Monday, May 30, 2016


I had intended to start like this:

“Like when a man came to John Lennon, on a flaming pie, to tell him, ‘you are The Beatles with an A,’ the title ‘Dancing with the Gatekeepers’ came to me in a dream.”

However, after checking I had got this right, I found I could not use it. The “flaming pie” story came during a 1964 interview to promote an album, but “The Beatles” has also been explained as a play on Buddy Holly’s backing band, the Crickets, or on the name of a biker gang in the Marlon Brando film, “The Wild One” (1953). I could still have used it, but the possibility it may not be the right story was enough for me to leave it.
What made me drop the story completely was reading an interview Paul McCartney gave to "The New York Times” in May 1997, after recording a song and album named “Flaming Pie”: “There are still a lot of things we have to fudge because of compromise. If we don't all agree on a story, somebody has to give in. And Yoko [Ono] kind of insisted that John had to have full credit for the name [in ‘The Beatles Anthology’]. She believed he had a vision. And it's still left us with sort of a bad taste in our mouths...
I cannot say this was what Yoko Ono intended, but the “flaming pie” is too good an example of attempting to stop a debate without acknowledging all the facts. For someone that wants all available evidence to hand before making decisions, it makes me want to do something...
This sort of thinking is where “Dancing with the Gatekeepers” came from. In my dream, where I, apparently, could sing, I recorded an album with this title. It was meant to be either an art rock or electronic album, and while I don’t remember the track listing, one song ended with me shouting, “all they have are words” over and over again. I must have been listening to a lot of David Bowie during that day.
“Dancing with the Gatekeepers” could sound like a mystical battle of good versus evil, but it is much more positive to me: taking delight in the challenges life gives you, and having fun with those that think they have all the answers. It is also a title that could be used on anything, so I must make use of it.
So, until a record company signs me up, I’ll be writing a (mostly) weekly blog about whatever comes to mind. If anything, it will be more about me trying to make sense of an issue, why I think the way I do, or why I am expected to think something, rather than coming to a decision. Ultimately, I want this to be a fun exploration of the stories we tell ourselves.
What do I think of the “flaming pie”? It led to a good title for a Paul McCartney album, I know that much...

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