April/May Q&A - Part Three
7/1/2007 (updated 7/1/2007)

I saw your performance in Nottingham on the short tour to promote the "Industry" CD, and remember all too well the final song of the encore, an upbeat little ditty with the lines "Keep that wheel turning, 'til you do a little more each day". A catchy little number I'm sure you'll agree. Is it self- penned? Do you still play it? (Can I shout it out as a request in Southampton in August if so) and will it ever be released? Questions, questions....- Mark Packer

It’s called ‘William Brown’. I learned it from the singing of my old pal Bob Davenport, who furnished me with the full lyrics when we did it on the Industry tour, where it seemed more than appropriate, and gave the band a chance to jam in a kind of British industrial/New Orleans/Caribbean fashion. I don’t know the origin of the song, This version sounds 20th century – it mentions the Daily Sketch, which was published from 1909-1971.

William Brown

Well, a nice young man was William Brown,
Took a job in a Northern town,
Turned a wheel from left to right
From 8 in the morning till 6 at night

Keep that wheel a-turning,
Keep that wheel a-turning
Keep that wheel a-turning
And you do a little more each day

One day the boss to William came
And said, "Look here, young what's your name,
We're far from pleased with what you do,
Turn that wheel or it’s out you go."

So William turned and made her run
Three times round instead of one,
He turned so hard he was quickly made
The Lord High Turner of his trade.

William turned with the same sweet smile,
The goods he made grew such a pile;
They filled the room and the room next door
And overflowed to the basement floor.

The nation heard of the wondrous tale,
His picture ran in the Sketch and the Mail
The railways ran excursions down
And all to look at William Brown.

But sad the outcome for to tell
He turned out more than the boss could sell
The market slumped and the price went down
Seven more days and they sacked young Brown.

I notice in the interview in the recent edition of The Word magazine, you spoke about Todd Rundgren. I'm a big fan of his – are you? Would you ever cover one of his songs? If so, which one? - Graham Foxcroft

I like his music a lot – perhaps a cover in an upcoming 1000 Years show?

Hiya. Is there a particular book on Islam (outside of the Quran itself) that you would recommend a westerner to read to gain a better insight? cheers - Bob C

I usually think it’s better to start with the inside and work outwards, so Letters of a Sufi Master by Shaykh Darqawi can be found online. The Way Of Muhammad by Abdal Qadir Sufi is still in print. There are many general books on Islamic practice. If you Google ‘Islam For Beginners’ you’ll find several excellent websites on the subject. Translations of the Qur’an are difficult – like looking at a landscape through a letterbox – the Arabic is too rich to be contained by English. Arberry translates it like Shakespeare, Pickthall like the Bible, and Yusuf Ali doesn’t have a great grasp of English. The Penguin version might be the best just now. Extracts from AbdalHaqq and Aisha Bewley’s version can be found at

This is also an excellent resource for Sufism and Islam in general.