I was born in a village and I've only lived in 3 cities in my life - London, which is very large; Paris, which is much smaller than London; and the one I live in now, which is very much smaller than Paris - but I've visited quite a lot of others, particularly New York, which, for a few days, I rather liked, and where I took the pictures featured on the cover.

Many people find it easy to move from a village to a big city - a 'walk in the park', in fact! - but I am not one of those people: on the whole, I greatly prefer the smaller places to the large. This collection of pieces is meant to represent different aspects of a big city, good, bad and indifferent, as experienced over the course of a weekend. All of the cities above have contributed something to the music on this album; all of the places referred to by name, though, are in London, England.

Skyhop [5.02]
The reason why this piece is called Skyhop now eludes me.

999 [3.37]
This one is called 999 because originally it was based on a repeating pattern of three nine-beat bars. But now it isn't - although the title seems to have stuck.

Skyrockit [3.25]
No, it isn't a spelling mistake - the 'Sky' is for its connection to track 1, Skyhop, and the 'Rock It' because of its rock sound.

The Accordion Man I [2.47]
The Accordion Man is a busker who, unusually, plays only the works of Andy Murkin. Here he tackles Skyrockit and From A to Z (a track first heard on the album From Aardvark to Zebra [2002] and reprised at length on Flotsam & Jetsam [2004]).

On Queensway [1.10]
Queensway is the main street in Bayswater, London W1, where I lived for a while. This is a poem, not a piece of music. The quotations from a shop-window postcard and placard in the street are 100% genuine, and not made up by me.

Boyz [4.40]
A rock band version of a piece by William Boyce (1711 - 1779), who lived and died in London.

Charing Cross [3.41]
This was supposed to evoke the atmosphere of a lone whistler on an otherwise empty late-night tube station, but while putting it together, I kept being reminded of the homeless people you used to see sleeping in cardboard boxes under Charing Cross bridge. I haven't been there for years, so I don't know if they're still there, but this track is dedicated to them.

A Walk Along the Canal, Part 1 [0.30]
More poetry, inspired by a walk along the canal from Regent's Park down to the River Thames, London.

The Accordion Man II [1.21]
Here, the Accordion Man regales us with Land of Great Skies and Measureless Horizons (from Devil's Island Discs [2004])

Sunday in the Park [11.16]
It's a sunny day. In the park. The reggae beat of this piece is intended to suggest people enjoying themselves.

A Walk Along the Canal, Parts 2 & 3 [0.56]
Yet more poetry.

Occasional Train Blues [8.04]
A sort of minimalist nod to the Blues, without which a lot less music of any worth would have emerged from the 20th century.

The Accordion Man III [1.48]
In a final attempt to prise some small change out of us, the Accordion Man gives a spirited rendition of the Music from An Imaginary Spy Film (heard on all previous Andy Murkin albums). He calls this one Postcard from the USSR. This is the name of a country which used to exist when he was a young man.

Kensington Gardens [0.45]
One last poem, about the park of that name, next to Hyde Park, London.

River [8.30]
There are 3 elements to this piece, which describes a journey up the Thames: a theme in 6/8 for the Strings, a theme in 5/4 for the Brass and Woodwinds, and a theme in 7/4 for the Vibraphone, Guitar and Double Bass. For that special rivery feel, they are all played at the same time.

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