMB website