(Musician, author and good friend of Phil Miller, Henk Weltevreden read out this lovely touching tribute at Phil’s funeral on 27th of October 2017. It’s reproduced here with the kind permission of Henk, and Phil’s widow Herm)
God Song – After Life
Here’s a fairytale, for you Phil, a little creative act from my side, as a Thank you So Much, for all you gave me, in my life, your sounds, and for a warm, a very warm friendship. Here are some words. For you only.
We met when I was 16, that’s 50 years ago. You’re my number 1 longterm friend, for ever. We played Gary Burton music, one of your favourites at that time. Some years later I gave a Hatfield record to Gary Burton personally, in Boston. He smiled. Quite often life shows a cycle. Sometimes life is linear because I’m convinced that the biggest luck for you is Herm.
Some years later, we shared a room, staying at Daevid Allen’s home in Sens, during an early Hatfield tour of France. Over hours of conversation, you analysed the creation of your songs Calyx and Underdub, how it came about. We agreed, for a big part, it is by coincidence.
Tomorrow, at the end of the afternoon, you will be walking in a heavenly atmosphere, strolling on a beautiful road, flowers, perfume, left and right a country side full of weed, free bags of it, all over the place. You’re holding your guitar, it’s a country without carnet papers, no work for Benj here, no passport needed, no wifi, no income tax. But, you’re a bit nervous, because you have to hold and show a stamped certificate proving it was you Philip Paul Brisco Miller who wrote God Song.
What on Earth are you doing, God?
Is this some sort of joke you’re playing?
Is it ‘cos we didn’t pray?
Are you just hot air, breathing over us and over all?
Is it fun watching us all?
Where’s your son? We want him again!
Dear Phil, I know you wonder, you doubt, will He, the Big Man be furious?
And then, all of a sudden, you see a bar. Right there, along that road.
There’s Pip, waving at you, cheerful, holding a triple times five Belgium beer. Also Hugh is there, mister Hopper, and Elton, Lindsay Cooper, brother Steve, Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers, Alan Gowen, and of course Lol.
Pip is yelling ‘hurray! Phil! Here! Where is Benji?’
‘Oh well,’ Phil says, ‘he is still too busy, maybe next year, or another ten-twenty years from now. Who knows. God knows. Chance mate. It’s all chance.’
Pip is smiling, having a great time, free drinks.
Pip’s thinking God Song:
‘And next time, you send your boy down there
Give him a wife and a sexy daughter
Someone we can understand.’
Hugh Hopper points at the counter. ‘There Phil, that’s where they check your documents. This here, it’s only a waystation. And, more important, if you want to get on, along the road, you have to choose only the single happiest memory of your life, all other memories will be gone, forgotten. And then you vanish to whatever unknown state of existence…’
Phil is doubting, he likes this bar here.
Elton looks a bit angry. Too much memories.
‘I don’t wanna enter that door,’ he mumurs, ‘stupid Brexit. It’s also boring here, bloody Heaven, I want a Hexit, out of here.’
Phil is hiding his certificate about God Song, slighty nervous. All of a sudden he regrets he has no carnet papers. Where is Benj?!
Pip takes a gulp, smiles and points at his selfmade poster behind the bar. It says:
God is dead, but just to be sure, I hate him.
It does matter anyway
We’ll meet again some other day
The time has come to leave you
There’ll will be a way to reach you.
Henk Weltevreden (27th of October 2017)