Basil

  • This song is about British poet Basil Bunting (1900-1985), who despite building up a reputation in America during the post-war period as the best English poet of his generation, was neglected for a long time in Britain. Bunting worked for several years as a sub-editor on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle until his genius was finally recognized with the publication of "Briggflatts" in 1966. "When I was 15, I was a copy boy on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle, it was a Saturday afternoon job that I had," Knopfler explained. "I'd go in to the newspaper office, and you'd deal with all the sports copy coming in, and you'd be putting them in tubes, down to the printer's, or going over to the sub's desk."

    "There was a chap working there who was very different from the others. He was grumpy and he was older, and differently dressed, and I learned that that was Basil Bunting," he continued. "It was very clear that he'd rather be writing poetry than writing copy for the Evening Chronicle, and he didn't really fit. So in a way it was the contrast between him and me, because at that age I had the whole world in front of me. I had a different way of looking at the world entirely, you're thinking it's all rosy promise. So he fascinated me."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Juanjo from SpainThanks for the explanation.
see more comments

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

Eric BurdonSongwriter Interviews

The renown rock singer talks about "The House of the Rising Sun" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."