My Week: In England for a spell: Loudon Wainwright III doesn't let a misspelt moniker ruin his series of concerts in London

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The Independent Online
MONDAY: Well, it was the beginning of an exciting week for me. Rehearsals had begun for my Five Fabulous Nights at the Borderline in London. My friend and fiddle player David Mansfield was arriving from America, and I'd been cleaning the flat from top to bottom preparing for his arrival.

The plughole in the bathroom sink is slightly sluggish, so this morning I poured an entire can of caustic soda down there to loosen things up. Then I remembered someone saying something about plastic pipes. Over the weekend I went swimming in Hampstead pond with three or four other maniacs and now my right ear

is completely blocked. I've put some caustic soda down there to loosen things up. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday: My ear is fine now, but I have a funny rash and my vision is blurred. Perhaps it's depression. This morning I saw the cassette of my new recording on Virgin, History. They've misspelt my surname on the cover. I am now a Wainright - they left off the second W] They promise to recall the product, but it looks like there will be a few collector's items out there waiting to be snatched up. 'Wainright' is a relatively tame mangling of the moniker. Usually it's my Christian name - 'Louden', 'Ludin' and 'Lowdown' are all quite common. But the most amazing bastardisation was spotted in a news item from a Rockland County, New York, newspaper: 'Appearing May 8th at the Turning Point, Piermont NY, 8pm - Gordondon Wainwright III.' Gordondon - a fine old Celtic name.

Wednesday: Well, as they say over here in England, 'I'm knickered.' I slept about two hours last night, worrying about the Borderline and wondering what Phil Collins would do if they left off his 's'. I decided to go for a walk in Highgate Cemetery to cheer myself up. What an amazing place] So many incredible people are buried there - Karl Marx, George Eliot, Robert Browning, Sir Ralph Richardson, Rod Stewart's father. Later I returned to the midst of the blitz - media, that is. I taped a few songs for Later with Jools Holland. Jools is one of the nicest cynics in show business today, also a great piano player.

Thursday: Today I'm not depressed about the misspelling on the cassette box. I view it more as a variation than a mistake. I think I'll go for a swim at the Swiss Cottage baths. In addition to the aerobic exercise, there are always those extra added challenges:

1. Finding a locker that isn't broken; one that will actually take your 10p and in return give you that cute little key you pin to your bathing costume.

2. Taking off your shoes and socks while keeping your bare feet from touching the tiled, but undoubtedly contaminated, floor of the changing room.

3. Keeping your eyes peeled for plasters or phlegm floating like sea-mines on the surface of the water. This is, of course, why British people do the breast stroke. The head acts as a periscope.

More media - went to the BBC Radio studios in Maida Vale to tape sessions for John Peel and Andy Kershaw. What a place] It's laid out like a Second World War bunker - subterranean twisting corridors leading to studios of all shapes and sizes. Cute little paper cups that say BBC on them. Pitchers of water that taste pre-war. I've been doing Peel sessions for more than 20 years now. When I succumb to Rock Star Early Death Syndrome (plane crash or drug overdose), the guy will be sitting on a goldmine of tapes.

Friday: Ended up after the first of my Borderline gigs hanging out with Bob Geldof. We went to a place in Soho. They wouldn't give us a drink unless we ate something. Such a quaint English custom. Bob said the 'F' word to the waiter (just like he does on television) and we left. Later, some young women recognised us, well - your man. We ran for a cab, the girls, in hot pursuit, called after us 'Bob] Bob]' I felt like Ringo in A Hard Days Night.

Loudon Wainwright III appears on 'Later with Jools Holland', BBC 2, on Thursday.

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