'she called me up to say her skin turned brown, just so i would miss her more. But this was at a time when i had really stopped calling, and the distance between us was a tangible thing. But how could i really miss her any more?
I'm playing it cool and not really talking. I lose all sense of myself. But when i talk about depression it's a relative term.
My heart's just sinking like the Standard and Poor, and how could i miss her any more.
There's blinders on the horses. I drive them home through flattened fields of wheat and corn for the night.
Your portrait hangs by the clock on the wall but it's a twelve hour drive back to Montreal, and you're not coming back. Am i right? Am i right?
The rotary phone is too small for my fingers, so i dial your number with my knife. And our daughter's voice, it greets me in French...her initials are carved on my mudroom bench...i am so tied to this life!' (from Sad Farmer)
'I've built museums, museums of rivers and bridges all my life, and unusual weather, like monuments east of Midtown traffic. Even the coldest empires have full-lipped dreams.
I return west, less a star at the airport. The back of a limo is my bed, and i run my fingers over the seams of my first editions. Even the coldest of empires have full-lipped dreams.'

(from Bridges and Museums)

These two lyric quotes are from an album by Tyler Messick called Grain Sales of 1840. He lives in Halifax, Canada.

While on tour recently in Germany, i went to a business meeting in Hamburg at the offices of my European agents, A.S.S. - record company, agency, distribution, publicity people and me, to discuss short and long term ideas/directions for my career. It ws a very good meeting, and Michael Bisping, my agency boss, was on great form, and full of ideas, as was everyone else, including myself. We left the table some hours later, all feeling good about things, and it was then time to go to my soundcheck, followed by interviews, a good-natured record company dinner, great show at Knust by me, Kevin Foster and Michael Cosgrave, on our Forty Years Of Missed Hotel Breakfasts tour, followed by an extended yahoo with old friends from many countries, including Doll By Doll guitarist Joe Shaw. In the wee hours of the morning i climbed into bed at the Hotel Mercure with my mini-bar.

Many shows later, when i returned home to the UK, Michael Bisping had sent me this album by Tyler to listen to, and i immediately loved it - the lyrics remind me of The Journal Of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen, and the singing and playing have a rickety, innocent art feel that kept me smiling for days as i painted over where there had been water damage on my guest bedroom wall, and de-sludged the ancient brickwork in the garden, ready for the arrival of Pink Floyd for a sausage and mash afternoon party under the green and white striped gazebo - cider provided by Fruitwise, a local maker from the same street as us

We recorded a television show in Bonn on this tour, called Crossroads, and the next morning, at breakfast (one i didn't miss), the hotel man gave me a letter. It was from Robert Fisher of Willard Grant Conspiracy, wishing us luck on the show - they'd played it a few days earlier, and he said that he looked forward to our tour together in the UK late April. i was very touched - it gave me a rare kind of family-feeling about being in the business of music - a lot of musicians you pass on tour, whilst not hostile, are depressingly formal and stand-offish. When we got to Dresden, i saw that the Willards were going to be at the Star Club soon after us, so i sent a fax on the day of their show, to the hotel, wishing them well in return. Two years ago, at the same hotel, which is on the banks of the Elbe, i sat in the sauna on my own and watched a young kid on a rickety bicycle wobbling into the distance of the far bank. In the background autobahns raged on, and some factories nearby hummed silver in the late winter light - it was unbearably poignant, and for some reason i mentioned this to Robert Fisher in my fax.

In Berlin, at one of my most-liked venues, Quasimodo, i encountered some very old American musician friends, Wayne Grajeda and Jesse Ballard, also Joe Kuccer, a superb Czechoslovakian sax and flute player (he played on my John St Field album 'Control'), and we had over-excited drinking before and after the show. I love Berlin. One of my fondest memories is of walking home there at four in the morning in Summer, already hot sunshine, and watching a seagull and a rat fight over a pizza crust. The rat had custody of the crust, but the seagull was doing a great job dive-bombing the rat and distracting it. Then Jesse and me went to an all night bar called The Ascot Lounge and had eggs and bacon and tequila and coke (a horrible drink - don't go there). I can also remember stealing a bottle of Jim Beam in those days, from a club called the Steve Club. I was on acid, and had 2 seconds in which to grab the bottle from the bar while the owner's back was turned. I then went for a long walk in the Summer Sunday morning heat, and at some point there was a tremendous ringing of church and cathedral bells - so loud it kind of mashed you into tears for something more than human and better than human, and a haunting flavour of that flooded half-hour is in my mouth whenever i hear church bells. Here in Hampshire, over 5 parishes, in early evening straw-scented warmth, slumbering bells of many churches sound, some distant, some close, the chimes ravelling and rippling, as bats flit around plum trees and horses butt each other playfully.

In Frankfurt, round the corner from the Hotel Maingau, there is a cheerful Turkish lady who dry cleans some shirts for me for the second half of the tour every year. She doesn't speak English, but for the last 3 years i have dropped all my money on the floor of her shop - i don't know why, and when i do this, she cries 'ha! - Scottischer!'
Maybe it's a cultural thing that she's observed - 'i had one of them Scots guys in my shop the other day'.
'How do you know he was Scots?'
'Well, he dropped all his money on the floor, didn't he, like they all do'.
'Oh yeah, that's right, they do don't they?'
Also in Frankfurt, i visited the Ikon Museum, close to our hotel, which was showing some great work by Marc Chagall, one of my favourite painters. Every morning at home i say good morning to the green violinist in the Chagall print that i bought at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao a few years ago, just before i passed a kidney stone AND had food poisoning on a flight back to London. In the end the flight staff became really concerned, but wouldn't give me pain killers ('it's not our policy - yes we HAVE some, but we can't distribute them except in a dire emergency or unless you're wearing a tie - is that your guitar?'), so they dedicated a toilet just for me, and let me lie against the door, moaning. Then a woman slapped her nipper for gawping at me and saying - 'is he dying?' I frankly wished i was at that stage, but when i closed my eyes, all i could see was the green violinist.

For all of you who i met, for the first time, or again, on this tour, i know i'm always about to move off, but it's heartwarming to be in these fleeting zones of friendship, these sudden communities, and it means so much to me: and for all of you who i'll meet through the rest of the year, i may look as if i'm saying goodbye as soon as we meet, but that's not the case - we're all just rehearsing for something better than all this - it's like how Johnny Cash brings out the intimation of mortality in every song, even when you wish he wouldn't - bells keep ringing and large stones appear in remote fields that have just been cleared of stones - it's the gods of bell and stone saying 'fuck off out of it - there is work to be done before the Summer rests your heart'..........