As we are about to released from lockdown, time to revisit those balmy days when we could speak to live audiences. In particular, The Vicar’s talk in Paris last year.
The Vicar spoke at great length about the relationship between the musician and audience. It is a very special, sacred and intimate relationship, where musician and audience jointly give birth to the music. It is, however, not necessarily a personal relationship. The audience does not need to know the artist personally, nor does the artist need to know the audience. The Vicar has always been protective of his own personal space – resisting those who “Just want to say hello”, “just have an autograph”, “just take a photograph” – to the extent of telling the story of when he pinned someone to a wall for taking his photograph, and their misunderstanding reply of “but we give you money”, as if buying or loving someone’s music gives you access not just to the music, but also to their private lives as well. (I am slightly reminded of George Harrison’s quote that the fans gave their adoration, the band gave their nervous systems). The Vicar also spoke about the importance for him to know the aim, why am I doing something. And if the best answer you get is “why not?” You should run as fast as your legs can carry you, because you are being asked to do something arbitrary for which there is no good reason.
One can disagree with his point of view (not that I do), but in a very intimate meeting, The Vicar explained the nature of the relationship as he sees it.
So – onto the strange case of The Vicar’s Talk
Once the talk was over, one of the attendees came up to me, showed me three albums in a bag and demanded “Will The Vicar sign these now?!!”
I asked if he had understood what The Vicar had said, which he had. So given that, I asked, why would you expect that he would sign them.
“Why not?”, came the reply “we have given him money!”