Simply the Best Swan
Alexandra Spencer-Jones is truly a musical witch, capable of mashing together a 144 year old ballet written by a Russian and a 90s power ballad originally performed by one of the greatest American artists of our time.
And that’s exactly what she heard in her head. That exact mashup. How she heard it you may ask? I have no idea, but I had the privilege and fortune of being tasked with translating what was in her head to my guitar.
I had it easy, because I had a guitar… I find it impressive that she knew these two songs would go together without even picking up an instrument. During a 30 minute Zoom call Alex walked me through her creation, speaking fluently in percussive phonemes.
ASJ is a great friend of mine. She is a phenomenal theatre-maker, director, writer, ancient-greek translator (yep), composer, song-writer, actress and all-round Creator — with a capital C.
Recently, ASJ’s mother Sammy Spencer-Jones dis-incarnated and continued her cosmic journey, and ASJ asked me to play some music at her funeral. This was the piece that we wrote together and that I performed live at the ceremony the 8th of July 2020.
I’m not a classical guitarist, so this was a real challenge for me. I practiced day in and day out until the 8th and if I’m honest I didn’t successfully play it right a single time in the lead up to the funeral — it gave me a glimpse of what “real” musicians actually go through: orchestra folk, conservatoire nerds, they play their music absolutely perfect.
I’m just a rock musicians, so my areas of expertise are loud noises and head banging.
I was so nervous before performing at the ceremony (I don’t think I’d been this nervous since I’d performed as Ray Davies in Sunny Afternoon, at the Theatre Royal in Brighton, on Christmas Eve, to a full house and for Ray Davies himself who was sat in one of the boxes looking at me performing as him — a story for another time.).
But, the inspiration struck me and I managed to play it flawlessly at the ceremony and do my part in sending Sammy on her way.
Ever since the funeral I’ve also struggled to play it perfectly, as I said, I’m not a classical guitarist. It took me about 20 takes to get this video done, but here it is, a register of what ASJ and I created in the wake of Sammy’s departure.
It’s almost like I was only meant to smash it when Sammy was around to listen. Swan Lake is indeed one of her favourite ballet’s and according to ASJ she must’ve seen it 30 times in her lifetime. And Simply the Best by Tina Turner… Well, let’s just say in all earnestness and quite simply, that that’s exactly what Sammy was, the best.
And she still is the best in my belief, for I know life is but a temporary immersion in the flesh and she’s gone back to her real life now, to reunite with her family and loved ones, just as we will reunite with her one day in due time.
Find everything you need to know about The Vone and follow us on our socials here: https://linktr.ee/marcelocervone