Kristin Hersh

***this interview was conducted in November 2010 and was originally posted on my film blog myfilms2010***

I’ve been very fortunate since starting to write this blog.

I’ve seen a lot of great movies.

I’ve interviewed some people whose work I really admire and who I am a big fan of.

This is something very different.

Kristin Hersh is one of my heroes.

I listen to her music every day and have taken great comfort from it at some of my lowest points.  She has also provided the soundtrack to some very special happier memories.  In my opinion she is one of the all time great singer/songwriters.

From her work with Throwing Muses (just check out “Real Ramona” or the eponymous “Throwing Muses” as an introduction) to her violently personal and revelatory solo work (starting with “Hips and Makers” and leading up to this years incredible “Crooked”) she has produced music that has the ability to make you feel like you are the sole recipient of the song and that it was created for you and you alone.  It is that ability that sets her apart from almost anyone else.

OK…I’ll just say it; I love Kristin Hersh.

When I first attempted to persuade her to answer my (typically) banal questions I really didn’t even expect a response but a response is what I got and I am delighted to report that Kristin did not disappoint; as I suspected she is sweet, funny, charming and tolerant.

I resisted the urge to simply tell Kristin how much I adored her and tried to stay focused on the blogs purpose…movies and so began by trying to merge my love of both.  On the album “The Real Ramona” there is a song called “Red Shoes” which is also the name of a beautiful film by Powell and Pressburger which tells the story of a young ballerina.  Red shoes also feature prominently in “The Wizard of Oz” and in both cases the shoes in question provide the wearer with talent and opportunity.  If MyFilms could provide you with an equally blessed pair of shoes what talent would you want them to bestow upon you?

“I’d like shoes that could teach me to talk out loud in such a way as it makes sense to other people…sadly it’s so far so bad on that front.  Shoes turn out to be as quiet as I am”

I would have been perfectly happy to end this right there and then.

That is exactly the sort of answer I was praying I would receive from you…brilliant, slightly quirky and beautifully self deprecating.

The very first time I heard you sing was when I heard the single “Your Ghost” from “Hips and Makers”.  The history of cinema is littered with ghost stories.  I wonder which of these ghosts you would choose to be; the ghost in “Ghost” where you are the unearthly lover trying desperately to protect those left behind while also finding time to indulge in some pottersy, Malcolm Crowe from “The Sixth Sense” who is the ghost who doesn’t know he has died or Casper the friendly ghost?

“Duh-uh!  Casper!  He’s the creepiest but he’s still in a good mood”

Still on a ghostly theme if you could cast any actress to play the part of “Kristin” in “The Kristing Hersh Story” who would you choose…thanks to the miracle of CGI you can choose someone who has “passed on”.  

“Jean Arthur but you would have to dub in BEA Arthurs voice”

I should point out that this is a question I often ask actors, actresses, directors and musicians and this is the first time I’ve received an answer that made me laugh out loud.  The idea of the graceful and beautiful but squeaky voiced Jean Arthur playing the lead in the biopic of Kristin Hersh but with the voice of “Golden Girl” Bea Arthur is just fabulous!

Music is a key component of film and is, clearly, a major part of your life.  What would you choose to have playing over the opening and closing credits of your life story?

“The Moore Brothers”.  They just drip with sweetness without being lame, which is VERY important.  I can only hope to achieve one grain of the sugar that pours out of their songs”

Finally Kristin can you tell me which three movies you would choose to play on an eternal loop?

“Team America”

“Harold and Maude”

“You Can’t Take it With You”

“Because they are all small and happy making”

Small and happy making.

I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a finer thing to aim for…in a world where being BIG, in so many ways, is deemed to be the most important thing even if that means making people miserable there is something refreshing about knowing that someone, somewhere values small and happy making.  That someone is Kristin Hersh…you could join her!

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