Ray Davies, imaginary man. A true one off.

For a day when it’s -3˚ in Belfast. Slightly off Slugger’s usual beat, but if you missed Alan Yentob’s rather classy (and querky) documentary “Imaginary Man” on BBC1 featuring The Kink’s lead singer and songwriter Ray Davies, try to find the time over Christmas to watch it, or keep an eye out for best bits on YouTube if you’re outside the UK.

  • Mick

    We agree on something, it must be christmas, as you say the Ray Davies documentary was classy and querky, although Yentob was not the films maker just a talking head topping up his pension, Julien Temple’s name stands above the film. (http://is.gd/jeOU2) Still no matter, good stuff.

  • I’ve just checked in on Google Maps: if there were a ley-line (OK: different Slugger thread) from Dave’s birth-place at 6 Denmark Terrace, N2, to where that documentary was filmed at Hornsey Town Hall, I’m currently sitting on it. Hence one point of interest.

    Davies is arguably the most effective social observer and (as someone described him for Rolling Stone) “anthropologist” working in the UK music scene these fifty years. Lennon not excepted. He deserves every respect and interest: were he French and working in chansons (and he’s pretty close to that genre), he’d be a National Landmark, perhaps one of les immortels, with his work prescribed for the school curriculum. I prefer to think of him as just a good guy, with a lot of talent, and a superb back-catalogue; and am on record to that effect. Moreover, at least twice.

  • Pete Baker

    The only off-note in the documentary is the repeated references to the latest compilation of others covering that superb back-catalogue.

    And just in time for Christmas!

    “one of les immortels”

    Indeed, Malcolm.

  • Dec

    “Davies is arguably the most effective social observer and (as someone described him for Rolling Stone) “anthropologist” working in the UK music scene these fifty years. Lennon not excepted.”

    Would tend to agree Malcolm though his subject was/is particularly (Southern) English. However, even the most strident Lennon devotee (like myself) would never claim our man to be much of a ‘Social observer’.

  • Rory Carr

    Winchester Cathedral,
    You’re bringing me down,
    You stood and you watched as
    My baby left town.

    Such daring lyrics, to risk banality and achieve sublimity is surely the mark of genius nurtured by courage.

    England has brought forth three such in the post-war era: Davies, Lennon and Costello and Wales and Ireland may well think that they too had some influence.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Surely it was Geoff Stephens who wrote the New Vaudeville Bands “Winchester Cathedral”.
    For most people who were teens in the1960s, The Kinks were the “third” group behind the Beatles and Stones and ahead of the Hollies and the Animals.
    I think they were never totally sure how seriously they wanted to be taken. “Waterloo Sunset” isa classic but “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” is a different kind of classic.
    They also had a reputation for very public infighting especially between Dave Davies and Pete Quaife. Not so much creative difficultities as drunkeness.
    Ultimately that get bands. The early manifestation of the group is much better to listen to than the psuedo intellectual drivel of early 1970s.
    Ray Davies……genius? No
    Ray Davies and Kinks……pretty good group? Yes.

  • Ray Davey is my imagination man, a great one-off

    We hope that Corrymeela will come to be known as ‘the Open Village’, open to all people of good will who are willing to meet each other, to learn from each other and work together for the good of all.

  • Dewi
  • Dewi

    Especially @ 5.56….

  • I am changing my name to AIB” [YouTube] -with no apologies to an old acquaintance, Tom Paxton 🙂

  • Well, bung me another €3.7 billion, have an in-camera hearing and call me nationalized! Even so, in all my years haunting Slugger, I’d never have had Nevin down as a Paxton man. Can he surprise us further? Can he rise even higher in my estimation?

    However, in the context of this thread, I’ll call his Paxton and raise him a David Watts.

    As with the David Watts on the Something Else album (along with the impeccable Waterloo Sunset):

    He is the head boy at the school;
    He is the captain of the team;
    He is so gay and fancy free;
    And I wish all his money belonged to me:
    I wish I could be like David Watts.


    And all the girls in the neighborhood
    Try to go out with David Watts;
    They try their best but can’t succeed
    For he is of pure and noble breed.

    That’s also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51d9s_MQ6ws. And if, back in 1967, David Watts had a Lambretta SX200, like the two-tone in that clip, I’d have wanted to be like David Watts, too.

    Do not believe the wikipedia invention that the heroic David Watts is he who played the keyboards for the Tornado(e)s on Telstar.

    Dec @ 8:46pm, above, if quite correct. The whole point is that Davies was of and spoke for a specific audience, London “working-class” lads possessed of some imagination (cf: The Who and others). Not surprisingly, Davies’s music is only a few steps away from Music Hall.

  • Malcolm R, hows about this from Leonard Cohen – slightly modified? [youtube]

    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State!
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

    I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
    I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
    And I’m neither left or right
    I’m just staying home tonight,
    getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
    But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
    that Time cannot decay,
    I’m junk but I’m still holding up
    this little wild bouquet:
    Democracy is coming to Cullybackey