Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why The Long Face?

Community Radio is a marvellous thing - it gives a voice to those who would otherwise be reduced to, say, muttering things at the bus stop, sending Spotify playlists to their friends or writing stories about their children on blogs. Here's a good example of all of the above, taken from a recent performance on ICRFM, wherein three long-faced gentlemen extemporise at length on subjects close to their hearts, including that time Martyn found a bloke asleep in his driveway after a heavy evening out, my night with The Levellers, Neale's 'Why The Long Quiz?' and Phil Bryer's 'None of Your Business'. Come on in, the water's lovely.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"...and *he* is very far away..."

We took our little boy to his first camping festival this weekend - The Levellers' Beautiful Days, where I saw The Waterboys, Public Image Limited, Midlake, Richard Thompson, The Travelling Band, Bellowhead and Three Daft Monkeys (all of whom were absolutely on top form) among others, and Lord Barchester saw two theatre group soundchecks before deciding at one minute to showtime that he was bored and wanted some pasta. Same group two days running, I should add. At two and a half he was also fairly distracted by things like trees with eyes, the bus which doubled as a tea room and a giant metal sculpture of a dragon (which he named Blackie), was intrigued by Bellowhead, and very much enjoyed banging a couple of plastic pails along to Alabama 3 in company with a host of other small people behind the sound tower. 

From the top of the field the stage is rather far away in terms of his perspective, and we did have a bit of a Father Ted-esque conversation regarding the relative size of the performers on stage compared to him. At about a quarter to Levellers at the climax of the festival on Sunday evening he announced that he'd quite like to go back to the tent, brush his teeth and go to sleep, which did at least leave his mother free to unleash her inner fifteen year old detached from the pressures of trying to keep tabs on a small boy in the dark, glowsticks attached to his trouser pockets or no. "Mummy is staying to watch the little singing man" he proposed. "She is, that's right" I said.  

As I got him ready for bed he chatted away, making sense of the world as only small boys can. "I have got feet" he announced. I agreed that all the evidence pointed to him indeed having feet. "Do you have feet?" he enquired. I confirmed that I did, demonstrably, have feet. Blackie has got feet" he further asserted before checking "...and has the little singing man got feet?". I posited that The Little Singing Man almost certainly had feet. As undressing continued he further confirmed that, anatomically, he had very much in common with me, Blackie, and The Levellers' front man, barring the obvious absence of a tail in myself, himself, and the man whose stirring rendition of One Way drifted across the clear Devon night even as we spoke.

This conversation continued at all stages throughout the changing and pyjama donning process and took in a wide range of aspects of anatomy along the way which is why, now, forever in my head I shall always think fondly of Mark Chadwick as "The Little Singing Man With The Winkie".         

Monday, August 13, 2012


…the new Songs from The Blue House album is out. If Derek Taylor were alive today and we had the budget he’d probably have composed some chin-strokingly erudite sleeve notes over which one could pore late into the night, searching for that elusive hidden meaning, the fin de si├Ęcle, that certain je ne sais quoi for us. But he isn’t, so we’ve had to do it ourselves. One thing that has become plain over the past few years is that while I’m quite prepared to explain at length what my songs are about, even going so far as to point out the hitherto overlooked (or overwrought) metaphor-ridden middle eight that I think you should pay particular attention to, La Mulley hardly ever does - hence her songs remain elusive whispers on the ether - quite literally ethereal. For example it’s been five years now and I still don’t know what Her, from ‘Tree’, is about.       
IV Sleeve Notes -