Jack Hayter (Hefner) is releasing a new single every month through Audio Antihero Records: Specialists in Commercial Suicide. The 405 will be running a monthly column, penned by Jack, about the series, entitled The Sisters of St. Anthony - like a track-by-track feature that takes all year - about that month’s single and exaggerated anecdotes from life on the road and his own commercial suicides.

'The Shackleton', a song about Cold War aircrafts and Jack’s lost girlfriend, is the first single in the series, featuring guest artwork from Benjamin Shaw. You can listen to the single and subscribe to the series here.

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Part 1: 'The Shackleton'

I've never written a blog, so please forgive the shaky start. I asked the great Jamie Halliday (Lord Audio Antihero) if there might be a template for this sort of enterprise and he replied, I think it will go something like:

"I am Jack Hayter, drunkard and musician blah blah. I am releasing a single a month, this is the first, this is its story, featuring blah blah...which reminds of a time that I did something awesome with famous people and it was hilarious."

As in the game of Call My Bluff, only one of those statements is completely true. It's quite likely that you won't have bothered to watch that particular TV game show. It involved one team of British upper middle-class duffers telling fables about the meaning of obscure English phrases and another team trying to figure out which of these fabrications was truth. In the days before Coldplay lyrics, this was a popular show. There was even a Finnish version called, inexplicably, In the Moonlight.

I'm not a drunkard. I don't drink for pleasure, though I can, when necessary, drink a hell of a lot and still maintain accurate legs. When I was a member of a travelling band, it was often me who got labeled as the strange, crazy, drunk, drug-fuelled womanizer, though I was probably the least rock ‘n’ roll of the four of us. And anyway, I thought that was meant to be the drummer's job.

Although Wikipedia refers to me a multi-instrumentalist, I only qualify in that I own more than one instrument. I can play four meaningful chords on each of if you include the relative minor. And much to Jamie’s chagrin, I never really met any properly famous people. I did, however, once get within six inches of Lionel Ritchie—that's how thick the brick wall was—and I did once accidentally nudge Beck into a backstage festival urinal (at least I'm pretty sure it was him), although I'm not sure he qualifies as famous. The properly famous are the people who get recognized at supermarket checkouts.

'Nuff crap about me…to business. The true statement is that I am releasing a single a month.

Ernest Shackleton was just the kind of disastrously bumbling hero that the British ruling class love: incapable of planning, feckless with money and immensely courageous. This man, two heart attacks in at the age of 48, attempted to cross Antarctica for the third time with a good supply of tobacco, some pemmican and the 25 crates of Scotch whisky he deemed adequate for modest polar exploration. This third attempt didn’t prove to be any luckier than the others; he only got as far as South Georgia, where he died of a third heart attack. He has an aeroplane named after him, as well a pub near where I live.

The first single in this series is loosely about that plane. The Avro-Shackleton had a most distinctive sound and, if you lived near the sea, you would often hear one in the dead of night as it flew out to search for Russian submarines during the Cold War. It was really a modified Lancaster bomber with double contra-rotating propellers, so it droned and rattled like nothing else. Shackletons were used up until the early ’80s, and their sound, more than anything, reminds me of being 15…out in the woods with Sally at 4 a.m., with the spectre of Mutually Assured Destruction and the wrath of her parents.

She’s gone now. In 2010, puzzled by the non-appearance of that clandestine birthday email full of news about her domestic terrors and triumphs, I searched and found nothing but an online funeral notice on an obscure local Welsh newspaper website. It's sad and it's grim…and it’s probably pretty commonplace. Fear of the bomb was a part of our youth and so, by association, we sometimes miss it. Some people might think this song is sarcastic. It's not at all.

Oh Dear…no anecdotes about the famous? Well, Sally was famous to me.

Jack Hayter