On Saturday I’m giving this year’s Malcolm Bowie Memorial Lecture for the British Comparative Literature Association. My subject is ‘Music and memory – a musician’s perspective’.
The lecture is free and open to the public. It takes place at 3pm in Deptford Town Hall in London on 25 January and will last for around an hour, with questions afterwards, and then drinks. Further information about how to reserve a place is on this Facebook page.
Malcolm Bowie was an acclaimed scholar of French literature, the author of several books on Marcel Proust, and the Master of Christ’s College in Cambridge. After his death in 2007 this lecture series was named in tribute to him.
Obviously I am no literature expert, so why me? Well, it turned out that Malcolm was a huge music fan. Some years ago, a mutual friend asked me if I knew that Malcolm Bowie came to some of my concerts and had some of my records. He came to the launch of my first book, Beyond the Notes. I played at Christ’s while he was Master of the College, but sadly he was already very ill by that time. The next time I played at Christ’s was at his memorial service, a very moving event at which I realised that I had known very little of his achievements, and the enormous range of his interests. Music was only a part of it.
Anyway, when I was asked to give this lecture I looked at some of Malcolm’s writings about music as inspiration. It has been very interesting to try to write about music for a literary audience.