As part of his ‘Community Payback Order’ for exposing himself at Hampstead Heath Lido, May 2018, Laurence Rivers takes on the role of interviewer. His first charge, folk singer Louis Rive
It’s a terrible title for an article, and indeed it makes little to no sense, but it captures the mood of confusion that greets this writer every time that I have to listen to something ‘contemporary’. I know fuck all about music, be it modern or dated, a fact that would lead some of the more astute readers to ask why the hell I am writing about it in the first place. Well the answer is two-fold, the first being that my journalistic integrity has been called into question by those naysayers who claim I only write about drinking and football, and the second stemming from the 87 remaining hours on the community service order for the misunderstanding at Hampstead Heath Lido. So, when the opportunity to interview up-and-coming folk singer Louis Rive came along, for legal reasons I literally couldn’t say no.
Rivers: Folk music, formerly the prerogative of ale-swilling beardies, is now cool, a bit like smashed avocado and Swedish backpacks. What happened to the old scene? Where are the pork scratchings? What happened to ‘Dirty Old Town’ gurgled into a pint glass for single figure audiences?
Louis: It is still there, though you have to be careful with the term folk. It has come to pass that any guy with a beard and guitar is immediately assumed to be a folk musician, even if he is a vegetarian and asks for gluten-free Guinness, a heresy that thankfully doesn’t yet exist.
Rivers: So the ball-less, home-counties, scrot-sacks that pollute the airwaves aren’t folk? It says on Spotify that they are.
Louis: I’m not really one to comment on whether something is ‘folk’ or not.
Rivers: Then who should I ask?
Louis: I dunno.
Rivers: Don’t dodge the question. Give me an answer you pseudo-hipster prick!
Louis: Ok, er Euan MacColl.
Rivers: Isn’t he dead?
Louis: Yeah, probably, most of my heroes are.
Rivers: Never mind then, back to the questions. It has been said that Mumford and Sons have revolutionised folk music. What do you think of them?
Louis: I guess it’s the falseness of the whole deal. It’s seems a bit artificial to me that a group of blokes from somewhere near London get all sensitive about all things Americana. Plus I hate repetition, for example in the song “I will wait for you” they use the phrase “I will wait” twenty times. I don’t who he’s talking to, some fucking moron evidently that doesn’t quite grasp the fact that Mister Mumford has indeed got a lot of time on his hands.
Rivers: Anything else?
Louis: Yeah, people with short hair that wear bandanas piss me off too. I mean I get it, they’re just trying to get a shag and that, but the guitar-beard-fragile-soul combo was already enough for the majority of women.
Rivers: So are you saying that you never try to pick up women by playing music?
Louis: That’s exactly what I am saying. I am a man of integrity.
Rivers: You’re using the strings of a tote-bag as a belt. That doesn’t scream integrity to me.
Louis: Do you have any more questions about my music?
Rivers: Not really, but let’s figure out something generic. Er, ok, if you’re so loquacious and stuff, where then do you get the inspiration for your lyrics? I have your album ‘The Cheap Part of Town’ right here and the title track is ‘Sir Francis Drake’s Last Trip’. I bet you have some really deep explanation for that lie how it’s an allegory for the repression of the common man and stuff or how the hierarchy of labour always serves to oppress the worker.
Louis: Jesus, that’s a great line, I will 100% be using that explanation from now on. Honestly, I got the idea for that tune from watching ‘Timewatch’ on YouTube. There was an episode about Sir Francis Drake’s last trip and I basically went with the idea from that.
Rivers: Ok, do you have any other songs inspired by ‘Timewatch’?
Louis: I tried to do one about the 2nd Anglo-Boer War and one about the Battle of Ilsandlwana, but the rhyming scheme got too difficult.
Rivers: Really? I would have thought Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Durnford would have made a great rhyming couplet. You’ve missed a trick there mate!
Louis: You’re right Laurence, you sure know an awful lot about the British army command structure during the Zulu War. Have you ever thought of writing a song?
Louis: Why not?
Rivers: Because unlike you and the rest of the hipster, I’m-so-deep club I don’t need to go through all that bollocks just to get my end away.
Louis: So you’re the kind of lies in a nightclub and excessive alcohol consumption sort of courtier?
Rivers: Bang on. They say that consistency killed the cat.
Louis: Curiosity killed the cat. What you said isn’t a phrase, plus it doesn’t make any sense anyway.
Rivers: (pause) Well I am never buying from Clinton Cards again then, should have kept the receipt. Ok, last question. You’re based in Barcelona, which is great for people who like weird-looking churches or those on stag-parties, but when can people see you in the UK?
Louis: I will be there during the summer playing at Folk on the Lawn in Wales, Chickenstock in Kent and the Edinburgh Fringe on the 19th and 20th of August at the Acoustic Music Centre. Come one, come all. You can come too Laurence.
Rivers: Ha, not a fucking chance fella. Well, this has been fascinating but we are going to have to wrap it up for today and as soon as you sign my order from Camden Council’s ‘community payback scheme’ then we can go and spend the rest of the day getting wired into to some Sköl Super. What do you reckon to that snowflake?
Louis: I don’t drink anymore.
The ‘Put it away!’ campaign promotes responsible behaviour at the Hampstead Heath Lido. Most people enjoy the facilities at Hampstead Heath Lido, but there is a small minority who are ruining the experience for everyone else. For the enjoyment of other bathers, please report any incidences of antisocial behaviour at Hampstead Heath Lido to the lifeguard or the police.
Louis Rive’s music can be found on Spotify here.
Cover image courtesy of Brian Geltner via Flickr