Robyn Hitchcock sets sail in Feb 2012 with his Floating Palace, featuring KT Tunstall, Eliza Carthy and more

Robyn Hitchcock
Robyn Hitchcock

The expression "English eccentric" and "national Treasure" go hand-in-hand with certain performers, none more so than ex-Soft Boys front-man and lyrical surrealist, Robyn Hitchcock. During his tenure as one of Britain's most expressive, explorative and erudite gentlemen, Hitchcock has served up platefuls of critically-acclaimed albums, mostly dealing with the vagaries of everyday life with extraordinary articulation. Song-titles such as "Brenda's Iron Sledge", "Grooving on an Inner Plane", "Birds in Perspex" and "Sickie Boy" aren't going to be covered by X-Factor contestants, anytime soon. I'd bet my house on it, if I had a house to bet with.

His latest ruse is a touring show that actually sports a simple remit - mutual love and respect. With a banner entitled, "The Floating Palace" , you'd be forgiven for thinking this might mean carnal activity - it's more musical than that. KT Tunstall, Martin and Eliza Carthy, alt-country artist Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) and singer-cum-banjo strummer supreme, Abigail Washington, will all be playing with each other, to coin a phrase. Rather than play strict slots, all the performers, including Hitchcock, will rotate song-duties on stage with each other, playing old and new tunes by themselves or by other artists - it's an intriguing concept.

The tour has so far been confirmed for Glasgow (5th Feb - as part of the city's Celtic Connections), Gateshead (6th) and London's Barbican (8th). Ticket prices range from £15 upwards and are available now, except Gateshead which goes on sale Friday 4th November.

In addition, Robyn is part of the Rumble in the Jungle line-up due to play Notting Hill's Tabernacle on 22nd November (again with KT Tunstall, plus Al Murray and Vanessa Carlton - £27.50, proceeds to the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary) and he is also solo (plus small classical ensemble) at the St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch for a full rendition of the aforementioned "Eye" album - tickets are up now for £15.

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