Heath Drake

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February 3, 2008 by cosmoakacitizensmith

Above, Nick Drake

Hollywood actor Heath Ledger died recently. Everyone was comparing him to James Dean and all the other actors who died young. Perhaps Hollywood hopes death will immortalise him and there will be a cool cash kickback.

Mind you, Brokeback Mountain was a very moving film.

Turned out old Heath was a big fan of doomed troubadour Nick Drake, who died in 1974 aged 26. Drake released three albums to limited success, but since his death he’s become a bit of a legend.

These days, with the use of facial recognition CCTV, where our use of the internet is tracked and stored forever and used to sell things to us, and now that cops can tap our phones and look at our emails without so much as a by-your-leave, (check this!!), Nick Drake is a bit of an enigma.

He only exists in a few faded photos, the brief memories of his acquaintances……and the music. I tend to associate his stuff with the days of being a doomed teenager, but nowadays putting it on I can feel the full richness of the atmospheric, archetypal world he carves out in sound. People are still scratching their heads about how on earth he tuned his guitar, or made it sound like a grand piano.

His music touches such an intimate part of people who listen to it, a part that is so beyond words, that anyone who tries to explain its effect on them sounds like they’re talking shyte. So I’ll stop.

Perhaps because he lived in a society which is quite different from this one in the respects I mentioned above, we can fill in the gaps in his life ourselves. We can’t trace his phone logs or pour over distraught emails to his ex-girlfriends or find out what his book-buying tastes on Amazon were, or indeed watch his last evening out on the piss on a piece of mobile phone or CCTV footage.

He’s ours to do what we will with and through projection, we can create and recreate him according to our own personal, internal angels and demons.

Which certainly shifts units. In the words of Goldie Lookin’ Chain:

Suicide’s a good idea to improve vinyl sales.

But was it really suicide? The beat goes on…….

Below, Heath Ledger


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