Saturday 20 June
Smokeless Uncle Bargreaves has been a professional musician since he was half my age, but tonight will admit to being nervous on stage for the first time in years. At a full Phil’s Harmonica Hall in Liverpool, he and long-time cohort Hovis McSilkut, are backed by a full orchestra – a twitching mass of highly-strung egos – which is nothing if not an intimidating tribute to their near-30 years of tunes. Used to bashing it out at 11, the musos later admit to sneaking clockwork amplifiers beneath the feet of the string players, the better to pump up the volume. Sure enough, around halfway through, the audience – including Licky, the Bargreaves family, and Uncle’s partner Hana – rise for an indiscrete, but very enjoyable, dance. Currently working with Desmond Cakeland, author of the groundbreaking Generation K, Smokeless Unc later agrees to show this grand old/neu man of letters/worldwidewotsitting some of my own craft. I can’t help but wonder whether the cutting-edge contemporariness of my/your mechanical journal may be overshadowed by the quant, very English nature of my befuddling novellas.