Interview with a busker (Pizazz news)…

Here’s a short interview I did for Adelaide-based website ‘Pizazz news’. You can check out more interviews, etc. here:

Photo by Toby Williams

Thompson Crowley is a British artist who has recently called Australia home. He is a man of many abilities; a musician, songwriter, singer, novelist, entrepreneur and a philosopher. He has authored a book based on the one year he took out of the daily bump and grind of life to travel. Further even, Thompson went totally OFF THE GRID with a bike, a gorgeous woman who he has now married, and cycled all around that place we love to tease affectionately called Britain.


Thank-you so much for agreeing to do this interview Thompson – I have to ask the question that is foremost in my mind, what inspired or possessed you to take a year-long road trip in Britain?


Hi Natasha. Well, I grew up in Britain, so it was just me straying further from my doorstep, exploring the lands around me. I had just come back from a year long trip around Yorkshire in a campervan, in which I was living with a friend of mine, Luke Morgan, another fellow musician. After the trip was over, the van was kaput, I just hadn’t had enough of the travelling life, so sought out another way to continue.

What originally inspired me to go travelling, before the van trip, was a disillusionment towards a traditional lifestyle- crap jobs, rent, settling. I just wasn’t ready to lay roots and wanted to explore both the surrounding landscape and my own mind, accompanying my development in writing.


You also went on this journey with your girlfriend who you are now married to. Congratulations by the way, but tell us, did she need much convincing to rough it?


Well, actually this trip took place a couple of years before I met my wife. Although, we did go on to do many similar trips later on (walking from London to Edinburgh, cycling around Europe). I was very lucky in that she didn’t need much persuading. Right from the start, after hearing about some of my travelling experiences, she was keen to take part. The idea of roughing it out in the countryside was very appealing to her, and she took to it most naturally, appreciating all the beauty and wonder in amongst the muddy shoes and puddles.


You have written a book about your year long journey titled ‘At Home in the Bushes’, are there any juicy stories we can look forward to reading and can you share one with us for PIZAZZ NEWS in your own words for the readers?


There are many juicy stories, many hairy moments which I encountered along the way. But there were also some sweet moments too. For example: One day when I was busking under a bridge in Lincoln, Brian, a local tramp who had previously been very angry at me for busking in his spot, came up in a fit of tears. He’d had a fall out with his girlfriend, who was also homeless. He asked if I could sing them a love song to cheer her up. “Of course.” I told him, and began singing ‘Music when the lights go out’ by The Libertines, switching a few of the words around to make it more appropriate. It was a winters day, kind of grey and barren; a cold, frosty wind blowing about, keeping most people indoors. It was just me and them under the bridge. They held each other close in a loving embrace, pulling tight the rips in their clothing, sobbing in each others arms, swaying gently as I strummed and sang. It was touching to see, a really stirring moment. I was so happy to have given this unlucky couple such a lovely gift.


When you were growing up, did anyone support or try to dissuade you from pursuing your music and your writing? How did you deal with other people’s critiques?


I’m lucky that my mother is a lover of words herself and has always encouraged me to write, as well as many friends I have met along the way. However, pursuing a career in music has indeed brought about much criticism from people, especially in the wayward fashion which I have tried to do it in. But it has always felt right listening to my heart and continuing with it; no other path could ever satisfy. And those small successes: positive reactions at gigs, compliments from friends, Cd sales, etc. have given me reassurance enough so as to push me on.


What particular musicians/writers/artists do you find inspirational and influential to you and your work?


Roald Dahl, William H. Davies, Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, Pete Doherty, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Gustavo Pena, Leonard Cohen, The Las, The Doors, The Kinks, etc. (in no particular order).


How many songs have you worked on for yourself and which three are you happiest about?


Erm, well, I’ve been writing songs since I was about 9 years old, so lots; far too many to count! The three I am most happy about would be: Caravan- a slow, idyllic ballad about trying to find a home in the woods for the winter. I Don’t Belong Here (Anymore)- a gritty, passionate number about the desire to move on. One Black Violin- a kind of medieval pirate shanty about the life of a minstrel.


What advice would you give to anyone who is currently going through the motions of life and considering pursuing a creative path?


Listen to your peers, but find your own path and stay true to it. Constantly put yourself in new situations; step out of your comfort zone. Create, create, create; the more the better. And enjoy yourself!

Thank-you so much for doing this interview with PIZAZZ NEWS Thompson and giving us an insight into the psychedelic and inspirational world of a very groovy and talented artist hailing from Britain.

Thompson Crowley’s book ‘At Home in the Bushes’ is reasonably priced and available for purchase on his website below. As an exclusive to PIZAZZ NEWS readers ONLY, he will email you personally a thank-you letter and if he doesn’t, write to me and I will tell his wife to spank him and give him bread and butter for dinner for a week as punishment! We could also post a picture of a bad Mr Crowley getting spanked by his wife. So please buy this busker’s book so he can support his wife appropriately. Readers are invited to discuss the book, or submit a book review and post their comments in Thompson Crowley’s Blog on his website.


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