Edward Barton Unofficial Web Page: Articles / Interviews
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|Get Out And Hitch A Ride
To say Edward Barton is eccentric would he a bit cruel, his strangeness in his style, one which sets him apart from many other people.
Mr Barton wan doing a Support slot to the Man from Del Monte, he turned up five minutes before he was due to go on, he wee earring a small case and his well worn guitar. He told me that he was not well and to bear this in mind, he said that if he was up to it he would do en interview after his performance.
He took the stage and did an excellent set, doing several songs with mad sung/shouted lyrics and a tune played with a spoon on the bettered and hopelessly out of tune guitar. Part way through Edward said that the top guitar string had gone out of tune, since he didn't know how to tune it himself, one of the crowd helped him out.
"I've done a booklet, my words and drawings. I don't know, there isn't a good useful name for such things. Fanzines are where you write about groups. I do not write about groups so I suppose it's not a fanzine."
So what do you write about?
"//Burp!!!// Pardon me, did you notice the burping?"
Yes, is that pert of your illness?
"Yes, I've got wind."
How long's that been going on for?
"About three days, it is very unpleasant, it makes it difficult to do a good performance."
What about tonight, it was quite good.
"I didn't think it was very good."
The crowd enjoyed it....
"I think they come because they liked me in advance, it made it easy if people come liking you, it's easy. I was sick on the train here, I didn't worry about the laundry bill of the front, row."
Do you make up your show as you go along?
"I've done the songs before and I usually just talk about the songs. I tend to think the same things, sometimes I say other things. The conga gets me excited, it's a small rest."
Your songs are unusual.
"What were my subjects?"
Losing your chicken, your brother...
"Well, my chicken did go away and my brother did nearly die. He lived to pay for my records, which he does very kindly."
Have you any pets now your chickens gone?
"I got half a dog the other day, well the dog died and it was cut in half and stuffed and put in a little cabinet on the wall."
I presume it was the front half.
"Yes it was the front half. I don't have any pets 'cos I'm not consistent, I think you've got to be consistent."
Would you like something easy to look after? "I'd have one that would look after me."
Does going out inspire you?
"Walking, walking works, I write songs with the - same rhythm, it can be frightening for people."
It depends how fast you walk:
"Well...how fast you sing."
Where are your favourite places?
"I like it by the canal in Manchester, but they're remembering them now, the authorities had forgotten all the canals and I bad a good time there, but they're begining to remember. They're putting up bright red railings. I don't like red, I try not to have it in the house."
Talk then wandered onto dogs, particularly Roger, The Man from Del Montes little Yorkshire Terrier who was in the same room...
"He's got a malformed chest."
He is a bit bone.
"He's only boney on one side, sorry that's not very interesting."
Are you fond of dogs?
"Yes, exceptionally fond of dogs."
Is that why you got the stuffed one?
"Yes, it was a compromise between having one and being occasionally horrible to it and not having one and lamenting the fact."
Do you collect anything?
"You know I do."
No I don't actually.
"People always ask that question, yes, I collect kids shoes."
How many pairs do you have?
"A lot now."
It's like Julian Cope, he collects matchbox cars...
"Where does he get them from?"
All over the place, he's got a back bedroom full of them.
"I've got a back bedroom."
Where do you get the shoes from, jumble sales?
"No, I don't buy them, you always find them on the ground, I think they're kicked out of prams. I've never found a pair, I think I'll retire when I find a pair."
Do you get a lot of pleasure from it, is there any type you'd like to get?
"I'd like to get wooden shoes, I found a wooden shoe in Germany, that was very pleasing, a very very small wooden shoe. I think it was only tourist nick neck. It had been pleasantly eroded, by the weather, it had a rich glow to it."
Do you have any clogs?
"That one was a bit cloggy, I used to live in Holland, when we were kids we used to wear clogs now and again, but not in a serious way."
They're not very practicle in this country.
"I've never worn them in this country."
Do you read a lot?
"I do read quite a lot."
What are your favourite types?
"I like stuff that I can understand. I'm sure I don't understand most of the things that I read."
How long does it take you to produce your booklet?
"I'm making an LP now which means I've got a lot of songs to write down and a lot of drawing and painting."
Is that for your sleeve?
When is it due out?
"When it's finished, when I'm well."
Is that when the wind ends?
"Well, I don't like it, the wind will resolve the LP. The LP causes the wind and I get too excited which makes my stomach hurt and I got the wind."
Is 'Slap Belly' on the LP?
So that's not the cause of the wind.
"I've not done that song for a while."
De you like living in Manchester?
"I like Manchester, the skies not too good, I like the buildings and the canals and it's got lots of bookshops."
Do you like bookshops?
"They're about ninth on my list of pleasurable places to visit."
Is canals on that list?
"Canals are on a seperate list called Canals."
What do you do in your spare time?
"I write, draw, I visit Pin (brother), shopping, I like playing football."
Do you play in a team or with friends?
"I play every Thursday against some History Proffesors from Manchester University."
Can you beat them?
"I'm in goal, it's not my job to do the beating. I do the not being beaten."
Are you good?
"I'm a good one eyed goalie."
Do you give them a good thrashing?
"I don't do the thrashing, I have to stay in a small semi circle."
Are you often on the winning side?
"I never know how many goals we've got only how many I let in."
Now many usually?
"We play for two hours and I let in between nine and seventeen goals every time."
"What do you think of Man from Del Monte?"
"Hmm, jaunty, and me?"
"That's cheating I don't sell many records."
Does that bother you?
"If I don't sell some I can't make any more. I'm now distributed by Nine Mile. They are two very nice men who sounded very sad on the phone when I told them."
If you sold more records, more people would know you.
"If I played a lot more concerts more people would know me. I've only got a short throat which limits how many concerts I can do. I've got a big lump on the inside of my throat I've got through singing. If you put your fingers down my throat you can feel them. They hurt if I do too much, also I get very excitable and I have to stop singing."
Do you enjoy your concerts?
"I don't even ask myself if I enjoy doing them, I haven't got time to ask questions like that. I can only answer questions that I've asked myself, you've got to choose questions I've asked myself. It's unfortunate for you I know."
Are there any questions you have asked yourself that I haven't?
"I would imagine there's a few, there are many!"
Finally have you any message for your 'fans'?
"It would he quite useful if anyone is what might be called a fan, if they would purchase my records and they would have something to be sympathetically enthusiastic about. Cos if they don't they may soon not have. I haven't any money to make more after the LP."
Edward Barton is no ordinary guy, quite possibly one of the countrys most reluctant 'pop stars', as after the gig he was mobbed by hordes of fans asking him to sign everything in sight.
He comes, he plays, and then he goes home again, no pop stardom, no quibbling because he wasn't supplied by the venue with his favourite crisps, no meaty minders, no pretence!
Mr Barton sings about things, things like his ex chicken, his brother, telephone boxes and on occasion he slaps parts of his body. He stands on the stage, the man, one guitar, one chair and a spoon. The crowd love him, some are very confused, some entertained and come I suspect are shocked.
'Out of his tree' Edward may be, but who cares, I'm sure he doesn't.