So John Martyn has died. I saw him at the Barbican just before Christmas in what I'm pretty sure was his last gig. I only went because a friend got tickets but I ended up really enjoying it and went back to his CDs for the first time in years. Solid Air and One World, which I'm listening to at the moment, are great records.
Life had not been kind to John Martyn. To be more accurate, he had not been kind to himself. He was an alcoholic, bloated, ill looking and confined to a wheelchair, having lost a leg a few years ago. I'd known he wasn't in great shape but it was still a shock. As we left, one of my friends said he didn't look as if he was long for the world, and so it has proved.
He's the fourth musician whose last, or nearly last, gig I've seen in recent years. Arthur Kane of the New York Dolls keeled over a few days after we saw him at the Royal Festival Hall; Arthur Lee of Love died not so long after playing at the same venue and Ron Asheton of the Stooges died not so long ago, after I saw them playing on Clapham Common last year. Am I a jinx or do I just watch too many clapped-out musicians?