Lol Coxhill in a skip - 2 November 2004

Lol photo shoot © Simon Thackray

Simon's interview with Lol


We did the photo shoot (above) on a wild and windy day on top of Rosedale Chimney Bank (one of the most beautiful places in the world) and then drove back over the moors to Kirkbymoorside for lunch. I'm pretty useless at interviewing poeple but I think Lol's descriptions and explanations about his playing give a good insight into his methods and a verbal preview of the audio visual feast we can expect on 2 November. For those of you confused about the date, the gig is still to come. The above photo and reference to playing in a skip below relates to the photo shoot above, not the forthcoming gig.

Lol Coxhill will perform in a skip on Tuesday 2 November.

Thanks, Simon.

Skipping in the Guardian!

Simon: I'll just switch on the machine and leave it running...
Lol:  I'm pretty useless at interviews anyway - you might be on a lucky day.
Simon:  How do you describe what you do?
Lol:  Work wise? I'm involved with lots of things. What interests me most is playing improvised music but I still do the solo things sometimes then playing with either the London Improvisers Orchestra or other various pick-up bands. Then just occasionally I like to play old standard tunes for dances and things but not very often - mostly improvised music now. And the Dedication Orchestra - if it's still happening next year again. You're playing with a lot of good players there, playing the old charts from Dudu and people.
  (Sound of banging of pots from table behind)
Lol:  Very interesting interview...
Simon:  What will people hear on the 2nd of November? For those who've never had any encounter with improvised music, how would you describe it to them?

It's very difficult because there are so many angles to improvisation. There's standard jazz approach to it where you're working on changes anyway, various chord structures. Free Improvisation - I wouldn't know how to describe it. You make it up as you go along but try to make it up good! (laughs) ...but not worry about it too much, you should be more busy doing it than worrying about it.

What I like most is when I'm not thinking about it at all, it's like really of the moment. And I usually find when it is like that, that that's when I play the best I think - if I'm in that kind of mind, not thinking about where I am, just channelled into the music itself.

But I still like doing structured things occasionally. The Dedication Orchestra is good because there are specific themes but they're treated in an improvisatory manner anyway.

  I told you I'm a duff interviewee
Simon: Tell me some of the unusual places you've played.

Oh! I did a gig once in a skip! Oh! that was today wasn't it! (laughs)

That was about the most. I played in an abattoir but it had closed down fortunately. I wish I'd played there a few months later - there were still signs of what it had been. That wasn't a very good gig.

  Swimming pools... in and out of the water. There's a little film I made that was OK/interesting enough but mostly I just like playing with good people when it happens.
Simon: I've seen on the web a tiny snatch of a video of you playing outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris with a...
Lol:  ..a little girl, yes, funny little girl. I wanted her to go away (laughs). Yes, she's definitely the star. I used to like busking when I could just do it, I used to go if I played in another country somewhere, if I had plenty of time but there are too many problems with it now. You can't just stand there and do it... well some can.
  I did apply for a busking licence in London and they didn't give me one (laughs). 
Simon: Is there any particular reason?
Lol:  This is last year (laughs) - they didn't think I was good enough for a busking licence. I have only been doing it for twenty years anyway but I just couldn't get the hang of it I suppose. (laughs)

Read the Press Release Lol Coxhill - biography.

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