Tuesday, 7th September 2021 in Noticeboard.
A NOTE FROM YVONNE INNES – SEPTEMBER 2021 –
It is now 20 months since we lost Neil.
I want to share some of my thoughts with all who cared for Neil.
And I also want to respond to those who have been wondering if there’s anything they can do that would help the world remember Neil. There is. And details of that are coming.
What a time it has been… A time without stars. A time without hugs. A time without that closeness that permeated every part of my body making me feel whole. For a long time I could hardly bear to play Neil’s music or listen to his voice in interviews. I thought it would get easier – instead it gets harder. Everyone is being kind. They let me forget birthdays, burn toast – and they offer help sorting out the mound of bureaucracy still awaiting completion in France.
What a pity that I couldn’t stay a bit longer in France and be there with Neil seeing what he saw and loved. Watching the changing colours, watching the stars. I moved back to the UK leaving many of the plants and pots and bits and pieces that made our house in France such a beautiful home.
Watching the rest of our lives go into the lorries, I was numb, as this was the first time I would be living without Neil and I did not know how to do that. But there is also relief that Luke and I had at least gathered together in one place all of Neil’s recordings, writings, sketches etc. etc. – something we had never managed to do when Neil was alive. I had felt that Neil and I should do it together, so we could go through what to keep and what to discard, but Neil always wanted to spend his time going forwards not backwards. So as days stretched into weeks, months and then years we never actually had that great sifting through the artifacts of the past. Now at least it is all together even if the sorting out is still to do.
I have returned to the area of England where we lived for most of our lives so there are many old friends I can see or stay with. In the main we talk about Neil, and as we do memories come streaming back and my energy returns.
There are several projects we are thinking about. I have been archiving all of Neil’s writings and sketches for a biography and for what I hope will be a refreshed website. We are also sifting through the universe of Neil’s accumulated recordings – music and film – to see if there are some buried treasures that we could make available. There is also a thought to commission replicas of Neil’s iconic “Ego Warrior” head-and-hands sculpture from the artist who made the original. The idea being to offer them for sale – either life-size or miniature versions.
I work surrounded by photographs I have printed of Neil with me and the family as well as Neil with assorted Bonzos, Pythons, Rutles and fans.
I have dozens of photographs of our time in Australia where Neil made his last recordings. He loved working again with Steve James – the engineer for both Rutles albums, as well as with the musicians Steve organised to come and play. He loved the Airbnb where we stayed – surrounded by what was an Australian jungle of a garden.
Since Neil died, the only thing that can make me really smile is the knowledge that Neil was then – and during our four years in France – truly happy.
Many people have been kind enough to ask if there is anything they can do to help keep Neil’s work alive. I do have some ideas in that regard. I will be making an announcement about a project to do just that. On this website very soon.