Downtown Vancouver, September 2020

Written for “the world’s biggest jazz fan,” Ray Turner of Penzance, UK.

 Well I got a clarinet I call Clarence, the colour of candlelit zebras, the lustre of Christmastime silverware, and the polish of perspiration and play. Now he B-flat by nature, but he’s sharp as downtown Freddie Brown heading uptown on a Saturday night. You see Clarence wore an old “Lou” reed like a bamboo cravat, and a fine felt suit of ebony the colour of half the keys on a honkytonk piano named Hank. They were joined by the oboe Ophelia, backed up by Big Barry Bass (a real stand-up instrumentalist) and lead by a cat named Dal – though everyone just called him “Richie” (you see, it was kind of a joke ’cause he was always flat broke, but invariably right on key). Then along came a dancer named Billie, and she married her beau named Bill. They got together and people called them “B-squared” but they were the coolest laid back duo, their attitude laissez-faire. Well then old Harvey the Harp he would join the affair and he was always, always high, but man that man was harmless, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’d walk into a party sizing up the room, and with his harp held high, he would look the crowd in the eye, and he’d play some harmonica tune.


Bill recorded his poem in downtown Vancouver, Canada. The overcast light is due to forest fires burning along the West Coast of America – Washington, Oregon, California.

Stereo Story #545

Author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and Allan’s Wishes. His Indie Folk CD is Studio 6. Bill’s work is published in North America, Europe and Asia. When not trekking the globe, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, having a laugh with friends.