Q&A September 2012, Part I
10/21/2012 (updated 10/23/2012)

Richard, I don't know if this has been asked, but have you commented on your friendship with Sandy Denny? Your thoughts on meeting her for the first time, her songwriting, what she meant to you as a person, etc. She seems to be enjoying some new recognition through box sets that seem to be released each year. See you in Victoria in October. Cheers, Norm Tandberg

Yes, this has been asked a brazillion times, so forgive me if I don't go into details. I first met Sandy when she came to audition for Fairport at the Feathers Boys Club in Fulham. The rest is well documented elsewhere.

Were you familiar with Harlan Ellison's work before you wrote Harlan's Bounce?  After seeing Dreams with Sharp Teeth I dove enthusiastically into his stories on the husband's recommendation.

I had read a few short stories in compilations, and I was vaguely aware of the TV scripts, but that's about it. Like you, I got stuck into the collections after working on the soundtrack. Heck of a writer.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you in Victoria B.C. in October!  The Alix Goolden Hall is a nice little venue lots of the local folkies and musical eclectics like.

You have probably been asked this at least a gillian times: Do you own and ride a '52 Vincent Black Lightning.... or any such like? I've loved your music for many years back to vinyl Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny times and your days with Linda so I don't mean to single out this song in any particular way. My middle name is Vincent after the bike and first name is Graham after Les Graham, the TT rider who died at the Isle of Mann TT back in the '50s - guess you know my 'vintage' and how close the bike appeal is to me. So, this is a silly question about a great song, and I can put aside the dismissal of Nortons and Triumphs, which I've owned over the years - alas never had a Vinnie.  :-)

Your parents were obviously the right kind of people! I have never owned one. My friend Wayne Griffith has a Black Shadow, and that probably got me started on the whole idea.

Photo courtesy Dave Novik Enterprises

As you are probably aware, BBC4 has aired several programmes on Fairport, yourself and folk in general, in the last week…. 'Folk at the BBC', 'A Solitary Life' and a Fairport concert in London to commemorate 45 years. There was also a documentary on Fairport called 'Who Knows Where the Times Goes' which was very good  but I did notice that there wasn't a single mention of  Trevor Lucas or Jerry Donahue... which I thought was quite strange as they were key members of Fairport from around '73 to '76… I wondered if you had any thoughts on the matter? Many thanks. Leon Vander-Molen, London

As you say, a strange omission. Jerry and Trevor both made major contributions to Fairport, which deserve to be recognized. Perhaps they fall into the 'middle' Fairport period, which tends to be under-documented, and from a filmmaker's viewpoint, might not seem as relevant to fans as the 60s and the current band.

From my reading, I understand you are a fan of Django Reinhardt and grew up appreciating his guitar playing. Do you still listen to much Gypsy Jazz? Have you read Michael Dregni's book "Gypsy Jazz: in search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing"? I am currently totally blown away by this music and having the time of my life seeking out Gypsy musicians outside of the familiar Hot Club of France sphere. Would you care to suggest the names of any Gypsy Jazz guitarists that you enjoy and/or believe should be listened to in order to explore this kind of music? Thanks in advance. Cheers, Daevid Langdon

The current world of Gypsy Jazz seems very macho and competitive, which doesn't always make for the best music. Everyone seems determined to play the Django licks as fast as possible, and not much else, so I don't have any particular recommendations in the modern era. If you're not aware of Oscar Aleman, you should check him out. A contemporary of Django, he was a wonderful, soulful, melodic player who overlapped into the various Argentinian styles.