Many people misunderstand this very simple phrase. They look at the logistics – fish, barrel, gun – and come up with the wrong conclusion that while the barrel does constraint the fish its still going to be a slippery customer which might be difficult to peg down with a Walther PPK. What these people misunderstand are out terms of reference. We are not talking a teeny revolver here – we are talking a double barreled shotgun. And it isn’t a stickleback* we are aiming at.

Every now and then I come across the faded grandeur of an old rock star. More often I come across the bloated carcass of some tosser who used to be in Marillion sitting prone in a barrel outside Belsize Park tube. “Do you remember”, he croons to the passers by – who are all desperately trying to forget. Sometimes in a fit of unusual interest I throw the odd copper at him. Usually though I just ask the policeman nicely to bung him in their cells for a night. The police rarely acquiesce, I have a repuation after all in the area and not just for throwing other officers about. They tell me sitting in a barrel and singing is no crime. Just goes to show the law is an ass I say.

On occasions when I have taken the law into my own hands Mr Fish has found himself rolling at the speed of one of those barrels in the first level of Donkey Kong down Haverstock Hill. This often kills two birds with one stone as he may well skittle some piss-poor wannabes lugging their gear around Camden. That said the last time I saw him he hailed me, and asked me to kill him. Now whilst I am murderous at heart, I am no stone cold killer. But he pleaded with me that not only was his newly found barrel living existence horrofic but moreover he had just realised the horror of being in a band named after some Tolkein penned tosh. I also reminded him of the little drummer boy cover of Misplaced Childhood which had caused the local social services some concern back in 1984. He wanted to die – Fish said – and he could think of no better person to do it. What’s more because he was so fat he couldn’t get his arms out of the barrel so could I shoot him. I remember walking away on that sunny afternoon, job done, doewn to the pub where the barman luckily helped me spot a spare piece of Fish’s brain that had lodged on my barnet. He thought it was confetti in my hair – shortsided barkeep.

Hence the source of the phrase dear reader, and a newfound joy which I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. Granted I Hate Music has never shied away from the hard targets – not that there are any hard targets in music. But for the next week I will be sharing with you the literal equivalent of that sunny day on Belsize Park: shooting fish in a barrel – targets so easy they do it to themselves.

*Or even – mores the pity – Nickleback