Friday, 29 April 2011

Donalert Part Two: A Sign


Remember that Alan Yentyob documentary about Bowie? That's right, in the long-ago when Yentob didn't feel the need to interpose his physical self quite so much between the viewer and the subject, yeah?

Well, remember all that cut-up writing he was doing, like Mr Burroughs in The Newcomers. What? No, you remember Mr Burroughs, surely?
He looked a lot like Norman Bi -ird,
Drove a Morris Minor van

Campbell Singer - that was it. Anyway, you know that cutting-up thing, and Bowie saying proudly, "Yes, that's how I came up with the Laughing Gnome, whereas Marc actually thinks he's a poet," and then subsiding into sniggering and complaining there was a fly in his soup, yeah? All coming back to you now?


Blimey, it's like trying to get blood out of a Rolling Gnome. Anyway, at times of crisis and doubt I do me some cut-ups of Donovan lyrics, to see which way I should go in life, like. And addressing myself to the question of the Royal Albert Hall (see previous post) , I ruined a perfectly good, and extremely rare, Donovan songbook of Gift From a Flower to a Garden, chucking all the bits up in the air. (Thie image above is not of my now valueless copy, but an item on ebay.)


Now, you know the story of JM Barrie, surely? No, no, anybody can see a Johnny Depp film: I mean his trick with a postage stamp and a penny. Barrie'd lick the stamp (no, that isn't slang), place it on an old penny - and believe me, that's one Lost Boys' mother of a coin - flip his thumb and the aforesaid philatelic item would stick on the ceiling of whatever friend's house he happened to be visiting. Well, it's one way of marking your territory.

What I'd forgotten about was that the songbook had been in a fairly damp enviroment, and when I chucked all the pieces up in the air almost all of them stuck to the ceiling - and none of them have come down since.

The only fragment, in fact, which has so far made it to the carpet (well, I say carpet - more an iridescent field of green mould, if I'm honest) reads thus:
Go if you're able,
Come if you can
Which I take to be a clear invitation from the mystical maestro himself. Which means it would probably be enough if I just showed up on the night; I'd be smilingly nodded through.

But there is a small note of doubt so if anybody wants to buy me a ticket for the Royal Albert Hall to see Donovan singing the entire album of Sunshine Superman, there is still time.


Campbell Singer, yeah. He was in The Yellow Balloon. Briefly. In the pub scene at the end, when it's all kicking off. Actually, that could be another sign, if you remember the Open Road album - but I don't have a songbook so I had to look it up on one of those lyrics sites with lots of popups:
You're my singer
Let me be your song
So that could be, yeah, another sign, right? Against that, it does include the line
But you are not among us here
So I'm really confused about the Albert Hall. Part of me thinks it would all  be so simple if I just, y'know, bought a ticket myself,only I have this recurring dream that I'm at the Donovan concert immortalised on the Donovan in Concert album, only I realise, with a sinking feeling, that the CD issue with the extra tracks is actually only a tiny part of the event, which mostly consists of friends and relatives of Don taking their turn to introduce him: a kind of neverending tease, akin to that scene in Help! where an official is greeted getting off an aeroplane. Y'know, so it'd be: "Without any further ado, I'll hand you over to a friend - no, an acquaintance, rather - of Derroll Adams ..." and so the long evening wears on, to the point where the audience is praying for a special sort of rain which will be impervious to Donovan's commands.


But, like, that's just a dream, right?