Previously unreleased David Sylvian interview from ‘Piazza Piazza’ magazine, mid 80’s. Author unintelligible.


In which Piazza Piazza escort Benny Rimbaud talks to the reclusive white shadow of post punk pre – raphaelite no wave new wave esoteria-glam shade about nothing and nearly everything.

Making sure white stains :  Garf Artfunkel.



‘Why wonder, when all but art wanders for us’?
(Franck Oppenheim ‘The vagaries of not quite living’ ) – 1923

‘Oh it would be alright/if everything were white/White like the issue/I leave in my Tissue’ (Howard Devoto : ‘Love Like Kleenex)’.

Sylvian enters the room and I immediately think ‘So this is how Arthur Miller felt on his honeymoon’

‘Does it bother you’ I ask, ‘You know, the beauty’?

Sylvian doesn’t smile. Rather he adjusts the mouth, the lips, the teeth (Such TEETH) but a fraction, merely a millimetre and there’s a kind of white heaven here suddenly. Not a Blue heaven, no, white. Colgate white. Waitrose white. Really, really white.

‘I never really considered it’ he sighs and you fall deeper.

Sylvian is no longer Sylvian because he’s so Sylvian he’s simply….Sylvian.

‘It was useful as a young man but now I…I don’t remember’.

We laugh.  We weep. A cigarette. White Disques Bleu. That Smile again. The White net curtain of the hotel room ruffles. Somewhere a swan is dying somewhere and odds are, it’s White. Somewhere.  Suddenly idle, I wonder if Rupert Brooke dipped his toast into tea? Even idols need their Tiffin.  Don’t they?
Meanwhile, two young men, one once an idol too, wander.

‘What’s it all for’ I ask, ‘You know. ….’This’ :

The journalist, also white, gesticulates forlornly.

‘One can never be sure’ he says, now reclining. White sheets. White shoes. White smile. If this were all but black pudding even the black bits would be white. ‘I suppose it’ll end some day, but you know, I’m never quite sure of what it is I’m going through. Well, sometimes, but not often. Glimpses. Now and then one gets a sense of……Something. Nothing? Maybe it’s everything…’ he trails off.

We are between silences. The quiet bit in a silence, before it gets really quiet. But then Sylvian’s silence were always just that : really, really quiet.

‘Oh! What a lovely present’ Exclaimed aunt Olga. And then suddenly, she died ‘.
Winifred Bingo ; ‘The Pawn shop heart’, 1911

‘Was it always thus’? I ask. ‘I mean….’

‘Yes…if that is what you mean…’ says Sylvian, suddenly resembling his younger self, his older self, his…Sylvian self. ‘It depends. If you mean the work, then yes. It’s always the work. The work is…its…hard work. And then it’s…not’.


Sylvian Smiles. Or is it a frown? If one were to tilt one’s head…Just so..Upside down? …then…ahh. I see. I see. THE sea. Outside.
Inside. Inside out. In. In! Out. Shake it. Shake it. All.

‘Drum goes bum. Bum-dah ba dum. Dum bum. Bum drum, ba bum dum’.
Lesego Akimbo : ‘Fruit of the Bum-Bum Tree’. (1979).

Sunlight. Bright. Dare I say it White. This room suddenly womb like. Either the wallpaper goes or I do. But not Sylvian. He’s already gone. Always was. Gone. Just as he arrived. At the exact moment he walked in, he left.

Ah! But The work. The work remains.

The work. it’s… allwhite.

The maid arrives, bearing coffee like Christ once bore his wounds.’Who was that masked man?’ she asks. I smile. …or is it a frown? I take my coffee like heat.No! Like a 1970’s night- light …Black.

‘Oh Mother, what time is tea tonight?’ But the Rabbit wasn’t listening. The rabbit knew otherwise’. Urasian Koondera – ‘The untenable slyness of Bee – Keeping’.


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