Chapter 9

 

INCIDENTS CROWDED WITH LIFE

CHAPTER NINE

‘(I’m The) TALK OF THE TOWN’

Accrington College of Further Education, where I began studying ‘A’ Levels in the Autumn of 1969, was housed in a detached old red-brick Victorian building. It was fronted by an overgrown lawned garden, weed-infested flowerbeds and rusting sycamores. Surrounded by chipped metal railings atop a crumbling high stone wall, it reflected, but no longer boasted, a better time in its long life. These days, I’d want to tidy it up and plant out herbaceous borders filled with radiant hollyhocks, delphiniums and foxgloves. Back then, its neglected Bohemian mess seemed deliciously run down and conveniently hid us from the main High Road which ran past the college into the centre of town.

Climbing the well-worn steps, entering the musty echo of corridors full of the bustle of students going to class, I felt lighter and ready to take things on. This was not like school with its strict dress codes and an expectation that you might be ‘in trouble’ at any moment. This was finally becoming An Adult. Making your own way. I was mixing with people who chose to bring their cornucopia of styles, personalities and ideas to a forum of discussion. While we were all blissfully unaware – or ignoring the fact – that real life was waiting as we lived the student myth of holding off our futures for a while, responsibility had arrived. It was, however, disguised as irresponsibility. It was extremely liberating.

Rather like record labels such as Island and Immediate, and their label bosses Chris Blackwell and Andrew Loog Oldham, sent their top pop groups to sprawling old farmhouses for the summer, a place to allow their creative bankables to compose their next million-selling opuses in peace and quiet, so we had been allowed, by the education system, to shut ourselves away and hone our particular talents, increase our knowledge, develop our personalities.

Whether the college housed any future creative bankables is debatable, but I soon discovered, on the top floor, the haven I had sought. There, at the top of the stairs, was the Fine Art Department.
I would pass second-year art students and the occasional home-knitted-pullovered tutor in the corridor and smile as they greeted me with a gentle “Hey man”. I would meander round the huge high-ceilinged white wood-panelled room like a visitor to a gallery, studying the many canvases which leaned against the walls. Some were finished, a sea of abstract floating brown and white oblongs here, or a landscape of lavishly executed Bosch-like figures there. Others were still works in progress which sat on easels, usually accompanied by their affectionate creator who would nod at you then turn their attention back to the matter in hand.

There was always the heady mix of linseed and patchouli oils filling the air alongside the music, which gently floated out of an old record player in one corner of the room. It was a different kind of music to anything I’d heard before. This wasn’t pop music, it seemed to go beyond that and come from a place I had never been. I’d study the L.P. covers thrown casually around the place and wonder who The Incredible String Band were, Roy Harper, The Third Ear Band, The Mothers of Invention, King Crimson. They were all totally new to me. My previously perceived coolness for carrying my copy of Sgt Pepper around Bury Town Centre felt suddenly out of time, out of place and embarrassingly gauche. I soon discovered that ‘image’ was unimportant here, what mattered more was possessing an inherent talent for painting and an ability to appear interesting whilst remaining benignly aloof from even trying to achieve such a lofty ideal.

At school, once I’d reached fifteen, I had done my best to be noticed and to be considered different. Indeed, it was my raison d’etre. Now, such self-possession – nay, obsession – felt extremely uncool and far too noisy. The first thing you noticed on walking into the Art Department was how quiet it was, save for the soft strains of Mike Heron’s ‘A Very Cellular Song’ or Roy Harper’s ‘McGoohan’s Blues’ wafting through the room. The sound of raucous laughter never dented this idyll of tranquil confidence. If anyone did laugh it was silently, shoulders moving up and down as though holding in a sneeze, as if afraid that outbursts of any kind would blow away the ethereal mist of familial harmony. You would never hear anyone shouting across the room, “Hey, Tim! You got a spare pencil I could borrow?”. Such needs were much more confidentially handled. A mumbled request to your nearest neighbour was answered with a silent passing of the required pencil or paintbrush, all the while neither requestor nor provider taking their eyes off their works in hand. If you cocked an ear you could just about hear a “Thanks, man,” murmuring under the sonic radar.

During my first couple of weeks there, whenever I entered the Inner Sanctum, I felt like a loud car horn in a deserted street. I’d been so used to bursting into rooms ready to make people laugh or tell them about the latest Beatles track I’d heard. My days ‘Before Accrington’ had been full of people shouting, “Look what Howard’s wearing today!!” and the sense, however misplaced, that I shone like a welcome glow in a roomful of grey observers. This new silently unobtrusive world both fascinated and confused me. I didn’t understand, or belong, but desperately wanted to.

Opinions were whispered and agreed with by a gentle nod of the head. Disagreement would be conveyed by the slightest wince, as though responding to a mild storm outside the window. I very quickly learnt that, instead of hailing everyone with a cheery “Hi guys!” in the morning, one merely nodded and said, everso quietly, “Hey” and then wandered over to one’s work area, head down, shoulders stooped.

Work areas were smallish screened-off bits of the room which felt surprisingly private. I quickly made mine feel homely, pinning up sketches and ideas I’d done on ‘college field trips’, when we visited local bits of wasteland and scribbled away at our interpretations of a piece of wood in a muddy puddle or a particularly interesting chunk of rock. I’d use my sketches as the basis for a larger oil painting and this was where, almost by accident, I discovered a new and acceptable way to ‘shout’ a little louder. I loved the Fauves and the Impressionists, who I’d found out about in my History of Art classes, and wanted to achieve their intoxicating freedom of colour and vibrancy in my work. No longer for me subtle skin tones or gentle blue skies behind fluffy white clouds. Everything now had to dazzle and surprise. Bright purple and red hills under vermilion skies became my landscapes. They were my route to a shineworthy status amongst respected colleagues I wished to impress. And, as the weeks went by, it seemed to bear fruit, some of the students occasionally creeping on tiptoes into my work area and watching me paint. Never commenting, of course, that would have been far too presumptuous. But the fact they were interested in my splashings and daubs made up for what I quickly came to realise, that I was unlikely to find, create, or adopt the new, more laid-back persona I thought I needed to match my surroundings. If I was to survive this world I wanted to be part of, it would have to be done through my work.

The Head Tutor, Mr Bownass (or ‘Bone-Arse’ as he was known) paid me an unexpected visit one day as I was tossing another primary colour onto my vibrant canvas. One saw art tutors very occasionally, they were like shy nocturnal animals who only came out when the coast was clear, so this was quite a thing. He stood behind me, smoking his pipe, puffing away as I worked. After a few minutes of silent observation, he sort of shuffled to the side of me and said,
“You have an extremely unbridled sense of colour, Howard.”
I – perhaps mistakenly – took it as a compliment, smiled over my shoulder as one might to an awed fan, and sallied forth on my quest for resplendent perfection. He crept out and never commented on my work again.

As my confidence in my art increased, so too did the size of my canvases. They got increasingly larger, with life-class paintings especially often measuring five foot square. I’d sometimes have to stand on a chair to reach the top of the canvas, which in itself could be deemed precocious, and probably was by some, but as usual in my case, as confidence grew, so too did a lack of regard for how others may disapprove. I began my own weekly regime, which I tagged ‘A Developing Project In Abstract’, where each new canvas was a more abstract variation on the previous painting. So, a life class model became, over several developments, a series of shapes and colours in a room once housing tables and chairs which had morphed into indeterminable cubes and triangles.

Of course, Picasso and Braque had already done this decades before with Cubism, but I was blithely unconcerned about that. Eventually, tens of canvases of my work leant against the wall. I was convinced that one day very soon I would have the opportunity to exhibit my Project to an admiring world of art lovers. It never happened. In fact, I imagine that every single radiant ‘Howard’ was painted over white and reused once I’d left college.

We were allowed to take one of our canvases home on our last day. I chose a huge self-portrait glaring out from its world of primary colours with wide-eyed fury. My mother cooed when she saw it and hung it on the landing.
“It makes the top of the stairs look so much brighter!“ she announced.
Dad wasn’t convinced, complaining that it gave him the heebie-jeebies.
“It’s looking at me everytime I come out of the toilet,” he complained.

When I finally took it down and rolled it up, deciding it would fill a bedsit wall perfectly on my imminent move to London in the summer of ’73, Dad quickly suggested a Boots Still Life would fill the vacant space very nicely. I carried that canvas from flat to flat during my first few years in London, finally leaving it under my bed in the Earl’s Court room from which I’d leapt in 1976. I wouldn’t think it’s still there.

***

One afternoon, as I was busying away on my multi-coloured interpretation of a kettle, Bob, a wide-eyed peace child from Freecloud Blake, crept into my work area and asked me if I fancied going to see The Incredible String Band at The Free Trade Hall. I had been intrigued by what I’d heard in the art room and without hesitation said yes, I’d love to.

Two things happened to me that night. One, I fell in love with The Incredible String Band, and two, I decided that I wanted to perform on large stages just like these magical troubadours.

They looked like hippie gods, lit in mauves, blues and pinks which danced upon their white blousons, dressing them in shirts of many colours for each song. With leather breeches tucked into thigh-length boots they strode the stage like medieval minstrels. There was something masculinely feminine about Robin and Mike, beautiful yet rugged at the same time. They played a mind-boggling variety of instruments and percussion, rushing round the stage during a single number. At what seemed unrehearsed moments but were obviously perfectly planned, they’d drop a guitar and take up a sitar, dash off the piano stool and perch with a lute, seamlessly continuing to play the song at hand with no break in rhythm or performance. Grinning to each other like thrilled little boys at the best ever party, their delight radiated out to adoring fans who clapped and laughed throughout an evening of song and communal involvement. We supped at their banquet of sound, our hearts dancing to the rhythm of optimistic joy.

The two girls in the band, Rose and Liquorice, looked like woodland nymphs. Their headbands of knitted daisies sat atop pre-Raphaelite flowing locks, which fell around their Laura Ashley flowered frocks. Bob was convinced Rose was smiling at him, but in fact most of the males in the audience were under that illusion. While chinking finger cymbals, tapping tambourines and patting bongos, they possessed a visual presence both evocative and unforgettable. It was as though they’d arrived on a cloud of love, staring dreamily out at men who wished they were theirs and women who wished they were them.

I hadn’t been to any concerts up to that point, my love of popular music being limited to buying records and watching my heroes on TV. I had been invited that Autumn to go with some of the other students to the Isle of Wight Festival to see Bob Dylan. It was a big event as he hadn’t performed outside America for three years. While tempted, I decided that a weekend of sitting and sleeping in a field of mud along with several hundred others wasn’t for me. Just the thought of queuing up for overflowing filthy loos every morning was enough to put me off. While I enjoyed the conviviality of hippie company at college, I only partially embraced the life it offered. Living in a commune would not have suited me at all. I liked to go back home every evening to a warm bath and the privacy of a spotless loo. I guess I was what they used to call a Weekend Weirdo.

After the Incredibles’ show, as I was leaving the theatre, I spotted a flyer for an upcoming concert by Roy Harper. No-one else at college seemed interested in seeing him so, a few weeks later, I made my way on my own on the bus, bought my ticket and settled down for what would be one of the best concerts I have ever seen.

Roy walked on with no announcement, how cool was that, and, lit by a single spotlight alone on the stage, began strumming his guitar.

“The kettle’s on, the sun has gone, another day,” he sang. I was instantly hooked. For two hours he sang his glorious songs to an enraptured audience. What fascinated me was the way he would stop halfway through a number to tell us a story of what he’d got up to the previous evening. The stories were always long, always funny, outrageously so sometimes, and one felt he was sitting with each one of us in a cosy front room, regaling us with his adventures. Even more brilliant was how, once the story had been told and the audience were in fits of laughter, he would simply continue with the song he’d interrupted at the exact point he’d broken off. His songs were funny, sad, personal and observational, his guitar playing was astonishing. A fairly small man in stature, he was a giant on stage, owning his space and holding us all enthralled by his warmth and genius.

The next day, I took myself off to Javelin Records and bought Harper’s new album, Flat Baroque And Berserk. I played it for hours on end, especially the utterly gorgeous ‘Another Day’. I vowed that one day I would record that song, and in 2009, finally, I did.

***

In March 1970, the Students Union arranged an evening of music, dance and sketches for parents and governors. It was to take place in the college’s second, newer building down the road, a rather featureless, late ’60s state of the art place with language labs and an enormous performance hall. Knowing I was a pianist they asked me if I would ‘do a couple of tunes’. I readily accepted and put together a short set of four songs I’d recently written. With a few of the other students showing some interest in being involved, a combo was formed for the evening. We had a couple of rehearsals but pretty soon it became obvious that it was just me and the drummer, Tim Whittaker, who took it seriously. So, on the night, Tim and I, who had named ourselves Rubber Nun (Tim’s suggestion) performed our fifteen minute spot. As the final number ended, the place literally went mad (even the four nuns sitting in the front row stood and applauded!). I got goosebumps hearing the cheers, and this for songs I’d written!

Tim soon got bored (he actually went on to join the Liverpool band Deaf School) but I continued to give monthly lunchtime solo concerts in the Maths Room, which had an old upright piano. I designed my own little posters which I’d stick up around the college, ‘Howard In Concert at 12.30 today’ and each month, to my surprise and delight, the room would be full of attentive listeners. I rarely performed the same song twice, I was writing at such a rate by then. I don’t recall ever feeling nervous or unsure, I knew that I could do it, I had no doubts. What really stayed with me was how some of the audience would wait behind as I was putting lyrics away in my bag, and tell me how much a certain song had resonated with them. I realised that not only could I perform, but my songs also affected people in ways I had never dreamed they could. For all my love of painting and my recent ambition to take it up more seriously, I knew now for certain that my future was with my music.

During one of the concerts, I noticed Mr Bownass sitting at the back. He leaned on his knees listening intently to every number. Afterwards, he told me that a friend of his was a gig promoter and, if I was interested, he’d mention me to him. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from a chap called Steve who, as well as referring to everything as ‘cool!’, told me he would like to see me play and had lined up a gig at a folk club in Manchester for me if I wanted it.

I was only booked to perform three songs and they seemed to go down well. Once again, I noticed how people would stop talking and listen to me intently. After my set, a very skinny bearded guy approached me:
“Hi man, I’m Steve,” he said cheerily. “That was cool!” He took out a packet of Kool cigarettes and lit one up. I’m not sure he saw the irony. He said he’d like to have a go at getting me some ‘proper gigs’, the first being at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton which showcased local artists each month in Saturday afternoon concerts they called Bluesologies.

I told Steve that I wanted to be billed as ‘Jon Howard’. It was a name I’d come up with while mulling over what I should call myself if I ever turned professional. I liked the way names such as Rod Stewart, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, ran off the tongue and wanted something similar. ‘Howard Jones’ just didn’t sound Pop Star-ish enough to my ears and it was also the name of a singer in the Joe Loss Band – in fact, that was who my mum had named me after. I took the ‘es’ off ‘Jones’, put it in front of my Christian name, and voila, there it was.

“Cool!” said Steve, though whether he actually thought so was always hard to tell.

The following Saturday, I arrived at the theatre and noticed, outside the building, a little poster on the wall announcing the four acts performing that afternoon. There I was, ‘Jon Howard’, second on the bill.
‘Yeah,’ I thought, ‘That’s cool!’

I’d been to The Octagon with the college a few months earlier to see Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, and couldn’t imagine how a theatre in the round would work as a music venue. How wrong I was. They had cleverly left the set of the play they were doing that week intact and so we performed ‘inside’ a sitting-room in front of the French windows which led out onto ‘the garden’. My upright piano looked very at home surrounded by 1920s-style tables and chairs and a telephone stand by ‘the door’.

I had a whole half-an-hour to myself. As soon as I began, the lights dimmed and a beautiful purple glow filled the stage. Shivers ran down my back.
‘So this is what it feels like,’ I thought.
For each number, the lighting man gave me a different hue, which in turn affected the way I performed the song. My Incredible String Band dream had actually come true. I loved the atmosphere of a ‘proper’ legitimate theatre, the wonders of a superb sound system which rang out around me as I sang. The full house of people hadn’t a clue who I was but when I got a ‘More!’ at the end of my final song I felt ten feet tall.

The headlining act that day was Spirogyra, a Canterbury-based band whose sound was enormous and songs were rousing anthemic folk-rock wonders. Their lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter, Bolton-born Martin Cockerham, had a pop star charisma. He was supported in the band brilliantly by a Nick Drake-ish violinist (Julian Cusack), along with bass player, Steve Borrill. Their female singer, Barbara Gaskin, stood closely beside Cockerham throughout, her light breathy harmonies adding a gossamer touch to their sound. They looked fantastic on stage and I was certain they would achieve big things.

As I was getting ready to leave, a small bespectacled chap tapped me on the shoulder.
“Hello,” he said, “My name’s Max Hole. I manage the band. I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed your performance.”
He stood smiling at me, nodding his head enthusiastically, and reminded me of a tiny college professor.
“We’re doing another gig in December this year here,” he continued, “and wondered if you’d like to be our support for the evening?”
When I told Steve on the way to the bus stop, he nodded into his stooped shoulders, took a drag from his Kool cigarette and said, “Cool!”

The gig was a joy, the group having now hired their own sound man who sat a few feet from me as I performed, tweaking the mikes and adding more reverb when needed. The theatre’s set that evening was a magical forest of giant plants and butterflies, obviously for a children’s play they were putting on for Christmas. The gently bobbing nets of greens and blues, which wafted over me as I sang amidst this fantasy woodland, made me feel like a character from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Max took a photo of me during my performance that night which I still have. I look utterly knocked out to be there. I was.

I was booked again by Max a year or so later to support Spirogyra at The Octagon, but, while it was another lovely evening, it marked the band’s swansong there. Splitting up shortly afterwards, with just the duo of Martin and Barbara remaining, a lot of the momentum and the growing fan base they had achieved as a four-piece dissipated. I’d bought their debut album, St. Radigunds, as soon as it was released in 1971, and it’s still a joy to hear. It takes me back to that Autumn afternoon when I first witnessed what I believed would be acoustic-rock’s Next Big Thing.

***

On a four-day visit to London in the Spring of 1973, I visited Max at his flat in Thurloe Square. By then, he was a founding partner in Gemini Artists, an agency and management company. I was kind of hoping he would offer to manage me and show me the way to record deals and touring. But instead he made me a lovely cup of Jasmine tea and we spent a pleasant hour or so chatting about what we were up to. Finally, when it became obvious that my visit had run its course, full of ‘But -er’ pauses and starings out of the window, I took my leave.

Max went on to work in A & R at various record companies, rising to Global Head Honcho at Universal by 2010. He was referred to in Billboard as ‘a serious contender for title of most powerful label executive outside America’. In 1983, while working at Warners, he ironically signed up singer-songwriter Howard Jones who, in an even odder twist of fate, was actually christened John Howard Jones! Isn’t life strange?

Barbara Gaskin had her own solo UK No.1 hit in 1981 with a version of Lesley Gore’s ‘It’s My Party’ while Martin Cockerham drifted off into a reclusive nomadic life during the ’80s. He is now back performing with various musician friends, and I’m happy to say we are back in touch via Social Media. He told me recently that Max’s health is not good and he has taken temporary leave of his position at Universal while he recuperates. Even though his initial obvious interest in me didn’t lead to anything more permanent, I’ll always be grateful to Max for giving me the opportunity to develop and show off my performing talent back in those halcyon days at The Octagon.

***

At one of my early gigs, must have been in April or May 1970, at a folk club in Prestwich, a guy came up to me after I’d played my set and told me I reminded him “of a guy called Elton John.”

Not knowing who that was, I searched out and bought Elton’s recently-released eponymous album. Back at home, while I enjoyed the L.P., I couldn’t really hear any similarity to my style. John was much more bluesy Gospel-sounding with a boogie-style on the piano and a marked American accent. I also noticed that, while he wrote the music, his lyrics were written by a guy called Bernie Taupin. I am, to this day, compared to Elton John on many websites which sell or promote my work, and, to this day, I can still not hear the likeness others do. We both sing, we both play the piano. That’s it as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve admired some of Elton’s music. I consider Goodbye Yellow Brick Road his finest achievement as a cohesive piece of work but somehow his songs never really touch me. I don’t know why. I do recall, after playing ‘Elton John’ all the way through, I put it away, found Roy Harper’s ‘Flat Baroque’ album and let it steal my heart once more. Who knows why this happens? Why one artist leaves us relatively cold or unmoved, while another tugs at our heartstrings and takes us to another place, is one of the unanswerable questions.

By early 1971, with Roy Harper as my inspiration, I’d begun to tailor my act for audiences who seemed to enjoy listening to my stories as well as my songs. I was getting my own headlining nights at some of the folk clubs and, even more thrilling, I was packing them out. One club manager told me he’d never seen his place so full.
“They’ve been queuing down the stairs into the street,” he told me. “That’s never happened before.”

One afternoon in April ’72, after closing a Bluesology session at The Octagon, I was sitting in my dressing-room when I heard a gentle knock on the door.
“Come in!” I called out.
Two guys poked their heads in and smiled at me.
“Hi!” one of them said. “Do you mind if we disturb you?”
“Not at all,” I said and offered them a seat.
“We really loved your set today,” the other chap said.
“You’re in Iron Maiden, aren’t you?” I asked, remembering their set from earlier on in the day.
“Yes, we are, but our lead singer is leaving soon and…”
“…and we were wondering if you’d be interested in joining the band as his replacement?”

Iron Maiden, I hasten to add here, was not a Heavy Metal outfit back in 1972. This earlier incarnation was much more about market squares and fair maidens than bringing anyone‘s daughter to the slaughter. Their tales of minstrels running in sun-dappled meadows were all delivered in a gentle Fairport Convention-esque style.

I didn’t want to be rude to these guys, they were sweet gents and I was very flattered:
“Hey, thanks,” I said, “but I really want to investigate for a bit longer a solo career. It might not work out, but I’d like to give it a go before making any changes.”
Bless them, they kind of bowed and walked backwards out of the room saying,
“No problem, man.”
“We understand, man.”
“Thanks for your great music!”
And they were gone. Just as I was wondering if I’d made the right decision turning them down, I heard an audience member, leaving the theatre, shout, “We want Jon Howard!”
It was the unsolicited and well-timed consensus I needed.

***

I can’t remember why, but during 1970 I developed a new and eager love of everything Bob Dylan. I’d bought a couple of his 1965 singles when they were first released and, of course, Pauline used to play me his albums whenever I was round at her house in the late ’60s. But, probably because I was hearing his L.P.s every day on the art room record player, I became a belated ardent fan and bought every one of his albums released up to that point. I even scoured the specialist record shops for the under-the-counter bootleg albums such as Seems Like A Freeze Out, Talking New York City Blues and Stealin’. The studio outtakes from Dylan’s ’65/’66 sessions, featured on clear yellow vinyl bootlegs, were the most intriguing. Tracks like ’I Wanna Be Your Lover’ and ‘She’s Your Lover Now’, which never made it onto the released albums, were fascinating. They often broke down at the end or contained vocal fluffs, but were still entirely brilliant. (Columbia finally woke up to these outtakes many years later and began an official issue programme of all Dylan’s bootleg material).

Around that time I wrote and demo’d a song called ‘A Kind Of Aching’, full of Blonde On Blonde-esque imagery and internal rhymes. I performed it for a few months then, like so many others, I discarded it. Going through my old reel-to-reels one day in 2004, I rediscovered the 1970 home demo. Listening to it over thirty years after it was first written, I was fascinated to hear – and had totally forgotten that – I had re-used a part of its lyric for my 1973 song ‘Kid In A Big World’. The line ‘the press they’ll flash theircameras, they’ll test you and guess your words aren’t like theirs’ pops up in both songs. Self-plagiarism, the useful tool of any songwriter.

Although it needed some work to lessen the blatant Dylan styling, I felt that ‘A Kind Of Aching’ could be a contender for As I Was Saying, my 2005 ‘comeback’ album. Both Phil King and Andre Barreau, my bassist and guitarist on the album, agreed, and happily it became one of the most downloaded tracks from that release.

Another discarded song from 1970, ‘I’m Dead Again’, always got a great reaction at my college lunchtime concerts, but for some reason I never demo’d it. I found a scribbled lyric for it, one summer’s afternoon in 2007, while flicking through a box of unused lyrics and poems I’ve carried round for years. Sometimes, something in there interests me enough to attempt a remodel and, for some reason, the first line of ‘I’m Dead Again’ – ‘you changing right before my eyes’ – struck a chord that day. It took me immediately back to performing the song at college, its tune jumping into my head like a forgotten friend. Surprisingly quickly, I reworked it to a standard I thought deserved preserving at last and recorded a simple piano/voice demo. In 2010, that became the starting point for yet another rewrite. Re-titled ‘I Am Dead Again’, I included the final version on my album Exhibiting Tendencies. Maybe one day I’ll release the 2007 demo of that early ’70s composition? Here it is, aired publicly, via YouTube, for the first time. What do you think?

***

This chapter and the book ‘Incidents Crowded With Life’ copyright John Howard 2016