Who is Kensson and why is he rambling?

Welcome! It’s good to see you!
I’m glad to be here, I hope you’re glad to be too!
Welcome! And thanks for coming tonight
I’m going to sing you some songs, if that’s all right
If I should sing out of key,
Don’t worry,
Just get drunker than me.

– Welcome, by Kensson

So… welcome. If you’re new here, you might like to check out the ‘latest posts’ sidebar to the left, or pick a category from the cloud that looks interesting. Personally, I’d recommend you start by listening to Song for the Shy, or if you’re more of an album person than a track person, to the whole of A Bright Cold Day In April. But if you just want to know more about me, read on.

I realised the other day that I have been writing songs for over 15 years now. This is a compendium of some of the ones I’m proudest of – some are meant to be funny, others touching, yet others political in a hand-wringing sort of way. Many are combinations of the above.

However, my songwriting output has steadily declined as the quality has (hopefully) improved. Instead I find myself writing reviews, recipes and short fiction more frequently, and you’ll find some of these here too.

Who am I to sing at you and teach you to cook? Well, I sure ain’t no expert. But I enjoy sharing what I’ve written and what I’ve cooked and if you want to read it, you’re very welcome. As the mighty Steve Forbert says, all ears may listen for free.

In real life, I have two of the least rock-and-roll jobs it’s possible to have: I program computers in the daytime and tutor maths in the evening. One day I’ll have enough money saved up to fund a European tour, but today isn’t that day; tomorrow’s not looking good either.

My dear friend Eleanor asked me some questions about a year ago in an interview style. These may provide some insight into my psyche… or not, as the case may be.

1. What would you most like to be remembered for?

Difficult question, well presented. I think I’d most like to be remembered for scoring the dubious goal which won Scotland the World Cup, but I’m starting to accept that I’ll be 32 by the time South Africa 2010 comes about and I’m still waiting for the call-up, so it’s probably not going to happen. Less unrealistically, I’d like to be remembered for some breakthrough I’ve still to make in predicting solar flares, or possibly for writing a song which figured on the soundtrack of a fantastically successful low-budget movie.

2. What is the lyric you’ve written you’re most proud of?

Argh! “Which of your children do you love best?”. In comedy terms, probably “How do you tell Mrs Thatcher and the statue apart?”. For trying to explain the human condition, it might be “So far under the weather that the rain won’t filter through/ You tell me time is money and I spend too much of both on you/ And still it won’t come true.” It might be “All the phones from here to Finistere are broken or in use”. Don’t make me choose.

3. You can swap life with one person for one day. Who, and what would you do?

The best I can come up with is Rupert Murdoch. I would insist that all of [my] media outlets rectify and apologise for any and all outright lies, misrepresentations, etc. they have made in the last ten years (say). I’d fire the more bombastic journalists/editors/presenters and replace them with actual fair and balanced people. I’d put in a place a programme of using news outlets to (yuk) tell people how to think rather than what to think. And I’d hire excellent lawyers to make sure it couldn’t be undone when Rupert came back.

I dread to think what he’d do to my codes if he came in to work here, though.

4. What song do you wish you’d written?

“Do You Do Any Dylan?” by Eric Bogle. Or maybe “The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne. To interpret the question differently, “Flag Decal” by John Prine. If I’d had that idea, I’d have spent a few more hours on it and come up with something better.

5. How did you not notice that you’d left the instruction manual in your kettle for months?

Well, I didn’t use the kettle very much. I bought it at a thrift store and it simply didn’t occur to me that an instruction manual for a kettle would exist, even in this country; the idea of it existing and being put somewhere so bloody stupid as inside the kettle was completely out of left field. I was tending to make coffee by other means, and not drinking much tea (for it’s non-trivial to find nice tea here). Emma came to visit and there was suddenly more tea being drunk, at which point the manual disintegrated.

Also, the kettle and manual were both white and the light in my kitchen isn’t very good.


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