I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling


I’m glad PJ Harvey has won this year’s Mercury Prize. I’ve not heard every album that was nominated, but I have heard “Let England Shake” and it’s a pretty special collection of songs. I’m not especially a fan of Polly Harvey as it goes, but my fellow Melody Maker writer and one-time flatmate Ngaire Ruth was one of her very earliest champions. She wrote the first review of PJ Harvey to appear in the national music press – a live review from the White Horse in London in 1991. Click on the clipping for a larger version if the text is too small for you to read.

Ngaire and I were living in Tufnel Park at the time of this review (a short distance from the White Horse and also a few minutes walk from venues like the Town & Country Club, the Bull & Gate and the Boston Arms) and I’ve a vague recollection of Polly popping round the flat once or twice. I seem to recall that she was quite friendly and very polite, but a little on the shy side. I don’t believe she ever wore a feathery headdress thing, though. I’m sure I would have remembered that.

2 Comments on “Featherhead”

  1. ngaireruth says:

    It’s funny how 300 little words can resonate over the years. It seems appropriate that the year I decided to return to my first love, live review writing/editing, P J Harvey becomes the first person to win the Mercury Prize twice. A woman with a thoroughly listenable protest album. Tell me that’s not clever? ! I think I am writing better than I ever have (makes sense that writers mature, add to that good personal management after years of being a single mum and teacher). That said, it’s down to the music which is inspiring me: Dum Dum Girls, P. J. Harvey, Hysterical Injury, Pumajaw, Reptar (you must hear Reptar)… I could go on. I do on my blog and soon on the web site thegirlsare.com when it relaunches in the autumn. x

  2. ngaireruth says:

    PS: check out “Reflection Ritual Revolution” on blog for a bit of detail about being a working class women-centred female writer “back in the day”. Also wanted to add that I love the titles on this thing, particularly “Who’s This Push Bloke, Then?” AND your web site is so shiny, like a magazine, very clever. All the best for now.

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