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.
The reason why this piece is called Skyhop now eludes me.
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.
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  and reprised at length on Flotsam & Jetsam ).
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.
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 )
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.
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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