Updates on Kevin Ayers and Dr Strangely Strange

Here are some updates on a couple of the ‘Inspirations’ I’ve written about – Kevin Ayers and Dr Strangely Strange.

Kevin Ayers


I was contacted by a Rich Weinstein who is a massive Kevin Ayers fan. He’s put together a feature-length YouTube piece on Kevin Ayers called The Kevin Ayers Story: It Begins With a Blessing and It Ends With a Curse. He’s collected lots of stills and videos and put them together as a collage with some hand-picked Ayers songs.

He told me:
‘One thing I hate about YouTube is songs without eye-candy videos, so I developed a way to experience Kevin’s music while incorporating eye stimulation as well.’

Rich hasn’t stopped there. He’s also collated live footage from several sources featuring Ayers and some of his colleagues like guitarist Ollie Halsall.

AND twelve playlists of Ayers songs aimed at different levels of familiarity, from Ayers Beginners to Ayers PhDs!

So plenty to explore for anyone who’s curious about a uniquely English singer, songwriter and bandleader.

Dr Strangely Strange

Earlier this month I was in London for the launch of my friend Adrian Whittaker’s book about the Irish ‘psychedelic lounge band’ Dr Strangely Strange. Strangelies fans in their 1970s heyday tended to come one of three directions – the Dublin underground scene, the Incredible String Band fan community and people who discovered them on the Island sampler Nice Enough To Eat where their signature tune Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal closed the album. (More on Island samplers)

Adrian was co-editor of the ISB fanzine Be Glad so was already familiar with the Strangelies. The fanzine, and the two fan conventions and in-depth book it spawned, was instrumental in reviving interest in the ISB and it wasn’t long before the spotlight spread to the Strangelies. They performed at the second fan convention and at Joe Boyd’s ISB tribute concert in London. At that time Adrian was also helping them set up gigs in London where they discovered they were far from forgotten.

Adrian started putting together notes for a biography and found the band offered a wealth of stories, not just about themselves but about the unique Dublin music scene in the late 60s, with luminaries like Phil Lynott and Gary Moore as significant as the ISB and Joe Boyd. After the rather draining politics of dealing with the ISB, Adrian found the Strangelies refreshingly open and friendly to him (and to each other). Given that Adrian lives in Dalston and the band spent a significant period in their early development there, it was only fitting that the book launch took place in Dalston’s Cafe Oto. I was there with Mrs Lamont in the queue to get in, enjoying the bemused looks on the faces of passers-by encountering the lined faces and white ponytails. The book itself is a beautiful coffee-table production now into its second print run. Highly recommended.

A short overview of the launch event (with a split-second cameo of us in the queue)

You can find out more about the book and buy it here:

My Dr SS article

Album cover with blurred portrait and 'Norman Lamont' 'Breath'

Free covers album

My versions of songs by Bowie, Cohen, Brel, Momus, the Incredible String Band and more