The Tramp, the novel

Such is the Power of the Dream.

One morning in early 2015 I woke with one rattling around in my head.

Two musicians sat in the shadowed corner of a front bar my wife and I found ourselves in. It was not a particularly enticing establishment on the outskirts of that seaside town not far from where we live in North West Tasmania. Why were we there, in that dank and unwelcoming place? To answer a call of nature and, too conscientious to … wee and leave, we ordered a couple of beers and took our seats.

Those musicians performed and were mostly ignored by a handful of disinterested patrons – and of course me, who remained glued to that grimy pub chair. While their voices were so familiar to me, I could not see their faces or work out who the players were. Rather than get up, go over to get a better look I just sat and wondered until, as we stood to leave, it was as if a small spotlight shone from over my shoulder into the dark recesses of the room and illuminated their faces. Mystery solved. I finally connected the voices were that of two world-renowned performers, who incidentally, appeared quite the worse for wear.

I stood there, wondering what life had dealt these people to take them away from the glitz and glamour of the world stage, where they would  have rubbed shoulders with others of the celebrity world – even royalty. Something seriously life-changing must have occurred to take them away from all that. My imagination buzzed.

Remember now, that scenario was all part of a dream I had just woken from.

While the song they had been performing remained fresh in my mind I climbed from my bed, grabbed my guitar, recorded that melody and scribbled down the bare bones of the experience, before both vanished through the course of the waking day.

That dream, or pivotal moment, began an amazing two year journey of discovery, where I expanded on a storyline as two enigmatic characters became one. I contrived scenarios and history, and inspired by the events developing in my mind and on paper, finished that first song, embarked on another and yet another. Each song inspired further writing, and with that unveiling, more songs. Days unfolded into weeks, into months …

Robert Aitken had been born and his character had become as real to me as if he were not mere fabrication, but a memory.

This all-encompasing event virtually took over my waking life as I began a journey of discovery. For two years I journeyed into Robert Aitken’s world. I listened to the songs he put into my head and created a CD of — my interpretations of Robert Aitken’s songs. Honestly I don’t really know where some of them came from. I was just going along for the ride.

Sounds a little fanciful? You should have experienced it from my side.

From the novel’s back cover:

“London, 1989: On the verge of musical recognition, tragedy tears Robert Aitken’s world apart. He turns his back on the city, the industry and the people he loves; walking away with little more than two guitars, a hat in a box and ‘the beast’ shadowing his every move.

Over twenty years later, two ex-London music lovers have relocated to Australia. In an unlikely quirk of fate, they stumble upon a man bearing a nagging resemblance to the one who had vanished from London all those years ago, reluctantly performing to a few indifferent locals in a ramshackle pub in Tasmania’s Northwest.

A bitter recluse, scarred by unceasing guilt and stalked by his unwanted companion, Aitken is compelled to relive the events he had chosen to forget, in the hope he can at last make peace with himself.”

The Tramp is available from (paperback or Kindle version), selected independent bookstores or direct from the author (me) through this website.