Bernard + Edith

The Bunker, Salford, 27 February 2014


Lurking in the corner of the Bunker next to a mucky metal sink full of ice and bottles of Leffe Blonde, my companion composes his thoughts for an interview with Mary Anne Hobbs while cameramen, lighting people, runners, directors and producers bustle round the cage preparing for this afternoon’s live shoot.

‘We need to pre-empt their questions,’ I say. ‘Like: What’s the story with the Bunker? Or: What inspired the cage? You need to be prepared. What would you say if she asked you that?’

‘I’ve thought about this,’ he replies, worryingly. ‘And I’d say …’

He pauses for effect.

‘Francis Bacon.’

A wide, self-satisfied grin spreads over his face like a rash. From his look, I can tell there’s more.

‘And Kafka.’

‘Oh my god!’ I reply. ‘Please can that be your answer to absolutely any question you get asked?’

He nods.

‘Francis Bacon and Kafka.’

The wooden cage in front of us has hosted plenty of tortuous gigs over the last couple of years, but today it’s decked out in a new style, looking better than ever before, with velvet drapes, projections, leaves, lanterns and an overall décor concept that’s more Mighty Boosh than ‘In the Penal Colony’. If we could market it in a brochure to sell to London bands — which is what they want, having no original ideas of their own — we’d probably call it something like ‘oriental jungle’.

This is all the brainchild of Bernard + Edith, who are being filmed for a clip to be aired on the BBC red button to tie in with the recent 6 Music festival, which you must watch now, quick, while you can … If art is long and life is short, then the BBC red button is shorter (also available via the BBC iPlayer – after 22 mins 20 seconds – this week).

They’ve gone with a song called ‘Eyes on U’, the B-side to their début single ‘Poppy’. The shiver down my spine as the beat kicks in and Greta’s sultry vocals start to reverberate through the Bunker’s rotting wooden rafters makes me surer than ever that their time is truly upon them.

I stand and watch with a spellbound Mary Anne Hobbs and a companion whose interview looks like it might just have to wait, this band being even more important than his pseudo-intellectual wisdom, unbelievable as that may seem. Tired of writing reviews, I start to think about composing a poem instead, which goes only a very small way towards expressing something of the love that I feel for this young and outrageously talented ‘gurl boi duo’ right now.