Our infrequent series in which somebody special picks five things that make their world go around continues with musician Anthony Reynolds.
Back in the 1990s Anthony Reynolds was the vocalist and songwriter for the much loved by some, but criminally ignored by most, indie band Jack. Their debut album Pioneer Soundtracks, a bona-fide bohemian classic, was released in 1996 by Too Pure. Prior to its release Anthony and keyboardist George were sent out on an interview tour across Europe the story of which is documented in Reynolds’ ragged, raucous and reflective new publication The Promosexuals. If you are unaware of the band Jack I suggest you fix that first by listening to Pioneer Soundtracks (as a starter here’s the promo video for the single Biography of a First Son
Suitably primed The Promosexuals’ tragicomedy is ever more poignant. Reynolds continues making music as a solo musician including the recent, excellent A Painter’s Life album. Here’s five of the things that make his world go around.
Specifically British Bronze age comics: Action, Battle, Starlord, Misty and foremost, 2000AD. Anything IPC from the mid 1970’s up until 1982. Obviously, these are talismans for my youth.
I’m at an age now where I’m interested in deep investigation of past experiences. As I grow old, my own past is largely a mystery to me. And I feel I’ve wandered the earth almost sufficiently. I’ve stood on a street corner in South America and I’ve stood on a street corner in Cheam. The only difference is the horrific journey it takes to get to one and not the other. A street corner is basically a street corner. I feel much less inclined to force myself into new and potentially damaging experiences now. So journeying into my past suffices. The covers of these comics have a very powerful, uplifting effect on me. They are magic symbols for something. I’m trying to figure out what. They just make me happy in a dumb animalistic way. If I do travel, I take a few issues of Action and 2000AD with me and sprinkle them around the hotel suite. Just to keep me happy. One of my nans would buy these comics for me as a kid and I’m able to feel her kindly presence when I’m gripping a cover of a 1977 2000AD. Of course, the fact that I now ‘play’ a character in 2000AD- Inspector Alphonse Mucha in the ‘Saphir’ series – is fucking mind-blowing. My friend (and 2000AD Art droid) David Roach uses me as a model for the character. I’m a bit too portly in it but I’m not complaining. Seeing myself in 2000AD was a transcendental near religious experience.
Wasn’t it Balthus who said ‘My need for a château is the same as a peasant’s need for bread’ and I could say the same for me and a piano. I’ve lived with one for decades and always will. And I’m not talking about a keyboard. The thing with a piano is that it’s always ‘On’. It doesn’t need a power source. It can also withstand spilt wine, candle wax and ash of all sorts. It doesn’t even have to be a good piano as long as it’s reasonably in tune. If something sounds good on a bashed up upright it’s gonna’ sound phenomenal on a grand piano with an orchestra. I also like piano tuners. A mystical and strange breed.
3) Car Boot sales.
This is basically like going to heaven for me; A bright Sunday morning, a few quid in your pocket and acres of trestle tables loaded with junk stretching out before me. You never know what you’ll find. Years ago, when I lived in London, I was going through one of my habitual Charles Aznavour phases. I desperately wanted some of his sheet music. This was pre-internet. Nowhere had anything. None of London’s music or bookshops. Then- Boom!- I found his complete works in one book five minutes away at Holloway Boot sale. I also like finding things by chance. When I do, I kid myself that fate is smiling down on me. They are a kind of churning microcosm for our culture. When someone of a certain age dies, you’ll get a house clearance and this will result in Car Boots being flooded with copies of The Strand or beautiful old tobacco tins. You can measure mortality by ‘em. They are also occasionally fantastic for comics, also. Less so pianos.
4) Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin.
More symbols. I figured years ago that you could wake up and put on a hessian sack every day. It keeps you protected from the elements and keeps your privates private. So if you are going to wear something, why not something infused with meaning? To this end I try only to wear Saint Laurent and Cardin, although obviously I’m not rich so often slob around in gym shorts and a string vest. But their clothes hold a powerful symbolic meaning for me. It can help me transcend my surroundings. A black YSL Scarf has got me through many a grim family gathering. Wearing it, I feel linked to something bigger and more beautiful. To something profound. And aesthetically, creations by both designers are nearly always pleasing.
I try to live with a cat in close proximity. They are living proof of true beauty, style and loafing about. All conditions I aspire to. Burroughs said “Unlike Dogs who can watch or guard, a cat has nothing to offer but itself”. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I hope I come back as one of my cats. Cats are my heroes. And simply beautiful. Also, I’m glad they don’t speak English. If they could talk, the whole relationship would be over.
The Promosexuals is available in print or digital here.
Main image Anthony in action as Inspector Alphonse Mucha as seen by David Roach.