Tag Archive: PJ Harvey


POLLY PLAYS AWAY FOR EN-GER-LAND

PJ Harvey in Paris, Valentine's Day 2011

I can’t get enough of PJ Harvey at the moment.

Her new album, Let England Shake, was released yesterday and is simply an amazing piece of work.

It takes as its theme England’s role in wars past and present, yet despite this subject matter these cannot be classified as straight protest songs. Instead they are a form of reportage as if she had already accepted the post of ‘official war song correspondent’ offered this week by the Imperial War Museum.

Polly Harvey lets the atrocity of human conflict speak for itself and is more of a lament for wasted lives than an exercise in finger pointing at warmongers. Continue reading

ENGLAND SHAKES AND WAITS

PJ Harvey

Seamus Murphy

I can’t wait to hear the whole of PJ Harvey‘s new album Let England Shake tecorded in a 19th Century church near her home in Dorset. I now also want to see  all the 12 videos that accompany the tracks shot by Seamus Murphy.

The first two of these  for The Last Living Rose and The Words That Maketh Murder are now up on her website and you can also see them here to save you an extra mouse click. Continue reading

CAPTURING POLLY

PJ-HarveyJane Bown’s lifetime in photography is justifiably celebrated and is in the news again through the publication of a collection of her most famous shots (‘Exposures’) and an exhibition at the Kings Place Gallery  in London.

A selection of her fantastic portraits can be seen in the  the gallery in the Observer .

All her subjects are in black and white and captured using just natural lighting. Bown, now in her 80s, is a modest and self effacing character who shuns the limelight and this  is probably what allowed her to get close to her subjects, even those who were notoriously camera shy, like Lucien Freud and Samuel Beckett.

The eyes are what you are drawn to when you see these images.

This great picture of P.J. Harvey, which I hadn’t previously seen,  illustrates what makes Jane Bown so great. In that strong sorrowful gaze you get a glimpse of what makes Polly Harvey’s music so powerful – the look (and the music) manages to be both assertive and fragile at the same time.

Brown almost certainly didn’t know Harvey’s music when she took this photo, just as she had never heard of Bjork or Jarvis Cocker when she was commissioned to photograph them.  This shows that her skill lies in being an instinctive judge of what made people tick.

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