A Midsummer Day’s Dream brings Nurse With Wound to Glasgow's Tramway
Former Monty Python Minister of Silly Walks John Cleese isn’t the first name that springs to mind when you think of Steven Stapleton’s veteran underground institution, Nurse With Wound. Without Cleese, though, NWW would probably never have existed.
‘I was a sign-writer,’ says Stapleton from his computer-free farm in County Clare, where he’s just been stung by a wasp. ‘I was working at a place on Wardour Street in London, when on the other side of the street John Cleese walked past. The way he was walking looked like one of his silly walks, and we just fell about.’
Also bearing witness to Cleese was a recording engineer, who offered Stapleton some studio time. The debut album, ‘Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella’ was the result.
‘Once I got the bug,’ he says, ‘I couldn’t wait to do the next album, and that’s how it’s been ever since.’
Thirty years and forty-odd albums on, NWW are headlining an all-day Midsummer co-production between Tramway and leftfield superclub Optimo. Culminating in a NWW live set, daytime events will include a series of events and interactive artworks by the likes of Adam Bohman, Luke Fowler and Torsten Lauschmann. Such a themed event is in keeping with Stapleton’s original aim in the live arena, which NWW returned to after a 21-year absence in 2005.
‘I always thought if we were doing anything we should make it theatrical,’ Stapleton says. ‘But my friends in Coil and Current 93 were playing constantly and having tremendous fun. I’d never considered it could be fun, but now I love playing live. It’s only an hour out of your life, so if you fuck it up it doesn’t really matter, and I like to have a laugh.’
NWW may be as fertile as ever, but for Stapleton it remains a hobby. ‘I’m a farmer,’ he says, ‘and since my divorce last year, a single parent, so I’ve got my animals and my kids. As far as music goes, I’m happily treading water.’
‘A Midsummer Day’s Dream’ with Nurse With Wound, Tramway, Glasgow, Sat Jun 26. Daytime events noon–6pm. Evening live performance 7–9.30pm.