Listen to this track by surrealist pop musician, singer-songwriter and pretty handy guitarist too, Robyn Hitchcock. It’s his 1998 rendition of his song “Glass Hotel”, one of the many he performed for the Jonathan Demme film Storefront Hitchcock. Where another of Demme’s high-profile concert films, Stop Making Sense, portrays his subject matter on a large, exaggerated scale (big suit and all!), Storefront Hitchcock is all about understatement, and space.
And this is one of the most understated in the set, a song of delicacy and dreamlike lyrical landscapes, all the while being observed by the off-camera audience in front of him, and those who walk by the window of the titular storefront in which the concert is occurring.
The song originally appears on 1990’s Eye, where it’s something of a deep-cut. Here, it’s a moment of quiet, taking on an almost liturgical sheen, with a bit of Salvador Dali thrown in. After all, this is Robyn Hitchcock, an artist not generally known for his straight-forward material. And the filming of this show had this as its basis; to showcase the songwriter as a singular performer.
But in some ways, this film is also about the viewer.