This is Robyn Hitchcock, sitting in an English garden, waiting for the sun. The song is Syd Barrett’s ‘Dominoes’; it’s a wonderfully delicate wee tune. You could place this in a bathtub full of water, and it would always float.
The footage is from a BBC documentary on the enigmatic Barrett from a few years back, Hitchcock’s interview displaying genuine warmth and affection for the subject matter. I once heard Hitchcock described as a posh, second-rate Lloyd Cole, a claim accompanied by the giant whooshing sound of somebody missing the point – for I’m constantly reminded of Syd on the frequent occasions that a Robyn Hitchcock album arrives on the stereo. There’s the same sense of alluring whimsy to the lyrics, a child-like wonderment etched across the narrative – yet in both instances this simplicity is deceptive; these are songs rich in wordplay and clever annunciation, images conjured then scattered like dandelion seeds on a summer’s breeze. Hitchcock is a beautiful songsmith, and in some parallel universe – notionally the one I inhabit – he’d be a huge star. As it is, the lack of mainstream success seems to suit him, releasing a steady stream of superbly crafted tracks such as this atmospheric gem, from the 2009 album of the same name. Enjoy.
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 / Goodnight Oslo