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"North Circular" by The Bevis Frond

May 10, 2018

 

My last post was about Hamell on Trial's "Choochtown", an album that had a profound effect on me when I first heard it in 2002. Ed Hamell recorded that LP in the basements of his friends' houses in New York and produced a lo-fi classic. Another record I was introduced to at this time, which was also home recorded (although in Walthamstow rather than the Big Apple) and featured the artist playing all the instruments himself, was "North Circular" by The Bevis Frond. These two albums inspired me to begin recording "Solomon's Tump" in my top floor flat in 2003. I seriously may not have even considered this as an option if I hadn't heard these records. I wrote this 'review' of North Circular about five years ago:

 

"I really just intend to wax lyrical about North Circular and not just because it is so good but also because it is a TRIPLE album and so good! Knowing about the process of recording at home, I appreciate the amount of talent that has gone into creating this piece of art, for Nick is not only a genius songwriter but also an amazing musician and an incredibly skilled engineer/producer.

 

For those of you who haven’t even heard of The Bevis Frond, let me introduce the band. Nick, so far as I have I’ve gleaned from the internet and elsewhere, has been writing songs since he was fourteen years old. Born in 1953, he saw The Beatles at Hammersmith Odeon for his tenth birthday present and began going to gigs on his own in London in 1966, regularly attending The Marquee. He fell in love with psychedelic music, which he saw as a progression from the British beat scene, and Jimi Hendrix became a seminal influence. (It is perhaps as a guitarist, as well as a songwriter, that Nick is best known.) Interestingly, being a young teenager at the time, Nick didn’t realise that a lot of the psychedelic sounds he loved were being inspired by mind expanding substances; he just thought it was groovy music. Nick formed a band called The Bevis Frond Museum at the suggestion of his friend (the now acclaimed film director) Julien Temple, but it wasn’t until 1987, after playing in various bands for two decades, that Nick released the first Bevis Frond LP, Miasma. Self-financed with the compensation he received following a motorcycle accident, and recorded in his bedroom, it became an instant underground classic. Playing all the instruments himself, Nick created a sound that drew heavily on his love for late sixties psychedelia and guitar pyrotechnics, but which also encompassed sixties beat and even elements of punk (having played in a new wave outfit called The Von Trap Family in the late seventies once featured on the John Peel radio show). Miasma also hinted at Nick’s ability to write catchy hook-laden pop songs, something which would become a feature on his later albums and arguably find its strongest expression on North Circular.

 

On the back of the success of Miasma and its successor, Inner Marshland, Nick was courted by record label Reckless Records who released Nick’s albums in the UK and US from 1990’s Any Gas Faster up to 1992’s London Stone. The record company rejected the latter LP which led to an angry Nick parting company with the label and self-releasing his records on his own Woronzow label from then on. Occasionally, Nick would enlist ex-Camel drummer Andy Ward and ex-Hawkwind bassist Adrian Shaw to help him out with recording (at Gold Dust studios in Bromley, Kent), as well as when performing live. But at all other times Nick would record by himself in his house in Walthamstow.

 

North Circular was recorded in the latter manner and released on 1st June 1997 on Woronzow. It was the second Bevis Frond record I heard – sometime early in 2003, I think. The first being The Bevis Frond Live: At The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco which my good friend Magda had picked up on CD from Vinyl Vault in Cheltenham and gave to me saying “you’ll like this.” Not only did I like it, it was actually an epiphanal moment. It really blew me away and connected on a very deep level. I hadn’t really heard any music for a long time that had such an immediate impact – and certainly not by a record released after 1971! The lyrics, the songwriting, the musicianship – I loved everything about it – even Nick’s vocals (which a lot of people seem not to be able to get beyond). I quickly began buying as much Bevis Frond as I could, which was actually quite difficult. It wasn’t all nicely available on Bandcamp in those days! I was working as a self-employed bookseller in Gloucestershire at the time (you know like The Book People) and I would drive around the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean with home-taped versions of Triptych, The Auntie Winnie Album and Bevis Through The Looking Glass blaring out of my Bedford midi van. Strangely, I used to feel some kind of connection between the landscape and the music – it seemed to be evocative of the environment somehow, which is ridiculous really as Nick is so associated with London. Perhaps it is the Englishness of it. Perhaps it was the conveyance of pure feeling? Anyway, it would send me into a kind of ecstatic trance and I ended up nearly crashing the van on several occasions. Magda and I even set about forming a Bevis Frond tribute band and Nick kindly gave us his blessing to perform his songs live (without fear of the PRS!) This band morphed into Karma Truffle as Magda and I honed our own songwriting skills and the rest, as they say… is not history.

 

Anyway, I got my hands on a copy of North Circular in 2003 and I’m glad that it was my first taste of a proper Bevis studio release. I think it’s his best album, although I admit there’s some strong opposition. Sprawl and Superseeder, along with Live at the American Music Hall (essentially a live ‘Greatest Hits’ with the added bonus of Nick’s hilarious in-between song banter), are probably in my all-time favourite Top Four.

 

Where to start? Well, things kick off with a fantastic song ‘Stars Burn Out’, Nick’s paean to ageing rock stars. Was he thinking about himself? He can’t have been because his star was shining very brightly. Approaching the big four zero myself this year, the following lines resonate more than ever:

 

“You turn forty, you look older

This winter it seems colder

Where’s the rainbow you were told about?

And does anybody know why stars burn out?”

 

It’s a brilliantly crafted song with a sublime key change that leads into the solo which you don’t necessarily notice until you learn how to play it. It’s not clear which tabloid exposé is being referred to in the second verse – that’s probably unimportant. Keeping songs relevant over a period of time requires them to focus on motifs and, indeed, motives. The lyrics are just as relevant today because it is the human condition which is observed, not the specifics of a case. Referring to topical headlines can make songs date very quickly – something which Dylan, unlike some of his copyists, understood in the sixties.

 

The song concludes by noting the various ways rock stars cope with the ebbing of their time – facing it, screaming and shouting, losing out to their demons, dreaming – tapping in to the rock mythology of Neil Young’s ‘My My, Hey Hey’ and the significance of that song in Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Ultimately, the question remains ‘why DO stars burn out?’ And this, of course, can be given a very deep philosophical treatment. Is the pop star’s creative decline an analogy for the death of a sun, of life? (Rather than the other way round?) Is he asking ‘why do stars HAVE to burn out?’ In which case, Nick is lamenting decay and, philosophically, asking ‘what is the point?’

 

‘Hole Song no.2’ follows, which is the lead track on Live At The Great American Music Hall, and therefore the first Bevis Frond song I ever heard. I must admit, a Nirvana (as in 90’s grunge rock Seattle-based Nirvana) influence did immediately cross my mind. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but Nick has stated in interviews that he doesn’t limit his record collection to records pre-1970. At any rate it’s a great rock song with an excellent chugging bass line and a fantastically simple yet effective guitar riff motif. We find the protagonist underneath a metaphorical waterfall pleading for someone “to switch on the illuminations” to get him to a place “where happiness and love have always been the goal, just get me out of this hole!” The trademark Saloman wah-treated guitar solo tears up the middle of the song and there you realise that Nick’s primary influences pre-date nineties grunge bands.

 

With track three ‘The Sun Room’ following, it becomes clear that North Circular is going to be an album filled with light and shade. Gentle minor-key acoustic plucking introduces this complex yet beautiful song. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lyric sheet and can’t find the lyrics online anywhere, otherwise I would analyse the imagery in more detail. As it is, I think it deals with humanity’s failure to learn from and live in harmony with the natural world and our desire to create plastic imitations of natural resources: “chemical sheets spread to warm you, polythene sheets to protect you”. Is the Sun Room a symbol for our world (the Earth and/or our personal world) and the choices we’ve made? Is the “Monochrome eye watching blindly” the telly or just the way we dully perceive the world? Nick speaks the long fourth verse as prose, beginning: “And why on this earth should the Naiads wish to subdue what is already sleeping? A land which has slight opportunity of bright awakening” Naiads are nymphs of bodies of fresh water in Greek mythology (I had to look it up). Nick mentions the “unholy trinity” which “neither excites nor dismays” “while we sip diluted nectar…awaiting the golden life form which surely will bear its grace upon us soon” but I am lost to the meaning of the references here and begin to let the song wash over me in the mood it creates and the imagery its words conjure in my head. I read somewhere that Jarvis Cocker said that song lyrics should not be read as poetry, and definitely not read when listening to a song. I’m not saying that Jarvis has the right to talk definitively about these things, but I think he has a point here because the song as an art form is not a poem, nor is it an instrumental piece of music, its force is felt in the combination of the two to produce something beyond those forms. Perhaps that is why popular music, although often derided and frequently, let’s face it, shit, has the potential to be the most moving and soulful of human expressions. The words of the last verse are more immediately comprehensible, and challenge the listener to ask themselves the same questions:

 

“What have we owned worth retaining

what have we said worth repeating,

what have we lost worth regaining,

what have we done in the sun room?”

 

I love the fact that the guitar solo doesn’t come in until 04:11 and it’s a great one. Nick on this album demonstrates that as well as being capable of long extended guitar freak-outs a la Jimi Hendrix, he is perfectly able to play concise soulful guitar lines a la Peter Green, Steve Cropper, George Harrison, etc etc. In fact, he plays this one on an acoustic, it seems (with a nice bit of echo).

 

‘Eyeshine’ is next up, on the surface a jaunty little song with a melodic chorus and simple arrangement of two guitars. Nick’s songs are rarely superficial, however, and the lyrics of the verses are full of religious and historical imagery: “I couldn’t wait for the mysteries to be revealed. I didn’t know why the women kept their mouths concealed.” “I didn’t know why the outer doors were always closed.” “I never guessed we were mummers in an ancient play”. Yet it’s not until the choruses that the purpose of the metaphors the protagonist uses are revealed – the sarcastic jibes of a scorned lover – Saloman cleverly reinforcing his lyrical content (revelation of mysteries) by the song’s structure.

 

‘He Had You’ follows, a fine example of Nick’s storytelling ability and song craftsmanship. The hero’s rival is going nowhere “a loser….selling windows” but ultimately has the one thing he never had, despite his greater success in life, i.e. the girl. The song’s construction is perfect, with a finely balanced verse, bridge and sing-along-chorus (with great harmonies) and the instrumentation subtly nuanced with organ and restrained lead guitar playing. This should have been a hit. I can imagine Nick shaking his head and wondering “what do I have to do to succeed in this bloody game?”

 

I interpret ‘That’s Why You Need Us’ as Nick sending out a reminder to the kids of the Britpop era (as this was when the album was released, remember) that old school rock dinosaurs like himself still have a role to play “we’d like to make it to the top but we don’t expect to…we are the darkness to your light and that’s why you need us”. It reminds me of ‘Alright’ by Supergrass and I love the way Nick harmonises with himself – something very much part of the trademark Solomon sound.

 

‘Where The Old Boys Go’ by contrast sounds like a Harvest-era (or Harvest Moon-era) Neil Young song – a gentle acoustic country-ish number complete with harmonica solo and employing nice use of falsetto vocal and imitation lap steel guitar. The bridge alone would have been a good enough chorus in my book but Nick then adds a gorgeous refrain “where the old boys go to watch the sun at the end of the summer”. Nick again harmonises with himself throughout and keeps the drumming simple – much like Stray Gators’ drummer Kenny Buttrey was instructed to by Neil Young on Harvest. It’s another sublime piece of songwriting.

 

‘The Pips’ is the most controversial song on North Circular, as well as the longest. I have to agree with the assessment by Stewart Mason who writes on All Music.com that the song would “sound more interesting with a live rhythm section”. However, Nick has written before about the reasons why he doesn’t always employ Adrian Shaw and other musicians to help him out with his recorded stuff: He attempts to make a living out of music and wouldn’t be able to if he had to pay session fees all the time. He has also stated that he records when he feels the urge so he can’t expect his friends to be hanging around on standby. I also think it's difficult for people who don't record their albums at home (and play all the instruments, including drums) to appreciate just how complex a task it is; and getting the rhythm track right is probably the most difficult part of recording on one's own. In an ideal world, and in most recording studios, the drums are recorded first and the track built up from there. However, if you're on your own you have to work out a way of recording the first track without anything else (or anyone else) to play against. Thus you either adopt to record, say, a guide guitar track and then add the drums to that or you record everything to a click track and add the drums last. There are pros and cons to either method and neither is as satisfactory as laying down a rhythm track live with other musicians. Despite this, the song is still hugely entertaining as Nick raps (in the Kerouac sense of the word) a stream of consciousness diatribe, venting his spleen against a host of targets: short-sighted managers at St James Park tube station, football clubs ripping off their fans (presumably Nick is thinking specifically about QPR here) and, most vehemently, the music press – “I’m going to send you all my records so you can slag them off you fuckers...fucking cunts!…And if you think I’m fucking putting this on I’m bloody not because it’s a bloody disgrace that people who work their fucking lives away trying to do fucking good stuff get fucking dismissed in a minute by some bloody tosspot who doesn’t have a clue...” – feeding into the repeated chorus of “I got the pips, no tone just the pips”, against a cacophony of distorted guitar. It’s not one to play your Mum.

 

‘Blew Me Out’ is a song Karma Truffle used to cover: Perfect power-pop with an instantly hummable melody. Another sure-fire hit in any morally-ordered universe. The harmony line in the verses is exquisite. Again Nick chooses to juxtapose a charming Beatles-eqsue tune with bitter lyrics – a Bevis Frond staple:

 

“It’s been an education

I can’t say it’s been a pleasure

It did my head to feel you suck me in so deep

But then you blew me out

To do without

You knew about

The hang ups in my past but who cares now.”

 

Nick introduces the next track, ‘Love Is’, on Live At The Great American Music Hall as “a new song off the latest record and the kind of theme behind this one is that love continues after we all die… there you go, a bit depressing but also quite enlightening and quite encouraging really, I suppose.” Here, Nick reverses the ‘Blew Me Out’ formula and disguises an optimistic message in a somber, bluesy number that demonstrates Nick’s dry sense of humour:

 

“Hung on your erection is a sign that says “I quit”

You see it every time you have a piss

You might think that nothing seems important to your lady like it used to be before

But love is.”

 

Who else, other than perhaps Morrissey, is capable of writing lyrics as funny as that?

 

‘Heritage Coast’ is another magnum opus, clocking in at 9:12. It’s a hypnotic track with a great repeating bass riff and utilises another trademark Bevis technique – dualling lead guitars. Nick has said in interviews that he really enjoys this aspect of recording. Multi-tracking lead guitar parts, in Nick’s hands, leads to some electrifying results. I’ve tried it but I’m not sure how he achieves the effect he does when the guitar lines weave around each other like they do in ‘Heritage Coast’. It’s mysterious and spell-binding. Lyrically, another feature common to Nick’s songwriting is highlighted in the references to the commonplace, to mundane, everyday objects, particularly ones in a state of decay (and this is reflected in the sleeve artwork for which Nick is also responsible). Nick writes about real life, not a sanitised corporate version. This isn’t X Factor or Girls Aloud. Nick is prepared to explore the dirt:

 

“By the sign to the Heritage Coast

I sat down by the road

Hit by fumes, gob and cans

And the loose caravan

I pulled in for the fix I was owed.”

 

Again, without the benefit of a lyric sheet, I am unable to comment on the meaning of the song as a whole. But, as intimated before, I may just get it entirely wrong anyway, even if I did. Nick may think that most of the comments I have made are utterly off the mark. It’s almost impossible to write about the motivations of the songwriter – only Nick knows, really, what he meant to say. And, being a songwriter myself, I know that sometimes you can write a song and not have too much awareness yourself about the meaning of your lyrics. I think it’s safer, and perhaps more real and therefore more interesting to others, to write about how you respond to the images in a song. And, as we have noted before, the poetic images are blended with the music in pop songs to add a further dimension of meaning/mystery. It reminds me of reading recently about Paul McCartney saying how he dipped into Ian McDonald’s ‘Revolution In The Head’ occasionally, and thought to himself almost every time he read the author’s opinion of one of his songs, “nope that’s not what I meant.”

 

The lines that strike a chord with me the most in this song are:

 

“By the sign to the Heritage Coast

I sat down by the road

And I counted my fans

On the thumbs of one hand

And a car stopped and drove me back home.”

 

It made me smile when I first heard that line about the number of fans he has. It’s not true of course (well, at least about him!).

 

Another refreshing aspect of Nick’s songwriting, revealed in the lyrics to “Heritage Coast” and many of the songs on North Circular (in fact, even in the album title), and in this he reminds me of Richard Thompson, is his insistence on using peculiarly English or British references. American songwriters incorporate American place names in their songs and us Brits should do the same. If we don’t do that, what’s unique about our stuff? I want to relate to the songs I hear. I know nothing about travelling down Route 66, but I am familiar with the A406 North Circular road. My album By The Banks Of The A350 was so-named because that’s where I wrote it. I imagine North Americans must find it fascinating listening to Nick’s records with his distinctive accent and his British references – perhaps to them the North Circular sounds quite romantic? (And talking of annoying Americanisms, I’m writing this on Microsoft Word and it keeps altering my spelling into American English. There’s two l’s in traveling you bastard!)

 

If you’re listening to North Circular on CD, the first CD closes with ‘Stay At Home Girl’. That’s 66 minutes of music and we’re only halfway through the album! This soulful track incorporates lovely use of a Hammond organ (at least I think it’s a Hammond?) and contains humorous images of the past “when the sleeve of the remote control was used for rolling joints” and the family “moved to the east of town never thinking we might stay.” I think it may be an ode to Nick’s daughter Deb:

 

“The pain of the past that I stored away for years

Dissolved in the car park rain the day you first appeared

And all of those things that I never had myself

I wanted so much to bring to you and no-one else

So how did I do, did I give you room to breathe?

My love for you, will you still need it when you leave”

 

I have read that Nick’s father left the family when he was five years old, so if this is a rare “confessional” lyric, the words are extremely poignant. My daughter is only three but I can already relate to the sentiment expressed in the chorus: “stay at home girl, don’t ever leave.”

 

The second CD starts with retro-rocker ‘Growing Up’ which reminds me of the kind of tune Alan Hawkshaw would write (interestingly, Hawkshaw is the composer of the ‘Countdown’ theme which Nick famously covered when he appeared on the show; see below) or one of the other sixties incidental music writers finding a new lease of life on KPM Records.

 

‘The Wind Blew All Around Me’ is a Bevis Frond standard, covered by his most famous fan (and Elliott Smith associate) Mary Lou Lord. It contains all the ingredients of a great pop song – enigmatic lyrics, great hooks, memorable title – it’s got the bloody X factor! It also has a fantastic guitar solo, and more hilarious lyrics:

 

“Look at me lying on the golden sands

Look at the note I got here in my hand

It says I lost my gig to a tribute band

And the wind blew all around me.”

 

At this point I’d rather not mention that I also play in a Beatles tribute band.

 

‘There’s Always One’ takes another swipe at music journos:

 

“Spiteful little nobody your blood is running green

Is it cool to be The Velvets but pathetic to be Cream?

And what if by some miracle I should want to be myself

You’ll have to stick your sticky labels on to someone else.”

 

This song has a great middle eight with multi-layered guitar work which reminds me of Mike Oldfield (someone else who has been subject to the music press’s “hippy-phobia”).

 

‘Book’ is a clever little song with an interesting drum pattern and an atmospheric effect on the lead guitar, similar in its subject matter to Superseeder’s ‘Flashy’. The object of scorn here is the self-pitying ex-band member who thinks it “should have been him” but who didn’t “stop to notice it was over”. The narrator reads this character like a book “he doesn’t believe in”. Perfect pop. Should have been a hit.

 

‘Psychedelic Unknowns’ contains a great vocal in which Nick extends his full range and a lovely descending guitar riff (sometimes counter-balanced with an ascending bass scale). The middle eight is sublime and shows off Nick’s gift for melody once again. The musical arrangements are so good on this album and I love the way Nick adds little flourishes of piano here and there, and what stands out to me once again is the wonderful harmony vocal lines he finds.

 

‘You Make Me Feel’ is the track that presumably would have featured Nick’s friend Bari Watts from The Outskirts of Infinity guesting on lead guitar had this been one of The Bevis Frond’s collaborative recordings. As it is, Nick supplies the Hendrix-esque riffage to great aplomb in a song with an unusual time-signature (don’t ask me what it is, only drummers know these things; and although I play the drums, I’m not a drummer – thank the Lord.)

 

‘Revival’ is another stone-cold classic, which I’m guessing might have been a contender for a single were The Bevis Frond the multi-platinum-selling-stadium-rocking-festival-headlining band it deserves to be. It’s so good it sounds like you’ve heard it before. Well, “hey, hey, hey”.

 

‘Gold And Silver’ is a gentle ballad, with ambiguous lyrics, beautifully produced with shimmering acoustic guitars to the fore and subtle use of electric piano (I’m guessing – I’d love to know exactly what gear Nick uses.).

 

‘Her Father’s Daughter’ is yet another well-crafted pop song with a catchy melody and more of Nick’s dual-vocal harmonizing. The chorus, which could be whistled by the milkman, again contains Nick’s uncompromising lyrics: “All at once the garbage in the river drifted past my eyes, the shit I used to give her, the pretty plastic lies.”

 

My ex-band Karmatruffle had a go at covering ‘Stoneground Head’ but we never did it justice. It’s got one of the nastiest riffs I’ve heard and the production is immense. I just don’t know how Nick manages to record guitars so well. The way he manages to get different effects on each of them yet blends them into the track without creating a wall of noise is beyond me. My experience has been that recording rock songs well in a home studio is the hardest thing to pull off. This is how you do it. Lyrically, this one is really funny, too, with its bread imagery:

 

“She needs her daily bread, she got a doorstop mind, she got a stoneground head.”

 

‘Timothy’s Powders’ is only 1:47 long but is a great little tale about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse:

 

“Timothy's powders were amazing
They made me want to push your face in
I should've flushed them down the basin
And sometimes I say things that I don't mean
But I promise this time I’m clean, I'm clean”
 

‘For Want Of You’ is even shorter at 1:33 but again packs a big punch, with some nice Hendrix-y (reminds me of ‘Hey Baby’ from First Rays Of The New Rising Sun) guitar work (on rhythm pick-up I’d say) and a haunting melody and message.

 

‘The Stranger’s Mirror’ is the penultimate track and the second longest at 11:11. There is some amazing lead guitar playing in this powerful song – not double-tracked for the most part in this instance, perhaps lending it more emotional resonance. It explores the themes of ‘identity’ and ‘otherness’:

 

“It’s where we plot against our enemies

 It’s where we laugh at crazy foreigners

 It’s where we bow to all authority

 Are we hollow are we jealous

 Only strangers ever tell us.

 

It’s where we crawl when things get difficult.

It’s where we cry when no-one notices

It’s where we dive beneath the parapet

Are we gamblers are we chancers

Only strangers know the answers

 

And here in the mirror we report to our sister

And we beg to go with her on her mission to deliver.”

 

I don’t understand who the ‘sister’ referred to in the chorus is. Is this the mirror, the other? Or does this tie-in with the golden life form mentioned in ‘The Sun Room’ – the figure that will bring redemption?

 

Throughout North Circular, Nick has left hints of an optimistic undertone in his songs, belying their surface pessimism, the imagery of decay and the occasional outbursts of righteous anger. In the final song, the rollicking ‘Story Ends’ the protagonist takes a ride with an angel (the golden life form?) only to be left stranded alone in the heavens. The conclusion in this song is that “it all depends on the kindness of your friends, once again.”

 

And there you have it, a triple album – but a triple album that it doesn’t feel like a mammoth journey to listen to. I believe this is because of the variety of the material on offer – in terms of subject matter, themes, arrangements, musical genres – and also mainly because all of the tracks are really good. It’s difficult to say that about any double album, let alone a triple. Let’s face it, how many people listen to ‘Revolution 9’ when they play The White Album? Apparently, this was such a fertile period of songwriting for Nick that there was no space for four songs recorded for the album which had to be released on the next Bevis Frond record, Vavona Burr. So, if you don’t already own it, I strongly recommend you buy it. It will enrich your life! And if you've not heard any Bevis Frond before, I hope this album will encourage you to explore Nick's other great records - there are 18 or so at the last count! Here’s a link to the Bandcamp site where you can download it in high quality for only £7 and it comes with the original artwork as PDFs:

To me, although I confess I am an acolyte, Nick Saloman is a modern day William Blake. He’s not only a genius songwriter and musician but he’s also a history buff and won Countdown three weeks in a row back in 1991! (And also covered the theme tune in his inimitable psychedelic style and it was broadcast during one of his appearances. Alas, the footage doesn't appear to be available on You Tube now.)

 

Consider the fact, as well, that, like Blake’s illuminated books, Nick’s creations are all self-produced, mostly at his home, using pioneering techniques. I chose the moniker Blake for my musical output partly in tribute to that great man of London town. I wonder whether in 250 years time, some 23rd century musician will adopt the title Bevis or Frond or even Nick as a mark of respect for another artist lamentably uncelebrated in his own lifetime? Perhaps in 250 years time only the good stuff will survive, so pupils studying late 20th century popular song will be taking classes on The Bevis Frond, as well as on The Beatles and Dylan. What is certain is that no-one will give two fucks about the opinions of the tosspots in the music press. God bless you Nick, and thank you."

 

 

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