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October Answers, Part V
11/7/2009 (updated 11/7/2009)

In the fine John Boorman film, “Hope and Glory”, there is a memorable scene at the movie's conclusion in which school children discover to their collective glee that their school has been reduced to rubble after a German air raid.  Do you have childhood memories of findng bombed out buildings in NW London and using them with your mates to commit mischievous acts, or were things pretty much cleaned up and rebuilt by then?  What was postwar life like for the young RT?

I tried to convey some of that spirit in the song, ‘Mutton Street’. The flats we lived in, on the corner of Dartmouth Park Hill, were built on a bomb site, and sometimes we’d play ‘archaeologist’, and dig up bits of old pottery, and once the case of an incendiary bomb. Right across the street was a half-bombed house where we were forbidden to play (so we did), which had a staircase hanging by a thread, broken glass everywhere, really a dangerous place for kids, but we loved it. By about 1958 they’d built flats there too. Because we were young, everything seemed great, but there was the tail end of rationing, hard times for a lot of people, and a kind of greyness and depression that hung over everything.

Given the unqualified success of the “Loud & Rich” tour, can we expect more similarly inspired pairings of you and LW3 or other musical friends (or family members) in the future? Was the idea to tour together something you and Loudon had kicked around for years? [I seem to recall that you, LW3 (and possibly David Lindley) did a small west coast tour together in the 1980’s jokingly referred to as the Shy Guys Guitar Tour?] 

Loudon and I toured together in Australia and Japan, so it seemed a good idea to take it around the US. The Shy Guys was the brainchild of Danny Ferrington – it was to be myself, Albert Lee and JJ Cale, but I suppose we were all too shy to pursue it!

Do you consider yourself a technophile or technophobe? Have you finally succumbed to the allure of personal digital assistants and equipped yourself with a Blackberry or similar device? Please assure us that we will NEVER be able to follow you on Twitter!

I’m a technoneutral. I love my Mac, and can master things if I REALLY put my mind to it. I use computers for recording, email, and music notation mostly – oh, and photos. Very useful things. My iPhone is a handy thing too – love that GPS app. I haven’t looked at Twitter yet – not that desperate.

Selling out 3 nights at The City Winery in NYC (which someone at my table cleverly referred to as “the Bottom Line for grownups”) suggests that there is a big demand for all-request shows.  Could these shows become a regular fixture on your touring schedule in the future, with additional venues? Are all-request shows as enjoyable for you as they are for us fans? Cheers. Douglas Alan Feinstein, NYC

I like and fear them. They will only work in a smallish room, which limits the touring possibilities. I suppose the occasional bad night, where things don’t flow, upsets my sense of professionalism. I could try it in a few more markets.

Did the recent wildfires in and around Los Angeles affect you and your family?  Were you or anyone you know in any danger?

My sister-in-law and her family live in Tujunga, and were ordered to evacuate. They had the car packed, and were about to leave for our guest house when the wind changed, so they hung on and were spared.

A friend of mine asked, Why hasn't Richard Thompson put out a Christmas CD? I thought what a great  question, Amy Mann has put out  a great one and unfortunately now Bob Dylan has put out one. It would be great to hear some real traditional Christmas Music coming from such a great voice. Celia

As a non-Christian, I feel a little strange about performing Christmas music. When I’m asked to do a spot on a Christmas show, I tend to do humorous or traditional/pagan as a slight sidestep. Much as I respect the Christian festival, I get tired of the commerciality and add-ons.