Friday, March 20, 2009


Your Big Artist Shaky Kane climbs out from under my carpet and dusts himself off. I haven't seen him since that terrible incident outside Waterstones, Exeter. "Phew," he says, sniffing. His exotic, otherworldly allergies are giving him gip again. "When was the last time you vacuumed that rug?" He checks his Kirby Kronometer. "Damn thing's stopped again. What year is this?"

I tell him I don't know. He nods and smiles like it's no big deal. An ice-cream van goes past outside and we both reach for our cameras. Neither of us have one.

He tells me an amusing factoid:

"The Ice-cream man round my way is called Neils on Wheels, can you imagine the thought process that went into coming up with that one? This is all true, of course."

He nods and smiles benignly, a halo of Kirby Krackle forming around his head as he extrudes a series of antennae-like sensors. He laughs: "HA HA HA! Yes, it is funny! And the reality is even funnier - and stranger - than the short version I just told you."

I tell Shaky there is a bloke who has a cafe in the back of his car - it's a small vehicle, like a slightly stretched SmartCar - with a coffee-machine squeezed into the back-seat. He drives round Exeter and the surrounding area, pulling up on the pavement and selling cups of java from the passenger-seat to startled estate-agents. Shaky nods as I tell him this, his body flickering like an old silent movie as he jumps back and forth thru time and space, fighting The War On Complacency in a million different realms simultaneously. This is why he is England's Greatest Living Pop-Artist tm.

More on this later.