Alnwick is a small town, with a castle, north of Newcastle. They’re working on it, certainly they are, but as yet the focus of the place seems fixed, on tourism.

Thus, in such a place, can a flouncing and pretentious poet/singer/ponce make good use, of the solitude, and cheap boarding, of an empty hostel in the first week of January.

Short of any activity or company whatsoever, said ponce is left with nothing to do, but work. And there are many tricks, to working. One needn’t wait, for a Eureka! moment of inspiration. One can just work.

Try taking two tape machines. At the end of a night of other work, get drunk. Quite solidly, drunk. Now, once drunk, take the first recorder and address it with questions. Any questions at all. Whatever occurs.

Now. In the morning, with no recollection of events, let alone questions, take the second tape recorder, and use it to record your sober answers, to the drunken questions, played back on the first recording machine, from last night.

That’s all fun.

At the end of one night, I was looking at the beaming portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, who’d visited the hostel the previous year. In a spent and drifting state, I sang a meandering song, from her point of view, into the tape recorder that was balanced on the guitar hanging round my neck. The song was nonsense. Of course it was. She’s the Queen.

I stopped, turned, and met the eyes of the full-length reflection of that thing, that is apparrently, myself, in a mirror. The thing, he looked dishevelled, spent, miserable and alone.

Indeed, he was all those things. But he had chosen them, had he not? And he knew it, too. So, what was he getting there, but what he wanted?

The point here, is it’s a good job I took those recording machines, as considering the vague weight of the moment, I can hear back that this bit about the Queen is one of the funniest things I’ve written. At the time, I was deeply ashamed of what I’d just done. As I sit here now I’m very pleased with it indeed.

It seems to go this way – how our comic propensity can be heightened, even if only a little, in moments perhaps less yielding in mirth.

This week, I was confirmed as support for Liz Green’s industrious tour of central Europe in February/March. My record is nearly ready. It will be pressed on vinyl. ‘Copernicus – The Good Book Of No’

There are other things of promise, too, that I will not list here. Were I to allow myself a fraction of a moment, I’d be frighteningly excited about all that is about to go on, at this, the beginning of an already absurd new year. For now, let me say, bless you all, for the great things you offer me, and one-another.

Happy birthday, everyone.

I’m the Queen.