Robyn Hitchcock @ Caffe Lena

To see Mr Hitchcock live is to fall in love again with his music and charm. And no I don’t say that just because he complimented me on my houndstooth wrap. At the legendary café where so many have sung, it was a delight to spend some time with the singer renowned for his wit as well as his sartorial elegance. Two sets and an encore require three striking shirts:


The theme of gloom and doom was much on his mind: pointing out that as an Englishman it was no less than expected. The problem with Americans was that they hoped. ‘We’re doomed,’ Hitchcock pronounced before launching into ‘I Wanna Destroy You’ which he dedicated to ‘the man in the red tie’ (ha!). He drew unpredictably from his extensive catalogue, punctuating the pauses between songs with surreal tales of his cat Tubs and his biplane (often busy delivering hair gel to Brian Ferry) and increasingly baroque requests for the sound guy Joe to make his guitar sound like a cathedral or a twelve string or his vocals sound ‘in tune’.

He had the whole crowd laughing heartily and singing along. In a nod to the venue he offered up a wonderful rendition of Dylan’s ‘Hey, Mr Tambourine Man,’ and dedicated ‘Saturday Groovers’ to Andy Partridge. To my delight, played ‘Madonna of the Wasps’. I burbled to him as he was signing merch after the show that I was pleased by that as I had written a novella inspired by the song.

‘Does it end badly?’

‘Um, yeah, actually it does.’

‘I was hoping you’d say that.’

The tour continues. I urge you to catch him as there’s no one quite like Mr Hitchcock.