Saturday, 14 April 2007

'Arctic City'

Marc Brierley was a folk-singer active on the club scene in the 1960s who got to know Sandy Denny when she was starting out. On an EP he made for the Transatlantic label in 1966 he recorded his impressions of her in his song ‘Arctic City’:

She was a girl who left her home
To find the good times of the city.
She took her singing voice with her
To break the mysteries of London's night.
She took to her heart a thousand men
Who used her love and left her to the bright lights
And the arctic city's savage loneliness.

Marc left the music business in the ’seventies and is now a photographer. The reappearance of ‘Arctic City’ on a CD box set (Anthems in Eden) forty years later prompted him to recall those far-distant days:

In the shadows of memory it is the winter of ’65. In light no more than a single candle to warm our hands and bake our brew, I see three faces. One of them is Sandy. Teenage, friendly, rounded features, illuminated further by the sharp inhalation and the brighter glow. She was a girl who left her home; she took her singing voice with her. I catch the spark and let it fly. Mixing fiction with fact, I see a story unfold which could be her, it could be you. Am I the only shadow left to tell the tale?

[material in italics © Marc Brierley; used with permission]

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