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|Out Of His Tree|
19th March 1988
THE DOOR of the derelict-looking house opens, and EDWARD BARTON greets me in in his dressing gown, pyjamas and slippers. Maybe I'm early. Nope, it's 4pm on the dot. Up the stairs and into the infamous 'wooden room' we go.
Edward has a room where everything in it is made from wood, its centrepiece being a massive throne built from what appears to be old railway sleepers.
"When I'm in here. I can pretend that I'm in Canada. Also, I like wood."
Some people will tell you that Edward Barton is a complete nutter - he'll tell you that he's just a singer, "writing songs the way tney should be written".
Edward writes songs that are largely influenced by his brother's life - "'he goes out and does things; I stay in the house and write about them". But it's his 'style' that sets him apart from your regular singer-with-a-guitar.
His is a unique performance; his delivery is untethered, frenzied even.
"I'm usually moving so fast when I sing, that everything is out of focus."
What kind of reaction does he get from his audience?
"Well some people want to kiss me, and some people want to hit me. Sometimes the whole audience is made up of kissers, sometimes hitters."
Which does he prefer?
"I don't mind."
But he does enjoy receiving letters from people who've seen him play.
"A man from Nowich wrote saying that he'd walked 15 miles to see me. I wrote back, asking if he could prove this. A few days later, I received a parcel containing a pair of boots with the heels worn down."
Is admiration important to him?
"No - but I like receiving parcels."
Edward has a new 12' single called 'Belly Brother Gob' out now on Wooden Records (what else?). It's the first of six releases that he has planned for this year and you can currently see him live on tour with Stump.
He doesn't actually buy any contemporary music any more; his current fave sounds being recordings of Russian monks. Is he a pop musician?
"I must be - I make records and I do interviews for pop magazines. I'm also in the Musicians' Union directory as a guitarist and singer, but no one has asked me to do session work yet."
To merely call Edward Barton 'a character' would be patronising. To call him 'mad' would be insulting - "mad is synonymous and dangerous and I'm not dangerous to anyone".
The wood-loving, singing, songwriting eccentric is a dying breed.
[Author: Craig Ferguson, Picture: Marshall Walker]