Neil Hornick Audiotapes



Compiled, with notes, by Neil Hornick August 2016


TROUPE/SWITCH GROUP FEEDBACK AND IMPROV SESSIONS (1967-68, total length: 26 hrs 45 mins.) Recorded on a 4-track reel-to-reel tape recorder at the group’s workshop base in Notting Hill, London.

  1. THE TROUPE ANALYSIS – 4th, 7th and 9th November 1967, a systematic internal feedback session.
  2. THE SWITCH ANALYSIS – Another group feedback session, date unspecified, recorded after the company’s name was changed from The Troupe to The Switch (in December 1967).
  3. IMPROVS FOR PRESENTS – 5th March 1968, recorded improvs aimed at generating material for an (unproduced) piece, with Switch members Jean Michaelson, David Webster, Jenny Moss (later known as Natasha Morgan), Judy London, Roy Skelton, Trixie Ashby and others.

In 2010, thanks to Steve Cleary (Head Curator, Drama & Literature), these tapes were copied to MP3 format and the originals retained by the British Library of Recorded Sound. I may since have donated the MP3 disc(s) to Unfinished Histories. At close to 27 hours, dwelling in excessive detail on interpersonal relationships within the group, they’re likely to make extremely tiresome listening today.


Review of Music Hall programme at the NFT – broadcast on BBC Radio World Service (date unknown, some time during late 1960s). NH reviews a showing of film clips of music hall performers on film. Presumably no recording survives.


In chronological order of recording

AC = catalogue cassette number, where applicable

Among the items listed, a total of 30 extant audiocassettes had been catalogued some time ago. They include recordings of PC productions in performance, improvisations, internal discussions and broadcast radio interviews. A supplementary collection of tapes includes SFX and other sound recordings used by the company as a resource in performance or by way of backup (e.g. warm-up tapes). However, some recordings have been omitted from the following list because of unbearably poor technical and/or artistic quality (e.g. Joel Cutrara and I on the occasion of what may be our very first meeting, at a party, improvising terrible ‘free-form’ lyrics to live jazz). Not that everything that’s been retained is listenable.  But it may be of some archival interest.

Several of the post-1972 company recordings were made or supervised by Joel Cutrara, who shouldered Sound Design responsibilities.

CAN’T HELP LOVING YOU : HIS AND HERS (October 1968) 3 cassette master-tapes, as used in The Switch’s production at Ambiance Lunchtime Theatre Club:
Tape 1 – His and Hers (14”) Voices of NH and Jean Michaelson, with Stuart Richman as The Instructor. This continuous tape omits first eleven lines of Instructor’s opening speech and processing of voices toward the end. (AC-1)
Tape 2 – His (9”)  – performance tape. Processed voice of NH.  (AC-2)
Tape 3 – Hers (10”) – performance tape. Voice of Jean Michaelson. Includes only complete version of the Instructor’s intro. (AC-3)

Early PC Improvisations (October 1970, 21”) with PC founder-members  NH, David Webster, Jean Michaelson & Rick Davis. (a) Word association (7”) and scatting (3”, muffled sound), (b) Rick’s ‘Why?” response routine (11”) (AC-2)

INTERVAL – improvised introductions (November 1970, 25”). With NH, David W, Jean M plus simple musical instruments. (a) David (6”), (b) NH (4”), (c) Music (3”), (d) NH (4”), (e) Jean (4”). (f) NH reads scripted intro (4”)  (AC-5)

A MEETING OF TRUE MINDS – ROY MORGAN: CLAIRVOYANT (February 1971). Small-group, informal clairvoyance session, secretly recorded by NH, Jean Michaelson and David Webster at International Spiritualists Association in Belgravia, as research for piece, A Meeting of True Minds. A poor-quality recording that improves slightly toward the end (AC-30)

THE GREAT WAR FOR ECONOMY a.k.a. WORLD WAR 4 – NH & JC read extracts from unproduced play by JC, recorded c. May 1972, Mono, 8”, AC-7)

A.I.R. [?]

  1. Unfinished unedited takes, presumably intended as a commentary resource for slides submitted to the Art Information Registry (A.I.R.) with NH, JC, David Gale, Cindy Oswin, etc. (1973, mono, 6”) Alludes to Greater Albert Street Development Corporation event of July 1972 (AC-7)
  2. A second unmixed longer version of the above. Stereo (N & J only, 22”) Appears to consist of takes for commentary on slides illustrating the work of the PC, as prepared for inclusion in quasi-promotional Chefemery show of April 1973, a precursor of What to Do on a Date (November 1973). Alludes to Utopia or Oblivion, Mean Feats, Fun Art Bus, The Real Thing (N’s collage exhibition) and Kingdom Come. (AC-7)

CHEFEMERY in performance, April 1973 (Part 1: 30”). Poor sound quality but positive audience reaction.

  1. JC & NH present part-improvised slide-show ‘lecture’ on PC work for Hatfield Poly students at Pembroke College, Oxford. Early part of show from J ‘reading Italian review’ to close to end of slide show commentary (interrupted 23” along by very muffled two minutes of a phone-in on Marijuana). Includes opening vote on ‘phoney’ line-reading and ref to Albert Street event (cf. improvs on tape AC-7).
  2. Chefemery continued (9”) from pre-recorded tape [now lost] of J & N discussing show, played during show itself to end of show.(AC-8)

WHAT TO DO ON A DATE  – improvs & ideas. N & J creative session (Summer 1973, 20”) Father Hall keeps dialling / ending of show discussed. Poor sound quality.  (AC-8)

WHAT TO DO ON A DATE Julia McLean sings her composition ‘Some Kind of Idol’ unaccompanied, probably for copyright purposes (1973, 2”, AC-6)

TRIPPINGLY ON THE TONGUE  speech. – Looped and processed soundtrack of Hamlet’s speech to the players (Hamlet, Act 3, Sc.2) as used in The Phantom Captain’s Trippingly on the Tongue at Questors Theatre Ealing (October 1970) and/or – most likely -Bristol Drama Dept. Summer School workshop (June 1974) and/or BBC Foreign Service Summer School (August 1977) (AC-9)

AMATEUR NIGHT  – soundtrack of animated film by Thalma Goldman, with voices including NH. Cuts out a few seconds before end. (1974, 7”, AC-7)

SECRETIANS at the ICA – BBC Radio 4 Kaleidescope. Extract (with JC) + NH interviewed by Dr Chris Evans, June 1975 (7”, AC-7)


Segments from celebrations on occasion of mutual adoption by The Phantom Captain and the town of Tilburg, Holland, With NH, JC, Peter Godfrey, Helen-Anne Ross, Maria Moustaka, Patrisha Vestey and Robje Schiff (AC-10)

  1. Town Hall Reception (10 March 1976): incl. Mayor’s speech (in Dutch) pissing jars presentation, NH’s speech, ‘Ode to Tilburg’ song (after 10”), PC’s presentations, Pipe of Peace and official opening! (24”)
  2. Railway Station Goodwill Visit (12”), incl. Ode to Tilburg (inferior version)
  3. Final Celebration at Tilburg Arts Centre, incl. repeat of Town Hall speech, Ode to Tilburg, presentations (15”)
  4. ‘Pernod Point of View’ – poem read by Robje Schiff (3”)

THE DRAMATIC SOCIETY – National Theatre Tannoy announcements – unedited takes by Joel C (rec. July 1976, mono, c.13”, AC-7)

LOADED QUESTIONS at the King’s Head Theatre. LBC interview with Joel C, broadcast 30.12.76 (stereo, 6”, AC-7)

How to Listen to this Recording (1976, incomplete mix, 3”) With JC and NH. Various takes probably intended for an abandoned record project. (AC-7)

LOADED QUESTIONS in performance, 13 May 1977 at Hammersmith College of Art, recorded by Martin Mayes on Uher C210. With Louise Jones, Peter Deman (aka Peter Godfrey), Joel Cutrara (Stereo Master, not Dolby). Written & directed by NH. Good quality recording except for periodic intrusive bleep. (AC-11)

Part One includes introductory ‘The Unanswered Question’ theme music, by Charles Ives (AC-11)

SOMNAMBULARTISTS at Waterloo Station (as seen in Ian Johnson’s  PC film, The Phantom Captain Appears…) – NH & Louise Jones interview, File on 4, BBC Radio 4, extract from item on Community Arts, broadcast 16.11.77 (AC-7)

THE CHANGENESS CONGRESS – 7 songs, rec. by Judith Allen (aka Judy Lawrence) for Copyright registration (1977, 19”, AC-13)
All lyrics by NH, except Hyper Thesis (JC) and The Spider Song (Louise Jones)
On the brink of a Breakthrough / Hyper Thesis (What if Pluto…?) / Miss Anti-Universe / The Magic Formula / The Laws of Strangeness (music by NH & Judy L) / The Congress Finale / The Spider Song (The Perils of Charm) [words inaudible]

THE CHANGENESS CONGRESS by NH & JC, dir. NH, with Jude Allen, Joel Cutrara, Peter Godfrey, Louise Jones & Terry Moore. Oval House Theatre previews (pre-King’s Head), 24-28 August 1977 (2’ 16”, AC-15 and AC-16 plus MP3 version)

THE CHANGENESS CONGRESS Songs in performance (Oval House, August 1977, 20”, 2nd Gen. tape, dir. NH, with Jude Allen, Joel Cutrara, Louise Jones, Peter Godfrey, Terry Moore): On the Brink of a Breakthrough / What if Pluto? [Hyperthesis] (Joel) / The Perils of Charm [The Spider Song] (L)/ Miss Anti-Universe (Jude) / The Magic Formula /The Strangeness Song (Terry & chorus)/ Changeness Finale Song. (AC-14)

THE INVESTIGATION BUREAU – JC reads from a ’True Crime’ magazine, probably Action Space Drill Hall production (Nov 1977, 6”, AC-14)

THE SERVIETTE UNION Waiter Service at the Roundhouse (LBC, broadcast 6.2.78, 7”) Featured in LBC Reports, presenter Rita Carter, includes interview with “Joel Cartura” (sic). Extracts from menu items ‘V.I.P. Treatment’, ‘One for the Wonder’ song & ‘Abject Apologies’ (AC-7)

TORTURED SPIRITS – OPENING OF DE EFTELING HAUNTED CASTLE, 10th May 1978, Unedited tapes 1 & 2 (of 3), recorded by Martin Van Der Leek (82”, AC-17)
With NH, JC, Terry Moore, Jude Allen, Louise Jones, Frans Kleijweg, Lineke (Lino) Hellings and Eugene Schlusser.

  1. Interview with Dutch Conservationists, demonstrating outside (5”)
  2. Three opening speeches (in Dutch) in restaurant, including Minister (24”)
  3. Intro & brief warning speech by exorcist ‘Dr.Eugene Hellnick’, (4”)
  4. More speeches in Dutch (10”)
  5. Procession to site, with drums, bells & chanting monks (6”)
  6. Activities outside castle, including flagellation, laying of foundation stone, unveiling of statue, battlement apparition (Jude), ‘The Cleaving of the Cord’ and witch-like cackling (Louise) (14”)
  7. Castle interior? Soundscape (14”)
  8. Castle interior? ‘Danse Macabre’ (sound, 5”)

TORTURED SPIRITS (10th May 1978, unedited tape 3/3, Mono/Dolby, AC-18) Post-opening in Caroussel Paleis, including crowd noise, Calliope in reverse and normal motion, cake-cutting announcement (after 5”), concluding with brief “In nomine Patre”

SAVE THE WHALE – Collage by Louise Jones, engineered by JC. For Friends of the Earth ‘Save the Whale’ presentation, South Bank, London, July 1978, 9”). Includes folksongs, Lord Buckley’s Jonah rap and tidal chord loop. (AC-7)

THE CHAPEL OF REST – extracts from The Phantom Captain’s vigil-like environmental piece created by NH and JC for the Festival van de Dood (Death) at the Medische Faculty, Rotterdam. Environment consisted of combined Terminal Ward and Funeral Parlour, with ambiguous figures functioning at once as dying patients and funeral attendants. Extracts recorded live in performances on 5th and 6th October 1978, resulting material assembled, edited and mixed by Martin van der Leer. With NH as ‘Longfellow’, JC as ‘Cartier’, Ian Johnson (?) and Frans Kleijweg.     © 1978 by Backstreet Productions, Rotterdam. (AC-19)

Fleet Road shop base opening – JC interviewed by Pam Armstrong on shop opening, ‘Today in London’, Capital Radio, broadcast 22.1.79 (2”, AC-7)

LOADED QUESTIONS in performance, 4th Feb 1979 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, recorded by Colin Scott. With Louise Jones, Peter Deman (aka Peter Godfrey) and Joel Cutrara. Written & directed by NH. Excludes ‘The Unanswered Question’ theme music, by Charles Ives. Marred by audio hiss. (1’27”, AC-12, copied to MP3 file)

Fleet Road shop base opening – Luke Dixon, PC administrator, interviewed by David McGillivray, ‘Stop-Look-Listen’, BBC Radio London, broadcast 13.4.79 [?]  10”, AC-7)

NEIL IN AMERICA  – double-cassette compilation of local mid-West radio interviews undertaken with US director/teacher Dr. Eugene M. Wank (sic) to promote US summer stock premiere of Loaded Questions. (June 1979)

MARBLES – Radio Forth, Edinburgh, broadcasts a short review of this play by Peter Godfrey, presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 1979.

‘MINIATURES’ – ‘a sequence of fifty-one tiny masterpieces edited by Morgan-Fisher’  (Pipe Records, LP [including poster] and CD versions, 1980). 51 one-minute tracks, with contributions by The Phantom Captain (Breather), Ivor Cutler, R.D.Laing, Roger McGough, Robert Wyatt, Ron Geesin, Quentin Crisp, Simon Jeffes, Bob Cobbing and many others.

HYBRID KIDS: ‘CLAWS’ (Morgan-Fisher, 1980, Stereo-Dolby)

LP of Christmas-themed songs arranged by ex-Mott the Hoople’s Morgan-Fisher. Songs include ‘Deck the Halls’ with appeal speech spoken by JC, originally written by JC and NH for an unproduced TV project. (AC-26)

CHARLIE DRAKE interviewed by Neil Hornick for Performance Magazine. rec. 28th March 1980 at the Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre, London, during Drake’s appearance there in ‘Ubu Roi’, directed by Charles Marowitz. (AC-27)

QUENTIN CRISP interviewed at home by NH for Performance magazine (24 June 1980, 45”, AC-28) NB Side B of cassette failed to record. The interview was not published.

WAKE-ATHON – devised by NH & JC, recorded in performance, final night at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 14th March 1981 (Stereo/Dolby, AC-21)

PENGUIN CAFE SOCIETY – with The Penguin Cafe Orchestra at De Lantaren, Rotterdam, during European tour, December 1981 (34”, AC-22). JC introduces eight numbers.

THEATRE STREET – JC interviewed by Alan King of Blue Danube Radio, Vienna, 1st September 1982 re PC company and ‘Theatre Street’ performance at Vienna StrassenTheater Festival, September1982. (20”, including 4” interval of cheesy music, AC-24)  J gives a good and articulate account of our work and the piece. Plus brief snatch of music and a brief exchange between Joel and a workshop participant.

THE ‘SAMMY’ STORY (post-Sept.1983, 45”)

JC, NH, Jude Allen and Terry Moore (at Jude’s place?) reconstruct what happened during a recent gig to consider if a future PC piece might be based on it. This tape ends before its creative potential is assessed – in fact, nothing came of it. The gig was the Vienna Coffeehouse Festival, 13-16 September 1983, in which the four of us performed Service Inclusive. The story hinges on unwelcome attention paid to Jude by Sammy, one of the managers at the restaurant/club where we were based and the deception we carried out on him to protect her. Good discussion, good recording quality. (AC-25)

GEORGE WYLLIE’S PAPER BOAT  – Thames Festival Event by sculptor George Wyllie, with participation of The Phantom Captain, produced by ArtAngel (1989, AC-14).

  1. The Paper Boat song, sung by GW, with ukulele
  2. GW interviewed in ‘Kaleidescope’ (BBC Radio 4, 3/5/1989) with choir
  3. Paper Boat Song (GW & Choir complete) [total 11”)
  4. Sailing song record miscellany, compiled by NH (18”)

SHRINK! – various tapes of extant songs and sketches about madness and psychiatry, compiled by NH as a resource for IT MUST BE SOMETHING PSYCHOLOGICAL (1991) a cabaret show devised by NH, which never got beyond a couple of previews, one at the Three Horseshoes Pub Theatre in Hampstead. No recording of the actual performance exists, apart from incidental bridging music, sampled from commercial recordings.

Interview with Neil Hornick (Unfinished Histories, 6’49”) MP3 Audio version of video interview by Dr Susan Croft, 15 March 2013 and 26th April 2013.

REVISITING ALTERNATIVE THEATRE 1968-88 presented by Anna Chen at Madame Miaow’s Culture Lounge, broadcast on Radio Resonance, London. With Dr.Susan Croft (Unfinished Histories) and NH. (1st April 2014)

IAN JOHNSON discusses PC work with NH (15 August 2014, AC-25), beginning with the De Lantern Festival of Horror.

DAVID GALE discusses PC work with NH (2014, AC-26). Recorded mistakenly at wrong speed so needs technical adjustment.


During the 1970s and early 1980s, JC sampled and mixed various lengthy tape loops mainly for use as ambient sound textures in our productions. These soundtracks included:

(a) Heartbeat variations
(b) Aegean Sea & Frogs
(c) ‘Summer’ Loop (from Walter Carlos’s The Seasons)
(d) Thunderstorm (possibly from The Seasons)
(e) Waves
(f) Typing (used in The Investigation Bureau)
(g) Orchestra tuning up
(h) Yodelling
(i) Sustained chord (superior version) + Babbling Brook
(j) Sustained chord (inferior version)
(k) Street sounds (prepared for ‘Theatre Street’ street theatre piece in Vienna) + sustained chord
(l) German conversation (from BBC Radio course, ‘Reisebüro Atlas, plus ‘Starting German’)
(m) Metronome Variations + ‘1-100’ piano chords
(n) ‘Numbers 1-2-4’ (from Penguin Café Orchestra, composed by Simon Jeffes)
(o) Chris Mann (Australian vocal experimentalist, rec. off BBC radio
(p) Albinoni’s ‘Adagio’ alternating with ‘Drifting’, an electronic piece

In addition:

Side 1: ‘Supper by Candlelight’ (30”) Wurlitzer Favourites (15”)
Side 2: ‘Lovely Lady’ (10”) Dance Music (5”), Cha-Cha’s (5”) Restaurant SFX (3”), Hawaian Music (22”)

Side 1: ‘Whale Songs (2”) Chinese Music (10”),’Evening in Berlin’ (17”) Hollywood Musicals (15”)
Aide 2: Hollywood Musicals (26”) Andrews Sisters (19”)

THE PHANTOM CAPTAIN WAITER SERVICE – ‘INSTANT ATMOSPHERE’ – Customer’s menu choice, brought to table, Compilation of ethnic music (AC-30)

THE PHANTOM CAPTAIN WAITER SERVICE –  ‘Supper by Candlelight’ smoochily played on ‘Club Piano’. A continuous loop (15 times each side or both) Sometimes used as background music in Waiter Service. (AC-31)

THE PHANTOM CAPTAIN WAITER SERVICE – Restaurant Loop. Recording of actual restaurant activity, sometimes used as background SFX in Waiter Service (AC-32)

THE PHANTOM CAPTAIN PRE-PERFORMANCE WARM-UP TAPE, compiled by JC (1979, AC-27). Consists of various favourite recordings. N.B. May have been compiled earlier than stated on cassette sleeve.

PHANTOM CAPTAIN DISCO PARTY – 2 cassettes, mixed by JC. Anthology of dance and dance-themed tracks, sometimes played post-performance.

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