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Magicians’ Circle

It’s no secret that songwriters make the best storytellers. If a novelist has the first paragraph to hook the reader, the songwriter has only the first few words. Think:

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth

Bless my cotton socks, I’m in the news

From the top of the bus, she thought she saw him wave

Blue morning, blue morning, wrapped in strands of fist and bone

Supplement them with your personal favourite first lines.

Think of Tom Wait’s waitress with scrambled yellow hair…  

K T Tunstall, appearing on BBC4’s Songwriter’s Circle, proved herself a master of the economy of words. Following David Gray’s description of the agony of songwriting, she broke the tension and painted a picture of the process as she understands it.  

Hypnotised by a magic trick, she begged her magician friend to show her how it was done. He repeatedly told her, No, it will ruin the whole thing for you. Her persistence eventually wore him down. Now, she can perform the magic trick herself – but she still has no idea how it works.