• Roland Topor – No Ordinary Fairy

    Roland Topor – No Ordinary Fairy
    Released by: Cadabra Records
    Released on: January 13th, 2017.
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    This is a weird record. On this recording, which is limited to “a run of 300 copies on 150-gram opaque purple vinyl with a deluxe tip-on jacket, liner notes by Heidi Lovejoy, and art by Roland Topor himself” features none other than Laurence Harvey reading the writings of French born surrealist Topor (the same Topor who wrote the book of the same name on which Roman Polanski based his film The Tenant). Those unfamiliar with Topor would do well to understand that although he passed away in 1997, he left behind an interesting legacy of art, be it written, painted, filmed or otherwise. Alongside Jodorowsky and Arrabel he was a member of the Panic Movement. He played Renfield masterfully in Herzog’s remake of Nosferatu. He also co-wrote and had a hand in designing the creatures that inhabit the 1973 animated cult classic La Planete Sauvage. Now Cadabra Records offers up the chance to listen to Harvey read two of Topor’s short stories in his own inimitable way.

    Side A, which runs about ten minutes, features Harvey talking up a story, first person style, in which he tells us how his father nailed a picture to his head just as a fairy arrived to grant him three wishes. Of course, there’s a knock at the door and yeah, someone who is ‘no more fairy than I’ shows up to grant him two wishes (it seems he didn’t hand over the cash he should have to get three). He first wishes to be the richest person in the world, which is ironic as the fairy is clearly dirt poor, but the fairy is broke. Then he asks for love, and the fairy starts to undress – but when he calls her on it she tells him he has to cough up another three hundred quid and then tells him to get on with it. His third wish? Or is it his second? Our hero haggles. He wants to ‘become master of the world!’ of course. There’s some back and forth between the two and eventually the fair consults her handbook. From here, it goes from weird to weirder, as it turns into an age guessing contest fueled by grog and more grog. From there, he wishes once and for all to be rid of his parents… we shan’t spoilt the ending.

    Side B, an eight minute recording, lets Harvey read Laying The Queen. This is a story about a little boy who says that when he grows up ‘I’ll have the Queen.’ Unfortunately for the boy, Gaspar, he ignored all who told him his obsession was foolish. He went through school and did well with little effort, until a psychologist told his parents he showed no aptitude for anything… except for laying the Queen – much to the dismay of his parents. Gaspar grew into a handsome enough young man who decided to leave home and find himself a Queen despite the untold dangers of the outside world. Regardless, he set out to explore one royal kingdom after another, and when he got to the last one he went to see the Queen with a simple pronouncement: “I want to fuck you.” The Queen, surprisingly enough, seemed okay with this and invited him to sit down. He made some moves but was shot down, at least initially, because the Queen did not want him to be disappointed by succeeding too easily. Gaspar, however, was a persistent man and the queen had lovely well shaped legs… maybe Gaspar wasn’t as crazy as everyone else thought that he was. “Everyone wants to fuck the Queen, but nobody wants to marry her!”

    These two shorts are well done. Harvey’s got the perfect voice to narrate this twisted little tales and he does so with both energy and enthusiasm. It sure sounds like he’s having fun with the material, completely aware of how ridiculous the stories are and how amusing they’re supposed to be. Delivered in his naturally thick accent, there’s a lot of character here and a lot of effort put into giving the stories the right sort of energy and nuttiness that they need to work. The subtle background sounds – the odd sound effects and some minimalist score work – helps to provide an appropriately weird atmosphere while, most importantly of all for something like this, Topor’s wit and bizarre sense of humor shines through.