Thursday, 19 November 2009

Desmond Leslie


Recently i got in contact with the nephew of the Avant garde composer Desmond Leslie to ask him about his uncle's past in the royal air force, i had heard a story from my dad but wasnt sure. Here is the response he sent me when i asked him if it was actually true. .

"He trained secretly in Florida with the rest of the cadets when the US joined the war, so he effectively missed the battle of britain.

However, his stories were mainly funny in nature.

He faked footage of flying through a railway tunnel, by zooming in on a lightbulb through a drainpipe on a super 8 camera, and cut this in with his own footage - playing it back proudly to his peers who caught him when the noticed the splices on the film.

He also found a layer in the sky in which his Spitfire caused vapor trails - at which time he attempted to write FUCK in the sky hundreds of feet across, but only managed the first 3 letters before the smoke turned black and he had to land, his ranking officer remarked "Leslie your a Cunt".


He borrowed a friends Hurricane and nose dived it from several thousand feet, to illustrate its inferiority to the spitfire, the Hurricane was torn apart by the inertial forces and he bailed out, crashing the plane. He thought he proved his point.

He drove a spitfire down a country lane in Yorkshire and was reduced to no flying duties for a month.

Desmond also came across a experimental classified Mosquito bomber (two engined planes were regarded as Buses next to the zippy one engine fighters) He put his two fingers up and screamed away - intending to leave them in his dust - but sure enough they were right at his side, he tapped his speed gauge - and at full throttle gave them a puzzled look before they put their two fingers up and took off at twice his speed leaving him confused in their wake...

He eventually resigned from the Airforce remarking after successfully destroying a great deal of fighter aircraft, much of it his own - that the war effort would be cheaper with out-him....

thats about all i can remember...

let me know if you want other information.


Luke Leslie "


You can find all about the musical side of Leslie from a Trunk records reissue or here My mum actually picked up an original copy of his Music Concrete LP Music Of The Future from my grandads house as a present for me. I never listened to music concrete once until my dad heard i had a copy and told me what an influence it was on him and his own music. You can here bits of it have been sampled on avant hard. The actual sleeve i have of Music Concrete is hand painted and the vinyl is thick as fuck. I'll upload a scan of it soon, some of the stories behind his songs are marvellous. Very similar in his workings to Joe Meek's early project with the blue men 'I hear a new world' E.P only without the pop rhythms. Brilliant Electronics.

Most people may know leslie as this fellow

If you like him that much you can go and stay in his castle, have a look

fucking brilliant. Any takers?

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