Nothing surprises me anymore.

Reports of the Paddington rail disaster include surreal accounts of rescue workers deafened by a cacophony of abandoned mobile phones ringing like mad: the inappropriate racket of novelty arpeggio trills and vain personalized “amusing” melody chimes among the carnage and flames giving the tragedy a gut-wrenchingly modern pathos. A sick new homage to The Unknown Commuter: They Couldn’t Get A Good Signal. The real tragedy is, of course, Jilly Cooper escaping unscathed.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

On the platform at Highgate Tube station, the woman standing in front of me tries to throw herself into the path of the incoming train.

The guard who gently leads her away by the arm does so with such nonchalance and sighs of resignation that everyone else on the platform assumes she must be a regular at this sort of thing. Then goes back to talking about how great it is that both escalators are working again.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

Waiting for the train on the way home, a lone man with a Bad Beard and Worse Trainers strolls along the platform singing operatic arias at the top of his lungs. A perfect, trained baritone of a voice.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

On Sunday I am so far the only member of the Spearmint touring party to “get off” with someone during the tour. She is a member of the Coventry and Kenilworth Womens Rugby Club, and a confirmed homosexualist. She tries for a conversion with me, and attempts to use tongues, but I am having none of it, and so neither is she. I think she was the prop forward. And I was her hooker. A David-Sylvian-a-Gram. What is it about lesbians and the lead singer of a cult New Romantic pop group from the early 80s? Answers on the back of a postcard: “Greetings From Radclyffe Hall.”

Nothing surprises me anymore.

The following Thursday I am chatted up by Nigel Planer. I’m too old to be this cute. It’s at the launch for “Oral”, an anthology of poetry and pop lyrics. Amongst all the air-kissing, he introduces me to various performance poets. I never thought I’d hear Neil from The Young Ones say the words “and this is Dickon Edwards”. I enjoy readings by Francesca Beard, Billy Childish, Andrew Copeland and Lucy English, and am scared by a severely inebriated Jock Scot. But then, I am scared by most things. I like the poetry performance scene: it’s quieter than rock concerts, there’s no drum kit sound checks and the performers are more honest. And poets are even bigger tarts than rock bands. Flirts, tarts and decent poetry; what else is there?

When you’re Dickon Edwards, old friends act like strangers (and I don’t blame them). And strangers act like old friends, if my email Inbox is anything to go by. One of the reasons I maintain the look I have is so my friends can spot me in a crowd, and my enemies can see me coming. And if my friends spot me first, which is likely, they can then decide whether they’re in the mood to talk to me or not, and dodge or greet me as appropriate. I never approach them. In case they’ve had a really bad day, and the last thing they want now is the likes of me coming up and talking to them. Like the Tennessee Williams play, I not only depend on the kindness of strangers, I’m also always prepared for the unkindness of friends. Unkindness from enemies is far, far preferable, even comparatively homely and welcome when it happens, because enemies, unlike friends, have at least the decency to be consistent in their judgement. My heart leapt with gratitude recently when my name made it into Melody Maker’s gossip column, thanks to my appearance as a new member of Spearmint, and I was referred to as “narcissistic”, “Warhol-wannabe”, “affected, “has-been”, and “doubly annoying prat”. I had a spring in my step all the way back from the newsagents.

The first Fosca EP, “Nervous, London”, is at last all pressed up with somewhere to go. You can find out how to order it here. It’s CD-only and even has a bar-code on it. None of your seven inch vinyl in clear plastic bags for me, thank you very much. I troll over to Nic Goodchild’s place to relieve her of a few boxes of the record. Piles and piles of little CD-sized Dickons. I’m taking some along to all the Spearmintconcerts to sell to anyone who approaches me in person. Such concerts currently are the following:

13.10.99: Amsterdam VPRO live radio session with audience.
14.10.99: Amsterdam Paradiso Club
16.10.99: London Kings Cross Scala (Scalarama all day festival)
23.10.99: Brighton Lift Club
28.10.99: Flight to Japan: various promotional things over the next week like HMV instore performances
01.11.99: Tokyo Quattro Club
02.11.99: Osaka Quattro Club
03.11.99: Nagoya Quattro Club
04.11.99: Flight back to UK
12.11.99: Middlesborough Arena
13.11.99: Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

Then, on Monday 15th November, FOSCA play a rare gig at the Bull and Gate, Kentish Town. I think we clash with Morrissey at the Forum next door. Watch this space.

The tour with Spearmint has had all kinds of Spinal Tap-like set backs: fire alarms in Birmingham meaning we only played three songs before having to pack up, unfinished redecorating at the Coventry venue meaning we turned up like idiots for the soundcheck only to find it cancelled… crushingly inappropriate RAWK support acts like the student band in Portsmouth who did a bad grunge version of “Chocolate Salty Balls” from South Park… The strange ideas some promoters have about the definition of “vegetarian riders” (Thanks, I ate last week…). But there have been wonderful moments too, like the entire set at Dingwalls (that rare thing: a receptive London audience), the Bedford and Manchester shows, the whole band singing Happy Birthday down the phone to keyboardist Simon’s partner’s son… people coming to the Spearmint shows because of me playing in the band… people coming to the Spearmint shows because they like Spearmint, then pleasantly discovering I was there too… the Melody Maker review of the Dingwalls show, giving me a nice name-check… staying with my friends Jason and Sam in Bristol, staying up all night with them and listening to obscure OMD B-sides… wandering round the roughest precincts in Hastings on a Saturday night with a telescopic cigarette holder a la Audrey in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” … tour bus music including The Fall’s “Shiftwork”, Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” (a big sing along album for Spearmint), The Style Council, lots of 70s disco and 80s pop… the person whose only words to me were “Don’t you dare put anything about me on your bloody website”… Nemo supporting us in Bedford, the only appropriate support band we had… teaching certain members of Spearmint how to correctly use words like “aphorism”… umpteen strangers using the Sylvian comparison as a conversation opener… me invading the girls toilets in many venues to apply even more make up because that’s the only place to find a mirror, putting a nice drug-free twist on the cliched reason people usually go into the opposite sex’s toilets for, ie “powdering their nose”… signing Spearmint records despite not playing on them… signing Spearmint set-lists (which makes more sense)… having my photo taken for a French magazine… and, always best of all, strangers coming up to me after a show and saying they enjoyed it, never mind how token and perfunctory… I will never live within my income of praise… I BELIEVE the darling-you-were-wonderful-isms…! I’m that shallow and insecure.

The woman at Muswell Hill Bookshop hands me my copy of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and asks me if I’m Swedish. “No, why?” “You sound Swedish, that’s all.”

I promptly rush off and purchase some great Swedish pop music: Stina Nordenstam’s “And She Closed Her Eyes” album. And some great new London pop music: “Preview”, the excellent debut mini-album by Astronaut. Alex, the singer, like all the slyly sexiest people, lives here in Highgate. He helped to fix my eight-track once.

It’s the New Camden. You Get a Good Mix In Highgate, North Six.

Come to Highgate, I’ll give you a quick guided pop tour. Here’s the house shared by Tim Baxendale and Alex Astronaut. Here’s where Keith Moon threw a champagne bottle through a dividing wall and framed it for a photo. Here’s where The Pink Floyd originally rehearsed in their 60s psychedelic light-show days. Here’s where Jo Whiley nearly got me run over. Here’s where Tjinder Cornershop held the toilet door open for me. Here’s where I saw the singer from Heavy Stereo (now in Oasis?) buying his cigarettes. Here’s where the guitarist from Salad waits for a bus. Here’s where Tona De Brett gives her singing lessons to pop stars. Here’s where Brett Anderson wrote “Dog Man Star”. Here’s where Kula Shaker first chanted their mantras together. Here’s where Bernard Butler has his breakfast. Here’s where Victoria Wood gets her library books. Here’s where Helen from Fluffy picked up her dry cleaning. Here’s where the singer from Acacia waved at me. Here’s the bookshop where Terry Gilliam is advertised as a local author. Here’s where the Persecution Complex had their infamous open-house parties, attended by the entire Romo gathering, plus Saint Etienne, the singer from Octopus, Kenickie, that lot in Rachel Stamp, various Longpigs and These Animal Men and countless other bands of varying repute; here’s where the guitarist from Massive Ego and Minty rents his videos, here’s the notice board where two fanzine writers put up a note saying they came all the way here to stalk me, without success… And here’s Highgate Cemetery, favoured by all Gothic-tinged band photo-shoots… Karl who?

I used to hate people saying I looked so “80s”. Now, years on from that Romo palaver, like any good existentialist, I’ve swam with the tide but faster, preferring The Associates to The Beatles, Altered Images to Bob Dylan, ABC to The Beach Boys, and, yes, Japan to The Who. To some people, this sort of music is “kitsch”, wedding reception fodder. To me, it’s a tonic in these dark days.

That said, I am now carrying a small card reading “Yes, I KNOW I look like (tick one of the following) David Sylvian on the cover of “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” / Andy Warhol / Nick Rhodes / Sick Boy in Trainspotting / Lurch in The Addams Family / Kim Novak In “Bell Book and Candle” / David Bowie (?) / Gary Numan (?) / Simon Le Bon (??) / A refugee from “Velvet Goldmine” / The bad guy in “Desperately Seeking Susan” (!) / Dracula (?!?) / Nicky Wire (eyes only) / …Thank you anyway.”

No, really.