John discovered that his first album had an incipient following in 2002 when a journalist, Mark Luffman, emailed him from Australia after finding the LP in a car-boot sale. "He raved about it. No one had ever said such nice things," says John. "It was considered a complete failure by my record company and management - they saw it as an experience best forgotten".
Politicians love to invoke history. It's fodder for Syria, tax policy, welfare reform and what to do about the environment. The late historian Tony Judt once argued that we suffer from a dangerous illusion, namely "'that we live in a time without precedent . . . and that the past has nothing to teach us''. Sure enough.