Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"The stars are alive and nights like these were born to be..."

I was rather hoping for a nice review of All These Little Pieces in the local paper, and so when one duly turned up I was not only gratified but also quite touched that it started with congratulations upon the delivery of not only a finished manuscript but also of Archie - my new son, heir to the Kirk estate, and future King of the World. 

As I mention in the book itself, over time we in Songs from The Blue House developed what could comfortably be referred to as a (does that thing with the fingers in mid air) 'relationship' with local journalist, promoter and music producer Stephen Foster, engendered principally on our ability to string a sentence together without resorting to base Anglo Saxon epithets, to not bump into the furniture and to say 'please' and 'thank you' when we're offered coffee in the BBC Radio Suffolk green room, and it was good of him to step up to the plate, as it were. 

I ended up with a nice cover shot for the book and so with the two threads of this particular process wending their way together it would seem that the good people who put together The Grapevine - since 1991 Ipswich, Suffolk and East Anglia's best free music guide - considered that a combination of Foz's good word for us and the striking image of my Eric Clapton album cover pastiche was enough to throw us on to the cover of the January 2010 issue of the magazine. 

Now, I've been on the cover before - in fact if you go to The Grapevine's website you'll see a number of me, featured in the photo from the front of the December 2001 issue, where The Final Twist - the gig we promoted at The Manor Ballroom in Ippo to herald the last hurrah of our Beatles specialist band The Star Club - was quite rightly heralded as many folks' gig of the year (it was definitely mine, and there were certainly three other guys who to my knowledge I'm sure would go along with that). 

To find myself in the position of being back on there though, is exciting (and humbling) not least because the reason I'm pictured, in all my faux-Backless glory, is thanks to the publication of a happy collaboration with friends upon what is, essentially, a very long love letter to SftBH. I will be scooping up copies of The Grapevine (alas, now that it has downsized in format it shan't make for such a splendid framing opportunity as did its predecessor) and showing them to friends, sending them to family, and also tucking a single copy away in Archie's special bag o' papers, so he can dig it out in thirty years time, smooth out the dry, cracked and yellowing paper, and pore over the words that someone wrote about some words that someone once wrote. Holding the fading photograph up to the wan light of the window, he can trace the outline of the photograph on the cover. "So that's what he looked like..." he'll say "...before." 

Read all you like about on the electric interweb about why us people do these things - everyone's got a theory. Writers, performers, bedroom arrivistes with their Garageband mix tapes and their pro tools-heavy downloads. Self-publicists, self-publishists, pamphleteers, buccaneers, YouTubers, cover bands and tribute brands, lovers, thieves, fools and pretenders. Why? In the words of a song somebody once wrote; "I just want to be up here you see, with something of my own".

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