Roy Harper is a four-dimensional artistic craftsman. Foremost a poet, inspired by the likes of Percy Shelley, Harper's lyrics are the core of his work. His guitar style is unique, powerful and captivating; from sitar-like caresses to a sonic storm whirlwind that has inspired many other performers across the years. One moment his vocal style can pull at your heart strings, the next moment jolt you into stark portrayals of the truth demanding every ounce of your attention. The fourth dimension is his ability to produce work that is timeless, relevant and pertinent to today; underlining his status as Britain's most credible socio-politically aware singer/songwriter. Acoustic Orchestra, Electric Folk Warrior, Rock Poet Thunderstorm, Bohemian Commando or One In A Field Of One; however you perceive him Roy Harper is a unique and extraordinary individual. What follows is my attempt to throw some light on one of our most legendary musicians.

Harper #2
Roy Harper was born on 12th June "many moons ago" in Rusholme, Manchester - his mother died just a month later. The early days were spent listening to the Blues, being especially influenced by Huddie Leadbetter, Woody Guthrie and Miles Davis.

Harper: "Remember, this was a world that was still ethnically separated. I was thirteen and ignorant of the social situation in America, but I felt these records were better than what my own culture was turning out."

At 14 he formed a group, De Boys, with his brothers David and Harry. At 15 home life became too much, (his step-mother, a devout Jehovah's Witness, instilled in him more than a passing hatred of religion), and lying about his age he joined the Royal Air Force. He performed skiffle at camp concerts and ultimately suffered a self-induced nervous breakdown (to get out of the RAF) that led to ECT treatment, recounted in 'Committed' on Harper's debut album 'Sophisticated Beggar', and a spell at Lancaster Moor Mental Institute. After a beating (for dressing without permission) Roy escaped in his pyjamas through a bathroom window. Some weeks later, in London, he was arrested and jailed for trying to climb the clock tower at St. Pancras Station. Whilst in prison he found himself in charge of the Prison Library and began to absorb a wealth of literature, such as Steinbeck, Nietzsche and Kerouac. It was in gaol that he started writing poetry in earnest. Harper (again): "All those situations hurled me headlong into desperate creativity. It was just an urge, an urge to keep me head on and stay intact."
Harper #3
In 1964 he got out and busked around North Africa, Europe and London for a year, then graduated to the folk clubs, earning himself a residency at Les Cousins Folk Club in Greek Street, Soho, London, a place described by Roy as a spawning ground: other young artists including Paul Simon, John Martyn, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, although he also says, "I spent most of my time being thrown out of folk clubs for not being Nana Mouskouri."

Harper #5
In 1966 a small indie label called Strike gave him the chance to record 'The Sophisticated Beggar'. "The original record was virtually made in Pierre Tubbs's front room cum garage cum henhouse cum recording studio, recording it one day and mixing it the next."
At the time of 'Sophisticated Beggar' Roy had a pad in Kilburn which was over-run with homeless persons whom he couldn't bring himself to evict, and the frantic confusion of the period pervades the first album. He designed flyers for it and personally handed them out to shoppers in Oxford Street. The L.P. was well received, and his confidence grew as the next one came together. He still hooked up the microphone on Sundays and recited his Quasimodo speech to the congregation filing in and out of the noisy church opposite his flat.

That first album drew the attention of Columbia records for whom Roy quickly recorded the album 'Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith', including a song which became very popular in England for a while entitled 'You Don't Need Money'. Bert Jansch wrote two poems and a short piece for the back cover, part of which reads 'I hope you listen to Roy's music and songs, with an open heart ready for experience'. "Some of my songs start out nice and suburbia", Harper said concisely summing up its mood, "and suddenly swing violently across to anarchy".

I asked Roy, how do you feel about the whole concept of fame these days, given that on the 1967 album 'Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith' you sang, 'I don't need wealth and I don't want fame'? Roy Harper: "I've always had a 'take it or leave it' attitude to fame; I'm much more interested in what I'm doing, rather than in anything like that. It's funny, I have people come up to me in the street and say, Can I have your autograph? You can go for months without that happening and then all of a sudden it'll happen three times and you think, I'm not famous, I'm me! I integrate with other people, and communicate with other people on the same level as they communicate with me. There's never been a barrier between me and anybody that I know. If it's the Bank Manager then I treat him like the Bank Manager and he treats me like the customer. If it's the car mechanic he treats me like a different kind of customer and we're nearer to being friends... much nearer, actually. So it depends on the person."
In 1968 Roy Harper played a series of free concerts in London's Hyde Park, building a dedicated following prior to the release of 'Folkjokeopus' on Liberty records in 1969. 'McGoohan's Blues' appears on this album and was essentially Roy's first major statement, distilled into a super-concentrated assault on authority, religion and thought control, culminating in a vision of the ideal. I asked Roy, was it the T.V. series 'The Prisoner' that inspired 'McGoohan's Blues'? Was it having spent some time at Her Majesty's pleasure, or was it like being a prisoner in a misguided society? Harper: "Both. The big problem that you've got with writing things like that is that you don't want them to be true, but increasingly they are. So that over the years you think: Hey, I wrote something that's actu... oh fuck, did I? Well maybe the next time I can write something that fantasises instead and then I won't have to look back and say, You were right Roy... Haha... you were right... You know. It's terrible just to think about a little man like me, a little boy as I was, writing a song like that - and it still being a valid thing to say now. And I can't actually see a time when it won't be, it's sort of... it's fairly timeless. I didn't think it was going to be. I didn't think about things like that then, it was almost stream-of-consciousness and you sort of have withdrawal symptoms from it... you don't want it to be there, and at the same time it's like a hollow victory. It's a very hollow victory."
In 1969 Roy undertook a short 6-venue tour with Ron Geesin and Ralph McTell. The tour programme contained a great introductory paragraph:- 'Roy Harper isn't an example of any category, the epitome of any movement or a rung on anybody's ladder; he built himself alone, piece by piece and his defiant character stands proud as if chiselled from belligerent granite.'
Through his involvement with the Hyde Park concerts Roy met Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner, who signed him to EMI's underground subsidiary, Harvest Records, for whom he recorded 'Flat Baroque and Beserk' in 1970. The album featured contributions from Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson and Blinky Davison (The Nice), and included 'I Hate The White Man' - an extraordinarily powerful song tearing into Western Society and mass religion, underlining what was effectively the genocide of the North American Indians, and still a very popular song at concerts today. Also on the album was 'Another Day', one of the most beautiful and haunting love songs ever written, and later covered by This Mortal Coil and Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel. 1970 also saw the tribute 'Hats off to Harper' on the album Led Zeppelin III, written by life-long friend Jimmy Page.
Led Zep III
[Harper told me when I spoke to him recently, "They showed me this album sleeve, the new Led Zeppelin album, and I said 'very nice' and handed it back. 'No, go on - look again' they said, and then I saw this song 'Hats off to Harper'. It was very, uh... to be honest, it's been more of a burden than anything. A hell of a thing to live up to." - Ed.]
I asked Roy, Have you ever tried dabbling with any other instruments over the years? I know that at one point you wanted to have a go at the piano, and we've seen you bring the harmonica out for the first time in ages just recently for 'East of the Sun'. "Yeah, it's a dabble though. The problem is that someone like Phil Collins for instance, who starts life out as a drummer, has to then diverge and develop a different approach in order to survive the changes that are happening around him. I think that at some time he's probably tried the guitar and found out how really difficult it is [laughs]. You never actually see him playing one of those, but you do see him at the keyboard where all the notes are regulated, you know, it's a mathematical job. I think Neil Young is the best diverger. He's more dedicated to music than I am, and he's just as dedicated with what he's saying, and I respect him highly. So, yes, I regret that I've never actually managed to be inspired enough to get into anything else, and I should've been, I really should have been, because the piano can be a wonderful instrument. But I'm afraid that my inspiration is just purely on the words... and it's gonna stay there."
In 1971 Roy Harper went off to the States to tour, but for various reasons ended up in a makeshift log cabin on the West Coast beaches (Big Sur) and wrote a good deal of what was to become a classic album, 'Stormcock', before being arrested and finally tracked down and bailed out by a very worried record company. 'Stormcock' includes four outstanding tracks. David Bedford added gorgeous string arrangements and Jimmy Page, under the pseudonym S. Flavius Mercurius, joined Roy on 'Same Old Rock'. The album was named after the Mistlethrush, the only bird that sits facing the wind in the dead of winter and sings into the gale. 'One Man Rock 'n' Roll Band' is an example of Roy's use of different tunings, it's in a D-tuning which has a very Eastern feel about it. In '64, whilst on a long bus journey in Turkey, the radio was turned up and playing ceaseless, fast Arabic music which influenced him greatly. "It was very spirited music, at the extremes of wild dance. It was manic, really manic!"
In 1972 Roy was offered the part of Mike Preston in the film 'Made' - a socio-realistic picture in which Harper starred alongside Carol White (having been called back from a birdwatching holiday in Norway) as a pop star who had made it in material terms but still had a lot of insecurity inside of him. He was responsible for the soundtrack music, all of which turned up the following year on the album 'Lifemask'. John MacKensie, the director, was never too sure about Roy. He was for example meant to be filmed having an argument with the story's vicar, but (having just dropped some acid) Roy tried to calm him down instead. Whenever Roy spun up a spliff, MacKensie would swing the camera away and ask him to "put down the... umm... cigarette". Incredibly, 'Made' was chosen (along with 'A Clockwork Orange') to represent Britain at the Venice Film Festival.
Gargoyle #3
Harper: "They wanted somebody who had something more than just a pop singer. There was an incredible list of guys auditioned, starting with Mark Bolan, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White... it was a very strange project."
I asked Roy, There's some footage in the film which shows you at a large outdoor festival, I think you were playing Highway Blues. Do you know if anyone still has a copy of that festival performance? "Hyde Park Free concert. It's possible that EMI do, whoever made that film. I don't think they really filmed me, so much as the event. What we should have done at the time was to say: 'Can we have the footage that you're not using?' But you don't think, that's one of my big problems, if I'd have magpied everything like that, then you could... you know... do a big number with it. But I've never actually bothered much. In recent times this is untrue, but I've never bothered much about the past, I'm always in the middle of the next step and so the past is really scattered."
Roy was born with a blood disorder (multiple pulmonary arterio-venous fistuli, short-circuiting the oxygenation of his blood) which meant that he was frequently ill. "I became very ill in late '71 and it put paid to my momentum. By the time I got better and got my wind back, it was 1975. I can't sing more than half a song without getting terrible pains. I was given seven years to live when I was 31, and then the doctor came back to my bedside a fortnight later and said, I think I'm wrong. It's been that sort of situation ever since."
'Lifemask' (Harvest) was released in 1973 with an elaborate split sleeve featuring a papier-mache mask, opening to reveal Roy's face underneath. The entire second side is taken up with 'The Lord's Prayer', a phenomenal exploration of human existence in poetry on a huge scale. Harper rides a train of thought unleashed when James Edgar put a photograph of Geronimo into his hands (the picture is on the album cover) through whose face he journeyed on his chemically enhanced consciousness. The album also features two present day live favourites, 'Highway Blues' and 'South Africa'.

'Valentine' followed in 1974, an album of love songs, featuring 'Twelve Hours of Sunset' about a twelve hour plane journey across the Atlantic. I put it to Roy: In the accompanying booklet to 'Valentine' you said that, 'War between sexes may be a valid way of life for some but it has to be profoundly stupid' - reflecting 'Male Chauvinist Pig Blues' and 'Magic Woman'. How do you relate to Feminism twenty years on?

Harper #4
"I think that's another thing that's benefited hugely from media exposure. George Bernard Shaw said, in about 1950 (impersonates Shaw) 'You politicians, you can't lie any more, you've got the camera to face', or words to that effect. But if you start talking sense I'm gonna be listening. Feminism is for wise people and for idiots who can't really get on with the opposite sex that well. What we all have to do is to make sure that we are all equal, within the bounds of possibility. Some are always gonna be more equal than others. I mean, I saw a woman today who had legs up to my eyebrows, I m not joking, and I had to actually look round at her, I had to! It was a freak show walking down the King's Road, and she wanted to be a freak show, that's what she wanted to be, exactly. She was about 6' 3" and made like every Vogue front cover that you've seen in the last ten years. And you had to have a look, you knew that it was like Hands Off. She wanted to do it and she got the reaction out of me and everybody else that she wanted to get, and it's just basic pure male WOW! But when I actually went Wow, and thought about it, I thought: Nothing to do with you Roy at all, nothing to do with you whatsoever, forget it, and went back to being Roy Harper immediately. So people play with you, they play around; but if you've got the brain you can see through it."
On February 14th (Valentine's Day) 1974, Harper played a now legendary gig at London's Rainbow, backed by Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Ronnie Lane. Material from this set was included on the double LP set 'Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion', also featuring musical contributions from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. A definitive collection with the infamous naughty album cover. I asked Roy for a couple of brief impressions of the event.
"Well, getting Moony (Keith Moon) out of bed to start with, was like Hell on Earth. He didn't even know that he'd got any more gigs left, ever. It was horrendous. The effort involved in getting him out of bed and getting him to the Rainbow was exhausting. Then when he'd got me exhausted and off my fucking feet, when he started to go in an upward direction, those were his words, I said "Jesus, I'm feeling tired, how am I gonna do this tonight?" and he turned around and he said: 'Ere, I've got something for you....."
Gargoyle #4
"Yeah, that's exactly what I thought... Oh no. He got a briefcase, and he opened it and there were rows of drugs and the whole thing and the bottom was like full of... he must have recognised all of it, and he took something out and he said: 'Ere, take those two right now, and that'll put you in an upward direction, and he fiddles around a bit more, pulls out another canister, tips out another pill, a really big red one, and says, And take that about 11 O'clock and that'll keep you going straight, and then when you've had enough of that take those two... and I thought, Fuckin' hell. Here I am, I've got my night planned for me! A chemically engineered evening. There are many impressions, but that one is absolutely unforgettable."
In 1975 Roy assembled Trigger, a rock band consisting of Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson), Chris Spedding (Sharks & Jack Bruce) and Dave Cochran (ex-Albert King). They supported Pink Floyd at Knebworth and cut the classic rock L.P. 'HQ', (originally to have been called 'Blood From a Stone', but changed to avoid unwanted comparisons with Dylan's 'Blood On The Tracks') 'The Game' opened the album with full-on playing from everyone and the inimitable stream-of-consciousness lyrics from Roy. David Bedford conducted the Grimethorpe Colliery Band on 'When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease' [according to Roy a song written about his grandfather, who once bowled out an entire Lancashire side single-handed - Ed.]
Harper: "I found it necessary in those last couple of years to boost the Englishness that's around, to re-iterate my own Anglo-Saxoness. 'Old Cricketer' is one of the fruits of that."
I asked Roy why he thought Trigger hadn't worked out. Was it the recurrence of his illness, or perhaps that it's difficult to portray a true cross-section of all of his work in a purely band format?

Wish You Were Here
Roy: "That's one of the bugbears, one of the drawbacks of being me. I can't do that stuff all at the same time, you've got to give people a relatively accessible evening. The crucial thing with that band, and it's such a shame, was that I think Bill Bruford was, perhaps, the odd one out. But he was the most technically gifted of all of us. He could have a job anywhere, anytime he wanted, and will do for the rest of his life. He's an excellent drummer. But, Spedding didn't like how busy he was, he just used to say in his Sheffield brogue: 'Humph... he's too busy." Bruford didn't like Spedding either, because he thought he was too minimalist, so there were these two figures who didn't really like each other. But the band was good, it was really good, and it's such a shame that band didn't stay together. I know (taps finger hard on table) that Spedding thinks of it as some of his best work, on record, and I know that he wanted to get it back together again 10 years later... and I was into something else. We could easily have done, and, shit, we still could probably, but it's not gonna be the same again. We should have actually kept it together. We should have kept it together... and we didn't. If we'd have kept it together that band would've gone places. That's the one point in my life that I regret not holding onto people, because I think that band was really, really good."
That same year Harper's vocals were heard on Pink Floyd's album 'Wish You Were Here' singing 'Have A Cigar'. He was in another EMI studio at the time and Floyd reckoned he could probably do a job on it, so as they were mates, he did... making him the only vocalist outside the band ever to sing on a Pink Floyd album. [As related to me, Harper reckons he was working in the same building at the time Floyd were recording 'Wish You Were Here' and was called in because the Floyd themselves were completely unable to sing that particular song, despite having tried for hours on end - Ed.]

Things were looking good, but then due to a combination of Excesses Roy collapsed on stage during the HQ tour. As luck would have it an excellent compilation, 'Harper 1970-1975', kept his name in the public eye whilst he recovered and introduced him to many new fans. In 1976 he bought Vaulder Farm, a 20-acre holding in the Herefordshire hills, and built up a flock of 40 or so top-quality Suffolk breeding ewes. In typical Harper fashion he undertook much of the day to day running himself, resulting in a complimentary article in 'Farmer's Weekly' of all places.

[Errata: ian@mala.demon.co.uk kindly wrote to point out, in November 2009, that the farm was in fact named Vauld Farm, and consisted of 11 acres between Marden and Bodenham in Herefordshire]

In 1977 Roy released 'Bullinamingvase' (Harvest). Containing 'One Of Those Days In England', with vocal contributions from Paul and Linda McCartney, this was the nearest he came to having a hit single. The album was originally released with the song 'Watford Gap' which included the great lyrical couplet, 'Watford Gap, Watford Gap, plate of grease and a load of crap'. Strangely enough the service station 'Watford Gap' was named after didn't take too kindly to this (apparently a member of the EMI board was also a member of the Watford Gap's board of directors), so later versions had 'Breakfast With You' replacing it.

Roy: "That was a very good period for me. Then I made another record ('Commercial Break') as a quick follow-up, which the record company and I began to argue about. The argument went on for three years, so I lost my momentum again." 'Commercial Break' featured the same musicians as 'Bullinamingvase' (under the name of Black Sheep), but was never officially released, although a number of test pressings and promotional copies did slip out onto the collector's circuit. However, a great deal of the album turned up on the 1988 LP 'Loony On The Bus'. Also around this time (Summer 1982) some unfortunate business deals led to Roy being forced into selling the farm ("I ended up owing my house to the bank - Barclays Bank, Hayes, Middlesex, to be exact").
The year 1980 saw the release of Harper's acclaimed album 'The Unknown Soldier' (Harvest). Backed by old friends Andy Roberts, David Bedford and Steve Broughton, it also featured Dave Gilmour on 'Short and Sweet' which they co-wrote and which also appears on Dave's first solo L.P. Kate Bush duetted with Roy on 'You', and he reciprocated by providing backing vocals on 'Breathing' (on the cover of 'Never For Ever' Kate Bush thanked him for Holding onto the poet in his music). 'True Story' is the last track on the album (about the gruesome torture and death of Edward II in 1327) and rumours abound of a succession of strange and spooky disasters surrounding attempts to record it, such as the sudden death of the album sleeve designer and multiple computer failures destroying the tapes, but Roy's grim determination to finish it won through in the end.

Around this time Roy and EMI fell out and he set up Public Records with Mark Thompson (son of nuclear campaigner E.P. Thompson) and so in 1982 'Work Of Heart' (Public) was released. It was chosen by Derek Jewell in the 'Sunday Times' as album of the year, but unfortunately it didn't sell too well and the label went under. Harper toured with a band consisting of Tony Franklin on Bass (later on working with Jimmy Page in The Firm), Bob Wilson (Steve Gibbons Band), George Jackson on drums and Dave Morris on keyboards before returning to solo gigging.

In 1984 he released a limited edition of 880 copies of 'Born In Captivity' (Hardup) which were sold at gigs, and was based on the acoustic demos for 'Work Of Heart'. Roy's relationship with Awareness Records began in 1985, beginning with the re-release of 'Born In Captivity', and continuing with the re-issue of many back catalogue albums as well as the new releases between 1988 to 1992. During 1984 Roy was writing and recording with Jimmy Page, and the two of them played together at the Cambridge Folk Festival that year, resulting in the excellent studio album 'Whatever Happened To Jugula' (Beggars Banquet) and a resurgence of interest in Roy's work, with the album making it into the Top 20. The Jugula album cover design represents an unravelled giant orange Rizla pack.

Roy: "The title for 'Jugula' came from playing Trivial Pursuit, in order to explain to everyone how they should go about answering the questions as straight and honestly as possible I'd say, "Go for the jugula". It was going to be 'Harper & Page' for a while, but that's like selling Jimmy's name, then it went to '1214' which is the year that the Magna Carta was signed... but that was a bit esoteric. So one day we were talking and "jugula" came up, so I phoned the artist and they'd designed up to the 'Whatever happened to...' bit so I said leave it there and put Jugula at the end."
Trivial Pursuit
Harper re-signed to EMI in 1986 and released the double live album 'In Between Every Line' (EMI) followed by 'Descendants of Smith' (EMI) in 1988. The music press have a difficult time accepting Roy and his music and I recently read an excellent description of this relationship: They portray him as some sort of paranoid hippy, tilting at iconic windmills like a rock Don Quixote. They don't understand him and simply illustrate their own ignorance, favouring the phonies and egomaniacs above one of the most sincere and lyrically gifted artists this century. As a publicity stunt on the music media Roy sent out 3 versions of 'Laughing Inside' under anagrams of his own name. Thus came Per Yarroh (Norwegian classical avant garde composer), Rory Phare (lounge lizard trendy art designer) and Harry Rope (Hell's Angel). A girl from 'Sounds' interviewed Per Yarroh.
Per: "She fell for it hook, line and sinker. As she wrote up the interview in the office, an old timer heard the record and asked what she was doing on Roy Harper. She'd loved the record originally, but then turned right around and wrote the most vindictive piece about me. I also had loads of radio lined up, but as soon as they found out it was me they all cancelled. Being called Roy Harper is the biggest artistic drawback in my career."
'Descendants' was partially a creature of EMI and as a result Roy felt that it was over-recorded and produced, from what could have been one of his best records. This resulted in Roy going to Awareness records in 1990 to release 'Once'. This superb album boosted his popularity, with very favourable reviews and sales. Later that year he released 'Burn The World' (Awareness), a double sided 19 minute "single", with one side recorded live at the Bloomsbury Theatre and the other side being a studio recording. From 1991 Roy's son Nick started to tour regularly with his father, and the twin-powered Harper music machine synergised to produce a very powerful live act. This period also saw the breakup of Roy's nine year relationship with Jacqui and subjected him to dreadful traumas and self analysis. In 1992 he released 'Death or Glory?' (Awareness), an album which is a veritable emotional roller coaster.
I asked Roy about his relationship with Nick, specifically regarding them playing together: Roy: "Nick's a fully fledged adult human being. He's his own man, and very much so. I think he appreciates what his Dad has done, and who his Dad is; and he probably appreciates that more than his Dad does. He knows when I've flown the coop for ten minutes and I'm on planet Zarg, and he can take that. It's not a serious condition, and I guess that 'Crazy Boy', which is a song that he's written for me... is... it's very, very flattering to have an adult human being be able to be explicit with those emotions for you."
Awareness records folded and Roy once again found himself without a label in the UK, an event which prompted him to go down the mail-order route. 'Flat Baroque and Beserk' has just been re-released on CD as a limited edition presentation box with an excellent 40-page booklet containing additional sleeve notes, photographs, and recollections of the period surrounding the recording. Roy has set up his own label called Science Friction and is making his back catalogue available (see address at end of article). Earlier this summer ('94) Roy and Nick played at Cropredy, the Fairport festival, in front of 20,000 people on the Friday night, the biggest crowd on that evening since the festival began; this was filmed and may appear as a video at some point in the future. At the time of writing this article Roy and Nick have just embarked on a 41 date tour of England, Scotland and Wales. Nick Harper has just released his first solo CD called 'Light at the End of the Kennel', and both Nick and Roy are working on new albums for release later on in '95, with Roy using the studio at home in Ireland to record an ambitious song-cycle based around the Seven Ages of Man.
My final question to Roy concerned his live appearances. I asked him, Given that you've got a very strong rapport with your audiences with the inter-song chats contributing to a very friendly, special atmosphere, could you tell us a little about how that interactive thing came about. Whether it's partly the heritage of the Folk club era, or if it's just something that's totally intrinsic to yourself? Roy Harper: "Oh, it's both and also differs from night to night. Some nights you can't hear them at all because the monitors are so loud and everything around you is so kind of isolated on stage. That little voice in the middle of nowhere you're not able to hear, so you're not able to respond; but in a place where you are able to hear, your response is much better and their response is likewise, and then that makes for a good gig. I think it has something to do with farce really. Billy Connolly gave up singing folk music because he'd rather stand on stage and be what he really is - funny. I guess that if I hadn't been inspired by people like Percy Shelley when I was about ten years old, then I might have lived a very different life altogether. I might have gone into scripted comedy, or something completely different like that, so that at any given moment you could go off on a tangent and come back again. There are many people who can do that, and Billy Connolly does it very well. The problem is that I'm inspired by the poets, so I'm always going to give in that direction, rather than in any other. It's the making of me... and also the downfall of me."
For details of Roy's back catalogue, the Roy Harper fanzine 'Hors d'Oeuvres' and future tour details, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope or two IRCs to: Crisp Productions, 3 Norton Park Crescent, Norton, Sheffield. S8 8GN. There's also a Harper mailing list on the internet - send Paul Davison some mail at: Stormcock-request@cs.qmw.ac.uk, or visit the Stormcock Homepage.

Written and directed by Dave Burnham, produced by Phil. Based on an interview with Roy Harper in August, 1994. © Ptolemaic Terrascope, 1994.

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