Cat Nav sleeve notes

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Written by Les Barker.

CD One

01 - What Is - Nik Kershaw

One of my regular escapes from reality and all the rules that go with it. Time is just an imaginary tape measure. Imagine it's not there and anything is possible.

02 - The Lost Elephants Of Denbigh - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

As I said, anything is possible. I've never seen a quark, but I'm told they exist. Mostly in Milton Keynes, I believe. In North Wales we have Elephants; much easier to see. In theory.

03 - Quasi B Goode - John Benns with Fairport Convention feat. Wurzel

One of my very early creations. This version was originally recorded for an album to raise funds for Broadreach House in Devon; a centre dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.

04 - Non Stick Pan - Mikey Hughes

One to file under non-friction.

05 - Hip Hop Hamlet - The Mrs Ackroyd Band

Hamlet's soliloquy in a different language.

06 - Fishing For Sheep - Roger Lloyd Pack

There's a field full of them outside my window. I spend hours sitting on the wall with my rod and line, but never catch any. Perhaps I shouldn't be using maggots.

07 - Cat Nav - Keith Donnelly

Fish. I don't think there's a great deal else to say. Fish.

08 - The Nine Banded Armadillo - Bob Harris

As soon as I learned about the nine banded armadillo, I realised it must be a musician; they're all in at least nine bands.

09 - Arnold - The Austin Lounge Lizards

As soon as I'd written the nine banded armadillo, I knew there was something else to write.

10 - Apocalypse Yesterday - James Naughtie

Every now and again, someone predicts the end of the world on a specific date. I've often wondered how they feel the next morning.

11 - Send In The Cones - Nonny James

A song I am constantly reminded of on my travels. I was constantly reminded of it before I wrote it. I expect to be reminded of it today.

12 - A Faulty Stereo - Norma Dixit

A simple concept. The customer is sometimes wrong.

13 - She Moved Through The Fair - Simon Mayor and Hilary James

In the original song, she moved through the fair without having a go on the dodgems or the waltzer or anything. It didn't seem right to me.

14 - Who Can You Ask When You're God? - Gary O'Donoghue

It must be very difficult for the poor chap.

15 - Dachshunds With Erections - Sniff Patrol

Someone gave me the title many years ago and I wrote the rest of it. It's very sad, and true in more ways than one. Many years later I discovered the title had been a Billy Connolly one-liner.

16 - Us Goldfish - Barry Farrimond

I've been told this is a myth. Never mind; it was fun to play with the idea.

17 - You Won't Like Tom Jones - Jez Lowe

Mae'n ddrwg gen i, Tom, as we Welsh people say. I have interfered with one of Mr Lowe's excellent songs and he copes rather well with what I did to it.

18 - The Lonely Little Lemming - Shirley Henderson

The sad story of someone who doesn't know how lucky he is.

19 - Absent Friends - Edward de Souza

See above.

20 - Flat Earth - Richard Briers

A story of how things might have been but aren't.

21 - Hunting The Cutty Wren - Jill Grant and Alan Berry

When I first started going to folk clubs, I heard the original version regularly. I couldn't understand the concept of trying to hunt a wren at all, so eventually I wrote the song the way it ought to be.

22 - I Can't Believe It's Not Beef Dripping - Bernard Wrigley

I wrote this shortly before having a heart attack. It's actually a song that says I can't believe there's a product called 'I can't believe it's not butter'. You might as well have a product called 'How about going to the pub on thursday?'

23 - I Can't Find My Invisibility Cloak - Ken Galipeau

Years ago I wrote about the difficulties of owning a camouflage net. I could see the same problem with an invisibility cloak. Or rather I couldn't.

24 - Shi Tsu - Jeremy Taylor

I know people who do Tai Chi. They're very sensible people. But I couldn't do it myself. I'd feel very silly.

25 - A Bunch Of Mimes - George Hamilton IV

I have never forgotten the sight of Marcel Marceau carrying a pane of glass.

CD Two

01 - I Drive A Four By Four Four Door Fortress - Chumbawamba

I've never understood why people drive around in huge Tonka Toys. If I had enough money to do that, I'd do something else.

02 - Mid Life Crocus - Alan Titchmarsh

I've got some in the garden. I never had any when I was younger.

03 - You'll Never Get To New Orleans - Reg Webb

Another one in the Johnny B Goode mould. He was wise to choose the guitar. Had he gone for piano, double bass or glass harmonica, life would have been so much more difficult.

04 - Sex Is Better Than Poetry - Les Barker

Written for the poetry debate at the National Folk Festival in Canberra; two teams of poets argue for or against the motion in rhyme.

05 - The Verb To Be - Dave Cash

A collection of proverbs assembled in an order that made some kind of sense at the time.

06 - Odd Socks - Bernard Cribbins

One of life's eternal mysteries. Not Bernard; the socks.

07 - Auntie Beryl's New PC - The King's Singers

A hymn of despair written in the dark days of Windows 98.

08 - Why Don't They Write It On The Side? - Richard Briers

I moved to the country a few years ago and was surrounded by plants and birds I couldn't identify. Having now learned Welsh, I can now not identify them in two languages. I feel so much better.

09 - Roseville Fair - The Haley Sisters feat. Ric Sanders

This was an excellent song by Bill Staines. It is now something completely different.

10 - The Ballad Of Cosmo McGrew - Shep Woolley

Mr Woolley went back into the mists of the distant past and came back with this. I particularly like the line 'Nobody frightens a hatstand'.

11 - The De'il's Awa' Wi' The Exercise Bike - Isla St Clair

He used to be awa' wi' the excise man, but times have changed.

12 - Je Ne Sais Quoi - Charles Collingwood

I don't know what it's about.

13 - My Husband's Got No Porridge In Him - Norma Waterson

Anotther traditional song I've written. The moment I added the porridge, three bears turned up and the song went off its own direction.

14 - The Duvet Cover - Susan Jameson

I don't know if you have trouble with these things. I do. I've found it's easier to sleep inside the duvet cover and just put the duvet on top.

15 - Hedgehogs - Louis de Berniere with Tom Bliss

Back to sex again. I'm not sure whether I'd rather be a hedgehog or a dachshund.

16 - Seeing Is Retrieving - Sian Phillips

I have often wondered what dogs see in people. We're not just The Hand that holds The Tin Opener.

17 - Ben Kenobi - Wheeler Street feat. Roy Bailey

A space shanty written many years ago during recrding sessions with the Mrs Ackroyd Band.

18 - Cosmo, Prince Of Denmark - Edward de Souza

The return of Cosmo (Hopefully you've already got him on 'The Missing Persians File'), not to mention the return of my memories of A level English Literature.

19 - Sloop John A - Dan and Gene

Ever since I first heard of the Sloop John B, I've wondered what happened to the first one. It's like starting a novel with Chapter Two.

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