I don’t actually know if it’s the same duck. Presumably, there are more than one.
In 2007 I had a restless night in Oxford which ended up becoming ‘A Strange Visitor‘, the song which audiences ever since have been calling ‘The Duck Song’. It’s been my most popular song consistently ever since, and it’s the only tune from the 2009 album To Infinitives Split which is still a regular part of my live sets.
In the song, a guy struggles to get to sleep whilst a duck the size of his house walks down the street outside. It’s deliberately quite scant on detail – the basis, I hope, of some of its appeal – and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing a huge number of interpretations of it, many of which had never occurred to me!
I never thought that I would write a sequel to this song, but I saw a duck on a university campus a few weeks ago and a few things clicked into place. The intention is certainly not to shed any light on the first song – or to make any kind of comment on it at all, really – but to check in on some of those thoughts and feelings after a few extra years of adventure. The new tune is called ‘Big Duck on Campus’ – I’ve been writing it for what seems like ages, but today I finally finished the lyrics. I like them.
Despite the Monkey Horse sequence and, now, the Duck songs, I’m not very keen on sequels, and I write them only when I feel a really organic need to. There’s nothing about ‘A Strange Visitor’ that calls for a second part, and I’ve taken care to ensure that both songs still function independently of each other. At the same time, it’s nice to think that I’ve been writing for long enough that one of the artists I can now have a creative conversation with is myself. I hope you guys don’t think I’ve sold out…