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Episode 155 : Robyn Hitchcock on the Soft Boys + David Blue + Mick Farren

10 July 2023

In this episode we invite the inimitable Robyn Hitchcock to reminisce about his heroically nonconformist career from the Soft Boys to 2022's Shufflemania!

After Robyn explains his recent return to London from his adopted Nashville, Barney, Mark and Martin hear about his hippiefied but not entirely psychedelic '60s youth — plus his early immersion in the far-out folk of the Incredible String Band and the songs of his greatest influence Syd Barrett. He talks about how the Soft Boys did — and didn't — fit into the UK's punk scene of the late '70s, but also how they became a totemic cult influence on American acts from R.E.M. to Gillian Welch & David Rawlings.

Clips from John Tobler's 1973 audio interview with '60s folk-rocker turned Asylum Records singer-songwriter David Blue provide an opportunity to discuss the former David Cohen's Greenwich Village buddy Bob Dylan and the huge influence on Robyn of Bobsongs like Blonde On Blonde's 'Visions of Johanna'. Meanwhile the 10th anniversary of the death of underground-press legend and Deviants rabble-rouser Mick Farren takes us back to the revolutionary '60s and the heyday of International Times — as well as to such seminal Farren pieces as 1976's NME rallying cry "The Titanic Sails at Dawn".

Mark rounds off the episode with quotes from newly-added library pieces about 'Terry' hitmaker Lynn "Twinkle" Ripley (Evening Standard, 1964), Motown chauvinist Marvin Gaye (Phonograph Record, 1977), Henry Rollins Garfield (Washington Post, 1981) and more…

Many thanks to special guest Robyn Hitchock. Somewhere Apart: Selected Lyrics 1977–1997 is published by Tiny Ghost and available now.