Toadflax and moss
When I was little I used to travel by train from Wylam to Newcastle to go to school. Newcastle was not a pretty place back then, grey and filthy, gritty, smokey. And the railway lines were ugly in a way I now remember as quite beautiful. Every summer, there used to be drifts of yellow toadflax sprouting out of the oily gravel along the railway, completely defiant, just everywhere. What beautiful plants to decide to grow there where nothing else would take root!
I was thinking of Lester Square's houseboat at Kingston, too. I went there when he'd been given the original demos of Freight Train and some of my other new songs by Cherry Red, when The Chefs finished. He'd just left the Monochrome Set and I was looking for a guitarist. Mike Alway suggested that we should meet. I was totally in awe of him, as the Monochrome Set had been one of my favourite bands. I didn't hear back from him and put my self-esteem back below stairs where it used to live. But then at the Notting Hill carnival, his then girlfriend came roaring up to me: 'We've been singing your songs all the time! They're great!'. So I went on down to Kingston (Surrey, not Jamaica, chaps) and the seeds of a cowboyish countryish westernish band were sewn over a cup of coffee and a paraffin stove. He gave me a lift to the station in his Mini Traveller, which had moss growing on the rubber strips that lined the windows inside the car. I have wanted to grow plants inside my car ever since.
(yesterday, I saw a man trip over a notice warning people not to trip over on the road works)