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unpublished ork, which the band sifted through, finally forming the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