By Joe Ambrose
“I just assume that whatever is going to happen to me is going to happen. There it goes; someone is there, someone isn’t there. This girl is here. This food is here.”
I had no money that particular day. This is not about the extrovert part of life.
God knows where the money went. God knows where it came from. It came in fast, often from several directions at once like the American bombs dropping on Baghdad. It went out just as rapid – like Road Runner. There was the buying of drugs, the buying of vinyl, the flying everywhere and often. There were the 74 pairs of shoes and there was that blue Nepalese jacket and that Armani coat.
So, due to coats and planes and consumer durables, there was absolutely no money left on the morning of my 33rd birthday. Alex discovered £3.27 in a coat pocket and I’d the fiver I’d been hoarding for the rainy day which had now arrived. Though outside on Glengall Road – where I Got the Power blasted out of a passing white van – there waited a sunny September afternoon.
Everything that could be done with tinned tomatoes, onions, dried pasta, chilli powder and cinnamon had been done and done all over again. Every unnecessary aspect of the record collection (the seven Eddie Kendricks disco albums, the five David Ruffin ones, Andy Weatherall’s lesser remixes, the spare copy of the first Sigue Sigue Sputnik album, that awful At the Drive-In thing I bought by mistake) had been dispatched into Notting Hill’s Record and Tape Exchange, as had review copies of books by great, famous, and mediocre writers.
I was thinking about where to buy us a bit of cheap pork when the second mail arrived with a birthday card from my sister Jackie in Paris containing a £3O voucher for Marks and Spencer, with the suggestion that I buy myself something to wear.
I never bought anything other than leather belts in M&S but recalled that their flagship Oxford Street outlet had a basement supermarket where all manner of edibles could be gotten with a £30 voucher.
“London is so sexy in September,” said Alex as we left Glengall Road and headed for the nearby train station – where no pesky ticket inspections were undertaken and via which, therefore, the West End was our oyster.
That was Alex the DJ from Berlin – as opposed to Alex the film editor from Luxembourg or Alex the male model from Slovenia.
I first met him when I was working on the Dreamachines club at the Tactical Café on Soho’s D’Arblay Street between ‘96 and ‘97, in the period subsequent to the release of the 10% File Under Burroughs album, which myself and Frank Rynne produced. Featuring John Cale, Marianne Faithfull, Bill Laswell, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Scanner, Paul Bowles – and more – it propelled me and Frank, trading as Islamic Diggers, onto a blossoming international scene made up of elderly Beat Generation survivors, middle aged punk icons, Sixties saints and sinners, rich celebrity art whores, and the teeming drug-fuelled youth of the dance music revolution. With walk-on parts for a few A-List drug smugglers and their criminal associates.
Frank said that Tactical was an internet café without computers – which was accurate insofar as internet cafés were an allied-to-the-future thing in the London of ‘96. They had something to do with that cult of exclusivity surrounding the emergent digital culture and civilisation, that snobby cliquishness which divides those who know how to do something from those who don’t; be that something cooking a meal, riding a bike, or riding a human being.
I was strictly old school.
What I listened to in the comfort of my own home was nobody’s business.
Tactical, allied to our digital future, was owned by an ambitious edgy young Scottish couple, Astrid and Alan, people right out of art and architecture, searching for money and career opportunities
He was a spiky haired architect with the makings of a receding hairline – dressed funky. She was proud, cocky, blonde, and tight with the money like many left-leaning human beings.
The common chatter spoke of architects being artists. I saw them as people in hard hats who interacted with builders and quantity surveyors. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it didn’t amount to art.
Alan was your arty sort of architect.
One of the two of them had a father in charge of the accounts at the Church of Scotland – or something like that.
Islamic Diggers first met the Tactical twosome in the Living Room, a converted car garage just south of Soho Square, which subsequently became the Blue Room. Somebody said it was a funky version of Central Perk in Friends but since I’ve never seen Friends I can’t comment on this.
Who hung out in the Living Room? Leggy young Swedish models wondering if there was a McDonalds in Antwerp (there was apparently), bands – signed and unsigned, happening and struggling, Kylie Minogue vaunting the cutest ass in showbiz, Anita Pallenberg and her gang of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design students, Joaquín Cortés providing stiff competition in the ass department, suchlike pretty people.
After the Sunday Times gave it a write-up, that cream curdled. The Great Unwashed came in the hope of seeing Kylie and her ass so, of course, Kylie and said ass stopped hanging out there.
I stayed on long after that because the staff kept giving me free coffees and it worked for me as an office. I stayed on until it passed into the hands of Alex Ferguson’s daughter-in-law. I stayed on until she sold it a Lebanese Jewish guy who thought he was going to make a killing there. He talked a lot about world peace. So then I left.
We were slumped around on the Living Room couch during that café’s Golden Age when Alan and Astrid strode in and walked over to our table. They looked a bit out of place to me but in retrospect that was just my own druggy arrogance and sense of myself as being part of some utterly imaginary elite.
They explained how they were starting a café called Tactical on D’Arblay Street and would Islamic Diggers DJ the opening night? I’d no idea where D’Arblay Street was but Frank knew all about it because there was an original Duffer of St. George shop there. Also Black Market Records and Fish Hairdressing.
We pretended to hum and haw but were interested.
I ambled into 27 D’Arblay Street the next evening and discovered that they’d actually leased the old Duffer shop, and that it was right next to Black Market Records. Frank arrived shortly afterwards.
I warmed to the location.
It could play a role in our Cultural Intafada and drive for world domination.
The two Scots were doing all the refurbishment themselves. They’d stripped the walls and thrown out the carpets; they were going for a grungy loft/squat style and were way ahead of the curve in this regard. London is now swamped with earthy counterculture bistros – each and every one of them fulfilling Frank Zappa’s dream that every town should have a place where phoney hippies meet.
Tactical was opening two days later and would we play at the opening night?
We could DJ – after a fashion – at the drop of a hat. It didn’t look like the room was going to be ready.
A fee was eventually agreed upon. A lesser sum was settled for a club night which we’d do once a week – Dreamachines. It was an opportunity to work, all the time, at the core of the Bermuda Triangle which was the Soho entertainment business.
When we arrived to set up our gear, two hours before the opening party, it was looking good. Primitive bookshelves had been installed and ten cardboard boxes from Turnaround Books, distributors of weird shit, lay stacked neatly in the corner alongside boxes of glasses, crockery, and cutlery.
The books in the boxes featured work by the likes of Chomsky, J.G. Ballard, Burroughs, Hakim Bey, and Mr. Kerouac. Loads of Ian Sinclair, whose thoughts on big city living were de rigeur in lefty literary London. There were two Pulp Faction anthologies; I was in one and Tony White and Jeff Noon were in the other.
It went very well. For Tactical and for us. I played a bunch of LL Cool J remixes, and a Janet Jackson instrumental 12” mixed with 1920s archival recordings of African tribesmen. Nothing too worrying.
We gave out flyers for the first night of Dreamachines. There and all over Soho.
The Dreamachines club had DJing by Islamic Diggers. Six Brion Gysin Dreamachines were built for us by the artist Martin Squires and by Frank’s brother Michael Rynne who was a designer, mostly of clothes. The Dreamachine is a cylindrical flicker device invented by Ian Sommerville and Gysin – advocated by William Burroughs. It is viewed with the eyes closed: the pulsating light it emits stimulating the optical nerve and giving rise to visualisations and a pleasant trance-like state of consciousness.
Occasionally the wheels of steel would grind to a halt and we’d have literary readings. Lydia Lunch drew a crowd, with Kirk Lake as her support act. Terry Wilson, Brion Gysin’s major late period collaborator, hung around a bit and read once or twice. He certainly read the same night as his Notting Hill neighbour Michael Horovitz at See You Later Allen Ginsberg – anhomage to Ginsberg on the occasion of his death. Drug smuggler Howard Marks, artist George Condo, and Ginsberg’s pal/biographer Barry Miles helped out on this.
The Irish rock biz publicist Terry O’Neill came down when Lydia and Kirk performed.
I told Terry, while Ganja Kru’s Super Sharp Shooter span round and round in front of me, how much I admired Kirk’s writing – but Terry was not impressed.
“The kids seem to like it,” I shouted over LL Cool J or Method Man.
“That,” Terry replied, giggling, “might mean something if some of the people attending your events actually spoke English as a first language.”
Terry had a point. Our audiences were maybe thirty percent Brits, fifty percent Eurokids from a variety of art schools, film schools, and fashion courses. The remainder of the crowd was made up of disaffected Muslims, weird dysfunctional Yanks, and some Irish stragglers left over from previous reputations and incarnations enjoyed by Frank or me.
Alex from Berlin was one of the Eurokids. He took a bit of getting to know, like a good album or a bad book. He was staunch and could be brave but, oh, he could be the most tremendous coward also. What he lacked in courage and funding he made up for in arrogance and talent. Alex was good looking though he used to say, when things were not going well, “All of my family are fat. When I get older I will be fat too.”
Most of our Eurokid followers were well-heeled students washed up in London for sex tourism but Alex came from good Socialist East German working class stock; he’d no money of his own and worked two jobs to support his music. Three jobs if you counted keeping up with his neurotic spoilt girlfriend Asta – recently arrived in town from the Republic of Cum – as a job. She paid the bills. Her mutter und vater were hospital consultants with burgeoning private practices.
Alex did lighting for mainstream West End shows. I think he was a stringer on the Blood Brothers crew – or some other middle-of-the-road hit musical. He also waitered in a groovy organic Notting Hill eatery, with lots of soups and snacks and snakes in the grass and cakes and bitches on offer.
Asta was studying at St. Martin’s. Due to that and to the proximity of the West End theatres, these two were frequently in Soho and the Living Room. Him all handsome, brooding, and idealistic looking, her all pouty and Carly Simon-like.
Later Asta got a job in Notting Hill Arts Club which was not an arts club but a successful basement nightclub with artistic aspirations.
A bunch of zany art school waiters and waitresses ruled the roost in the Living Room and kept the homely brown leather couch free for me and my gang. It was while sitting on that couch that I met Alex,
He told me that his granddad was a post-war Communist strongman in some important provincial city. In the 60s Alex’s granny deserted him and headed for East Berlin where she reared Alex’s mother and uncle. Alex had fond childhood memories of his grandfather coming up to Berlin to visit his family, a tall ascetic man travelling in a chauffeur-driven Communist Party Wartburg limousine.
Six foot tall Alex, blonde, blue eyed and athletic, grew up to look like the embodiment of Hitler’s hokum master race theories. He seemed to step right out of one of those Leni Riefenstahl movies. He loathed this because he detested the Nazis.
At the age of 11 he got recruited onto the East German youth cycling team. Olympic glory, dubious hormone injections, and a heroic life of socialist achievement beckoned.
Early in ‘89, just before the Wall came down, his uncle defected to the West and Alex’s family were deemed politically unreliable. There followed a scene full of pathos wherein he was taken aside by his Olympic coach, told that he could no longer attend elite athletics school, and must return to the lumpen Commie world or cheap shell suits and black bread.
Berlin and Germany subsequently reunified and Alex’s whole life experience turned irrelevant overnight; he became a deviant from the new norm, the leader of a street gang made up of erstwhile teenage Olympian cyclists now turned into bicycle thieves. They travelled by trams deep into the distant suburbs of prosperous West Berlin and stole, from the front gardens of rich folks, top of the range bikes. They cycled back home to the East with the cops in hot pursuit but unable to catch the teenage ex-heroes of Socialism, all grown up now and turned into freelance entrepreneurs.
Techno hit Berlin and Alex was in the thick of it.
I didn’t know until much later when I went to stay in Berlin with his family, to hang out in Prenzlauer Berg with the bicycle thieves, that Alex arrived in London from a Berlin music scene very much bugged out on Burroughs, Gysin, Genesis P Orridge, all those guys. His coterie of pals and collaborators had taken 10% File Under Burroughs as a bible, a road map. Alex, one of his comrades told me, knew 10% off by heart before he ever set foot in London.
When I leaned over to him in the Living Room, liking the look of him, and handed over a flyer for Dreamachines, he knew exactly who I was.
He entertained me with his tales of youth behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, a state whose system he was in many ways nostalgic for, just like I was nostalgic for a lost Ireland.
Two weeks into our friendship he nervously asked me to do the vocal on a track he was working on. He’d been in London a year in search of music biz glory, and nobody was willing to give him so much as a look-in, except for a few old queers who fancied their chances.
His music was sample-based and sampling appealed because it deconstructed sound and word and concept.
Weeknights I’d bring him over to my place to feed him. Weekends I’d go to his Notting Hill café and he’d serve me healthy organic stuff on the quiet after rush hour.
Until the two of us moved into Glengall Road I lived in a tiny bedsitter next to King’s Cross Station. Other tenants included hookers and buskers working the station, a minicab driver, and an Israeli kid on the run from conscription into the IDF. Alex and Asta lived near Brixton where they rented the comfortable top floor of a terraced redbrick.
A bus went from my front door to Alex’s, a journey across the city which took 30 minutes late at night when the traffic died down.
Asta went out to work at Notting Hill Arts in the late evening, returning home by the dawn’s early light. I’d arrive in Brixton at midnight and I’d stay for three or four hours. In the end it became an uneasy arrangement but I liked to hang out there watching late night TV, eating, messing around in his home studio with his projects and productions.
Once we were watching the TV late night – a nature show about the wildlife of the Serengeti. The presenter announced that, “The biggest collection of predators on the planet is located in the Serengeti.” “No,” chortled Alex in his dark brown Berlin accent, “the largest collection of predators in the world is located in Soho.”
He’d gathered up the most extraordinary collection of samples and had every significant 12” remix known to man. All the money he earned went on music or music equipment.
Kings Cross was a great place for a writer to live but my modest accommodation was not the sort that a chap working with Anita Pallenberg or Marianne Faithfull should be residing in. I went looking for a home which reflected my sense of my own importance and prosperity. Brixton was high on my list; I’d been happy there in the past. Notting Hill and Madia Vale were also considered.
In the end I settled for the one-time Irish ghetto of Kilburn which I knew well from my previous incarnation as the manager of an Irish punk band. On sweltering summer nights I’d rambled through Kilburn in an ancient yellow Volvo 200, putting up band posters in the hope of attracting my more youthful compatriots.
Kilburn was a traditional destination for the working class Irish who went to London in the 50s and 60s searching for manual labour work – people from social housing cottages, two rooms and no bathroom, who listened to country music and that peculiar amalgam called Country and Irish. Men (mostly it was men) who lived on baked beans and Guinness, who read the local papers from their home towns, who spoke in thick guttural accents and walked like they’d stuck broom handles up their assholes. They tried to live, in England, the bucolic Irish provincial lives they’d actually left behind on Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore. Hillbillies let loose upon the slick city. Peasantry who, like peasants all over the world, lived to eat, shit, sing, breed, and die.
The generation of Irish to which I belonged, those of us who went to London in the late 80s, were generally speaking the children of an educated middle class, replete with university or art school degrees. Everyone I knew in Dublin before I left it was on the band, art, or media scene. Some of us had come to a certain level of maturity paying attention to the likes of the Gun Club, Basquiat, NYC Punk, Che Guevara, Mick Farren, or William Burroughs.
Our Kilburn predecessors were now the ageing denizens of emptying Irish ballrooms, bars and bakeries. Shane McGowan reinterpreted their country bumpkin redneck style through a punky drug prism and gave it some perspective.
I saw a flat going on Kilburn’s Glengall Road and rang the landlord, a Mr. Steinhouse who arranged a viewing for the following evening.
Steinhouse turned out to be a Hasidic Jew owning 40-odd houses all over North London, each of them occupied by students, workers, and antisocial attitude types. He had his handsome thirteen year old son with him that first day, a quiet intellectual boy I’d see from time to time over the next two years as he went about with his Dad, anxiously learning the family business, handsome but seemingly utterly humourless.
The flat on offer was in many ways basic but in many ways exactly what I wanted. One airy front room in a terraced Victorian redbrick, full of light, plus a little kitchen down the corridor, plus a bathroom. I handed over a bundle of cash, got the keys, and noted that the adjacent flat was also vacant.
I asked Steinhouse, a twitchy character who got twitchier the longer he knew me, if he’d hold the other place for 24 hours while I persuaded Alex to rent it. I knew that he was anxious to get away from Brixton where all was not well between himself and the lovely Asta.
When I did a Farrago Poetry event at Notting Hill Arts Club the month before I brought Alex along on his very first visit to the venue and he discovered something that I’d known for ages, that the Arts Club closed its doors to the public at 1.30 and that the premises was cleared by 2.15.
So what the fuck was Asta doing with herself (or somebody else) between closing time and the approximately five hours later when she usually got home?
I don’t exactly know how this resolved itself – beyond the fact that Alex was very soon living next door to me in what us Irish liked to call The Republic of Kilburn.
My new home was not the sort of place where I could be holding swellegant dinner parties but had much to recommend it. Very big, very bright, the furniture was mostly rubbish so I threw that all out. A quick trawl through Kilburn’s second hand furniture shops (of which there were many) soon filled my crib with funny 60s junk which reminded me of my childhood. The kitchen had a good old gas cooker, the most important thing any kitchen could have. The fridge was big and worked. Everything else could be bought in.
We effectively took over the ground floor of that house.
I was busy with clubs and mad schemes to do with Islamic Diggers. In our world hip hop met the Beats met Moroccan Sufi Trance met Jungle. The Diggers were a high concept live experience and that bit Dada. We did strange happenings and, conversely, the occasional semi-corporate gig like the Time Out 30th birthday party with Anita Pallenberg and Howard Marks. The New York Times said it was, “a noisy bash for 3000 people.” I got Alex a job on that helping Anita with her DJ set.
I admired the hard, jerky, truncated, beats which Jungle brought to the table – the uncouth sophistication of DJ Zinc and his Ganja Kru. DJ Hype meant a lot to me for a while. I spent late nights in Fabric, 666, and the Blue Note.
I had time to do work on the side with Alex. The proposal came about that I should lend my standing, such as it was, to his more struggling career.
Mainly our work together happened in the middle of the night in his bedroom studio. Or we’d just sit around eating Chinese takeaways and listening over and over again to Sinatra doing The Summer Wind or It Was a Very Good Year.
He’d sneak, in due course, into various proper studios where, having blagged downtime, he had access to aural tools which allowed him to punctuate our little efforts up into the panoramic tableaux that he had in his mind.
Mostly I’d do my more popular spoken word routines for him, some of which I’d worked out for book-promoting readings, some of which I’d written for the Diggers. For the purpose of our work together he was called DONE and I was Joe Ambrose (Islamic Diggers). After a while, when I began to enjoy myself, I wrote new stuff specifically for DONE.
The Diggers took a break from Tactical and that allowed DONE and me to take a slot there for a while. Mostly our nights drew twenty or thirty people. Frank said Alex was using me. He was using me, and I was taken in by his rather old fashioned smoky Mittel European style but it was mutual. It was always a trade-off, this life we led. He played me a little but that’s OK, that’s London and that’s the big city, and that’s men dealing with men and, God knows, I played him right back. I let on to be this nice anxious fellow recently arrived in town from the countryside and upset by the traffic lights. And Alex pretended that he was a Communist.
Frank didn’t like any of this one little bit, was as paranoid as the bass player in some second division metal band in danger of being dropped by their label. His background was rock bands and he wanted Islamic Diggers to be a monolith, to be a one-for-all and all-for-one team like the Beastie Boys or the Stones. I was more into the shapeshifting that dance music brought with it.
One of the studios Alex could gain access to belonged to Setanta Records whose best known and most important act was The Divine Comedy. Later they’d sign sensitive handsome fellows such as Josh Ritter and Evan Dando but when Alex was sneaking me into their Camberwell offices and studios on long black nights of ice and sleet and wind to use their recording facilities, Setanta was still a paranoid indie fortress with a quirky roster standing proud in defence of something or other.
While Alex set up his equipment at midnight, I’d rifle the Setanta filing cabinets and examine their AIB bank accounts, their correspondence with distributors, their PR files. I’d get on with using their photocopier to run off posters and flyers for whatever enterprise I had on the boil.
Alex was an amoebic King of the Shapeshifters. When in Setanta-land he made the sort of well structured light rock favoured in those parts. On one occasion when I was there he persuaded the members of one of the label’s bands to play on tracks he was working on. He said they were junkies and, to a novice like me who’d seen most of his junkies in NME articles on punk rock or the Stones, these guys seemed to have that vagabond junkie quality. I was never given the opportunity to speak with them, but did note their Welsh accents.
They might have been off duty librarians for all I knew.
Was there a world of truth in anything Alex told me? This is what I ask myself now.
After he abruptly disappeared from my life, allegedly returning to Berlin disillusioned with music and London, he actually joined and toured with Wry, one of those oh-so-clever and wistful indie bands that Setanta had a hard-on for. Wry were Welsh.
Years later it dawned on me that the shadowy young Welsh men in the studio that I was never really allowed to speak to, those junkie vagabonds, were actually Wry, and that he’d secretly joined them already when he was telling me that his entire attention was focused on our project together.
He was like a promiscuous and treacherous lover who moved from bed to bed, unbeknownst to his various admirers.
For me he built the most exquisite constructions and, within reason, Frank has utterly correct in his antsy assertion that Alex was using me. In the middle of our delicious dark conspiratorial studio nights, I was using him right back.
But on the morning of my 33rd birthday, when I found myself flat broke but for a fiver and Alex’s £3.27, the world was young, even if I wasn’t.
“London is so sexy in September,” said Alex as we left Glengall Road and headed for the West End.
Euston Station’s ticket inspectors were calmly and professionally avoided. Flush with Jackie’s £30 voucher, we headed for Marks and Spencer. A tray of chicken breasts cost £6. Organic potatoes, mange tout, beef for a stew the next day, a sliver of blue cheese and crackers to go with it – all these things were purchased and we were back in business.
We headed down Berwick Street, passing D’Arblay Street and Tactical on the right hand side, to spend our cash. It was getting on for dusk and I was feeling good. I liked being pinned to the collar financially – on occasional occasion.
Berwick Street is always famous to Londoners and was globally famous then because Oasis used it on the cover of their biggest album, 1995’s What’s the Story Morning Glory? It was all record shops (several of them hugely influential), Italian cafés, and food shops which complimented the open air food market that gave the street its predominant reputation and character. Down there on that short street one could still find the spirit of London – occasionally.
One guy did a cheap cheese stall and another did an aromatic deli. There was a gourmet sausage shop where the boy behind the counter gave me a huge bag of sausages full of choice pork plus nutmeg or leeks or cider apples every time I saw him.
It was almost 5pm, and coming up on closing time, when I gave Alex my fiver to go get a bottle of wine from the Safeways and went hunting for end-of-the-day bargains with his £3.27.
In that September’s cool evening light I went to buy some of the last of the tomatoes off Freddy, a frail old Jewish guy I’d known for years. At the next stall, where an unpleasant but tremendous teenage salesman worked, a skinny man of middling years, accompanied by two hot ballerinas, leggy pert girls, was frantically bargaining for the last of the over-ripe bananas. It was Malcolm MacLaren the Great Rock’n’Roll Swindler.
He left his ballerinas and came around to Freddy’s stall – where he got quite ratty when Freddy wouldn’t accept 50p for a punnet of green tomatoes.
Alex emerged from Safeways with his wine. We walked back to Euston and, once again avoiding the ticket inspectors, caught the train back to Kilburn.
Saturday I had a gig and I got paid.
I can’t exactly remember the circumstances in which myself and Alex parted company because it was tied in with the death of my father and the subsequent decline of my mother into terminal illness.
I was sitting in Glengall Road one morning when the phone started ringing remorselessly from far away in Ireland. First it was our housekeeper telling me that my father had just been transported up to our local hospital. Then it was my sister and then it was my mother.
I went to the funeral and came back to London where I wound down my affairs; I was needed in Ireland to help with Mother. I held on to the Glengall Road flat but was rarely there.
My mother died months later and I returned to London.
What became of Alex?
I remember Frank coming to me one time and swearing me to secrecy regarding what he was about to say. Alex had told him, in the strictest confidence, that he’d borrowed money from his mother to pay for the pressing of an EP of pop songs by this effeminate Japanese gayboy he’d been working with whose ambition it was to write the French entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. That pissed me off big time but I never broached the subject with him. I remember that much, and seeing less of him – but it’s all a bit vague.
A few years later, on tour in Germany, I persuaded all of his family to come along to the gig Islamic Diggers did in Berlin’s Trompote. By then he was estranged from his mother, living with a German woman of Japanese extraction, and had abandoned music.
It was nice to see him again. He told me, correctly, that Trompote was an utterly inappropriate venue for Islamic Diggers to be playing. Our audience consisted of Members of the European Parliament and their hookers. Plus some Russian gentlemen, and their companions.
I assumed at the time that he’d reconnect with his mother and return to music but, it seems, he hasn’t. Not yet anyhow.