The late Clive James – writer, poet, critic… and rock star?
Well, not quite, but, for the last 50 years, he’s been quietly composing songs with his musical partner, Peter Atkin. They’ve written 200 tracks, admired by fans from Kenny Everett to Stephen Fry. A new book, Loose Canon, by Ian Shircore, tells the James & Atkin story.
The songs assume a melancholy cast in the light of James’s six-year struggle with leukaemia and his death at the age of 80. Here is an extract from Me to Thank, their farewell song to commemorate the end of their long collaboration. The words are by James and the music is by Atkin.
‘I’ve got to where it’s hard to find the tears so you can weep.
I’ve got to where the step up to the carpet is too steep.
I’ve got to where, apart from air,
There’s nothing in the tank.
And I like to think that I had time to thank.
But I’ve got me to thank…
I should have spoken to you clearly,
And now the chance is nearly
Gone, and I pay dearly.’
A moving lament. RIP Clive James (1939-2019).