Trains and the Curse of P.F. Butson

“Outside a hectic, unromantic and quite frankly putrid existence as a full-time writer (unemployed), and part-time musician (see above), P.F. Butson lives as a partial recluse, blogging often but answering calls seldom. Butson is the author of several failed novels, one of which you hold in your hands.”. These were the words I found tucked away on a memory stick from God know’s when, with the intention at the time of writing a blog of angry commuting and general paranoia and a book under the Butson alias (at the time I was obsessed with being other people, go figure). The book? “Sun, Sea and Suicide” a debut NaNoWriMo misfire when I tried to make good of the shit I was going through circa 2011, based soley in Plymouth and Brighton (one cool, one not). Plus a bit of Natasha Khan and Nick Cave hero worship thrown in for good measure. It turned out both the blog and the book were extremely counter-productive and both they and I thrived on booze, bitterness and commuter anxiety. Despite my best efforts to make it all at least partly tongue-in-cheek the ideas ultimately collapsed under the weight of their own negativity.

P.F. Butson was in fact the name of whoever once owned and labelled with their name a copy of the 1973 Harry Nilsson vinyl “A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night” which I inherited when a friend gifted it me. To this day I’ve never played it on a record player, though I remain a Nilsson fan.

A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, the P.F. Butson special edition (top right corner).

P.F. Butson was also my stage name in the progressive rocktronic supernova that was Larry and the Lungfish (LatL). Never heard of them? Jeebus, where have you been? We even had a Myspace.

Larry, P.F. Butson, Blind Boy Runt, The Grunter Monkey and Boris (I made those last two up as our other bandmates never actually existed).

It was inspired and we were at our most creative. Examples? There was an 100% genuine toilet flush at the beginning of one of our songs, and a three-minute fart solo to outro another (we never quite finished this as there was a national bean shortage at the time).

There was a song about a toad or something I can’t remember the name of (I think it may have been “Gluttonous Pet”, who sang: “Down in the swamp/had my fair share of hookers…” – Runt’s lyrics, not mine).

The original lyrics, now housed in the LatL museum, Keynsham. Bixby refers to Bixby Snyder played by S.D. Nemeth, fictional TV host of “It’s Not My Problem!”, a programme watched by the people of Detroit in the 1987 movie version of Robocop and it’s sequels.

Trashy Horror Novel was our seminal “hit”, having been the only song we actually completed. It went a little like this:

“I work the graveyard shift at the graveyard
Digging x3
Graves! Ooohhewooo
Infatuated by your
Zombie hands your zombie arms your zombie face your zombie heart that beats out if time for meeeee (not at all)
Quick quick quick quick
Trashy horror novel
Nitpick nitpick
Trashy horror novel
Quit quit quit quit
Trashy horror novel
Hands twitch at the graveyard shift
At the graveyard
Tending x3

Et cetera. As I recall it was a song about politics.

Popular grotesques

You watch her from afar, on the other side of the island. If she went any further there would be drool hanging from her open maw. She cackles -a laugh that could shatter glass- her head bobbing like a bouyant turd. You grimace. Further banality ensues. How to react? What can you say? You can’t force it, you can’t…
You are unable to adjust accordingly as your face rejects her, you feel your mouth forming a scowl. Traitor, you think to your mouth. Her beady badger-eyes clock you like a hungry pack animal and then stray. Your heart races and gently slows. You are not useful if you cannot comply and that is why you are on this side, in your corner as if -your mouth opening and closing like a fish desperate for air- this single pocket of normality can save you from her and the popular grotesques, chewing on horrendous dietary greens like bloated aphids, discussing their runs and cycles and normal everyday things. One day you will be free of this. One day you will be a popular grotesque like all the other popular grotesques and then you will be free.


IT Support

Not now, you bastard. Of all the times he could have picked to drop by. Not after you’ve just done that.


Its been a long day, you’re too hot, your cheap, Matalan-bought jumper has left motes of cheap, black fibre over your otherwise perfectly white polo shirt. Fucking Matalan. Your armpits are sodden, your breath smells rank. Not now, you bastard. He knows though, you’re engaging him in conversation but he knows. His eyes flicker hate he quickly regulates and as a knee-jerk he jumps back. You bastard, he must think. To do that on top of all the other smells. On top of the stupidity of your request. Not long after he has gone the smell passes. You put your jumper back on and hang your head.

Mr. Bond


You’re a kite dancing in a hurricane Mr. Bond.

You’re an obese eel squirming through a collapsing u-bend Mr. Bond.

You’re a stranded tourist in a war-torn version of Bognor Regis who thinks he’s in Disneyland, Mr. Bond.

You’re Brad Pitt’s stunt-double on stage with Brad Pitt at the Oscars, Mr. Bond.

You’re a two-bit hooker at an annual convention for high-class escorts, Mr. Bond.

You’re a camp kitten frollocking in a circle of bloodhounds, Mr. Bond.

You’re a worn down stub of a Crayola in a suitcase full of exquisite antique fountain pens, Mr. Bond.

You’re a flabby chested football hooligan in an Eggheads final, Mr. Bond.