Between Us Girls: une entrevue avec Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Hearsay #16 / 1997 / Interview with Pete and Ewen

"Now we have a lot more freedom, but it would be nice to have the nerve and the ideas of twenty years ago."

There's a hotel down Drury Lane that I didn't even know existed, with a panoramic vista of London's skyline and a bird's-eye view of an open-air swimming pool, evidently tucked up behind Covent Garden. The interview that Pete and Ewen conducted with Canadian folk legends Kate and Anna McGarrigle (who, incidentally, epitomise Hearsay's favourite genre of singer-songwriters who play genre games) took place in Anna's hotel room on a windy afternoon and was characterised by more fits of giggles than a convent girls' slumber party. A few days later a six-seater minibus, snaking its way thru' the nowhere roads around the South Bank Centre, pulled up just as Pete and Ewen were walking past. The window wound down and Kate McGarrigle (look­ing a bit flustered behind the wheel while sister, daughter, niece and band members extravagantly motioned directions) waved an enthusiastic 'Hello!' Later, as we wandered on our way, flocks of birds rose from the Festival Hall roof and filled the sky above the Thames.

HEARSAY: When your songs are autobiographical, what's it like to have two perspectives on presumably the same or concurrent events?

ANNA: Normally when we're writing personal stuff there's only one of us writing it. If you do happen to collaborate on something like that, it'd be a musical idea rather than a lyrical idea, although in the song Matapedia...

KATE: I did the dreary details and Anna did the romantic bit.

A: I said, 'oh, do you remember when you went to Matapedia with Chris?', so I did work my way into the song, even though I wasn't along for the trip!

K: Also, I think that if you do work that way, as in that song for instance where I give the details because it's happened to me, the other person who's stepping in is kind of outside of it and can give an overall view.

It's obviously important to you to project distinct personalities like the Roches, say, and unlike classic British 'sister' groups like the Nolans or the Wilsons or the Beverley Sisters where the aim was for all to dress the same, be an homogeneous unit...

A: I think that's because we started as singer-songwriters rather than performers, even though when we were in high school we had a folk group with a friend and, yes, we all sewed our own costumes.

K: One day we had a gig and the other girl, who was not our sister, she and I showed up in the regulation costume which was a striped jacket and a white skirt. Anna showed up in a very fancy purple sweater cause she didn't like the outfit! From there on in – we were about 16 at that time – she thought, ah yes, okay, I'm not going to be like the rest of you. I think it's just an extension of any  kind of family relationship where if there's one child that's a certain way, the moment there's a second one, you behave differently in order to get the parents' attention. You tend to find a spot for yourself in the group.

What is it that makes it clear that one song, Complainte Pour Ste Catherine, say, should be in French rather than English? It's a choice most people don't have the luxury of making.

K: We don't really do our French lyrics; most of them are done by a friend of ours, Philippe Tatartcheffe, who writes in quite a different way. For one thing he's male. And Swiss. He tends to be… I'm not going to say depressing...

A: He's very cynical.

K: So right away the lyrics he gives us are different from the lyrics that we would write. So that of course determines the kind of music we put to it.

A: The song Complainte Pour Ste Catherine… I had written a song, in 1974, about a hockey player who was retiring. I was just having fun with a friend and we wrote this little song and made a demo tape and this guy said, 'I really like it, I'd love to put it out as a single' but we needed a flipside and we didn't have another song so I called up Phillippe and said, 'This is our big break! We need a flipside for this thing. We wrote it in twenty minutes; he came over to my house and we started pounding at something on the piano and he just landed an idea which was basically about being poor and working-class in Montreal but being happy with the beer and Saturday-night hockey rather than staying in luxurious hotels. So we came up with that and that's why that song has that bouncy rhythm.

K: It started off more rootsy with an accordion-fiddle feel. But when it was recorded and we went into the studio in New York and Anna sat down at the piano, the musicians in New York... Stephen Gadd on drums and Tony Levin on bass and David Spinoza who was a hotshot guitar player – he said, 'oh, I think this could be a reggae song!'

A: We kept playing it and playing it and it was not sounding much like anything and then finally he came up with this arrange­ment.

K: And he was able to say to Stephen Gadd, ‘play this on the drums’ and to Tony Levin, ‘play that on the bass.' And so that's how the basis of that song started – with a much more urban feel than was originally intended.

A: And our second or third effort with Phillippe was a song called Entre Lajeu­nesse et le Sagesse, which means 'between youth and wisdom' and Kate had that idea; she liked the two words 'sagesse' and ‘jeunesse'; it's like a play on words because there's a street called Lajeunesse, like Ste Catherine Street. So he took the idea and wrote this whole story around it...

K: and again put it in a working-class environment. You know, like, we're just sons and daughters of little grocery store people, born when things are on sale...' But that's just simply his view.

A: The melody of that is different. There's something French in that chorus but it has a more dreamy, ballady feel to it.

Are your songs a personal road atlas, reflecting certain places you know and love?

K: What really determines a song is the kind of instruments you're playing when you write them. Aside from the fact we both play piano and guitar in our own very individual styles, the moment you introduce an accordion or a banjo you're gonna introduce a feeling. So I think we tend to think more in terms of rhythms for those instruments, and if we find the melody supports a banjo then we tend to bring the song's instrumentation, if not the lyrics, towards an Appalachian feeling, say.

Is your writing essentially rural?

A: I think we both appreciate nature a lot because we both grew up in the country, even though that country, that town where we grew up, is now a bustling tourist centre. But we were aware as children – there was a swamp behind the house and we knew certain stands of trees, in the way an Indian person might not know the name of a town but would know the way the trees look. We identified them in the way a child would when you don't have the language.

K: There were three or four different styles of woods: there was a swampy area, there was a dry area, there were the mountains. We'd pretend, like, 'now we're in the swampy area, this is the Congo river!', and we'd build little shacks, just because in those days there were movies of people in Africa running around in rags! We'd dress up in rags and pretend, so we identified various pieces of nature as places. Although we did have an urban teenagehood and went to clubs and listened to what everyone else was listening to. But somehow those spots didn't really evoke songs as opposed to the places we really knew. You tend to go back to what you really know.

What made you write in the first place?

K: We all sang round the house a lot. Our father used to teach us songs, he was born before the turn of the last century so his music, and my mother's too, was music that you'd deliver after dinner. It's parlour music: someone would get up and sing a song. But when we were in our teenage years, we met up with some very fine folk musicians who were very into traditional music, of America and England, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, stuff like that. We only did songs that were already written, traditional things, or because Bob Dylan was just coming up we may do a Dylan song because he was a great songwriter. It never occurred to any of us to write a song because you knew you could never be as good as Bob Dylan or Ewan MacColl. Meanwhile there were all these James Taylors coming up and starting to write songs about their personal lives. And it was only when I went to New York in 1969 or 1970, I went with a friend to a hooten­anny and people were showing off their three songs and I thought, 'I've gotta call Anna! We could do this too!' It was only at that time we thought, well, maybe we'll try it.

A: And I also think the Beatles must have opened things up at that time. Except for the odd cover version, they did mostly their own music. It opened up a lot of doors in people's minds...

K: that you could set out all your experiences, and make them musical. At the time, Anna had just broken up with her boyfriend so she wrote Heart Like A Wheel.

A: 'Let me see, what's happened to me today? I'll write this song!'

Do you feel at all bound to continue a folk tradition of storytelling in songs?

K: I think we tried that once on Heartbeats Accelerating (1990). We both love old traditional ballads where the girl says something to a guy and he throws her off a cliff, but you don't really know why...

A: You have to let the listener decide what really happened. We got out a road atlas and set it in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston because Glen Campbell had had a big hit with Galveston...

K: And we thought, well, just a few miles from there let's have the guy working on an oil rig! [much mirth ] Because that's what they do in the Gulf of Mexico – they drill for oil! So he was the bad guy....

A: and let's have a girl who's living with her father but we don't say why there's no mother. Maybe she's dead, maybe she was killed, but who knows? We just made it up. I remember the phone was ringing constantly as we were trying to write the song, I was diddling on the synthesiser, and Kate would come back in and say, 'now we're up to here – now what happens?'

K: But I think that's the only kind of paying tribute to the old-fashioned ballads like Barbary Allen we've done. But we've never written political stuff. And I think that's originally when songwriting started; people were talking politics and it would be like 'oh, they're talking about me and I'm a worker in a shoe factory, gee, these people are thinking about me! So they include them in their universe. But the Beatles weren't being political, they were just talking about their background and saying what it was like without saying it was good or bad.

Politics only comes through obliquely in the Beatles.

K: Obliquely, that's right. So you had a picture of exactly who they were. Whereas you never really had a picture of Bob Dylan living in Minnesota. Masters of War was all to do with the outside world.

Do you work from an internal sound­track? Sometimes a song might write itself just by running over and over in your head(s).

K: In her head, it does!

A: Yes, it does. Sometimes I'm washing the dishes and I come up with what I think is a really great line, sort of like the story of Alfred Hitchcock – was it Alfred Hitchcock? – having a dream and waking up and writing down the idea for this absolutely fantastic movie and the next morning he wakes up and it says 'boy meets girl'!

[At this moment, Kate and Anna 's hotel room window blows open theatrically in the gale ]

K: It's Alfred Hitchcock! [hilarity ]

A: so I'm washing the dishes and I'll think, oh that's a beautiful melody line, and I'll run to the piano with wet hands and it sounds okay.

K: Anna hums all the time, if her back is turned or if she doesn't think there's somebody there, whereas I hum less. I tend to think more in terms of a lyric idea, I don't have many musical ideas running through my head.

A: Sometimes you're in a car and you can't do anything about it because you still have a hundred miles to go.

How does the process of writing and recording differ now from when you started in the mid-seventies?

K: When we started to record, with the people we mentioned earlier, they were at that time the top session players in New York and we were completely inexperi­enced. We had our little accordion and the piano and suddenly it had to sound like something on...

A: A movie soundtrack!

K: A movie soundtrack! Or something you'd hear on the radio. They were all the same people who were playing with people like. Paul Simon. We were spoiled in the sense that we were made to feel relaxed earlier on, so we got a little cocky. At that point when we just had three notes on the accordion we just wanted to play. 'Wait, wait, wait! We wanna play our three notes on the accordion!' So about thirty takes later... But between the seventies and the nineties you got into the whole technical thing: suddenly the song's put down on drum machines and computers. The song's moved around with pieces taken from here and put over there. You just sit back and listen – you don't even have to play anything.

A: When we first started out, because you don't have any recording chops and don't know anything other than that you have to sing here and play there, somehow it's gotta fit in with what everyone else is doing. Also, if you're two women, they automatically think they have to put a band behind you! That's how things have really changed because I prefer to work now, although I think we had more musical ideas back then, because now you can put your own clear idea down without having to teach it to six people, and have everybody play in time. Just because you're more confident now, you can put that thing down.

K: They won't say to you, 'we think it's too slow.' Well, I want it that way! Finally you get the confidence. 'That note's a little off, do you really mean to play that F-sharp double-six?' Yes!

A: 'All right, everybody, change your charts. I didn't hear it the first time around, sorry'(!)

K: Exactly.

A: Now you have a lot more freedom, but it would be nice to have the nerve and the ideas of twenty years ago.

Although you're always regarded as a folk duo, you spend plenty of time genre-hopping: lurching from folk to ragtime to blues and back to country and Appala­chian. Is there a philosophy behind this diversity of approach?

K: It's because we get bored very quickly, when we go and see people who are doing the same thing as us, especially in the same key! We go, 'oh my God,..'

A: It's because years and years ago we bought a Staple Singers record which was on sale for 90 cents or something and every song was in C. It was a boring record!

K: Even to this day we make sure when we program a record that things immediately coming up will sound entirely different from the thing before. And we try to do that in sets also. If we have two songs, someone will go, 'oh God there's two songs both in F together!' Or two songs in the same tempo, It's a kind of stupid arrogance, we never think that the audience might enjoy those two songs...

A: We should just do a Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands...

K: Or do an eleven-minute song. It's more an intellectual concept of not wanting to. It's showing-off: 'let's show off to everybody that we can play the banjo.' We're probably more instrumentalists at heart than singers. We sing, but using the voice more of an instrument, rather than trying to get the listener politically, or going to get them with love or tears, trying to move them. We have more fun on stage when we're actually playing.

This may be hearsay, but I gather you recently had a brush with Julie Christie.

[Kate and Anna gasp in unison at the memory

A: Oh noooo! We got a letter from her - they got it at the Ryko office and they said, 'there's a letter here for you from Julie Christie — should we fax it to you or should we FedEx it?' We were thinking, what if she wants to come to the show in London?

K: What if she wants to invite us for tea?

A: We were so excited. Everybody I called I said, 'Julie Christie's written us a letter!!' It was handwritten and everything.

K: It finally came and I said, 'FedEx it! I can't wait!' So we got the letter.

A: We drove out to the FedEx place in Montreal, which takes some driving through this wasteland, we waited in line for a long time, got in the car and Kate's driving and I'm opening the letter and I see... she's a spokesthingy for some cause… which is actually a very good cause, but...

K: It was a form letter! 'Dear.... [Kate and Anna ]'.

A: 'Signed: Julie Christie' It would've been nice if she'd wanted to come to the show. At least if she'd written a 'PS'!

The Bike Song was written for a film. Tell us about it. Do you perceive your songs visually like your compatriot Jane Siberry does?

K: The film never got made.

A: The guy's still trying to get funding.

K: Maybe Jane Siberry would like a role!

A: There's only so much money that can go to so many projects every six months. And this guy just keeps trying to get the script accepted, and he keeps re-writing it and it's been years and years and years... The song must be eight or nine years old now. Finally we just put it on the record because we liked it. But visually, yeah, I see things, I see songs, I see pictures and try to describe them in words.

K: But do you see them as a moving picture? Or do you see them like one of those tableaux vivantes things they put on bicycles?

A: I might see the thing before I would write it. I hope I don't go blind.

K: I don't see songs. Anna went to art school. I think you end up doing things that you're familiar with.

A: I would never paint a song. But people who are artists sometimes come to our shows and they’ll do their rendition of a song!

K: Which is kind of neat.

A: 'Here's Mendocino!'

K: 'And this one's Heart Like A Wheel!!' [mirth ]

Was it fun doing things with Richard Thompson? You don't seem to do many sessions.

A: We only did one session for Richard and it was in the late 1970s, when John Wood came to Montreal with Richard and Linda, they came with the two-inch tape, it was all recorded. And we sang on two songs on what became Sunnyvista. But we've never actually done a session with him playing.

K: There almost have been times when that's happened but it's never really worked out. Also, we have guitar players and Anna and I are very, very kind to our band! I hope they read this. Living in Montreal, we hire musicians who hardly get any work at all. We don't live in the music capital. We tend to use on our records the people who work with us cause it gives them a chance to be heard by other people. The only exception was when we got Mark Knopfler to play on one song, but that was the record company's idea, although I think he's a terrific player. But if someone says, 'Richard's in town, why don't you use him?’, we'll say, 'well, our guitar player might feel bad.' That's the feeling we have, we're very maternal.

A: But on Matapedia we did go away and cut two songs, Jacques et Gilles and Gaby, away from the band even though they knew how to play them. We decided to get a different sound and we didn't want everything identical.

What music appeals to you now?

A: I still have teenagers in the house so I listen to a lot of their music because I have to, because they're playing it in the kitchen! So I don't play a lot of records or go out of my way to listen to stuff. I find I have so little time to create, I would probably rather do that than listen to other stuff. But I do listen to stuff – it just so happens I listen to what they're listening to.

K: And what is that?

A: Well, it's the Prodigy and Radiohead. That's what I've been hearing a lot of.

K: I still enjoy hearing field recordings and stuff. Stuff in the raw. I love old recordings of banjo tunes and stuff like that, from anywhere. Sometimes I'll go on a Norwe­gian kick I just heard a record the other day by the group Vaya Con Dios. It's done in Belgium and Germany. She has a voice and I do like a voice. I love to hear something in a voice so it's spectacular in one way or another it could be terrible, but it's just something that pulls you. Not necessarily a pop voice. And I like classical stuff. Benjamin Britten is sounding very fine to me these days!

Can't say we really hear the Radiohead influence coming through in your records much.

A: No, but they're good, I like them! But I was gonna tell the story of our Celine thing... it's a funny story! About two months ago, our guitar player said to us, 'this is a very hush-hush thing...’

K: This is hush-hush! [laughs]

A: '...but my friend plays keyboards with Celine Dion', and apparently Celine had said to him, 'if you write a song, I will consider putting it on the record.' So Michel, our guitar player asked 'would the two of you be interested in doing the lyrics if we do this?' We said, 'sure' why not?' So two weeks ago they did the track...

K: And it sounded like something none of us would ever do.

A: Well, it's so different from what we're used to working with.

K: It's a big pop ballad!

A: You have to start from somewhere. Anyway, the two of us laboured over this thing for a couple of days, we were like a couple of Tin Pan Alley guys: 'Should we use "la" or "ah"?' You wanted the thing to scan – it wasn't a very deep kind of song. But

neither of us had a big voice to demo it so the keyboard player, Yves, said to us, 'we're going to have to hire a real singer; like a belter.' So we got a woman who does ads!

K: We got the woman who does the Kentucky Fried Chicken ads in Canada! She had this huuuuuge 'where do I blow? where do I blow?' thing. Wait till the third verse before you blow! Eventually she demoed the song for us. She did a whole bunch of these blowing things and we just put it up on Pro-Tools: 'okay, let's move it over here, come and blow over here...' We were real song hacks! We all sat there with the lyrics, five of us had the lyrics, and we were like, 'Can we have a little more feeling on that "love" in the second line?' I was like, 'Anna, are we really doing this?'

A: It was so funny. Anyway, we sent the thing off and we know she got it. Of course she'll probably never do it, but we were all so excited for a week. 'Has anybody heard from her yet?'

Exciting when the cheque arrives.

A: If!!

K: We all had our calculators out: 'okay, you did one-quarter of the lyrics to this line. If she sells 25 million albums at… We were actually doing this!

[fits of giggles]

A: They said, 'of course you'll have to sign it to a publishing company.' Well, that's okay!

K: It's a horrible thing to say but he said, ‘you should go and buy a record of hers to see the kinds of things she does' so Anna said, 'I'm going' but I said, Don't!' Don't go and buy a record of somebody who's already sold 25 million records, go and buy a record by someone who hasn't! Surely you can borrow it from the woman at the grocery store.'

A: But what you don't understand is I did buy the record and I listened to every song and I said, 'oh yes, there's kind of a pattern.' They just have totally different conventions for writing a song than we do, so you have to try and get into that thing and I found it very interesting.

K: I don't know if that machine should be fed! I'm not saying she's not a terrific singer – there's a certain sweetness in her voice. And there's something almost marvellous about her, when I saw her on the David Letterman show, she's not blase. She's been doing this since she was 14 and she has a kind of wide-eyed naivety.

A: She used to sing religious French songs...

K: At the end of the Letterman show she went up and kissed him and he was like, 'whoaa!' – she was so excited to be on the show. Whereas if you see someone like

Madonna... for Celine to be at that stage of her career and not have an attitude is a miracle.

Do you feel any kind of fellowship with other Canadian musicians?

K: Like Celine Dion?! [unbridled hysteria ]

A couple of leaps away from her, perhaps...

A: Yeah, you do actually. As Kate was saying, we all live in Montreal and there aren't that many musicians doing what we're doing in Montreal. We have friends who sing in the French milieu that we'd see more often on the street. Lately we've been running into people.

K: Who?

A: We ran into some people at Pierre Marchand's party, like the guy from Blue Rodeo and Daniel Lanois...

K: But do you think we have a musical affinity with them?

A: Yeah, sure!

K: Name me one instance. I don't think we've ever tried to be part of that 'Canadian music' thing. There's some very, very good stuff coming out of Canada and I think what happens is that if you get stuck in the 'Canadian' thing, you kind of go to CBC and die. Or it's like the Rita MacNeil Show where it's not big enough to be strong. There are strong areas, like there's a really good Celtic music scene in Nova Scotia or Cape Breton...

A: There's a very big fanbase in Canada for Canadian music, which didn't exist twenty, years ago.

K: But I'm saving that on something like the Rita MacNeil show, she might have a rap group from Toronto – who are actually West Indians – and she might have a fiddler from Cape Breton and a singer-songwriter from Vancouver... normally in the real world of music, you tend to have this kind of music coming up anyway. People tend to put us together with female singer-songwriters but not necessarily Canadians, they might be English or Americans. It's about style rather than place.

We probably project this but there does seems something quintessentially Canadian about a lot of the acts we love. An atmosphere seems to connect you to, say, Leonard Cohen...

K: But you see, that's Montreal! That's very interesting....

Are Courage Of Lassie from Montreal?

K: I don't think they are or are they?!

A: I know the name...

I think they were born there...

K: Could be. Cowboy Junkies were born in Montreal, too. It's something that Montreal has in some strange way – perhaps because there's a minority of English in a French community, and CBC doesn't exist there in the way it exists in Toronto. Toronto will get people from Vancouver and the Maritimes. People will go right to CBC to get jobs there. Montreal's slightly different sounding in some way...

Canadian music seems to employ some different rhythms.

A: Leonard Cohen draws a lot from Jacques Brel and there were a lot of people at that time borrowing from the French chansonniers thing in Quebec so it makes sense that that was the music he was listening to.

K: But he was very different from Gordon Lightfoot, and I think we fall more into the Leonard Cohen camp than the Gordon Lightfoot one.

A: I don't know Gordon Lightfoot at all.

K: That's what I'm saying!

There's a kind of horse-riding rhythm prevalent in many songs from Canada.

K: You know what it is – it's an acoustic guitar with non-nylon strings. I think it originated, I guess on the plains, but there were a lot of very good musicians from the Maritimes in the fifties, like Hank Snow...

A: What is this horse-riding rhythm you're talking about? In our music?

Well, it's there in Michael Timmins' music, the big upbeat. Of course, the songs aren't just about horse-riding!

K: Montreal doesn't have a lot of guitar players. That's what's different about

French Canada and English Canada. French families and English families. French families will educate their children on the keyboard – they'll have the piano lessons and it's not really kind of acceptable to be a musician in the family unless you have your classical training. A lot of keyboard players who come up are like chef d'orchestres as we call them, they can write charts and stuff like that. Most guitar players in Quebec will have English names – it's much more an English thing if you're putting together a garage band or listening to blues or whatever. The kind of musicians you have access to in Montreal are different from the kinds of musicians you'd find in Calgary or wherever.

A: The kind of music that does really well in Quebec and has over the last twenty years is the English art-rock groups, Genesis and things like that. They're huge, and they influence Quebec music.

K: English music is much more influential than American music.

A: So there! And Pink Floyd. Once years and years ago Kate and I did a gig way up in Northern Quebec in a little town called Notre Dame du Lac. It was six hundred miles from Montreal, above the Lawren­tians, and the promoter that night after the gig took us to this little bar, she said 'I want to show you some local colouring.' Also, it was the only bar in town. And there was a guy there who was unilingual French who did The Wall, all by himself, and this is before midi, he had all these foot switches, and he sang it phonetically cause he didn't know what he was singing! And he was flicking stuff as he was playing and he had this fancy suit on. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen!

Mortality is a significant theme on Matapedia: 'Some tend to logic, some superstition.' Have you formulated your own philosophy of death?

A: Absolutely not!

K: What did 'superstition' rhyme with?

A: Ummm... But the song is about why we have to die, And of course if you're older then you know why you have to die. But the whole song was written from a young person's point of view because in this town where I live six kids died in the space of about four months. The whole town just didn’t know what to think any more and the priest in the church has nothing left to say. You think, wow, things are bad when even he can't give people any hope at all. Yes, you can explain why we have to die... but why do we have to die? Cause on one hand you're told that your soul is immortal but, hey, what about this body? Why do we have to go through this horrible, painful experience?

K: [genuinely lost] What horrible, painful experience?

A: Death!! [hysterics all round] Yeah, that what we call it: 'Why Do We Live?' !!

You also explore the collision of past and present on the new record. Are memories becoming stronger and more persistent as you grow older?

K: The past to the present… well, I was first aware of that in this little town where we were raised. I was back there about ten or twelve years ago, I was walking through this town, this little village and I saw this girl I used to go to school with and she looked about twelve or thirteen. I thought, 'there's that girl I used to go to school with!' And

then I realised it wasn't her – it was her daughter. But she looked exactly like her. Matapedia came out of that. And I realised how when you don't see someone age it's a Shakespearian concept of immortality, that you can pass your person on through your children and you're made immortal that way. First of all I thought this person was the girl and then I thought, wait, Kate! You're not thirteen, you're like, forty!! This is the daughter of this woman you haven't seen and who you probably wouldn't even recognise.

A: And the other day, I saw this girl you're talking about, whose daughter you saw, and I thought she was her mother. Who's now dead!

K: That combined with the fact that we still own the house we lived in when we were tiny...  When you're young you always think, oh, the world is gonna change. You're sitting there in  your bedroom with all your dolls and the window looks out on a particular hill and you can hear the crickets and you think, someday I'm gonna be in London doing an interview with two guys… We still have that house and I still sleep in that room and I look out that window and I still hear those crickets and I still see that hill and think, hold on a second, this is like a neutron bomb! I'm gonna be gone, but the house will stay the same and the street will be the same. And down the street where I buy my food at Mrs Shortcake's* house, who is now an old woman and her grandchil­dren run the cache, who look like she did forty years ago – they're still going to have a beef-cut on special that's gonna be four generations down the line and nothing has changed. I was struck with how little things change. I was amazed at that.

My father died thirty-one years ago and my son went into his closet and found one of his sweaters – we leave our parents' clothes hanging in the closet — and our kids who are grown went in there and Rufus went in and took out the sweater and said, `hey mom. can I wear this?' They're wearing the clothes, they'll see a jacket, a coat, a hat... and that's immortality. That's life.

*indecipherable, but certainly sounds like 'Shortcake'

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