WAS my Blog (Hey! I’m not really a blog I’m a magazine - but not your usual sort of) Magazine. BLOGZINE. It's stopped being anything now, as of April 9, 2008.
But what is online stays online, and what's here is what happened while it was happening. The Chinese above, in Pinyin, is huānyíng, and it means “Welcome” and it’s meant. The girl (pictured) is my television lawyer, just in case. E&D is (or was) a mix of poetry & reviews and sometimes charmingly gentle rhubarb (sometimes with hot custard); it has a heart of rolled gold & the word ‘acerbic’ (is that related to ‘cynical’?) doesn't come into it. There are music reviews too, of gigs at the local music halls. This bit was on hold for a while because I was in China for two years, but now I'm not, though I'm going back soon. Anyway, everything here is all a kind of mysterious (I’d like to say it’s sensuous but it isn’t) zone of gentle & benign happiness (whatever the hell 'happiness' is), where headaches disappear & people are friends, & your shoes never need cleaning, & I hope you enjoy it.
This is a re-designed site, launched in October 2006. You can view the original website, and all the stuff published there, by clicking here.
Oh, & if you want to find out about my poetry, please go to my Home-From-Home which is a site almost as heavenly as this one.
Back in another world and another time, and on another personal planet (it was 1988 or 1989, I think) I was in Ian's Records in Felixstowe one Saturday, and Ian was playing a record that, in old-fashioned parlance, blew my mind. It reminded me of a together Syd Barrett, but it was also definitely NOT Syd Barrett, and I had to know who it was. Ian told me it was Robyn Hitchcock. I told him I wanted to buy the record. He told me it was a 3" Import CD and he'd have to order it. He did, and I got "The Ghost Ship" [Listen], and Robyn Hitchcock has been a constant on my various record and music players ever since.
I've never quite been able to keep up with Hitchcock's prolific record output, but I have loads of it, and I go back to it all time and time again. If you asked me which bits of my record
collection I couldn't live without, he'd be among it for sure. Brilliantly wordy, clever, smart and funny, warm and sad and genuinely his own bloke. He's the real deal, for sure.
So how come the hell I've only ever seen him live once? He was the first gig I ever took my kids to, when they were maybe 14 or so. Since then, zilch. It's not his fault, the blame is all on me.
Tonight, at the Rescue Rooms, it was genius. He's touring, playing the "I Always Dream Of Trains" record in (more or less) its entirety. But, after the "Nocturne" prelude, he immediately did my head in with an acoustic version of "My Wife and My Dead Wife", from "Fegmania". If that wasn't brilliant enough, the next hour and a half or so was simply tremendous. With a couple of supporting musicians (Terry & Tim) we got the works: wonderful invention, crazy surreal between-song patter, warmly moving songs, mad songs, always clever and smart songs. Everything really intelligent. And crisp sound, because if you write words as good as this, then let people hear them. And you could hear it all. And for anyone who gives a damn about words .... well, Robyn Hitchcock knows about words.
Then, as if I wasn't already happy enough, he did "Queen Elvis" from "Eye" as part of the encore. Bloody hell! I was melting.
Nigel and I saw British Sea Power earlier in the week, and there is an absolute immense intellectual and emotion gulf between what they have to offer and what Hitchcock can give you. It's to do with range and depth and sensibility, all of which words I know sound like absolute bullshit and it's five minutes to midnight and I'm not even going to bother to try to make myself any clearer. Let's leave it that not many people who get up on stage holding a guitar remind me that it's worth being alive. Robyn Hitchcock does exactly that.