Q&A November 2011, Part III

Re: Always Richard?
Were you ever abbreviated to Dick etc. What did your mother call the young RT?

Richard or Rich. My sister, alas. called me Ricky after Ricky Nelson. I never got Dick - I think that's more American? The Fairport chaps still call me Henry. At school, where first names were rarely used, I was occasionally familiarised into Thommo.

With the Joe Boyd/UFO connection I was curious if you crossed paths with Syd Barrett in '67? I'm interested in your thoughts of him as a performer and guitarist and any recollections of sharing the bill with Syd's Floyd at UFO and the Roundhouse... Appreciate your time and hope to see you play in New Orleans one day. Cheers, Chris Moise

I don't think I truly 'met' Syd. In the days when everyone squatted in the same improvised backstage area, we might have shared a room on several occasions. Because of drugs, etc., a lot of people in those days didn't talk much anyway. I thought those early Floyd albums with Syd had a real spark of originality, not to mention a very British kind of whimsy and sense of humour. A shame it got too much for him.

Saw the show at Town Hall last month and loved it. I was wondering how many songs RT now has in the repertoire. Thank you, David Zipkowitz

I have no idea. Do you mean, how many have I written? Or how many can I summon up to perform? I don't know the answer to either question.

Re: 2010 tour
Will the 2nd set of the Dream Attic tour be released this year if you know? I saw some mention of it someplace and would love to have it. Thanks, Rich Kelly

Not sure when that might appear. We have it in the can, but it's not mixed yet.

I recently saw Jez Butterworth's play Jerusalem in the West End (with Mark Rylance in the lead) which is, among other things, about Englishness. Late in the play, there's a scene where Sandy Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" is played. Have you seen the play? Chris Bertram

I missed it in London and New York. Hoping to catch it back in London this winter. I like Jez' work very much, Mark Rylance is the bee's knees (best Cleopatra I ever saw), and the reviews have been stellar. For those in London who haven't seen it yet, I would recommend 'London Road', a musical like no other. Totally amazing.

Maintaining a balance in daily life between spontaneity and structure can be a challenge for some artists. Twyla Tharp's written a book on this subject called The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life, which (despite the alarmingly imperative subtitle) is quite wonderful.

You've mentioned from time to time that planning is not your strong suit, but has this changed much as you've gotten older?  Have you evolved routines to manage your time (work and personal) when you're not  on road?  Do you use particular types of to-do lists, calendars, etc.,  to structure the day and keep your space organized?  Or do you just wander along, surrounded by piles of paper and tangled guitar cables, staring into space and surfing the Internet, and then race about in a panic at the last minute? Donna Upton, Springfield, NJ

I seem to fit both of your descriptions! In some areas I have achieved organization, after years of effort, and after finding myself in families surrounded by even more dysfunctional people than myself, forcing me to be the tidy one. Sometimes my work spaces are chaotic (in a very creative way, of course), and I'll go through the big clean-up every now and then, and slowly revert to the natural state. I don't plan very well, and frequently double-book myself. Every morning when I wake up, I tend to forget everything I'm supposed to do, and start planning a whole other life, until I am jarred back to reality.

You haven't taken the 1000 Years Of Popular Music show on the road in a while? Is there going to be a new outing or it's not longer on your agenda? I've seen the show 3 times and I feel I could do with a few more. Any chance you might release your version of Furtado's Man-eater at some point? It might sound like an unusual request but I thought your version was great and it seems like there's no trace of it on youtube and the likes. Many thanks! (Davide, London)

We are talking about doing it in 2013 in the UK, with a slightly different format.