The Paul Theroux Song
Tonight’s plan was to go and see the awesome-sounding Frank Fairfield at Leytonstone’s wonderful What’s Cookin’, but I arrived at Holborn to find the Central Line had come a cropper due to someone under a train at Leytonstone. Hopefully not Frank Fairfield.
So I headed home through the rain, which unusually seemed almost amusing and cinematic rather than unpleasant and evening-ruining. I could get used to umbrellas.
When I got back I had a go at writing a song. I played some chords that I thought sounded quite good together, and after half an hour of faffing and a bit of stream of consciousness this is what I came up with.
I’m currently reading “The Old Patagonian Express” by Paul Theroux (dad of Louis Theroux, who makes TV better than poo*). The lyric was quarter made up on the spot, but largely and accurately describes the fact I’m reading a book by Paul Theroux called “The Old Patagonian Express”.
Lyrics go something like…
I’m reading a travel book by louis theroux’s dad
He journeys through Peru writing down what he sees
He sees Indians and tourists and sometimes he just reads
Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain and looks out the window
I read it on the tube it fits in my inside pocket
I read it in pubs in between sips of my guinness
I read it on lunch breaks it makes me feel far away
Imagining I’m traveling on trains in Latin America
(and Central America)
Paul Theroux’s my hero he even smokes a pipe
Travelling from Boston all the way to Patagonia
He’s going through a world that’s largely disappeared
Thirty years isn’t very long but oh, it’s long enough for me
* This is a reference to a classic lost single by early noughties pirate themed hip-hop collective Arrrgh! Shrimpy! – it was in the jazz style, and its refrain went “Makes TV better than poo / Louis, oh Louis Theroux”. Louis Theroux’s kooky but never mocking documentaries certainly did make an important contribution to making TV better than poo, as I’m sure we can all agree now. The Shrimp were ahead of their time.