Before poetry the Mike Absalom story started with music. That meant rollicking live music and outrageous head shop performances for audiences as far apart as London and Athens, Belfast and Teheran, Gothenburg and the Costa Brava. The list went on for forty years: Germany, Holland, Belgium, Vancouver, the Yukon Territory, Tierra Del Fuego, Paraguay, France, Montana, Nova Scotia, Chile, Newfoundland, California – up and down, back and forth, the gig list of half a lifetime. It had to be only half, because in 2002 he returned to County Mayo in the West of Ireland to write his autobiography and by chance embarked on a new career as an artist. His mother was Irish and his father was a country parson from Pembrokeshire who had served as a padre in the RAF during the War. The first part of Mike’s life was divided between the contrasting backdrops of wartime bomber bases and the peace of rural surroundings in Cornwall and later the Eastern Townships of Quebec. He was a country boy, but fascinated by words, and Arabic at Oxford put him for a while among the mighty and gave him the handful of languages that allowed him to live by his wits in those far off places from the pages of the National Geographic Magazine which had fascinated him since he was a young post-war immigrant in Canada. After University, life in the 1960s became a delicious Niagara with no bottom. He tumbled along down, happily enough, living (and the living was easy) from hand to mouth. There were things to do and places to go. He was a bottle washer, a babysitter, a bodyguard, a busker, a bum living from day to day mostly by his gift of the gab. Sometimes he even taught. In 1960, a little before everyone else did the same, he had had the accidental foresight to buy a guitar and this became his passport to vagrancy. From it came song writing and music and, in the end, the poems of wild performance art. He moved upwards from the street to bars that had chairs; from bars to folk clubs; from folk clubs to colleges. He played the Royal Albert Hall in London, appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test and made records. The early 1970s were an all night party that spilled over into the days. Afterwards he spent a lot of time on mountaintops in the lotus position ironing out the hangover. He passed the next quarter century in Canada. In tune with the solid decorum of that country, he calmed down and became a pillar of the local community. During those years, he made his living as broadcaster, children’s entertainer, puppeteer, harpist, fiddler and Celtic bandleader. He also wrote newspaper articles, continued his performance poetry and toured North and South America as the male member of an all girl harp group. For a while, he resided in Paraguay where he studied harp under the auspices of the Canada Council and got up to no good, which after Canada was a welcome change. He was dysfunctional and quite happy with the world and himself. Still, the life he had been living suddenly ended: World History gave North America a violent shaking in September 2001 and he found himself dislodged. With his Welsh and Irish roots flapping loose, he decided it was time to replant them in his native soil and he crossed back home over the Atlantic. He craved old stones. It was a blind jump into the void and he had no idea what would become of him. As it was, he landed on soft ground, which in his Clare grandmother’s language they call Bog. Now he paints and writes poetry and has returned to playing the harp and touring internationally both as a harpist and as a performance poet. He also exhibits abroad as an artist. Though he lives in the lap of what looks like a ruined countryside, the old stones are beginning to stir. After fifty years of sound and fury, he is drawing up plans for the next fifty. He has exchanged his guitar for a painter’s easel and a printing press. It seems that they too make a very good vagrant’s passport.