The UK Alternative scene never fails to surprise me! When we think we’ve already seen all there is to it, there comes Simon. His creative endeavors are definitely worth your pausing Netflix for: Published author and a historical re-enactor of Napoleonic wars, Simon Satori is also the front man of the bands Rome Burns (a very danceable gothic rock formation) and Hi-Reciprocity (a more diverse artistic one-man-show). We’ll feature both projects more in-depth (therefore watch out) whilst right now we focus on the sinful side of things with the versatile Simon, which African even-toed ungulate he’d rather be and what’s the worst that can happen to you in Buddhist Hell.
Ah, one of my favourite sins. There used to be a music magazine in the UK called Meltdown which was great (the editor is now one of my neighbours and my occasional cat-sitter) and whenever they had a band interview they’d end it with the rather silly question: ‘If you were an animal, what sort of animal would you be?’ and no matter who they asked, they all came up with similar predictable reply – dogs, cats, perhaps an eagle or a dolphin. When we got an interview with them they had stopped asking this question, which really annoyed me, because I thought I had the perfect answer. If I had a choice of reincarnations I’d be a hippopotamus! There is nothing so glorious as lying around in warm water doing nothing! My personal choice is a hot bath with a good book and a glass of whiskey, but I’m sure a warm muddy lake in central Africa would do just as well!
For a while my old band (Rome Burns) had recipes on its website. There was no particular reason for this, we just thought it was a wonderfully weird thing to find on a goth band’s website and some of them were quite good.
There used to be a chain of pubs in the UK called ‘Eerie Pubs’. There is now only one left (in Nottingham). They’re fantastic as they are old gothic-horror-film themed, so you could amuse yourself by watching new customers try to find the toilets (they were hidden in a secret passage behind a fake bookcase) or by going up to the bar and asking for their cocktails: ‘I’ll have two Lusts, a Greed, and a pint of Gluttony, please’!
When I was in Thailand one of my favourite places to visit was Buddhist Hell. These are a bit like religious theme parks and they are full of statues or paintings of the moral lessons of Buddhism: if you are a bad Buddhist then this is what will happen to you in Buddhist Hell. There are huge demons sticking sinners on spikes or ripping them apart with various implements… and one of my favourite lessons that I learnt from reading the translations around these nightmarish scenes was that ‘If in life you encourage your friends into violence, you will be destined to spend your time in Buddhist Hell in the form of a duck!’ I sing a song with Hi-Reciprocity about this most unlikely form of punishment!
One of my last gigs was at a festival on Mount Edgecumbe in Cornwall. I love trying to make every gig site-specific: To try to make the audience think about where they are and the myths and legends all around them. So for that gig, I wrote a piece using just my vocals and a loop-pedal to act as a choir. It was about Emma Edgecumbe, the Lady of Mount Edgecumbe House who (like in an Edgar Allan Poe story) is pronounced dead and put in the family crypt, only to awaken days later when the greedy grave-digger tries to cut off her finger to steal her wedding ring.
I once had an eye-infection: a little creature called acanthamoeba became comfortable on my eyeball and was slowly eating into it. It was not a good time for me and I was advised that I might go blind. On the good side it did scare me into a fit of rapid artistic endeavour and as well as touring and writing music with Rome Burns, I also got my first novel published. However, I’m too vain to wear glasses on stage and I couldn’t wear contact lenses on my damaged eyeballs. So I asked the rest of the band if they would mind if I made our set-lists a little bigger so I could still see what songs we were playing in what order. They agreed… until they realised how bad my eyesight was! Instead of the A4 set-lists we usually had, I bought some plain wall-paper and huge marker pens and drew up set-lists that were about a metre wide and two metres long. The band said that they thought this would look too silly on stage so in the end they had to tell me the songs we were playing before each one started. Personally I liked my giant-sized set-lists!
We all want something that we can’t have. Personally, I’d love to have some musical talent. I’d love to be able to play the guitar myself, or the keyboards, or violin, or anything but instead I write and I sing and I work with some incredibly talented musicians to create all the sounds I need. Hi-Reciprocity is a very strange act: a solo-project involving such a lot of amazing people.
Photos: SteveK Photography, Adrian X, Krys Plucinsky
Marina Minkler – journalist
Uwe Minkler – translation