The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Kernow Calling: Mark Jenkin’s Favourite Albums
Sean McGeady , January 18th, 2023 09:12

Cornish bard Mark Jenkin talks Sean McGeady through the soundtracks to his teenage summers, long drives to the hospital, and lonely afternoons hand-processing celluloid, from Junior Wells to Joni Mitchell


Simon Fisher Turner – The Garden

This is what I’m striving for, to make a soundtrack as good as this. I was in north Cornwall, on the dole. I went home and put the TV on and the continuity announcer said that The Garden was going to be on. He said something like, “Next we’ve got a film by British artist Derek Jarman, shot on Super 8 in his garden”. It was just such a weird description of a film. I was probably 18 or 19. I had done a photography A-level by then, so I liked handmade film-making. I’d heard of Super 8 but it was motion pictures – too complicated and too expensive. But then there was going to be a film on TV made on this format. Something inside me told me it was important. So I put a VHS tape in the recorder and video’d it.

I was in London in 1993 – it was the time I first came to London – and shot a roll of Super 8. Part of the reason for shooting Super 8 is because I’d seen The Garden. So I bought a Super 8 camera, went to London and filmed a film in London, called London, featuring shots of London, to the Smiths song ‘London’. I didn’t know at the time that Derek Jarman had also worked with the Smiths, and had made the ‘The Queen Is Dead’ short film.

I went to Tower Records in Piccadilly and [The Garden score] was in a bargain bin for 99p, which I still think is a crime but it meant that I could afford to get it. I listened to that so much. It’s always next to my tape deck. I’m always listening to it. Then a few years ago, I found this vinyl on Discogs and paid quite a lot of money for it. But I just had to have it on vinyl. It’s like a whole new version of the film. I never used to listen to film soundtracks but this is really special. It’s the sort of soundtrack that I don’t listen to in the background. It’s a bit like the Enys Men soundtrack. If you took the film dialogue out of the Bait soundtrack it would just be a record that washes over you. The Enys Men one is very different. There are moments of ambient drones but then there’s high horror, quite a lot of screaming, audio jumpscares and stuff like that. Side B of the Enys Men soundtrack is pretty full-on. There’s some really powerful stuff on The Garden, like the roll call of people that [Jarman] had lost to AIDs. Some of the sounds – I think it’s in ‘Cold Cold Cold’, there’s this sound that sounds like nuclear fusion. I’ve got no idea how Simon did it. But that’s what I’m striving for, to create something that’s as visceral as this just through audio.

I invited Simon to the 35mm print preview of Enys Men at the BFI. He came along and we hung out afterwards. I was quite starstruck but he’s such a lovely guy.