Edward Barton, Jane Lancaster and ‘Too’

It’s one of the most enduring little artifacts of early 1980s indie. ‘It’s a Fine Day’, the acapella single written by Edward Barton and sung by Jane Lancaster, is both haunting and enchanting in equal measure. Turned into a daytime Radio 1 staple after evening plays from – inevitably – John Peel, it later became the sampled source material for a deluge of 1990s dance hits: including the Pete Waterman-backed Opus III, who took it into the Top 5, and Kylie Minogue, whose 1994 No 2 hit ‘Confide In Me‘ incorporated sizeable chunks of the melody.

Edward would later claim the only section of the song not to have been sampled is the concluding line: “We will have salad”.

An album followed – the equally fragile Jane and Barton – but, after that, the duo drifted apart. Edward produced dance music himself and became an eccentric mainstay of the Manchester music scene, renowned for his house-filling collections of teddy bears and wood. In the words of Vic Reeves: “When I think, Edward Barton is what I think with”.

Jane turned away from a career in music, and instead concentrated on acting – she may even be the same Jane Lancaster who played three different parts in Coronation Street in the mid-1990s. So it came as something of a surprise when, in July 2021, I was contacted by Cherry Red Records about the release of a new album, Jane and Barton Too – their first collaboration in 38 years. And what an exquisite album it is too, with Edward’s minimalist songs of loneliness and 21st century overload sung with affecting poignancy by Jane.

Tantalisingly, I was offered an interview with them both. I was very excited.

On a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of a blistering heatwave, I called them – one after the other. Both Edward and Jane were utterly charming and delighted by my interest in the album, although Edward (assisted by his partner Daisy) was initially having trouble with an uncooperative mobile phone. Still, here’s how the conversation went…

Bob: Is the phone definitely working OK? Are you happy to chat?

Edward: Yeah, I was sounding slightly alarmed because I thought I was chained by some sort of telegraphical lead to the wall. In a very hot kitchen in front of an incandescent window. But now I can walk round the house while I talk to you…

Oh, that’s good. You’re liberated.

Yes, it means a lot to me! How are you?

I’m alright, thanks. I’ve had a quiet morning and just eaten a couple of soft boiled eggs, so I’m a happy man.

That sounds like a Japanese poem! Hang on, I’ll go into the cellar and get my landline number for you in case the battery runs out on this one. I’m not clever enough to remember any telephone numbers, apart from the one we had in Germany 47 years ago. Which was 122012, I think. My excuse is that we’ve only lived in this house for… (at this point Edward’s signal vanishes)

I’m nearly there! I’m so excited… Oh, look… I think this is our number… (he reads it out). Do you say “Zero” or “Nought” when you tell people your phone number?

I think I actually say “Oh”…

“Oh”! That’s the third one, I couldn’t think of it.

Yeah, so your phone number would start “Oh One Seven Oh Four” to me.

Or “Zero One Seven Nought Four”…

I do that, sometimes, yeah. It’s OK to combine the two, I think.  

And if you live above Watford, there are other ways of saying it. In Yorkshire, they say “Nowt”…

“Nowt One Seven Nowt Four”! That’s a proper Yorkshire phone number. I’m going to use that from now on.

(There is the sound of distant laughter)

You got a chuckle from Daisy in the kitchen, she’s from Sheffield…

I’m honoured! And I should say – congratulations on the album, it’s wonderful. How did it come about – had you and Jane always stayed in touch, or did you have to make contact with her again?

You’re going to speak to Jane in half an hour, aren’t you? I had to ring her to see if she could be arsed with interviews – and she can – but she said “What will I talk about?” I said “It’s alright, they ask the questions.”

So she said “What sort of questions do they tend to ask?” And I said “They tend to ask things like ‘How did you meet?’ or ‘How did you get back together again?’

I’m really predictable, aren’t I?

Yeah, you’ve won! And I can’t remember the answers, so there’s a good question for you to ask Jane. Already she’s ahead of me in being a useful interviewee.

You had lost touch, though?

We’d lost touch in the sense that we could have found touch quite easily, but we never did. There was 30 years worth of “What’s been happening to you, then?” catching up. It took three cups of tea. Actually, “catching up” is quite glib. 30 years doesn’t go past that easily.

How did the album come about? Had you already decided you’d like to record with her again?

I think it was Jane. But I make music all the time. So after we decided to work together, whenever I made a piece of music that was pretty I’d put it in the “Jane” file. And if it was sour, I’d think “You can have that one, Edward”. I was just being mean to myself for a year. I gave her all the tunes that people might actually like.

There are some gorgeous songs on there. ‘Late At Night’, the opening track, really spoke to me. “I take my loneliness for a walk…” Doing that, and watching trains go by from the empty streets, is pretty much my life – especially over the last year.

I’m surprised I didn’t see you when I was out! You might have had a cameo appearance in the first three-and-a-half minutes. It’s an actual route, that song. It’s Chorlton Eees. You might not know what the “Eees” are – they’re just river-y walks. There are a bunch of them in Manchester, places with “Eees” written at the end. And the irritating thing is… I used to practically live in them, and was always writing songs about the “Eees”, and people thought they were all about dropping drugs.

How is it spelt?

Just loads of “Es”! And then an “S” at the end, so that the “Es” can have a rest.

I’m just making notes here for when I type this up. How many “Es” would you recommend?

I’d go for three. I think three is standard.

There’s a gorgeous sense of silence and stillness on some of the tracks. ‘Shushy Time’ has the line “Just think of less and less and less and less and less and less…”, which spoke to me. I overthink everything and I can’t turn it off sometimes.

I can’t really take the credit for that song. When I was a shorts-clad schoolkid at the end of the 1960s, I had a teacher who – when she was particularly frazzled, or if the class was overexcited – would ask us to fold our arms and put our foreheads on our hands. Then she would just say quietening words and she, and the class, would find a minute or two of repose. I’m not sure it’s OFSTED-recommended now, but it used to work. I was quite a nasty little child, but I found it very peaceful and pleasing. She would intone her words almost religiously – it was reminiscent of prayer. The whole class would be quiet, and she would say “Can you hear the birds outside?”

So with ‘Shushy Time’, I think I was trying to resurrect those moments.

I can’t imagine you being a particularly nasty child. What was nasty about you?

I think I was quite greedy. I just wanted things to happen all the time. I think children are quite nasty. Although oddly, I get on really well with them – maybe I enjoy their nastiness.

They’ve got no filter. They don’t know they’re being especially nasty.

I like that, but I like that it stops at a certain age as well!

Are you a daytime sleeper? I get that impression from some of the lyrics.

I’m nocturnal. I try not to be, but it doesn’t work.

What time did you get up today?

I got up especially for you…

I’m so honoured! You’ve done amazingly well to sleep in this heat. I’m really struggling.

Have you got a cellar?

No. I’ve got a loft, but that’s even hotter than the rest of the house.

No, that’s terrible. Dig a hole under the house! I remember going somewhere abroad – a popular British holiday destination whose name evades me – and I remember, on the coast, it was boiling. But you could take a ride up into the mountains, and half an hour later there was snow. I thought it would be nice to have a really, really long garden stretching from the seashore to the top of that mountain. A plot of land no more than eight feet wide, and you could live any distance up it.

Brilliant! And then, if it was a ridiculously hot day, you could decide which temperature you actually wanted, and walk accordingly. So if you’re comfortable with 20 degrees centigrade, you work out how far up the garden you need to be and head to that point.

Once you get used to it, you can probably unconsciously calibrate it, so that you’re moving very slowly all the time, but remaining the same temperature.

Perfect. And what’s in your cellar? I know you’ve collected a lot of stuff over the years. Wood. And teddy bears.

Well, we’ve moved cellars now. I used to live in a Manchester cellar, but now I live in a Southport cellar. This house isn’t really ours yet, it was a hotel. And it still is, although only two people and a dog live here.

It’s not the George Hotel, is it?

I haven’t been outside, really. Is there a hotel in Southport called the George? I’ll keep a beady eye open for that.

It’s just that I know somebody who once ran the George Hotel in Southport, but I don’t think he has it any more. He used to be a footballer, he played for Middlesbrough in the 1970s and 1980s. Billy Ashcroft.

Oh, I possibly remember him. He sounds as though he played for Middlesbrough.

He was great. He played for Wrexham first.

He’d have to leave Wrexham though, because he doesn’t sound as though he played for Wrexham.

Exactly. He’s not Welsh enough. He came to Middlesbrough, and then after he retired from football he became a magician on Dutch TV.

If I wasn’t holding Daisy’s phone, I would clap!

Let’s do a silent round of applause for Billy Ashcroft. I’ll tell him about this, he’ll be thrilled! So do you still collect stuff? Do you still have all the teddy bears?

Yes, they’re in Room 12, I think. Hang on, there’s someone at the door…

(The dog barks, and I hear Edward chatting with a visitor who seems to want to buy unused wood from the converted hotel)

Sorry, that was someone trying to de-collect me!

What were they after?

My workbench, which is outside.

I was really hoping it was someone delivering teddy bears. We need a 24-hour teddy bear delivery service. Like pizza.

I don’t want any more! The incessant chatter… it’s like the woods are getting smaller and the bears are getting bigger…

How many of them are there in Room 12?

(At this point, Edward shouts into the kitchen) Daisy, how many teddy bears have we got? (She doesn’t know) If you put “Edward Not Edward” into Instagram, you can see some of the teddy bears in their new conservatory.

Have you still got lots of wood as well?

I’ve got lots of everything! That’s one of the main reasons I moved. I couldn’t see the wood…

…for the trees?

Exactly! I should have farted an ellipsis there.

Feel free if you’ve got one coming…

I can always manage one, but three in row – that’s professional farting. Imagine being able to punctuate with farts properly, so you have significantly different farts for colons – if you’ll pardon the pun – and semi-colons.

I don’t know if you have plans for the next album, but I’ll now be sorely disappointed if there isn’t some flatulent punctuation on it.

I think that goes in the “sour” pile…

God yes, don’t give that to Jane! Can I ask some questions that have always intrigued me? I’ve read a lot about your various adventures over the years. Where did you kick Bono from U2, and why?

I used to live in Hulme, very near the Poly, and I knew lots of people who went there. And a fairly unknown band called U2 were playing. Somebody used to give me free tickets, so I’d go and see bands that I didn’t know. Sometimes that’s very rewarding, and sometimes the opposite.

I really didn’t like U2, but I liked to have a good look at all the bands. For some reason they’d put scaffolding all round the hall, so I climbed on that to get a better view. And then, during the next song, I realised it was there so Bono could clamber around it and sing from on high. He was coming towards me on the scaffolding, and he realised I was in his way. So he was singing, in that magnificent Olympic way, and the hand that wasn’t holding the microphone was making little “go away” movements, like a wounded bird. I didn’t want to, and he came very, very close. At this point he wasn’t singing. Occasionally he doesn’t, and other people are allowed to make some kind of musical noise.

He told me to get out of the way and he came towards me. So I kicked him. And then he went back to the stage the other way round.

Is it possible to pinpoint where the blow actually landed? In my head, it was a proper boot up the arse.

It was one of those kicks where you lift your leg, and strike with the heel of your shoe on the thigh.

I remember Graeme Souness making similar challenges in the late 1970s.

Oh, he would have done it really well. He would probably have transferred Bono to the scaffolding on the other side. I merely caused him to look sad and wounded, and disappear back to the stage. Graeme could have stopped him singing permanently.

I’m now trying to work out whether Graeme Souness and Billy Ashcroft played for Middlesbrough at the same time. I think they possibly did, but I’ll look into it. (NB: They did, for the opening few months of the 1977/78 season)

We might have the whole of the team by the end of the conversation!

I’ll throw in David Hodgson while we’re at it. He was a good player as well. Sorry, I didn’t meant to get onto Middlesbrough’s team of the 1970s, it just happens sometimes. Did you ever get to meet Pete Waterman to say thankyou for Opus III’s cover of ‘It’s A Fine Day’? Or, indeed, to tell him off for it…

I didn’t. But I did get to spend two days in his son’s studio, and Pete Waterman rang up and shouted at him quite loudly.

For any particular reason?

I try not to listen to other people’s phone calls, so I don’t know why father was cross and son was distressed.

That can happen between fathers and sons, I guess.

Oh, I didn’t argue with my Dad much – I just told him what to do!

I assume you’ve never had any contact with Kylie Minogue either?

You’d be right there, although I was once in the same room as her clothes buyer. It was my friend Tracey’s living room in Norris Green, in Liverpool. He’d come to visit. So it was just her friend coming around and talking about his job really – among other subjects and cups of tea – and then it was “By the way, this is Edward…”

That’s nearly meeting Kylie. That’s like Six Steps to Kevin Bacon.

Yeah, six elegant David Mills-type steps.

Oh, he was a fine Middlesbrough player…

That’s why I chose him for the elegant steps! I can get the goalkeeper as well, after that it’s probably your job to flesh out the rest of the team.

Go on, then.

Northern Ireland’s finest. Jim Platt.

I know Jim a little bit. He’s a gentleman, Jim Platt.

Gentleman Jim Platt! Purveyor of fisticuffs in 1835. Regency prize-fighter! I used to watch Crystal Palace…

Are we talking Clive Allen-era here?

I’m a little bit earlier than that. Steve Kember. I liked supporting the team with possibly the best name of any in England. It’s hard to think of one better.

It has fantastical qualities, hasn’t it? I mean, I know it’s an actual place, but a “crystal palace” – that’s like a fairytale football team.

Yes, and I always thought Queen of the South took the Scottish award.

I’ve been to a Queen of the South home match, they got beat 5-1 by Falkirk. It was a bit less romantic than I expected it to be. Sorry, I realise I’m just rambling here… I should probably phone Jane soon. Here’s a curious thing – I read your Wikipedia entry last week, and there seemed to be some uncertainty as to whether you once played guitar with Tears For Fears on Wogan. It had “citation needed” added to it. But when I checked again today, it says you definitely did!

That’s odd! That must have been altered by the last interviewer. She was very curious about that. And I told her it was on Youtube. She said she’d seen it, she just didn’t believe it was me.

It’s quite a fuzzy clip.

The producer was quite cross that such a funny-looking man was present on primetime TV, and instructed the cameraman to keep away from me. Inevitably, seeing as I was there holding a guitar onstage, I do feature. But if they could have pixellated my face in 1989, they would have done.

Are you on the Sowing The Seeds Of Love album, as well then?

No, just that appearance! That was the only time I ever played with Tears for Fears. They weren’t pleased with their usual guitarist, and they wanted somebody good.

I once played bass guitar onstage with John Power of The La’s, and Cast. I’ve never played bass guitar at all, at any other point of my life, before or since.

That’s good! If we can get that into Latin, you could put that on your gravestone.

How would you translate “The La’s” into Latin?

I think you just put “-ium” at the end of every word, so it would be “Lasium”.

We should talk about Cherry Red as well – your original record label! Is it nice to be back working with them?

Yes, there’s enough of the 1970s and 1980s left in them to make it pleasurable. There’s Ian, who owns the label – I don’t know exactly what he does, but he’s the one who cleans the top windows! And the other chaps seem very nice. It’s quite strange to be with a record company again after spending a lot of time in the cellar. It’s slightly less lonely having other people around…

And one last thing… I put on Twitter today the clip of you on the The Tube in 1986, performing ‘I’ve Got No Chicken But I’ve Got Five Wooden Chairs’. And it seemed to make quite a lot of people go incredibly misty-eyed. I just wondered if you had any nice memories of coming over to Newcastle for that?

Yes! I’ve actually got a blog, and I’ve got a feeling the first entry is about me and The Tube. There’s a whole slew of regurgitated memories! I remember odd things, like finding a really long length of creosoted rope under a bridge. Then taking it on the train, and not realising how much it stank until it was in a confined space.

Creosote was once used to clear the lungs of children, wasn’t it? They were encouraged to stand next to creosoted fences if they had a cough. It acted as an expectorant.

Yes, I always have a creosote ice lolly before I go onstage. That’s a fib, you know that don’t you? People do actually believe singers…

I write for ladies a lot of the time, so I spend a lot of time nearly being a lady. I’m writing at the moment for a band called Hann, and I really like everyone in the band. Hannah the singer is in her late 20s, so I spend quite a lot of time writing songs that I think a female human in their late 20s could get away with singing. She did say to me about three months ago: “Can you write a song in which no-one hits anyone?” So I said “Yes, I can definitely do that.” The last single was called ‘Daddy’s Drugs’, and I didn’t think they’d be able to play that on the radio, but Gideon Coe played it a lot. The other side was called ‘Essential Travel Only’ – and he played that as well! The important thing is… nobody gets hit in either song.

And will you work with Jane again, do you think?

There’s probably half an album nearly ready. It took two years to do ‘Too’, but then COVID started. So we had a pow-wow, and decided that instead of choosing the twelve best songs, we’d just choose the twelve most finished. So there’s quite a lot of stuff that just needs a bit of work, then it’ll be ready.

I like writing for Jane, she’s a brainy singer.

And with that, I said goodbye to Edward and immediately called Jane. She seemed much more confident that her phone’s battery would hold out until the end of the conversation, and was genuinely thrilled that I’d listened to and liked the album. Here’s how our chat panned out…

Bob: I asked Edward about you getting back in touch again, and he said you were a better person to ask! So can you tell the story?

Jane: That’s funny! I remember it vividly, and I know exactly what happened. I’d wanted to get back in touch with him for years, but I was too scared. I just wasn’t confident enough. I thought “Oh no, he wouldn’t want to work with me now…” – you know when you think you just don’t deserve things? We’d lost touch, and it just went on and on.

And then one day, around 2005, I bumped into him. I don’t know if he remembers this, but I was having a really horrible time. I wanted to move to America, but I met him by chance outside a school in Chorlton. We were both there waiting for children, and I went “Oh my God… Ed?”

I suppose that was my first chance to ask him, but I was just really suffering. I did say “It would be nice to maybe do something sometime…” and he said “Look me up, I’m in the Yellow Pages under Abbatoirs”.

You know what he’s like. But I looked it up – and he was. I called the number, and nothing came of it. And I did move to America. But many years after that, I came back to England and was at a reunion in Chorlton, with lots of friends from when I was a teenager. I got talking to one guy, and told him I was Jane from ‘It’s A Fine Day’. And he said “Oh, I know Ed…”

I said “I’d love to reconnect with him and make music with him again – but I don’t dare”. He said “He’s on Facebook, just go and find him”.

So I did. After all those years. Next minute, I was round his house and we were off. And it was so natural. As though we’d never stopped.

So apart from that chance meeting in 2005, you hadn’t kept in touch at all?

Not since we made the first album. We did it when I was at drama school, and I just wanted to be an actress. I didn’t think about anything coming from that album, so we just drifted apart.  

But it sounds like it niggled away at you over the years?

It did. I thought “What a shame we didn’t do more…”

How did the acting career pan out?

I didn’t really like the acting world, to be honest. I did it for a long time… I was at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and I’ve worked at the National. It was mainly theatre, but I don’t know… I never got on with that whole world. And I think I’ve got a nice voice, so it always seemed daft that we hadn’t carried on.

So when you reconnected, was it always with the intention of making music again?

Yeah, I contacted him specifically for that. I messaged him on Facebook and said “Hi, it’s Jane… I’m living back in Manchester now”. I’d been back in England for two or three years at that point, so I said “If you ever want to do any more music…”

He got straight back to me and said “Yeah, come over!”. So I went to his house, started singing, and he said “This is great… let’s do it”. So we did!

Then, for about two years, I’d drive over every week, and we just worked on songs as he presented them to me. And after three hours I’d say “Right, I’ve had enough now – I want my tea!” But I just kept going, because it was nice to do. It never felt like “Come on, we need to get an album out”. He’d sometimes apologise and say “Sorry it’s so slow, Jane” – but it was fine! I was enjoying myself.

It’s nice that you did it in person. I wasn’t sure if it was a remote lockdown project where you’d never actually met.

No, it was before all that. But now you bring it up, I wish he’d never moved to frigging Southport. He wants to do another album, but I’m like – “I’m not driving out to bleeding Southport every week”. I hate driving! [Laughs].

Why, where are you living now?

I’m in Derbyshire, a bit out in the countryside. My husband’s American, so I’ve brought him out here. 

Make Ed come to you, then…

Yeah, but he’s got the studio!

Ah! That might be a problem. So has he changed over the years?

Ed? No way has he changed! Not at all. He’s exactly the same. He’s such an eccentric. If you saw his house, oh my God…

He was saying that he lives in a hotel, and that his teddy bears have taken over Room 12.

He does. He’s bought a hotel. And they will have done! He’s got so many teddy bears. Honestly, his old house in Chorlton – if you walked down the street, you’d know it was his. There was no other house like it… all the stuff that was outside it. And it was the same with his flat in Hulme in the 1980s.

I’m guessing there are just collections of odd things everywhere?

Yeah. It’s like he lives in another world. It’s amazing. I remember, a couple of years ago, I was at his house and I was sitting in an old-fashioned metal office chair. And he was talking about needing a new rug to go underneath it. I said “I’ve got a rug you can have if you want it…”

He just looked at me at said “Jane… no”. It couldn’t just be any old rug, it had to be something specific. What was I thinking? He needed the perfect rug… it would be tattier than the rug I was going to give him, but it would be tatty in the exactly the way he needed it to be.

How did you first meet back in the early 1980s?

I was at drama school in Manchester, and Gabriel – a boy that became my boyfriend – knew him. It was one of those funny, coincidental, serendipitous things. Gabriel had heard Ed say that he needed a singer. I think he was just trying to get off with me, but he said “You can sing, can’t you?” I said “Yeah…” I was 21 or 22. And I fancied Gabriel, so it was a good way for us to connect!

He took me over to meet Ed, and I started working with him. And then me and Gabriel started going out, so it was all very exciting. Basically, Ed just wanted me to do the one song – ‘It’s A Fine Day’. He was an artist really, and he wanted to include that song as part of an art project. So I did it, forgot about it, and then one day I was walking down the corridor and somebody came up and said “I’ve just heard your record on the radio”.

I said “What? You’ve not…”

I had no idea it would end up on Radio 1. I thought it would just be in some package going to arty-farty people! I became really quite a star at drama school… it was so exciting!

So was it John Peel that first played it on the radio?

I think so, yes. And Kid Jensen.

Ah, Peel’s show was on straight after Kid Jensen’s and they were good mates. I bet Peel gave him a copy.

Ah! I also remember driving along, and it came on one of the main daytime programmes. Everyone was hearing it. My Dad was a builder, and people would come up and say “Eh, I’ve just heard your Jane’s song on the radio!” It was starting to get played quite a lot.

The daytime DJ said “That reminds me of that ‘O Superman’ song”, which was out at the time as well. He said “It’s going to be a big hit or a big flop. But it’s definitely got something going for it…”

And I remember sitting there thinking “This is so exciting!”

Did you start to wonder about Top of the Pops?

Not really, I was just so shocked! The problem was that it wasn’t in the shops to buy. Ed got some vinyl singles made himself. About 100 of them to put in his artwork, and he sent them to DJs. And John Peel started to play it… but it wasn’t in the shops to buy. All the copies he’d made, he sent out! It probably would have gone into the charts really high if it had actually been in the shops.

He got quickly signed up with Cherry Red, but by the time they got it released, it was about three weeks too late. It got to No 68 in the charts… and No 5 in the indie charts – I didn’t even know what they were! But the great thing was – one day, I was in Manchester shopping with my Mum and my sister, and they had HMV on one side and Virgin Records on the other. So I went in, and said “Can I buy ‘It’s a Fine Day’ by Jane, please?” And they had all their singles on the wall, and it was “Sorry love, it’s sold out…”

Then I went across to the other one, and they said the same! It was so cool. That’s a nice memory.

I wondered if you had any memories of making the album as well – isn’t Andy Connell from A Certain Ratio on it?

Yes, Andy was my friend. I knew him from being 13. We were best friends for a good few years, and he played the piano on a couple of tracks.

Where did your musical adventures take you from there? I found a 12” single from the late 1980s called ‘Lovely and Chicken’.

Not that I did…? That’s probably Ed.

I wonder if he used samples of you…

Oh, my voice got sampled on loads of stuff! Which is really nice. Young kids know songs that I’ve been sampled on!

I wondered how you felt when Opus III had a big hit with their version of ‘It’s A Fine Day’.

That was a bit weird. I think at the time I was a bit… “Oh, we can’t we do stuff together again?” Which we probably could have done, had I approached him. But I was a bit… what’s the word? A bit jealous, really.

But she looked the part so much more than me! She looked great, that girl. She was beautiful and cool, and she knew how to do it. She contacted me… she’s called Kirsty. Only in the last two or three years. I was in Anglesea with my husband, walking down the Menai Straits, and my mobile rang. I said “Who’s this?” and she said “I’m the girl from Opus III…”

And she was just really sweet with me! Really nice. She said she just wanted to contact me and say how grateful she was. I think she might have felt a bit guilty! So we made friends. A couple of years ago I was really ill, and she said “Go and do some forest bathing, Jane… that’ll really help you”. So I went and sat in the woods!

Is that actual, literal bathing, or just bathing in the glory of the woods?

I googled it. I think it comes from Japan – it’s like going in the sea, but you go in the forest instead. You just find a spot where there’s nobody around, and sit there. You bathe in the trees. I did do it one day, and I really enjoyed it! I just found a quiet little nook where nobody else would find me, and I sat there. It was really, really nice.

And how long did your acting career last?

Until I was about 40. Then I got divorced, and went on that adventure to America, and I ended up staying there. I did bits and pieces of acting over there, and some directing – but not much. I met my new husband there, then came back… but I’ve been quiet since then, really.

Is any of your acting or directing on Youtube?

I don’t think so. I hope not!

So Edward mentioned that you’ve got half the next album pretty much done, is that right?

I think so, yeah. There are a few songs that are half-done as well. He’s so clever, that guy. I’m amazed by his talent. Having not been near him for so many years, and being old enough now to appreciate him… to be honest, when we did the first album together, I was so bloody obsessed with Gabriel that I didn’t really take much notice of Ed. Whenever we were in the recording studio, Gabriel would be there, and I’d be “Oh, Gabriel…” [Laughs] But this time, I was just so impressed by Ed. It was just really great to be creative again with him.

I just wish he hadn’t moved to Southport…

Please find a way around it! I want to hear another album.

[Laughs] That’s great!

I like pop music, but with an oddness to it. And with a heart and soul.

Well, he’s such a poet. He’s got a nice way of seeing things. I can’t explain it, there’s just something about him that’s quirky as hell. He has a really lovely way of looking at life.

Jane and Barton Too is out now, and available here: