Below the cut is an article which was published in The Guardian newspaper on March 8th. It consists of a tribute to Ivor from Alex K, plus an article which features Alex talking about him - this was probably originally published some time ago, but it makes for interesting (re)reading....
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand on Ivor Cutler
"He might seem like a silly old man with silly old songs - but Ivor Cutler was a huge influence on me," says Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand.
A friend of mine - a girl called Jacqueline - worked in a poetry library in London that Ivor Cutler used to visit. She became good friends with him, and went round to his house for tea a few times. She was pretty young, and pretty attractive as well. I think she was a little gauche, thoroughly charmed by the literary excitement of it all, and didn't realise he was maybe a little more amorous than she gave him credit for. She described the scene to me of how she rejected him outright because he was just an old man. She said: "Why would I possibly be romantically interested in you?" And he replied: "You see me just as an old man, but I'm looking at you with the same eyes that I had as a young man." That was the inspiration for our song, Jacqueline, looking out through one set of eyes and seeing yourself reflected as you actually are in the gaze that comes back at you. I was introduced to Cutler's records by my friend Andrew in Glasgow, the person I started writing songs with. We were about 14. We were always going round second-hand record shops hoping to discover something new we could play to each other. We used to sit around for ages, in front of his record player, listening to this stuff. I think Dandruff was the first one we heard. It was incredible. We'd never encountered anything so bizarre and so funny - so different from everything else. Some of his music was complete nonsense, like Fremsley - a crazy story about a sparrow. But I always loved the surreal edge to it. I think there's a distracting absurdity about Cutler's music because it deflects you slightly from the fact that he's often very sharp-witted; there are some very pointed observations within his songs. I think this is what appealed to our adolescent selves, as it appeals to a lot of fans of alternative music. There seems to be a big tradition of adoring Cutler, even thought there is no one particular "type" of Cutler fan. I remember going to see him in Glasgow. It was an artsy kind of event - one of those gigs that are heavily funded by the Arts Council. The audience was incredibly reverential. They just seemed to be hanging on every word. This was fair enough, as he was pretty good. But it also meant they were laughing at everything he said. At one point he remarked: "You think that everything I say is funny just because I've got a funny voice." It was brilliant. Just because he is a little odd-looking, with an unusual voice, silly hats and a harmonium, people see him as a figure of fun. I think there's a lot more depth to him that that, although I've never actually met him. A lot of people went up to talk to him after the show, but I've always shied away from that sort of thing. The whole Scottish and Glaswegian aspect of his work was important to me as well. I love the way he sends up the English perception of what it is to be Scottish, as in Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, when they go for a walk and his father says, "Loook! A thistle," and then, "Looook! Another thistle." Afterwards, they coat some herring in porridge and fry them on the griddle. It's completely ridiculous and - need I add - nothing like what Scottish life is like. There is a wonderful contrast in his sense of humour and deep-founded liberalism being set against such an austere Scottish background. He can be dour and tough: "I've never been poor in my life," I remember reading him say, "because I've always lived within my means." But then there's his song, Triangle of Hair. It goes: "Everybody's got a little triangle of hair, but nobody talks about it." It's very funny, and pricks the common prudishness that we all have about sex, yet he manages to do it in such an innocuous way. He doesn't force his liberalism on anyone. I can't see a musical connection between Cutler and Franz Ferdinand, but he certainly inspired me lyrically because he has fun and is unpretentious with language. I've always admired people who can take the phrasing of conversation and make it fit the rhythm of lyrics. I'm not sure if Nick (guitars/vocals) is so aware of him, having grown up in Germany, but I know Bob (bass) and Paul (drums) are fans. Bob and I used to sit in the flat and listen to Cutler when we were first getting the band together. Cutler's determination not to become mired in intellectualism is one of the main principles of our band as well. The best pop music, which we aspire to, bypasses any intellectual thought; you move your body to the rhythm, you tap your foot, you get off on the sound that the lyrics make. Yet at the same time, if you want to, you can go a bit further and enjoy more depth. I think that's true of Ivor Cutler as well. On one level, they're just silly songs, yet on another they're fantastic poetry and intensely stimulating. It's interesting that he's so notorious for hating loud pop music when he has so many fans who love it. But I won't hold that against him.