Monday, 15 November 2010

Visiting Nick Drake

The autumn colours of gold and dark reds flitter through the Warwickshire countryside as the foliage rustles in the wind; creates a presence of eyes watching, amidst the arm-like branches that adorn the hedgerows and gardens of pristine red-bricked houses and snug thatched cottages. The bright sun betrays its November setting, yet the crisp bite in the air snaps at the skin mischievously. The atmosphere is drenched in the melancholic dregs of summer - the winter is soon upon us, the animals are preparing to hibernate, nature is about to shut-shop, the dying year has not long to live.

This is Tanworth in Arden. A serene, small village that seems quintessentially English. It is, to music fans across the world, a special place, associated with one of the finest songwriter's the country has ever produced.

Nick Drake.

The tragic story of Nick's life and work has touched many people. Nick's struggling musical career, along with his battle with depression and ultimately premature death at the young age of  has fascinated a generation and has been written/studied about extensively. What makes Nick's tale so poignant is the success and adoration he so dearly craved, was only achieved years after his sad death.

I discovered Nick's music through my love of the Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums. Snuck away on a soul-searching soundtrack of delights, was an unusually sounding folky song; amidst the storyline of a character reaching a crisis point, it was a simple melody and yet hit that particular soft spot for the reflective. I was caught in Nick's alluring net, and quickly sought out more of his music.

I wondered where Nick had been all my life. The sadness, the subtle beauty, the tragic elements of life. His exquisite guitar playing accompanied with haunting lyrics of poetry; his sadness at life, his ghostly, even rather odd tone of voice. Part of me fell in love with Nick's music, his words, and even Nick himself. Listening to his work made you plead to some other-worldy presence, to tell him he had made it, that we loved him, that it was going to be okay.

Visiting Tanworth In Arden was perhaps, a musical pilgrimage. You could imagine Nick strolling his long legs through the small village in autumn, his eyes casting at the golden colours...and suddenly it was understandable how he could have been inspired to write such reflective songs of delicate sensitive succulence.

Nick's grave lies in a quiet, tranquil churchyard, overlooking a landscape of English countryside that makes you tingle. To visit the grave, is to pay your respects, to appreciate his life and what he achieved. There is something comforting in the knowledge that this is his resting place. There is a silent respect, an atmosphere of calm, and of something, just that little bit exceptional.

One of the aspects of Nick's music that makes him so effective is that he sings and plays as if he is performing especially to you. It is comforting, if heartbreaking, that he seems to understand feelings you may experience yourself.

The sad story of Nick Drake is also positive. Positive that so many have enjoyed and loved his work, positive that he will never really die; that he created something that has united people and that will live forever, and last longer and past a time where we ourselves will be nothing but the rustles in the foliage of an exquisite countryside. We rise. We are everywhere.

The complete set of photographs I took at Tanworth In Arden

1 comment:

marcogad said...

Thank you it was really an emotion to read your words and to see your photographs