A brief suggestion that anyone who is going to be in London between now and September should head over to the British Library in St Pancras to see their Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands exhibition. It has been described as a “book geeks’ dream” and contains an amazing variety of literary treasures. To name just a few: William Blake’s notebooks, the original manuscripts of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and To the Lighthouse, a (totally indecipherable) manuscript page of Ulysses – all of it easily enough to keep the visitor enthralled for two or three hours, I would have thought. (There is also a manuscript page of The Rotters’ Club, I should mention, but that rather pales in comparison with the other rarities on display.)
Anyway, I strongly recommend that you visit it. The details are here.
Meanwhile I’ve finally decided that the public should be allowed to share in the moment of musical glory I enjoyed in New York last year. Nigel Blows A Tune (written by Dave Sinclair of Caravan and included on their 1971 album In the Land of Grey and Pink) has always been one of my favourite tunes, and when Wesley Stace invited me not just to read but to perform some music at his Cabinet of Wonders show in March 2011, I tentatively suggested we do our own version. For the purposes of this show, Wesley works with a fantastic house band called The English UK, and they lost no time in learning the song and thrusting me in front of the audience armed only with a keyboard programmed to sound as close as possible to Caravan’s original Hammond organ. I can’t imagine that anyone knew exactly what to expect but the results were – well, not too embarrassing, I think, listening to it a year later. Judge for yourselves, in any case …
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