I was once standing in a queue outside Dingwalls in Camden Town waiting to see Stump.
Dingwalls is a small club, and if someone interesting was playing - Stump were at the time - it was always a good idea to get there early; judging by the size of the line that night I'm glad I did.
There appeared to be a delay, and those waiting started to get a little fidgety; the odd 'Cuuuum-on' could be heard from the less patient waiters.
All of a sudden, as if from nowhere, a busker-type began walking up and down the line while singing and playing an acoustic guitar.
It was a great tradition one time in London: street entertainers would often perform to those queuing outside of theatres and the opera.
However, this guy was anything but traditional.
He was wearing what I imagine those Europeans who were out fighting in Indochina in the 1950s would have worn: a pith helmet; a matching khaki shirt and long, below the knee starched shorts; gray, school type socks pulled up tight, meeting the hem of the stiff shorts; and a pair of biblical styled open sandals.
On his face he wore a big ginger curly beard.
He was singing and playing his heart out.
At first he was interesting, then comical; but as the wait continued he started to become rather disturbing, he became more and more intense, making some in the line feel incredibly uncomfortable.
At last we were in, and as the club quickly filled an announcement was made: 'there will be a special guest performance this evening as well as the main act.'
Hmm, wonder who that could be?
Yeah, you guessed it.
It was the crazy fucking dude from outside; the busker who appeared to have just suffered some kind of mental breakdown while trying to do his thing; screaming at the top of his voice while strumming frantically on his quite badly damaged guitar with a dessert spoon.
On stage he was just as alienating.
But somehow, now his performance was legitimized, strangely endearing.
I can only remember one song distinctly from his set that night, mainly due to his confessional preamble, revealing how when he was a kid he couldn't be bothered to go all the way from his bedroom to the toilet, so he jumped out of bed, quickly shat on the floor and then hurriedly returned to his nice warm space beneath the covers.
His mother on finding the nasty deposit concluded that the dog must have done it, and proceeded to wipe the confused pet's face in it.
Our narrator had observed this horrific scene by timorously peeping out from under the covers, suffering terrible pangs of guilt; guilt that had remained with him ever since.
As soon as he started the song, you knew his story was true.
The amount of conviction he put into his performance - I've never seen anybody so remorseful, so racked with guilt and ruin - was so authentic, so real, your heart would have gone out to him (and the dog).
75% of the song consisted of him screaming how sorry he was: 'I'M SORRY DOG, I'M SORRY DOG...'
I swear I could see tears rolling down his face.
I had been introduced to the phenomenon that is Edward Barton.
As an homage to Edward, many of his contemporaries from his native Manchester (and beyond) put together this truly wonderful selection of their versions of his songs.
There's some excellent tracks here; Edward Barton was obviously a productive muse.
The real highlights (although it's hard to see any weakness in the album) come from Inspiral Carpets, who kick things off with what I think is their greatest recording.
The two tracks from Stump, who are split into two camps for this recording, are wonderful: McKahey and Hopper, the band's rhythm section, performing a subversive piece of 'traditionally' styled Irish music; juxtaposed with Lynch and Salmon's performance of Barton's elegy to onanism: 'Knob Gob'.
Patrick Mooney's cover of 'Me and My Mini' and the wonderful Ted Chippington's reading of Barton's 'Z Bend' are alone well worth downloading this album for; and it's great to hear Ruthless Rap Assassins performing 'Z Bend' in a hip-hop style; reminiscent of Franti's Disposable Heroes.
808 State perform the aforementioned 'Sorry Dog', and a big surprise comes at the end with Fossil performing a splendid piece of trip-hoppy jazz for their version of 'On a Hot Day'.
All in all, a fantastic recording.
A worthy homage to an unique performer and artist.
Various Artists - Edward Not Edward (1989)
Two Cows - Inspiral Carpets
King of a Flat Country - Robert McKahey & Kevin Hopper (half of Stump)
Dear Dad - Cathal Coughlin & the Fatima Mansions
Knob Gob - Mick Lynch & Chris Salmon (half of Stump)
Barber Barber - Dub Sex
Me and My Mini - Patrick Mooney
Telephone Box - Louis Philippe
Z Bend - Ted Chippington
I Slap My Belly - Jane
Z Bend - Ruthless Rap Assassins
Sorry Dog - 808 State
Barber Barber - A Guy Called Gerald
I am a Mother - Chapter and the Verse
Smother - Kiss AMC
On a Hot Day - Fossil
Viny rip @320kbs
There is some surface noise which I couldn't eradicate, but not enough to ruin listening experience: one mustn't be too anal...
Experience Ted's songwriting prowess here
Check out some of Edward's recent doings at his website;
go there for some free downloads.