John Is Back

Glasgow, 2010

After countless months of carrying them tucked between the pages of a notebook long disused, I have finally given that man these photographs:


He is an exceptionally talented musician — my favourite, now that I think about it, in this city of talented musicians. I meant to give them a long time ago, but he stopped playing in these streets for a very long time.

I thought I saw him again a couple of times a few weeks back. Although his appearance had changed somewhat, I had a feeling it was him but there were always too many people then, and so I had always just kept on walking. Tonight though, it being quite late, there were only a few around and so I stopped, took out the photographs and approached him after he’d finished an oddly haunting song. He said that his name was John.


Hi, are you that guy?
– Yes… And that’s my ex-girlfriend.
Oh, you broke up. I remember her; she was very pretty.
– Yes. But we’re still very good friends. She’s here in Scotland.
Did she have dreadlocks…?
– Ah, no, that’s my new girlfriend.
Right, it was only recently that I saw you. I always had those in my bag but I didn’t see you play for a long time. Did you travel?
– Yes, I’ve moved around. Mostly to other parts of Scotland.
Ah, that’s good… Those were from two Christmases ago. I particularly liked what you played then — what was it again… Jimi Hendrix. All Along the Watchtower.
– Yeah…? I’m playing that next, actually.
Well. I’ll stay then.

So I did. And he sang it again:

“… All along the watchtower, princes kept the view.
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants too…”


I clapped, thanked him, and was on my way again.


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