It’s all over the internet so it must be true: I’m writing the lyrics for a Ben Folds album, which he’s recording in Dublin in December. I wasn’t going to mention this, on the presumption that it will never happen, but my writing partner seems confident enough to have talked about it already, and if he thinks something will come of it, then (deep breath) so do I. At the moment it feels rather as if I have several half-finished cryptic crosswords on the go: there are bits of paper lying all over the place, and sometimes I have a stab at a couplet while making the tea, or watching Arsenal beat Bolton. I suppose that’s what Dylan must do, although I have no idea who he supports.
Ben, as you may know, is quite capable of writing his own lyrics, but I think he fancied a rest, and anyway he, like me, wants to have as much fun as he can in his chosen medium while there’s still fun to be had. Ben got in touch after I’d written about Smoke in 31 Songs/Songbook, which is how I ended up contributing a song to ‘Has Been’, the mad and great William Shatner album he produced.
The potential for ignominious failure, however, is so much greater on this new collaboration.