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Smash Flops

Pete on the OGWT with Steve Cook, 1974 Julie with Pete, TPMO, 1970 Pete on OGWT, BBC 1974

— the  Pete Atkin  website
Server time: September 25, 2016 at 18:54:20 | 
Photo Se√°n Kelly
January 7th, 2016 - Encounter with a Bus

Friends of Pete, Midnight Voices members and Newsletter subscribers will already be aware of this, but other visitors to our site might not realise why Pete has been absent this year from the usual gig circuit. In early January he was taking one of his regular late afternoon walks to local shops in Bristol to buy provisions when, whilst crossing the busy Whiteladies Road, he was hit in the face by a bus. How it happened remains a mystery: he has no recollection of the event, CCTV was of little help, and witness statements proved imprecise, contradictory even.

He was on a pedestrian-controlled crossing at the time, but that's about all anyone can say for certain. Pete was rushed initially to the trauma unit of Southmead Hospital, where surgeons were faced with a broken upper jaw, injuries to both eye sockets and a small lower skull fracture. He had also suffered a broken wrist (the left one) and three broken ribs, plus there was bruising to the brain's frontal lobes, with alarmingly high intracranial and intraocular pressure.

Then, and in the following days, surgical teams both there and at other Bristol hospitals worked valiantly to reduce the pressure on Pete's brain and to try and save his vision. Thankfully, as he emerged from the medically-induced coma in the ensuing days, Pete was able to demonstrate unimpaired brain function, displaying his familiar humour and clear memory of everything up to the afternoon of the incident.

But his vision didn't fare so well: while his left eye recovered full function, his right could not be saved. While appearing outwardly normal in every respect, the right eye no longer sends visual data to the brain: the sight in that eye is irretrievably lost. Pete is philosophical about it — it could all have been so much worse.

He spent a total of some five weeks in hospital, and over the intervening months Pete has been steadily rehabilitating his good eye and his left wrist. He's able to read comfortably, and feels he'll be good to drive in due course. Regaining left-hand dexterity (sinistry?) has been a painful and frustrating struggle, but he is now back to form on keyboard, and played a Shrinks gig in mid-July. Guitar is of course more demanding of the left wrist (so practice makes for good physiotherapy), and Pete is working hard to improve his stamina and get back in shape to perform. We'll let you know when and where there's anything booked by way of a comeback gig, and we wish him a steady but sure return to health.

Stephen J Birkill
Update, 8th September — three dates for your diary:
Harlow Museum on October 22nd. Book HERE, Now!
The Pheasantry, Chelsea, November 5th
The Lamb Folk Club, Eastbourne, 5th April 2017
Loose Canon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin

At last, the book we didn't even realise we were waiting for. Author Ian Shircore has created this splendid tribute to the canon and its creators, filled with observation and anecdote, and reinforced with background material from both Pete and Clive. This is no scholarly analysis; instead it skips lightly through the songs' structure and content, and intrigues the reader with whimsical diversions into related fields of art, literature and (especially) popular music. You'll find yourself discovering far more than the mood in the studio during the Mythical America sessions, or the location of that Faded Mansion, as Shircore whirls you off on a sleighride past such diverse names as The Mamas & the Papas, George Gershwin, Andrew Marvell, Al Stewart, the Beach Boys and Randy Newman.

The book contains many complete lyrics and is embellished with numerous
photographs, including images of some original lyric manuscripts from Clive.

Stephen Fry has contributed a typically brilliant foreword.
And, for phoniacs, there's even one of these: 

Loose Canon (ISBN 1 910 45323 4) by Ian Shircore is published on October 13th by Red Door in hardback and e-book formats, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

Midnight Voices members, and those signed up to the Facebook group The Pete Atkin and Clive James Appreciation Society can now benefit from a special publisher's offer: pre-release delivery of a copy signed by Ian, at the Worldwide all-inclusive price of £15.
DISCOGRAPHY of all Pete Atkin recordings
— includes listing of all known songs, recorded or not —
with lyrics, chords, annotations and session notes
Words and Music flyer PoD04 poster 2005 Tour Poster ThOD (Sheffield) poster St George's (Bristol)

The Lakeside Sessions
The Colours Of The Night
2015 studio album with notable session musicians
Winter Spring Midnight Voices Live in Australia
The Lakeside Sessions
Two CDs: 2001 recordings,
mostly unreleased material
Winter Spring
2003 recordings,
all new songs
Midnight Voices
The CJ-PA Songbook
Restyled Atkin classics
Live in Australia
from the 2003 tour,
with Clive James

Hillside Music
On-Line Shop

Clive James' latest books


Picador, 2016 (UK/Aus),
ISBN 1 509 81240 7


Yale University Press, 2016,
ISBN 0 300 21809 5

Visit Clive's own Website:
for a lively selection of current poetry and prose, art, video and audio,
plus comprehensive archives of his own published work.
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Disclaimer : Smash Flops, the Pete Atkin Website, is operated voluntarily as a spare-time non-profit venture by Stephen J Birkill, to provide a free source of information and entertainment for fans of Pete Atkin. Though we are recognised and encouraged by Pete himself, Smash Flops is not an "official" site in the customary sense of being sponsored by, funded by, affiliated with or financially or otherwise supported by any artist or by any commercial or publishing body. All rights reserved, but if you feel we're using something of yours we shouldn't, please let us know and we'll remove it.