Immortalised: Ou Est Le Swimming Pool

Charles Haddon, frontman for UK electro-pop trio Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, reportedly committed suicide yesterday, following the band’s set at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. To be honest, I never really listened to much of the band’s work and it’s a strange feeling to ‘discover’ them in the wake of such unfortunate and sad circumstances.

It got me thinking though about how many other people, on learning of this tragedy, felt compelled to engage with Haddon’s music.

One explanation is offered by one of the world’s most famous literary critics, Frank Kermode—who also also died this week. Here’s a quote from John Sutherland’s obituary in the Guardian:

Why is it, Kermode asked, when the alarm clock by our bed goes “tick-tick”, the brain insists on hearing “tick-tock”? The reason, he suggests, is our human addiction to beginnings and (even more addictively) endings: “Tick is a humble genesis, tock a feeble apocalypse.” We’re wired, in other words, into teleology.

While no statement has been issued on behalf of the band. It’s this Kermodian addiction to endings that would see Ou Est Le Swimming Pool immortalised in the eyes of their fans should they choose to split. Perhaps with the benefit of some still very distant hindsight, the success of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s scheduled October album release will offer some consolation to Haddon’s family, friends and fans.

Edit: Short statement posted on the Ou Est Le Swimming Pool MySpace site.

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  • Gin

    I too, have only recently been introduced to this group and absolutely love their sound. Moreover, my music taste rarely ventures into this genre, so I guess in a way it shows how much of an affect their music has had (on me anyway).
    After I heard the news on the way to work, the first thing I did on reaching my desk was search the internet for images, words, sounds…an explanation. It was as though I had formed an affiliation with the band that drove me to a certain kind of madness, in search of answers. But how could this be when I’ve only just become aware of them?
    I did question why I had such a profound emotional response and interest in the circumstance, but something told me it was the curiosity around death, and in particular of someone so young, who is only just emerging on the music scene and with such great potential. I suppose this is proof of the human addiction to ending as you mention.
    On the contrary, I cannot say I felt compelled to engage with Haddon’s music, but more with Haddon’s existence. Who was he? What drove him to do such a thing? Did he talk to anyone beforehand, and what did he say? Admittedly, the soundtrack to my work that day was courtesy of the Ou Est Le Swimming Pool MySpace page.
    The number one question on my mind was – am I led to believe that the crowd surfing incident in which a young girl was seriously injured really had something to do with his demise? Why did many (if not all) of the press articles feel it necessary to position his suicide as though it were a consequence of this?
    Lastly, it would be naive of me to imagine a world where record sales are determined by talent and not an untimely death (one begins to think of those who have experienced the same fate as Haddon), but I would hate to think that this tragedy will increase sales of their forthcoming album. If this should be true however, my hope is that perhaps the monetary success made from it will not only offer Haddon’s family, friends and fans consolation, but be put toward increasing awareness, and prevention of suicide.

  • Monica Ulibarri

    I love their music. It has such a clean energy. So sad that he is dead now.

  • Andy

    Thanks for such a thoughtful comment Gin.

    I agree with you when you say you felt more compelled to know who he was rather than know more about his music. Though for someone who I will never really know, the most unpolluted essence of who Charles Haddon was lives in his music. Even if the Charles Haddon on stage was entirely an act. I believe we give clues to ourselves in our work, even in fiction.

    Henry Rollins says it better, “Being an artist is dragging your innermost feelings out, giving a piece of yourself, no matter in which art form, in which medium.”

  • Andy

    It’s a real shame.

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