Of course, I had heard 'Lost Johnny' on Hawkwind's 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill' LP, and was thrilled when Lemmy took it into Motorhead on the Chiswick Records first album, and also during their live shows.
The lyrics were rather like Pete Brown's, who wrote for Cream, in that each line threw a vast cinematic image into your mind illustrating such a strange and quirky story.
At Poole Arts Centre on the 1980 Ace Of Spades UK tour, backstage with Philthy and Lemmy, a paperback novel with the name 'Mick Farren' on the cover, caught my eye in the dressing room. "Ah, is this the Lost Johnny guy?" I asked. "Yes," Lemmy nodded, "and he's pretty good. That one's part of a (DNA Cowboys) trilogy." I picked it up and had a look at the synopsis on the back cover, thinking that if it was anything as good as his lyric, then it would be worth getting.
But trying to find Farren's books was not easy locally, and with no Internet, a couple of the member's of the fan club began finding one or two for me, like 'The Tale Of Willy's Rats' and 'The Texts Of Festival.' The Farren bug had bitten.
Always one to enjoy hunting for records and books in the shops, the Farren book collection gradually increased over the years. But they were always paperbacks, not complaining, but certain authors are collectable, and the cover artwork on Mick's books were always great, and would have been worth the extra cost. But it seemed as if he was a straight-to-paperback author, but better to be in print as a paperback than not. The hardbacks arrived eventually via the Internet with the Victor Renquist quartet of vampire novels, (the best vampire books ever, forget the other 'best selling' pretenders), which was quite a thrill.
Eventually, via a connection made with Farren at a London gig by Mick Stevenson, we conducted a fan club interview via a sheet of questions and a blank cassette, which he cheerfully recorded and answered from his then home in New York. But again, the Internet won the battle with Farren's Doc40 blog, where fans and admirers could email him. We got on well, but never met in the flesh, and I felt thrilled after reading 'Kindling' and 'Conflagration,' (his parallel world pairing, in which history is different due to the lack of the invention of the internal combustion engine; tanks driven by steam engine style devices, etcetera,) and commenting that I had smiled at his 'Bowie' knife to a 'Jones' knife parallel twist, he said, "Well, thanks, so far you are the only one who has noticed my tongue-in-cheekiness."
Mick Farren, rather like Lemmy Kilmister and Charles Shaar Murray of the same generation, had and have an amazing capacity of intelligence, and if the 'rock 'n' roll rebel' bug not bitten them, in another parallel world they could have been statesmen, presidents, prime ministers, or anything they wished, but thankfully they gave the hippie/rock/metal/sci-fi generation their all, for which I thank them.