The Space Between the Notes

Lester Square and Friends. “The Space Between the Notes.” Taps, Cubist Records, 2023.

Picture by: Sophie Davidson

Lester Square was the original guitarist in Adam and the Ants and went on to co-found the Monochrome Set. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when he asked me to contribute to this project alongside the likes of Toby Litt, Nicholas Blincoe and John Robb.

Here’s the press release:

The English affection for miniatures has a long history: Nicholas Hilliard, John Hoskins and Samuel Cooper to name but a few. In the world of literature, critic Colin Manlove observed “The growing pleasure of English writers in creating fantastic miniature worlds which work on their own.”

It may be that those who live upon a small island take delight in small things.

In 2022, having tired of a solitude born of Covid 19, Lester Square emerged blinking into the light and, desperate for company, laid down a challenge to a number of eminent authors of his acquaintance to provide a short story: short enough to leave room for a musical backdrop to provide an expressive counterpoint and intriguing enough to elicit full immersion in a pocket otherworld: as William Blake would describe it, seeing “a world in a grain of sand.”

The process couldn’t have been simpler, collaborators merely sent in a sound file of their reading recorded on a phone. The challenge then for Lester was to set them to music and sound collage which complemented and amplified the mood conjured up by the written word. Sometimes literally — the rhythmic headboard banging as the neighbours have sex next door to Andrew Gallix; sometimes through counterintuitive juxtaposition — the jolly counterpoint to a skinhead attack in Lucy O’Brien’s memoir.

The collision and interplay of genres has resulted in 13 evocative vignettes – some magical, some comical, some foreboding – that have become more than the sum of their miniature parts

…but which leave you wanting more.

Full line-up (in order of appearance): Alan Platt, Michele Kirsch, John Robb, Lucy O’Brien, Nicholas Blincoe, Toby Litt, Paul D Brazill, Lobby Robinson, John Haney, Andrew Gallix.