PJ Harvey, Praise You and funny faces

I saw PJ Harvey perform at Bestival a couple of weekends ago. I’m a big fan of her music, and it was such a privelige to watch and listen to her sing her favourite songs solo as she played various instruments to accompany herself.

She gave herself utterly to the performance. Her voice was exquisite, but she played the songs with her whole body. It was more like channeling. You could see the joy and the pain around her like a halo.

It reminded me of the classical musicians that used to come into school when I was 8 or 9 to play their instruments for us. They’d blow on their trumpet, or strum their harp, and I’d watch their faces. They made funny expressions, squinching up their cheeks or their shoulders or shutting their eyes. They were ecstatic. They entered the music.

It felt like I ought to laugh at these musicians, because they looked so silly, but somehow I didn’t want to. I was transfixed. Maybe this is how it always is, when we enter into something entirely. We look like an idiot, but we are also at our most beautiful. Just like these dancers in Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, one of my favourite music videos.

It’s so difficult to take our attention away from what people might be thinking about us. But when we can…


PS Happy publication day to me, happy publication day to me, happy publication day dear Fiona…. happy publication day to me ; )

Comments & replies

6 thoughts on “PJ Harvey, Praise You and funny faces

  1. Terresa

    You capture the true essence of art here…the beauty of the artist (whether writer, musician, etc) who loses themselves in their art. They are lost and then found to themselves and us, the observer. It is glorious and in a way, holy.

    PS: Congrats on your pub date, is that today?

  2. Fiona Robyn

    Hi Terresa – thank you – and yes I completely agree, it is definitely holy.

    PS Yup – The Blue Handbag is now ‘out in the world’ – scary! Thank you for your congratulations.

  3. jem

    Great line – ‘she played the songs with her whole body’ – I think when an artist looks like they are enjoying what they do then it’s hard not to be drawn into the moment yourself. I guess that’s the same with many areas of creativity. I must say I grow tired of creators who complain about their work. How can they expect us to like if if it’s such a chore for them?

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