The Life and Times of the Clerkenwell Kid


I don’t pretend to understand much of Stephen Coates’ personal mythology, but Clerkenwell is a  central part of it. It’s a neighborhood in central London, is all I know. Somehow I doubt that the real Clerkenwell has much to do with Coates’ Clerkenwell. There’s an entire submerged story running through all of The Real Tuesday Weld’s records, though I can’t quite piece it together. But I think the point is not in putting it all together, but just the fact that the story is there at all. The Real Tuesday Weld isn’t exactly high up on the pop culture radar; the group seems to exist solely as a vehicle for Coates and his alter ego, the Clerkenwell Kid. Which is exactly why it’s such a compelling creation. There’s nothing as intriguing as a peek into a gifted individual’s fantasy world; whole media-spanning franchises have been built out of a single person’s internal life. Fantasy and obsession breed more fantasies and obsessions. It’s a rare talent to make your own appealing to others. The music of The Real Tuesday Weld certainly falls into that category; it’s a personal cabinet of obscurities, in the guise of a dark cabaret.

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