Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Gary Numan - this limpid Webb

Gary Numan's album covers from 1979 were pastiches of paintings by Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte.

The reverse of REPLICAS (Tubeway Army)

was from Le Faux Miroir (The False Mirror) by Magritte :

And THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE depicted the Magritte painting of the same name, with one or two subtle differences, such as the man having a lightbulb for a head and the pyramid being a rock or a meteorite - I think.

Check it out!

I discovered this in SYN-ROCK magazine, an amateur issue by Michael from Ealing and friends (a classic collector's piece now I'd imagine) who actually got to interview Numan in about 1980 and were shown how to play I DIE : YOU DIE on his piano by the great pale one himself!

Albeit they spelled the artist's name "McGrete" and led us all to believe there was an undiscovered Scottish genius out there somewhere.

I had a small Magritte collection - postcards, of course - which I found at the Pompidou centre and stuck to my wall in the school in Vitry sur Seine where I spent my year abroad.

Lots of crescent moons, night gardens in daytime and faceless suits.


La reproduction interdite - NO CLONING!

L'empire de lumieres - the empire of lights
Les amants - the lovers

Gary Numan got me playing the piano again, at a time when I'd fallen out of love with lessons and jacked it all in : now I've got my own Korg M3 and I'm in synth heaven every night!

Nearly met him at his keyboardist's 30th at Harvey Wallbanger's at Kensington Olympia. David played in a band called Carwash as well, and my girlfriend was dancing with them. I was talking to him when Gary came into the room. I was stunned! David offered to introduce me but I was instantly starstruck! "Hi Mr Numan, I've got all your records!" - what do you say?

I couldn't approach him.

Anyway, I went to the bar near where he was sitting, but in that two minutes I couldn't find a break in his intense conversation to offer him a drink (he only drinks coke), so the moment passed, and me with my bad cold left soon afterwards. As I drove off, I could see Numan still sitting in the window space upstairs, and his classic CARS started up on my cd player as I watched him in my mirror and drove away.

What a moment - a moment of all but union, as James Joyce said through Stephen Dedalus.

The paths we never took, eh?

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