In ‘71, the year tanner and shilling rolled down the slot to oblivion, I founded Electric Albion. We'd close our set with Tam Lin. Each night I’d shed a dozen skins – wolf, snake, lion – to shiver naked in my Janet's arms.
We plugged Child Ballads into the mains, sailed the salt sea with Sir Patrick Spens on overdriven riffs creaky as a galleon's deck. A petrel circling the mast, my teenage tenor cawed above the guitarist’s Marshall stack.
Our single appeared the winter the miners dammed the current. No chart position. In '77, our ship ran aground on punk rock. We slept on the sea bed beside Sir Patrick. Shoals of dole cheques nibbled our bones.
I kept our LP, even when my creaky deck sank into a landfill. The CD reissue sold a hundred. Then the month Lehman Brothers went down, our Sir Patrick washed ashore on a waveform lit up by Amazon, 89 new pence per download.
Off his back, I got this gig. As I chant my refrain jagged audio files scroll across the studio screen white as the jawbones of excavated dinosaurs: This is a safety announcement. Stand clear of the doors. Mind the gap. Mind the gap.
William Stephenson’s poems have appeared in Magma, The North and The Rialto. His first full collection Travellers and Avatars will be published by Live Canon in 2018. His pamphlets are Rain Dancers in the Data Cloud (Templar, 2012) and Source Code (Ravenglass, 2013).