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Richard Jobson \ Biography

Singer, poet, actor, broadcaster and director, Richard Jobson is a modern day polymath. Born in Scotland in 1960, Jobson rose to fame fronting new wave band The Skids (recording four albums and several hit singles) before turning away from the crudities of the pop world to re-invent himself as a writer, artist and film director.

After a debut poetry album on Bill Nelson's Cocteau label (The Ballad of Etiquette) released in October 1981, Richard linked up with chic Brussels-based label Les Disques du Crépuscule at a time when the label held ambitions of creating a new art movement. In November Les Livres du Crépuscule published the book A Man for All Seasons (TWI 030), a collection of original poems by Richard which is now one of the rarest Crépuscule artefacts. Poetry tracks also appeared on the eclectic compilation albums From Brussels With Love (Armoury Show) and The Fruit of the Original Sin (The Happiness of Lonely). Richard also performed a number of live readings at this time, usually accompanied on piano by Virginia Astley, but also Bill Nelson and Russell Webb, and appeared at Cabaret Futura. A languid clip of Richard and Virginia performing India Song appears on the Crépuscule video compilation Umbrellas in the Sun (TWI 099).

In February 1982 Richard took part in an ambitious Crépuscule package tour, Dialogue North-South, along with Tuxedomoon, The Names, Paul Haig, Durutti Column, Antena and Minny Pops. As well performing a self-written one-act play called Daddy, Richard also read poetry accompanied by Blaine L. Reininger and Steven Brown of Tuxedomoon, and at the celebrated Bains Douche venue in Paris performed in a swimming pool filled with milk. Extracts from this tour can be heard on the cassette/CD Some of the Interesting Things You'll See On a Long Distance Flight (TWI 081/082)

Soon after, Richard recorded his second poetry album, originally titled Thomas the Imposter. Guest musicians across the 16 short poems included Brown and Reininger, as well as Vini Reilly (The Durutti Column), Wim Mertens (Soft Verdict), Paul Haig and young Belgian concert pianist Cecile Bruynoghe. The album was eventually issued as An Afternoon in Company (TWI 080) in 1984, albeit only briefly, since the publishers of T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men objected to Richard's rendition (backed by Paul Haig), and this edition withdrawn.

Later in 1982 Richard recorded his adaption of the Marguerite Duras text 10.30 On a Summer Night (TWI 129), accompanied by Cecile Bruynoghe, whose performance on the long tone poem The Kiss, the Dance and the Death is particularly magical. Some in the press took delight in deriding his spoken word albums, but they are brave and affecting records, and it's worth remembering that Jobson was still only 22.

Speaking to Jim Shelley in Melody Maker in August 1986, Richard explained his purpose in recording his spoken word albums: "Most of the poems [on the Crépuscule album] are a travelogue of the cities I visited when I left The Skids. Art for me is creating beauty. I'm very honoured you think those records are very nice, because most people think they're awful, particularly pretentious. No-one in this country [Britain] is the slightest bit interested in this type of record. But things we laugh at now, in 100 years' time, maybe we'll think they're very beautiful. people laughed at Satie and Cocteau. These records take me an afternoon to make, remember, and I think they're very pure, beautiful objects. They're not finished poems though - they catch fleeting moments. They're trash, they say nothing."

Between 1983 and 1987 Richard devoted more time to his new band, The Armoury Show, and an orthodox solo album, but in 1986 Crépuscule collected together most of his poems on a double compilation, The Right Man (TWI 615), and in 1987 published 16 Years of Alcohol (TWI 807), an autobiographical album and 6,000 word illustrated book ("I had my first, and last, idea when I was 10 years old"). In 2003 Richard adapted and directed the book as a feature film. Since then he has written and directed The Purifiers (2004), A Woman in Winter (2006), New Town Killers (2008) and Wayland's Song (2013).

James Nice

Richard Jobson