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Baker's Dozen

Rope Ladders From Heaven: William Doyle's Favourite Records
Daniel Dylan Wray , March 17th, 2021 10:10

Ahead of his excellent latest album, Great Spans of Muddy Time, William Doyle - fka East India Youth, whose debut EP was first ever record released on The Quietus Phonographic Corporation - talks us through his Baker’s Dozen. William Doyle photo by Ryan MacPhail


Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream Of Trains
About 16 or 17 I was making a lot of acoustic singer songwriter stuff. I sent it to a mate and they said it reminds them of Robyn Hitchcock. I'd never heard of him. Where I was living at the time was between Southampton and Winchester and it turns out he had gone to Winchester Boys School. So immediately upon hearing his stuff there was this extra level of intrigue just because it felt like I could hear something in it that felt like the landscape I was growing up around.

There's such an eccentricity to this record. To start with that piano instrumental, which sort of eases you in, and then you're into ‘Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl’ which is basically a punk song without a band with really weird lyrics with references to Alfred Hitchcock and getting stabbed in the shower. You’re just plunged into this very strange world. I had never heard anything that was so abrasive before. It leaves you with so many questions as soon as it starts. No song seems to have any coherence with the one before it. There's no internal logic to it. I just loved how eccentric it felt and how melancholy it was at the same time. It’s absurd but there's a weird sadness laced within it as well.

I guess this was the first time I really thought about something that's probably found its way into my work: how to deal with the idea of Englishness? Because it's a really English record. That's been a bit of a fascination for me ever since hearing this record. It's the sort of Englishness that you could aspire to that isn't flag-waving nationalism.