Where have I been? In bed. What have I been? Ill. “Am I still ill?” Morrissey asked once in a thinly-disguised bid to break his Rough Trade contract and sign to Def Jam. The answer was in that sense no, though anyone hearing his tortuous bawlings would have been forgiven for calling a doctor immediately, preferably Kervorkian or Crippen. I however am still ill and will return to full-time writing duties when I can get back on the gin, which will hopefully be soon. If it’s kept the Queen Mum alive all these years it’s good enough for me.
Pop stars falling ill is in general a good thing, as it means they cancel tours. Or die. However germs are not always the music-hater’s friend. Brian Eno has long kept his pate in polish by retelling the story of how when he was sick in bed and hallucinating a ‘friend’ came over and put on an album of harp music, which then blended with the street noise outside and lo, invented ambient, appropriately since so many of its listeners are themselves to be found lying almost immobile whilst experiencing bizarre visions, and since any sane person would need to be at death’s door before they’d tolerate a Pete Namlook record for more than ten seconds.
Anyhow I can now tell a similar story, as on Monday my wretched flatmate put a David Gray album on before leaving for the pub. For the next five minutes Mr.Gray’s godless throaty drivel was interspersed with the sound of alarm clocks, glasses, slippers and books being thrown at the stereo until finally a hit was scored. I hardly think it constitutes a new genre but it certainly provided fine sport.