Once, I met a Sailor

…and we all know how that turned out.

Come on now. Joking aside, this is the title of my latest song, the link for the live video of which you will find here.


I’m using vimeo now instead of youtube. From an ipad, it’s so much easier to upload stuff, and generally less googly and evil.

A ballad in a similar style to “The Misled Glory”, it was recorded with my friend Mike Francis, on board his boat Isabella. It features the timple, a beautiful Canarian ukulele style instrument. We had great fun playing and recording it in between bellowing out sea shanties and drinking red wine.

It seems that flirtation with seafaring life can lead to excess balladry. I have noticed a tendency towards phrases such as “o’er”, “whither” and “whence” in my songwriting; phrases which in the past were as uncommon to me as this one:

“No, thanks, I don’t want another drink.”

This, by all means, is not the most interesting part of seafaring life, the virtues and pitfalls of which are difficult to express in words (hence use of “Arghhhhhh”). Each leg of the journey acquires a different flavour, with diverse challenges and surprising moments, most of which involve some defective aspect of your own personality. To give you an idea, I present a few examples of moments encountered on the last passage; Arrecife to Las Palmas.

1.  The first night spent on anchor, moored just off the dune-bound nudist beach at Papagaiou. Crystal clear waters and calm moonlit night.

 2. Sailing at that time of the month, resulting in exchanges such as this:
     “Could you just loosen that knot a bit?”
     “God! Why does everybody hate me?”
3.  The bracing mid-ocean seawater bath. A cathartic experience for the patient skipper, who seemed to relish throwing a bucket of icy water in my face repeatedly.
4. In Las Palmas, watching a yacht torn from its anchorage by gale force winds and dragged into the harbour, damaging a five million quid catamaran on its way, a sobering reminder of the unforgiving power of the ocean, and how amusing rich French people can be when they are a bit cross.
I hope you enjoy the song. Thank you to Mike, and his lovely wife Jane for the delicious turron. Work has already started on the next sea sketch, but the recording will have to wait, as there is a drunk trombonist playing on the boat next door. I tell you, you couldn’t make it up.

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