Q&A October 2012, Part I
11/5/2012 (updated 11/5/2012)

While taking in the movie Looper I was very surprised and pleased to hear "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" as part of the soundtrack. Did you have an official request to use the song? Have you seen the movie, if so what did you think of it and the song placement? Hoping to see you soon in the Boston area. Bob

I have not seen the movie yet - looking forward to it. Yes, they have to ask permission. There are currently 3 films featuring this song, and another coming up. Planets aligning, or something? This is up from zero in the last 35 years.

I'm listening to "Two-Faced Love" from Semi-Detached Mock Tudor, and band withdrawal has hit hard. When will we see you tour again with a band or trio or other collection of delightfully noisy folks?  Thanks --  Pam

The Noisy Ones are coming, bless their pointy heads - Europe/UK in Feb/Mar 2013, and US in Mar/Apr. Dates should be up very soon.

Re: fictional characters getting together
I was wondering if you ever imagined a meeting between two of your fictional characters. I was about to put 'Feel So Good' before 'Bright Lights' on a playlist, wondering what might happen if the two narrators were to meet. John Foley

When characters meet from the same story, that's called fiction. When they meet from different stories, that's called insanity! Possibly more than my brain could handle. I'm always disturbed by that famous illustration by Robert Buss of Charles Dickens taking a nap, and the characters from his novels are swirling round his head. Charles! Look out! On no account should Abel Magwitch be hanging out with Uriah Heep!

Have ye had, in past, any dealings, meetings or recollections of John Martyn? And/ or thoughts about such? And/or about his music? I have heard he to be somewhat a prickly person in person.

I knew John best when we were both new artists at Island Records. He was such a sweet man, with a touch of the Glasgow wide boy there, of course. When he was with Beverly and I was with Linda, we would do social things together. I lost touch in about 1973, and only saw him occasionally after that, usually at festivals. The alcohol changed him quite dramatically - very sad to see. I still feel great affection for him, and miss him. Musically, I loved his acoustic playing, and preferred him solo. He had a unique voice and style. When he played with a band, I felt that uniqueness got watered down a bit, and pulled him towards the mainstream.

In a related vein I have read that drinking alcohol is proscribed to some, yet find references in the poetry of Rumi to the drinking of wine. Perhaps due to the nefarious influence of Mr Shams e Tabrizi. Have you any insight into all of this? Regards, Arthur Beaudar

Rumi and Shams-I-Tabriz were great saints and scholars, and as Sufis followed the practices of Islam. They did not drink alcohol. However, it is common practice in Sufi poetry to describe spiritual experience, particularly spiritual intoxication, using the metaphors of wine, taverns, drunkenness, etc. This is a precise, codified language used by many poets in the Islamic world. Interesting that the best-selling poet in the US is a 13th century Afghan/Persian/Turkish Muslim.

Any plans to use/feature that lovely Gibson jumbo you've just landed? Regards, Max Cuthbert

They make really good recording rhythm guitars - as used by Pete Townsend, Jack Carter, and Bruce Welch. I intend to use it that way.