Dan Nichol & the Strange Delights

Come in and take a seat. Not that one. It’s broken. If you don’t mind the floor I’m sure we’ll get along famously.

Dan Steve James

We're a band. Just a small one. There are only three of us. If you hover over the photos, you can find out who we are and what we play. Hmm? What's that? You want to know how we started out? Age, shoe size and so forth? Well, thank you for asking. Let me tell you a story.

On an unspecified date following the invention of the internal combustion engine, an old man walked down the road between here and there. He had previously been here, but he wanted very much to be there, which required a good deal of concentration.

Birds sang, traffic roared by, and somewhere in the distance children were shouting at each other, but the old man heard none of this. That is to say, he heard it, but he didn't really hear it, if you know what I mean. He just kept walking, slowly and deliberately, as if nothing else mattered except putting one foot in front of the other—left, right, left, right and so on (or it might have been the other way round).

After a while he came to a hole, quite a small hole, the size and shape of a human ear, in the middle of the road. He paused then, and scratched his head, for while it is not at all unusual to come across a hole in the road, it is almost unheard of to find a hole shaped like an ear.

The old man squatted beside the hole and peered in. It was surprisingly deep, and very dark. He couldn't see all the way to the bottom. He craned his neck forward until his nose hovered barely an inch above the hole, and sniffed deeply. The air inside the hole smelled no different from the air outside.

What on earth was it for? He couldn't for the life of him figure it out. It was quite definitely ear-shaped, though. Ear-sized, too. That much was clear.

Tentatively, and feeling a little foolish, the man lay down in the road and put his ear to the hole. It fitted perfectly. If you had asked him what he expected to hear, he wouldn't have been able to tell you, but what he absolutely did not expect was silence. Surely an ear-shaped hole should have something to say, something to pass on? Otherwise, why would anyone have gone to the trouble of making it?

He lingered at the hole, listening with every fibre of his being (though mainly with the fibres of his right ear, which happened to be his favourite). For a long time there was nothing. A feeling of despondency washed over him. Here was a perfectly ear-shaped hole—perfectly shaped for his very own ear, and yet it seemed to have nothing at all to tell him.

As hard as he concentrated, all he could hear were the sounds of the birds singing, of the children in the distance and the traffic roaring by—with a few of the drivers bellowing at him to get up off the road and keep out of their way. The more he listened to the hole, the more intensely he experienced the noises of everyday life going on around him. And suddenly he understood.

He jumped to his feet, invigorated, and to no-one in particular said, "That's it! I must bring this music of strange delight to the people!"

And it all started from there, really.