Saturday, 29 July 2017
Oliver!: Sebadoh - Kath (21 March 1992)
I wouldn't want you to think I was obsessing on names of people I've known through drama; it's just the way that selections have worked out. Unlike the Ruths, I was never romantically involved with the Kath I knew on the Cornish drama circuit, but she did give me a cracking part in The Diary of Anne Frank which this blog is still, chronologically, 2 years away from. I had a huge amount of respect for her because she was fearless as an actress, highly imaginative as a director and endearingly devoid of any confidence in herself in either discipline. She wore her fear heavily and visibly even when she had pulled off something brilliant onstage or had put together a production full of innovative touches - especially in pantomime. Goldilocks and the Three Bears set in a circus or Aladdin in which the set was a scaffold tower - cue much grumbling from people within drama committees about doing a traditional panto the following year. But invariably the shows would scoop awards at the county pantomime awards evening - sponsored by Calor Gas in my day, and now revived - at least in one part of Cornwall, meaning that they would be remembered fondly, rather than as arty folly. She has now started writing and directing her own work as well, and one of my greatest regrets about not acting in Cornwall anymore is missing out on the potential chance to have played in some of her writing - or at the very least wonder why I hadn't been approached to. I write this on a day when I have worked in a job that leaves me uninspired, directionless and pissed off. I really need to start doing more of what Kath is doing.
While I wouldn't rush to play Goodbye Ruth to either of the Ruths given the rather downbeat nature of the song, I'd happily play Sebadoh's Kath to Kath. Simultaneously haunting and calming, with its beguiling mix of spine-tingling acoustics, metronomic percussion and a lyric poised somewhere between romantic cherry popping ("I'm so glad the wait is through/I'm so glad I waited for you") and pagan sacrifice (allusions to chicken heads and killing the jealous) this is a superior piece of U.S. acoustic gothic complete with live cicadas providing an alfresco choral feel to the recording.
Video courtesy of jakmgrunge.