Gillian "Gilli" Mary Smyth
1 June 1933 - 22 August 2016
English, eccentric, university teacher for a little while, space whisperer, vocalist, focal point, poet, writer, artist, feminist, band leader, mother, Gongmother etc. etc. Gilli passed away timely just after the previous full moon. I saw her on some occasions along with her most steady musical and otherwise partner Daevid Allen in Gong on some occasions. She met Daevid in 1967 in Paris when he still was a member of Soft Machine and she read poetry at some of the Soft Machine gigs there. The following year the two of them started Gong. Her academic career ended during the student riots in Paris that year. She was a teacher at the prestigious Sorbonne University, but took the side of the students during the riots and became a persona non grata with the French establishment. When she and Daevid handed out teddy bears to the gendarmes they fell out with the hard-core political student fraction, as well. To avoid further trouble, they fled to Deya, the artist village in Mallorca that Daevid had visited with Robert Wyatt a few years earlier. Deya was to be their refuge in between Gong commitments in the years that followed. Here's one of her lyrics, "Back To The Womb", from her solo album Mother (1978):
I'm sorry, I'm really not having this,
But Prime Minister,
I only said that next time around I shall be a mother.
While you're interested in these things
you'd better find out how people buy yachts.
Did you ask him how he was able to buy a yacht?
Do you like the sea?
Why do you ask these questions anyway?
I'm a submarine Captain.
Very interesting down there with the fishes
and the fishes and the shimmering ...
I'm a politician.
I'm a mother.
I'm the mother of everything and you are my egg.
I'm Doctor Death. I'm Doctor Doom.
I'm an old man.
I'm the Reverend Beverage.
I'm Icky Dicky Dipp/
I'm the wizard.
I'm the master.
I'm a sanitation engineer.
I'm a ... I'm a Queen, I'm a Hell's Angel, I'm Father Christmas,
I'm a boy, I'm a ... rock star.
I'm a bib boy.
I'm a little boy.
I'm a baby.
Those lyrics, poems, books, space whispers, ... will never stop to fascinate. RIP!