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Adventures with a lost Nick Drake recording…

A ‘lost’ version of the classic Nick Drake track ‘Cello Song’ provides the jumping-off point for our forthcoming show ‘Strange Face’, whose performer, Michael Burdett, found it on a tape he rescued from a skip at Island Records when he worked there as a young man in the 1970s….the show, which is very funny and very moving about all sorts of things, contains lots of obscure information about drake, an artist who I rather overlooked for many years but now listen to probably every day. The 70th anniversary of his birth falls next year, and will form the excuse for a substantial celebration as part of St George’s re-opening programme after the completion of our new building. Joe Moran’s recent book on shyness, ’Shrinking Violets’, includes a chapter on Drake and other recessive folk-ish singers such as Vashti Bunyan and Anne Briggs.

‘Strange Face’ is actually about all sorts of things other than drake – coincidence and weird twists of fate among them – but there’s enough arcane information about his brief career to satisfy any fan, while Burdett proves a very effective communicator, sort of half-way between college lecturer and stand-up comedian, leading us cleverly into what turns out to be a kind of moral maze of material that moves by stealth into some surprising and enlightening byways… It’s about life, really, and the lessons we can draw from all sorts of odd encounters. Certainly, I will never forget the experience: I saw it on the evening of the referendum on Europe last June, at the wonderful venue of an old brewery right next to Ludlow railway station, promoted there as part of the Ludlow Festival. It was a beautiful summer’s night and as I sat on my train homewards afterwards at 11pm or so, I checked the Guardian website on my phone for news of exit polls and read that Nigel Farage had conceded defeat for the Leave side, saying they’d fought a good fight and might prevail next time. I therefore got a bit of a shock when I checked the website again on waking up in the morning….

Phil Johnson, Senior Programme Producer

Strange Face – Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

Thursday 2 February, 8pm
Tickets £15, £5 Students/U18s (limited availability) (plus fees)

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Photo copyright the estate of Keith Morris