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The Gorey End (Review)

Describing either the Tiger Lillies or Edward Gorey you invariably end up with lists of words like bizarre, eccentric, macabre, morbid and warped.


The Gorey End (review)

Describing either the Tiger Lillies or Edward Gorey you invariably

end up with lists of words like bizarre, eccentric, macabre, morbid and

warped. Which makes this coming together of musicians and cartoonist

such a perfect match.

Taking their name after a famous

murdered Soho whore, the Tiger Lillies are bohemian bohos who perform

street life songs, singing stories of pimps, prostitutes, beggars,

brawlers, drug addicts and drunks. A sort of rum, sodomy and the lash

that might put you in mind of The Pogues, but Port Of Amsterdam-style

Jacques Brel would be more correct.

A fringe group with a

cult following, they have cropped up in films, but are most famous for

theatre work - Fungus the Bogeyman in 1995 but particularly Shockheaded

Peter in 1998.

Or even a soundtrack to Edward Gorey's

illustrated stories, gothic tales featuring oblique language and

beautifully crafted pen-and-ink illustrations of dwardian drawing rooms

and country estates filled with unspeakable horrors, untimely demises

and all aching with ennui. If Gorey's language could be described as

being oblique, his illustrations reveal even less: "I feel that I am

doing the minimum amount of damage to other possibilities that may take

place in a reader's head," said Gorey, describing his preference for

concealing rather than revealing, a lesson in part learned from classic

silent films, in particular those of Danish director Carl Dreyer (in

particular, Vampyr): "You don't see a thing and I think it's the most

chilling movie I've ever seen. I think your own imagination does a

better job."

The Gorey End came about when Gorey heard the

soundtrack for Shockheaded Peter and wrote to Jacques looking for more.

The more he heard, the more he liked and he finally suggested a

collaboration, forwarding the Lillies a box of unillustrated,

unpublished ork, which the band sifted through, finally forming the

songs collected here. Unfortunately, for all concerned with the

project, Gorey died of a heart attack before hearing how the Tiger

Lillies had interpreted his work.

While not being pure Gorey

(the words without llustrations seem somehow naked), the songs

perfectly fit the Tiger Lillies and  they have managed to give an

extra depth to Gorey's work, something that will please followers of

both Gorey and the Lillies.

Feargal McKay

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