N is for….”Neville Thumbcatch” by Peter Wyngarde, from his misogyny-chic ‘classic’ When Sex Rears Its Inquisitive Head. I don’t have that LP, just this song I dl’ed from Brian: listening to it I’m in two minds as to whether I want the album. A wry tale of adultery and gardening, “Neville Thumbcatch” has two things going for it: Wyngarde’s timelessly patrician voice and the rococo pop backdrop. That aside, the backing vocals annoy me, the lyrics aren’t funny, and you get the uncomfortable feeling that those pearly patrician tones conceal a deep contempt for the entire enterprise, anyway.

But meanwhile the instrumentation is frilled and elegant, and I could listen to it for ages. This late-60s, highly-ornamented ‘progressive pop’ is something I’m finding fascinating at the moment, probably because of working on a piece about Richard Harris, another actor-turned-pop-star whose two Jimmy Webb-written records are, as Fred Solinger put it, the “last great lost classics of the decade”. Wyngarde’s tasteless frippery seems a kind of ill-favoured relative of Harris’ grandiose masterpieces: if anyone reading this can think of records which mined similar territory, please get in touch.