An earnest interviewer sat a tad too close to the composer, who in his customary white linen suit and looking not unlike Harpo Marx with a skinhead, appeared slightly uncomfortable.
Apparently Stockhausen had given permission for only 11 minutes for the interview.
The opening question, always a key moment in the elusive art of interviews, was perfectly pitched.
“Will you tell me what the most beautiful sound is that you’ve ever heard?”
Stockhausen’s dark eyes momentarily rolled like the symbols on a slot machine, spinning rapidly on their way to the jackpot.
“No” replied the composer.
This was not a “no, I am unable to tell you because to me all sound is beautiful” reply but rather a “not on your nelly, mate” riposte. Not the best of starts really but highly entertaining nevertheless.
A few years ago when I researching the Crimson book, I had set up and interview with Bill Smith, the celebrated album sleeve designer. As the Kenty Kimberman and I entered Bill’s offices we were regaled by the original artwork to several seminal covers. We sat down and admired the work around us as we exchanged pleasantries and sipped our tea. Realising that it was time to kick things off, I leaned forward, turned on the tape and we began.
Whenever Kimberman wants to make me blush, he always recounts my opening gambit. “So Bill, how come the cover to B’Boom was so crap?”