What are you doing this Friday? You are coming to the Tree House to listen to a truly fabulous illustrated talk about Nick Drake, of course! Why would you want to do anything else?
Warwickshire has nurtured three of England’s greatest writers in different centuries – Shakespeare, George Eliot and Nick Drake (for me, the greatest British singer-songwriter of all). Before I opened the Tree House, when I was thinking of what to call our bookshop/community hub, I really wanted the name to be related to a Nick Drake song. I thought of Five Leaves, Pink Moon, Northern Sky, Fruit Tree, River Man…none of them seemed right, even though I knew it would be so cool to have a Nick Drake-related bookshop name. In the end I moved away from that idea and chose the Tree House for a number of reasons, but I still regret not naming it for him in some way.
I love Nick Drake’s music – those exquisite songs and equally exquisite voice. He died before I even knew he existed, but he is in my top three popular musicians and I consider his record Five Leaves Left to be one of the all-time greatest records. So I was intrigued last year to see on Twitter some references to the Strange Face Project – about one man’s adventures with a lost Nick Drake recording – and started following the Twitter account. The project is about the finding of a tape with an unreleased Nick Drake song on it and the adventures relate to what the finder did with this.
The man leading these adventures is the very lovely Michael Burdett, London-based musician and composer, and one day he phoned me to say he had seen my interest and wondered about coming to give his talk at the bookshop. He then turned up one day and we had an excellent chat, arranged a date, and he left – leaving some wonderful photographs behind. We used the one of Billy Bragg listening to the recording as our window display for quite a while.
Michael came and gave his talk just over a year ago, and it was fabulous. It’s hard to convey quite why it’s so fabulous, especially without giving too much away, but ultimately it’s a story about the power of a piece of music – the impact it has on individuals and the way it connects people. The illustrated show was informative, funny, fascinating and very moving – the material is great, but Michael’s delivery is also fantastic. He is warm, funny, engaging, generous and passionate.
He went on to take the show to the Edinburgh Fringe, where it (unsurprisingly) won the award for Best Free Show.
He has also become a friend of the Tree House. He lives in London, but from time to time has appeared in the shop doorway bearing cake and good cheer. When we reopened I knew I wanted him to come back and give the talk again, and am thrilled that he agreed to do so, and he wants it to be a means of supporting the Tree House. He has revised and expanded the show, which he is taking to Edinburgh again this year, along with other festivals over the summer.
But he is coming here first! This Friday, 19 June, 8pm. You’d be crazy to miss it.
Tickets are £5, in advance or on the door, and included is a £2 voucher to spend in the shop. We would love a really good audience for this – it deserves to have the bookshop packed to the rafters. Please come, please bring your friends, please spread the word if you can’t come (or even if you can). You don’t have to be a Nick Drake fan to enjoy this event, though if you are it will make it all the more brilliant an evening. If you have friends who don’t know Nick’s music, bring them along – perfect opportunity to introduce them.
There are only 40 tickets available, so contact us if you want to reserve some. More details in the poster below.
Whatever you do and whyever you do it, just come along – it will be a truly lovely evening at a bargain price (you can give more if you want to!), and you will be supporting the bookshop as well as having the best time. What more could you ask for on a Friday evening?