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Question for Simon - I've been noticing a creeping "Middle Eastern" influence in your melodies of late. "Sunrise," "Still Breathing" and "The Valley" all feature subtle, chant-influenced note choices. Where is this coming from? liquidation02@XXXXXX.com

"It's really funny that you should ask that ... whatever your name is ... er ... liquidation02 (excuse me is that with a capital L?)

Anyway, yes I've noticed a creeping - haha! (you'll see why that's funny in a min) - Middle Eastern influence in my melodies of late too. Interesting that you put ' "Middle Eastern" ' in inverted commas; you know that in her book 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' writer Lynne Truss says that putting phrases in quotation marks like this, signifies the psychological equivalent of putting on rubber gloves when dealing with the subject; Liquidation02, honestly now, is there something you want to tell me?

Excuse me, I digress. Back to the subject in hand, I think I may be able to put my finger on the reason for this "influence", and it is this:

You know when you go out on tour, you like to take a new toy with you; like a new guitar or a portable PS3 for example? Well recently I've decided to throw caution to the wind and bring my pet king cobra along to keep me company. Now, this does not exactly "endear" me to the housekeeping staff of the hotels we've been staying in, especially when "Hoodie" - as I call him - surprises them by rearing up and hissing from the laundry basket where he likes to bask or go for his mid-morning nap, when they come in to clean the "dressing room". And as for "Room Service"? ... Well, I don't even want to go there; suffice to say that after this morning's little drama, I shan't be ordering any more "live mice" from "in Room Dining". However, what with some well directed personalized, autographed band photos and some complimentary tickets to our shows, fingers crossed I've managed to extricate myself from some potentially "tricky" situations. And believe me, It doesn't bear thinking about; I mean I just haven't got round to having Hoodie's fangs or venom glands removed; we've been way too busy.

Alright "liquidation02" or may I call you "licky"? To cut a long story short, I thought I might as well go the whole hog and teach myself proper, New Delhi style snake charming. And here's the thing ... I reckon it's all the practising on that "pungi" thing - a bit like an oboe, but with holes instead of little lids on levers - that has led to the "Asian Uprising" in the tunes you mentioned. Does that answer you question? I bloody hope so coz it's time to feed that bloody snake again. It makes you think, it really does ... about a new belt, or a handbag even. Simon"

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