Polly Jean

I have such clarity of memory, as a teenager playing my vinyl records on an old Grundig mono record player, my punk and new wave sounds blasting from a speaker grimly hanging on for dear life, and my father asking me what that ‘loony music’ was I was listening to.

Loony music.

There was a small degree of posturing, of course, an in-joke that one generation felt obliged to utter to the other, but it has always stayed with me.

Polly Jean Harvey MBE, the driving force behind her band, PJ Harvey, is a musician and writer I have admired since the day I first heard her LP, Dry, in 1992. I play the record frequently to this day. And, PJ Harvey is also a band who, I dare say, my father would have delighted in referring to as loony music.

Oh, yes.

So, when I read that Harvey’s 2010 LP, Let England Shake, was recorded at the Eype Arts Centre in Dorset, well, I had to smile. Eype Arts Centre is the former Eype Church, a small but delightful stone construction on top of a hill not far from West Bay and Bridport. My father, when he lived by the sea in West Bay often took walks to the church. In fact, both he and I did together on a couple of occasions.

The church was so loved by my father, that in 1998, after his sudden death he was laid to rest as close to the west wall as one could be placed. I dare say he could have easily heard PJ as she recorded her new record. As I imagine this, my smile is a result of the irony of it all. Loony music, constructed and recorded barely feet away from my dear dad’s place of rest.

I would imagine he was shouting at them to turn the bloody noise down….

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