Entry 4

Grey lunch. But it’s warmer.

The story so far: J. (male) and K. (female) and their two children have newly moved to a housing corral in North Carolina. A woman with a squirrel’s head has invited them next door to an appliance party.

At this point J. took up the narrative.

Even as his wife and children were being spirited next door by Lori, their squirrel-headed neighbour, he received a phone call from Sheriff Greaves.

“Djourn lookeen that passle, bwoy?”

“Erm, no, Sheriff, I have to go next door and find my family.”

“Yuh family nayhxt dwhooor?”

“Yeah, I believe so.” J. was drumming his fingers on the top of his head and staring out into the night.

There was no immediate response, then the sheriff’s voice took a run toward J.’s ear as if from a distance.

“MmmmMMMMNNNNNthat case, yew take that passle ah givya en jes thrawwwb around there, y’unnerstayind? Raht neooow.”

So J. retrieved the long brown-paper parcel (it felt to J. as if it contained a stiffening salmon) and soon stood outside their neighbour’s house. He could feel the chill, clear air about his hands and face, as if he were being washed by the darkness.

Through the kitchen window, he could see his wife and two children surrounded by squirrels. They were the same height as his family. The squirrels had discarded any attempt at posing as humans, and their bushy tails billowed several feet behind their haunches. Nonetheless, they all stood up on their hind legs. J. noticed that many of them were carrying egg whisks.

At this point I receive an e-mail from a reader in Bellingham, Wash. “This is all well and good,” says the reader, “But it doesn’t tell us much about your daily life.”


“About what you do all day, and … and how you write songs … that kind of thing.”

Ah … right. Fair enough. Not content with knowing the contents of my mind, you want to know what I physically do?

Well, most of my life is too intimate or too banal to describe. I guess going to the bathroom would fit into both categories. But I go whenever I can.

What else? Sleep—I slept 10 and a half hours last night; fantastic! That’s unusual for me. I wish you could give sleep to people for Christmas or birthdays. Christmas—I must go to High Street and get some groceries and some presents for the younger family members. We have a gift amnesty with parents and siblings—no, you don’t really want to know that, do you? I do go grocery shopping most days and to the gym when I can. But, like most self-employed artists, the bulk of my time is spent doing administration.

Since 1997 I have managed myself. Previous to that, I had five or six managers, but it’s never worked out, so after leaving the last one five years ago, I’ve been on my own. This suits me in many ways: The musician/performer/artist, whether at Madonna’s level or mine, needs to be in control of their own fate. The old-style caricature manager who gives you a bag of drugs and tells you to go and get creative while he takes care of the dollars and cents is just that, a caricature. And a health hazard.

I like being in touch with agents, record companies, press people, and other musicians directly. That means no Chinese whispers, no subtle distortion of what you want to meet somebody else’s ends. I also like working with David Greenberger, who runs the Museum of Me at robynhitchcock.com; I’m not so in love with schlepping stuff down to the post office all the time. I bet Madonna doesn’t have to do that. But this does limit the time I have to sit and write songs. Furthermore, since the partial return of my old combo the Soft Boys two years ago, I’ve been even busier. Still, I might as well use my years in the business to organize things. This week is an administration week. In addition to writing this journal and struggling with the digital camera (I can now take pictures, but haven’t figured out how to feed them into the computer, though Michèle had a bit of a breakthrough this morning), I am currently fine-tuning some Soft Boys shows in January (see thesoftboys.com), my 50th birthday show at the QEH Theatre in March (see my site), old accounts from this fall’s Soft Boys’ tour, a limited edition CD of new songs given free with the QEH show, and my old nemesis, photo sessions.

Right now, I’m missing out on some quality grocery shopping. Gotta go.

And how do I write songs? That’s a good question.

Tomorrow: the squirrel saga concluded, and the meaning of life explained.