john martyn, 1948-2009

john martyn

john martyn

John Martyn was many things.

As a songwriter, he was one of the most distinctive stylists to emerge from a highly fertile late ’60s British folk-rock movement. His songs were fanciful, poetic, often wildly romantic and sometimes as dark the rains that must have soaked the shores of England and Scotland where he spent his youth.

As a guitarist, Martyn was unlike any of his contemporaries. His ‘60s albums for the Island label (London Conversation and The Tumbler, among them) were sparse, but richly and harmonically complete records. But with the ‘70s came electricity and pioneering use of the Echoplex, the device that gave Martyn’s songs a textured, staccato sound. Through those albums (1973’s Inside Out and 1977’s One World being the most daring), Martyn designed an ambience that also worked in the leanest of performance settings – including his long-running duo association with acoustic bassist Danny Thompson.

Of course, he was also a seemingly reckless eccentric and a sometimes very public alcoholic. While artists like Eric Clapton covered his songs, critics has often speculated that Martyn might well have discovered his own commercial fortunes – or at least something larger than his devout but modest folk-pop fanbase  – were it not for his fondness of self-destruction.

In an interview recently referenced in the London newspaper The Telegraph, Martyn recalled being so inebriated at a concert in Spain that he fell off the stage. “I still got three encores,” he added.

Yesterday morning the whole grand saga that was John Martyn concluded. He died at age 60. No specific cause of death was announced, although Martyn has been in ill health for years. Confined to a wheelchair since a burst cyst caused the amputation of a leg below the knee, Martyn continued to perform through the end of 2008.

One of his final recordings, in fact, was a concert set called Solid Air: Live at the Roundhouse. The album included a stage performance of Martyn’s seminal 1973 album Solid Air. An exceptional boxed set retrospective, appropriately titled Ain’t No Saint, surfaced last fall. Neither album has yet been issued in the United States.

Any of Martyn’s Island albums released between 1967 and 1977 should be considered essential listening. But the masterpiece remains Grace and Danger, a devastating 1980 work cut with help from Phil Collins that documented the dissolve of a marriage to former performance and recording partner Beverley Martyn. Aside from Richard and Linda Thompson’s 1982 epic Shoot Out the Lights, no British folk-rock album placed more exposed nerve romanticism on display than Grace and Danger.

I saw Martyn play only once. He headlined the opening night of a 1987 folk festival in Oxfordshire, England. It was one of his famed duet sessions with Thompson. That night, when the Echoplex cranked up in the great outdoors during songs like Big Muff you would have thought a flying saucer was landing.

Martyn walked onstage that night looking, as a friend of mine was fond of saying, “drunk as a monkey.” With a smile on his face as bright as glowing neon, it was tough to tell if Martyn received a hero’s welcome from the festival crowd. It didn’t matter. As was the case for much of his career, he made enough of a hero’s entrance to compensate.

Judy Ann and Ryan: No to pre-nuptial.(Entertainment)

Manila Bulletin December 12, 2006 Byline: WALDEN SADIRI They have an ongoing relationship, a beautiful one at that and which many expect will culminate at the altar someday. And right now, lovebirds Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo may have some plans already about getting married.

If ever, will they consider executing a pre-nuptial agreement?

“The thought has crossed our minds; we’ve talked about it pero hindi namin alam kung anong dating nito. Sa iba kasi parang you don’t trust each other that much kapag may pre-nuptial agreement. Basta may usapan kami about what we have, like what’s mine is mine, and what’s his is his,” Judy Ann shared.

On his part, Ryan said he doesn’t believe in a pre-nuptial agreement. “We’re not that kind who’ll resort to that. If we do, we don’t really love or like each other enough. I mean, don’t get married na lang.” But let’s talk about their reel-life relationship first.

Their muchawaited teamup, “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo tackles the life of Angie (Judy Ann) and Jed (Ryan) as a newlywed – their adjustments as a couple, their fights, and marital issues, etcetera. What’s interesting to note though is that according to Judy Ann and Ryan, their reel-life characters are not them in their true relationship.

Ryan described that unlike him Jed is spineless and is easily pushed by his wife’s family. While Judy Ann, as Angie, is always stressed out, is a loud-mouth and doesn’t know how to have fun.

In fact, during and after the filming “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo,” they never felt they are married nor did they see even just a little semblance of what they could be as a married couple. Despite their characters’ marital problems, Ryan pointed out that the movie didn’t scare them about marriage. “We were laughing all throughout (the filming),” he said.

So before one confuses the reel characters of Judy Ann and Ryan to the real showbiz sweethearts, here are a number of interesting things you’d like to know more about them.

First is that every Christmas they would compete as to who gets the best gift. And the winner makes the recipient’s eyes wide open in surprise; he/she is dumb-founded even by the giver’s thoughtfulness and creativeness. here a practical wedding

“Without going into particulars, we have a running competition for gifts,” revealed Ryan. “It could have been easier if she’s into brand names or expensive stuffs kasi you just go for the most expensive thing you could afford and that’s it. But with us, it’s all about over-all impact!” Another is that when they get hitched, the boss according to Judy Ann will be Ryan, while Ryan points to her as the boss.

“Malamang siya…minsan pinag-usapan namin ang tungkol sa credit cards. Sabi niya isang credit card lang ang kailangan namin at siya ang magtatago,” laughed Judy Ann. “Actually ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng credit card para sa mga trips abroad. Pero pang emergency lang ito.” If ever, Judy Ann wouldn’t mind Ryan really controlling her credit card usage because she admits to being one who sometimes splurge on luxury items. She would go on impulse buying whenever she feels deprived and is tired from work. You won’t find though a closet with her LV collections or whatever; rather Judy Ann, following her mother’s advice, often invest on jewelries. here a practical wedding

As for Ryan, he always wants his girlfriend to have a mind of her own. He doesn’t always like being the one to decide on things like what movies to watch, where to go or even where to eat. He’d like her to always to tell him what she wants too.

Another thing to know about them is that they are not secretly married contrary to insistent rumors and speculations from the media. To Ryan’s surprise, this question has always been asked by close family members and friends on various occasions. The question according to him is always brought out in the open whenever people see their friendship rings.

“If we’re getting married, our family will be the first ones to know,” said Ryan. He also implied that a wedding next year is not yet in the works. Maybe one of the reasons is that he plans to build his own house next year because when they get married he would like to live in their own house right away.

Judy Ann would like to have a private and solemn wedding. She doesn’t want the added pressure of media coverage during their wedding day. One she would have to give-up though would be her childhood dream wedding of having an enchanted theme with a horse-driven carriage and with her clad as a princess. She’d like to have a practical wedding and the honeymoon she has in mind would be in Europe or in the Caribbean.

As a couple, whenever they have fights, Judy Ann would always realize that Ryan needs space too. She admitted that during their first few fights at the beginning of their relationship, she would push him to have a discourse to settle things. This is because she always wanted their quarrels resolved before she goes to sleep.

“I now give him enough space … actually when it comes to this, we always talk. We don’t meddle in our respective works, and businesses,” she bared.

Though Judy Ann wasn’t transformed into a Netsurfing junkie by Ryan who frequents Internet CafA[c]s, he believes he has changed to a better person especially with regards to his work.

“Sa trabaho, I’m a lot more caring now to the people I work with. Tanong ko dati sa mga superstars, lagi bang ganun sila kasi superstar sila or superstar sila dahil mabait sila when I got to observe the way they work. Then I realized the way to get results is to be more focused on your goal, be nicer and be gentler,” he intimated.

And what could be the integral ingredient of their relationship?

“It’s honesty,” replied Judy Ann.

“Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo” is Star Cinema’s official entry to the 2006 Metro Manila Film Festival. It is directed by Jose Javier Reyes.

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