Rest In Peace

We lost two people recently who I know were crucial components of my life. They made the lives of so many people so much richer, and made so much art possible to experience.

Donald Richie's contribution to the world of cinema can't be understated. Those of us who know what we know, who love Kurosawa and samurai cinema, who study the Japanese New Wave, who've had the sublime experience of watching Seven Samurai or Ugetsu Monogatari, then you know how important Donald Richie is. I recommend any or all his books or any of his essays on Criterion's website.

We also lost Kevin Ayers, founder of the band the Soft Machine. He may be best known for that endeavor, but he had a long and interesting solo career. Anyone who has the pleasure of seeing Olivier Assayas' Something In The Air when it opens later this year, will hear his song "Decadence" close the film. Ayers wrote many, many good songs, but I owe him for a really shitty thing he did in 1974. While on tour with John Cale, that's Cale playing the viola on Ayers' song below, his name misspelled in the same way as John Huston's directorial credit on Wise Blood, he slept with the ex-Velvet's wife backstage. This sent Cale on a spiral into anger and resentment that resulted in Slow Dazzle, a rock and roll masterpiece. If there's even the slightest chance that Cale wouldn't have recorded the majority of his later body of work, including his many excellent soundtracks, if Ayers hadn't done him wrong, then I thank him for that, too. Two careers for the price of a marriage. Ayers was a bastard, but I'm glad as hell we had him for a little while.

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