I was now heading north on my comfy, soundproofed train, and increasingly getting worried about my route. The blissful silence and sound free rocking movement (now that’s what I call rocking) had lulled me to sleep, and when I woke up I realised my initial plan to do like Fogg and hit the Suez canal was scuppered. I was way to north, in country in northern India to cut time by water travel. And ahead of me lay Pakistan, Afghanistan and lots of opportunities to play Rock The Kasbah and Killing An Arab.


It finally hit me that traveling without a manservant was going to lead me to more mistakes like this. I endeavoured to try and contact Crispian at the next available opportunity. I needed someone to be awake, to book tickets and to get me into mystery scrapes on the moon and the like.

Which just left me a choice to bed down for my last night. The disputed territory of Kashmir (lousy Led Zep song keeping me awake all night), or the relatively safer Sikh territory of the Punjab. And since I have already taken the piss out of the Zep on this trip, the Punjab it was.


Now I love Emerson, Lake and Palmer as much as the next man, as long as the next man hates ELP. Oh how I laugh at the idea of Tarkus, the half-armadillo half-tank creature turning on its creators and obliterating them out of existence. But what of a time-travelling Tarkus, one which could take out Greg Lake, Geoffrey Palmer and Keith Emerson before they even joined the band they creatively names after their own names. Still that is a genius piece of naming when you consider where out TimeTarkus might be picking Keith Emerson off, as a member of proto-prog-prats the Nice.

The Nice were not. Nice. They would have been better named The Nasty. Four people who had heard Jimi Hendrix and thought, we can do that, and what’s more we can do it with keyboards and WORSE. No wonder they never really had hits. They were so poor that their record label, Immediate, imploded rather than keep putting out their stinking records. Take their first stab at music greatness (they kept stabbing so hard the concept of musical greatness died quickly) The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack. It has a title reminiscent of a Phillip K.Dick novel, and sound reminiscent of a bunch of Dicks just plugging in instruments they don’t know how to use. Except Emerson. Unfortunately he knew how to use a keyboard. Doubly unfortunately he kept inventing new ways to use it.

In comparison to the man who put the E in ELP, the other three members were hopeless. Okay it takes some skill not to be a competent drummer, but Brian Davison tried. Lee Jackson is not unusual in being a singer who could not sing, but his response being layered whispers through an echo chamber barely counts as vocals. And David O’List is exactly like that kid who thinks the secret to Hendrix success was playing the guitar with his teeth, so does nothing else. (Of course the secret to Hendrix success in my opinion was dying. An earlier death would have been even more successful.)

Ars Longa Vita Brevis (as their second album was called)? Which in English I think mean, “Christ this bunch of arse is too long, shall we cut it down to two seconds and go off an be brickies?” John Peel loved ’em. Nuff said.