Saturday, November 26, 2011

Notes on Beth Gibbons & PJ Harvey

Beth was born in 1965, Polly Jean in 1969; both were raised on farms in Devon and Dorset, respectively; two counties that border each other in the west country of England. Beth Gibbons is lead singer and writer with the band Portishead; she's also recorded an album, Out of Season, with ex-Talk Talk bassist Paul 'Rustin' Man' Webb. In total she's recorded five albums in twenty years (and that's including a live album). PJ Harvey has recorded ten in the same amount of time. Both make popular yet dark, depressing music, some might say. Unlike many British musicians, they didn't go to London to pursue their dreams but stayed put to lead their bucolic existences. Both seem shy, withdrawn, and don't go out much, or do a lot of interviews (though Harvey has done a lot more than Gibbons). Whilst PJ is at least a little odd, Beth seems pretty down to earth, almost one of the girls, and most of the time lives a normal life, until having to perform with Portishead reminds her she's sort of famous. PJ, we imagine, lives the artistic life to the full, sitting in her cottage all day picking at her autoharp. Neither are conventionally beautiful yet exude sensuality and dark passions. Seeing them live only confirmed my suspicion that they are both national treasures and goddesses.

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