Mark Knopfler was beginning to see that I could write lyrics, as I had written Down South Again (Southbound Again), Sultans of Swing, Water of Love and most of Brothers in Arms, before asking me to write In the Gallery. John Illsley who was somewhere in the house in Deptford and had taken no part in the writing, suddenly made his presence felt, by taking an interest in what was going on, as Mark Knopfler and I thought out another theme for a lyric.
I asked Illsley where it was we had met, earlier on that day. Hence the introduction of Angellucci’s, but his interest vanished at (I saw you walking out Shaftesbury Avenue), and that was his total part in the creation of the lyrics that went into the Dire Straits Album. And yet the story is about our meeting earlier that day, that planted the seed that would propel Dire Straits the band, into what Illsley later told me was an illusion, some illusion.
With Mark Knopfler’s genius on guitar, good lyrics, written by yours truly, and I suppose a hell of hard work by the other members of the band, if that’s what is called an illusion, I’d agree. If it was the meeting of a guitar prodigy, and a damn good poet, suffering for their art, in the cut throat business of entertainment, and together breaking into the gallery by a bit of magic, I’d have to go with that. This extract is taken from Robert Marshal’s novel National Dried Milk.