There he is. Toby. The Fiery Badger. 'Boat-Race'. Toby doesn't like the limelight. This bodes well for me, it's how I tan. In fact, this rather large photo accompanied by the fond words to come are probably not going to be of any comfort to him. Quite the opposite in fact. Sorry Tobes. Who is Toby? You might know him as the 'auburn' (politically correct) headed man with a large and colourful voice that janks away on his telecaster and dons a great big infectious hearty smile when the time is right. I know him to be that too, but I assure you that this man who regularly gets my hair tangled up in his guitar neck, has to replace pedals that have been sent to guitar-tech heaven by my cumbersome beer-spillages and tolerate my tenacious tomfoolery (and obsession with alliteration), is so very much more than that.
Toby has been for me over the years; sanity, sanctuary and sometimes even sanitary. It is no mean feat herding cats. It has never been easy to get music from the form of a rambling 'la la la hum hum hum' on a smart-phone voice note all the way on to a stage, played by the fingers, feet and lungs of nine people. Toby is a dirty great big fat cog in the clockwork that facilitates that journey on both a creative and administrative level.
It's the end of an episode of Keenan and Kel. Some wreckless shit has gone down and there were some lessons to be learnt. Kel still loves orange soda but the mood has changed somewhat, they have evolved. Keenan and Kel know more than they had half an hour prior, and after cleaning that mess up an incredibly loose theatrical evaluation of the scenario-gone takes place. Hold on though, Keenan is getting ahead of himself. To simply learn a valuable lesson is not enough for the man, challenge is in the air, ideas are afoot, an entrepreneurial ambition to go the next ten miles sparks out into the studio audience like the Catherine-wheel set off by Gavin in the Tory Stronghold of East Worthing and Shoreham as they clap for the NHS. "We'll order four thousand leopard print socks! Sew our logo on! Write a song with an 80s synth pop chorus, go 00s Jungle in the bridge! I'll meet you at 4:30 in the morning so nobody is late and we'll all sleep on the village common of Durdlesbury after our show in Flimbobporth (nice part of Cornwall). Dress as your favourite nativity character...". Keenan exits stage right looking pleased with himself, leaving Kel alone in front of the audience, left to contemplate all of the possible devastating outcomes of this list of demands. "ahhhh here goes" smashes through the fourth wall and reverberates around the studio, echoing the pain and anguish one feels following Keenan through his wake of baffled destruction, only ever climaxing in slapped wrists and dog-house apologies. Now I love Kel just as much as Kel loves orange soda, and yes in this nostalgia-addled self-indulgent piece of prose I have painted myself out as Keenan (or perhaps Keenan out as me), but Toby is by no means Kel. Toby has never followed but joined, he has helped give every 'head-in-the-clouds' idea some gravity, and given all out-of-focus some perspective. Not only has he both helped me push forward in times of struggle, and pulled me back when I've gone too far, he has also taught me a thing or two about a thing or two. Our Keenan and Kel probably wouldn't get bought up by Nickelodeon:
Kel brings Keenan back from the green-room and onto stage, where he explains that he may have approached some of his ideas with erraticism, and that whilst the intention is good there are better ways to go about it. He takes time to consider some of the elements of Keenans soliloquy and helps him to re-formulate and find a more effective way to move forward. As a result the next episode consists of entirely functional, considerate and logical behaviour and would by no means stimulate a child's need for entertainment. What it does get you though, is Town of Cats, for which would not exist without him.
NOW TO THE POINT! TOBY'S QUARANTINE PLAYLIST! If you can't tell, I have a lot of respect for Tobes, and by proxy, his tase in music. Here is what Toby has to say about this playlist and this time:
"The tunes I have put together are a jumbled up mismatch of artists I have loved for decades, and also artists I have recently discovered. The styles vary a fair bit which I think reflects the varying moods I find myself in these times. Waking up everyday at home and going through the same motions has been restful and calming, scary and infuriating, fun and hilarious, sad and tiring. It has afforded me the space and time to listen to music like I used to when I was younger though, with nothing else going on along side it, which I have been very grateful for. I hope everyone is keeping safe and well and also finding some solace in their favourite music."