New Kevin Ayers book out in November

Kevin Ayers in New York, February 1977
(Image credit: Michael Putland \/ Getty Images)

Cult Canterbury legend Kevin Ayers is to be celebrated in a new book, Shooting At The Moon: The Collected Lyrics Of Kevin Ayers which collects together his lyrics alongside pages form his notebooks, exclusive photographs and even the odd recipe.

"My father never had the desire to create a ‘music career’. Instead, he was busy synthesising his daily experiences into songs full of wit, poignant insights and whimsy," Galen Ayers tells Prog. "It has taken me the best part of 5 years to get Kevin’s musical legacy in order, and this book is set to be the crown jewel of the estate… Editing and curating this book I revisited, remembered and clarified many ‘unsolved mysteries’ that were missing in my understanding of my father’s life-narrative, and this has proven both transformative and necessary."

Ayers was a member of original Canterbury band The Wilde Flowers alongside Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper and Richard Sinclair, before forming Soft Machine with Mike Ratledge and Daevid Allen, later of Gong. He began his solo career with 1969's Joy Of A Toy and continued releasing albums, 15 in total, up until 2007's critically acclaimed Unfairground. John Peel once famously declared that Ayers' talent was "so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it", which famed NME journalist Nick Kent once said of him, "Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett were the two most important people in British pop music. Everything that came after came from them." Ayers died in 2013, aged 68.

Shooting At The Moon: The Collected Lyrics Of Kevin Ayers is released through Faber Music on November 29.

Kevin Ayers

(Image credit: Faber Music)
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.