I used to receive newsletters from the man himself; he developed a sense of expectation by writing that one long track on this album echoed the classic Van der Graaf Generator sound; Guy Evans and David Jackson played on this song. But even more interesting was the fact that Hugh Banton played on another track; since Banton left at the end of 1976, he had never appeared on any of Hammill's albums, unlike the other two band-mates.
At this time in my life, I had become an accountant for hire, or more accurately, a 'movement worker': one or two days a week I would travel to Jerusalem where I would do the accounts for an urban kibbutz along with some attempts at explaining simple book-keeping to them. This work was paid for by the central kibbutz movement, and every so often I would travel to Tel Aviv in order to get my expenses refunded. I imagine that there were other reasons for traveling to Tel Aviv but I don't remember them now. Presumably I would have bought this record on one of these trips, at the shop which I had discovered which stocked British imports. I'm sure I wrote about finding this shop and being stunned by discovering new Fairport records (this was the mid-80s), but I can't find that blog now.
I must have recorded the album onto cassette because I remember traveling to Jerusalem on a bus and feeling a frisson when Hammill sang "now it's coming to the crunch as you stumble on the Jaffa Gate" ("A perfect date"). This was the song on which Hugh Banton played; unfortunately, I didn't like it very much. On the other hand, the long track "Now lover", along with some other tracks ("After the show", "Shell" and "Four pails") very much resonated with me. Filling out the record are a few guitar based songs which I don't like very much and never listen to ("Skin", "All said and done").
There in one atypical and apparently completely MIDI based song, "Painting by numbers", which I quite like. One can find on youtube a video of Hammill miming this song, apparently for some Spanish TV show; it's somewhat incongruous.
[SO: 4207; 4, 20, 41
MPT: 732; 1,3,6]