I can recall the day quite clearly. A Friday, in July. A sweltering eighty degrees. Martin Jarvis was completing his week in Dictionary Corner; he’d been reassuringly average. Somewhere in the Shires, surgeons had entered the mind of Mr Stinchcombe and found black apes, gibbering on dark lawns. I’d spent the afternoon becoming increasingly frustrated with the grooming agitator on my lime Dyson. I was due in Parbold at seven fifteen, and wasn’t going to make it. Telephoning the person who needed to know this, I found myself caught up on a crossed line, something I’d not experienced for years. I listened in with quiet delight.

It appeared that someone called Bill, whilst out walking the bounds that morning, had looked in to Top Acre, and been horrified to see the almost visible ribcage of a foal, which belonged to the straggle-haired girl from Keepers Cottage, whose name, if this was a Helen Fielding novel, would be something like “Martha Flanagan”. But the countryside is never as romantic as townsfolk believe it to be, and the girl’s name was Karen Henderson. On closer inspection of the poor emaciated beast, it was agreed that a visit upon the child’s father was in order. Not a mission to relish apparently, as the man in question was affected by a strange disquiet, which gnawed away at his faith, and it was rumoured his days were spent sucking on the bleached bones of his dead mates, whilst writing songs for the hospice – one of which goes like this:

Na na na na na na na na na na na
Oh sucking on the bleached bones
Of my dead mates
Trying to get to Parbold
For a quarter past seven
And it isn’t gonna happen

Hospice, I think you’re marvellous
Hospice, I sing your praises
On high days and holidays
I big you up on high days and holidays
I hear you go on some good outings
I’d like to go on one of your outings
Please take me with you on one of your outings
I heard you’re going to Billing Aquadrome
I hear you’re going to Billing Aquadrome
I’ve never been to Billing Aquadrome
Let me go with you to Billing Aquadrome
Please let me go to Billing Aquadrome
I’ll be busking this at Embankment
I’ll be busking this at Embankment
I’ll be busking this at Embankment tube tomorrow…

January the sixth. Epiphany.


Please do let me know if you see any live performance videos for this song on YouTube which haven't been listed below. Thanks!

Peel session 16/11/04. No video. (03:35)

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