I have hazy memories of meeting the musician Trish Keenan in a Custard Factory recording studio many years ago. And I remember other times, saying hello from across noisy rooms. The last time I spoke to her was perhaps 2005, in a Mailbox walkway, Birmingham, UK.
I still can’t believe that she has died.
My memories of meeting Trish in April 2003 are clearer because I wrote down what she said. I was interviewing Broadcast for the BBC website. It was the band’s first interview in three years. They were preparing for the release of HaHa Sound.
Trish had presence, she was intelligent, funny and kind to me when I went to meet her in the Kings Heath home she shared with James Cargill. Trish, James and Tim Felton were all very patient with me.
I asked them if they were setting out to be difficult to listen to. James responded by asking Trish and Tim “Are you just trying to be awkward?”
Trish replied: “You’re made awkward.”
Being Broadcast, pursuing their particular vision, was not always easy.
Jam (James) told me: “We don’t want more money to buy a Mercedes or jacuzzis.”
Trish: “Just to buy a studio would be good and more gear would be good.”
Jam: “So we could do more things towards the music.”
Trish: “But it’s that catch 22 thing – you have to start making more commercial decisions in the studio.”
Jam: “And we’re not going to, are we?”
Trish: “Money always costs something and we can’t make those payments in the studio.”
I asked: “Do Broadcast carry a message? What’s it all about?”
Jam: “I remember seeing Roman Polanski interviewed and the guy who interviewed him was asking about how the Sharon Tate thing and the Manson thing come out in his films and he said it didn’t – he just carried on making films.”
“Polanski was probably the only one who didn’t know how it had come into his films – where as everyone else could see it.”
Jam: “So it’s probably better for someone else to tell us how we’re doing.”
Trish: “A poet needs somebody else to tell them what they meant – you can say I was trying to do X, Y, Z – but whether you actually achieve that is for everyone else.”
When they got talking about films, the conversation became more animated.
At that time, ‘The Loves of a Blonde’ was Trish’s favourite movie.
Trish: “It’s Miller Forman’s first film – it’s an early 60’s film about a girl in an orphanage. It’s about her loves – the men she fancies and goes out with – a funny but really sad film.
“It’s Czech – it’s interesting. It’s set post second world war in this small Czechoslovakian village.
“A lot of the men went to war and never came back so there’s too many young girls.
“They post a lot of soldiers there after the war to help stimulate the population.
“All the girls are excited – waiting at the train station – waiting for these soldiers to arrive because there’s a real shortage of men and they’re all really old blokes. It’s just lot’s of funny things like that.
“Then she falls in love with a musician in it”.
James, her partner in life and music, smiled and made an appreciative “Ahhhh” sound.
The interview ended in laughter.
By Ciarán Ryan. Published: 15 Jan 2011