This Good Friday, we at District Magazine are very excited to be premiering ‘Julie Christie’, the debut single from pillowman, marking the 85th anniversary of his own passing. Allow us to explain…
‘pillowman’ is the moniker of a time-travelling ghost named Softboy Bukeepsie, who the District team met at a very, very late night after-session on Meath Street.
A few weeks later we received a letter, telling us how to return to the house if we ever wished:
Nice havin’ you over – if you wanna buzz back, go to the B section in Hodges Figgis and pull out ‘Revenge of the Lawn’ by Richard Brautigan. Hope to see you soon, SB x
So our writer Eoghan Barra made the journey to the next dimension, for an interview to coincide with the release.
Who are you and where do you come from?
My real name is Softboy Bukeepsie. My parents moved us to Ireland from America during the Roaring Twenties, to avoid the parties and hedonism of the States at the time. They were devout Catholics.
To cut a long story short, 1932 was a big year for Ireland. The 1500th anniversary of St. Patrick, and the year of the Eucharistic Congress. I physically came to an end in something of a freak bunting accident during preparations for the celebrations.
And then… You became a ghost?
That’s right. I moped around for a while and then came to the realisation that this state of being allowed me to haunt anywhere in time and space. Well I went straight to the Riviera and hooked up with Hemingway and the boys.
Where else have you been then?
Ah all over the place. I started a promising ghostwriting career with Serge Gainsbourg in the 60s but, em, we had a bit of an argument over Brigette Bardot which put an end to that and sort of dampened the spirits.
I spent some time with the enlightenment dudes but they were a bit much after a while. Had a vibe with Lenin before it all got too heavy. Had a few good chess matches with Bismarck in the Prussian days.
The furthest back I’ve been was to Egypt to hook up with Cleopatra. I’m actually working on a song about that one at the minute.
So let me guess… Your single ‘Julie Christie’ is about the Julie Christie?…
Yeah that’s right. We got together while they were filming Doctor Zhivago. I think it was ‘63 or ‘64. Never went anywhere, but a hell of a week.
I suppose a lot of the gear you have here in the house has travelled with you?
Yeah, I’ve collected some nice stuff. Have a sitar here that was a gift from Ravi Shankar. And there’s a piano in the living room that Mozart lost to me in a card game.
So why choose Dublin in 2017?
Well there’s a great scene here right now. A lot of things happening. There are musicians out there who get what it means not to be normal: Meltybrains?, SpudGun, Young Isaac and the Ro Gang, Wastefellow, Clu… The visual arts scene is great too, people like Salvatore Fullam, Conor Coughlan, the 1815 crew…
And I ran into the ghosts of Flann O’Brien and Ray Carver and they were looking for someone to share the house since Dylan Thomas moved out. They’re good lads, a bit mad for the session.
I also heard a rumour Softgirl’s been floating around here. She’s a ghost too, and we’ve had this sort of on-and-off thing going for a long time now. I’m dying to see her again.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Well I’m sort of at a reflective point in my afterlife and I’m really finding solace in collecting the memories in these songs. I’ll probably put a new one out every month or so.
Maybe a few collaborations. Wastefellow will be down if he isn’t clubbed to death by his evil twin Wastee. And SpudGun said they’d be up for one but they were fairly Diazepam’d out of it at the time.
And I’m hoping I just might find Softgirl…
Photo by Emil Pierre Leo