Meet Bernie Sizzey (aka Bernie aka Solitaire): mental patient, transvestite, drug user, coprophiliac, and, more importantly, singer/guitarist/keyboardist/ lo-fi home recorder and songwriter for 30 years now of everything from instrumental ambient space-rock, to unrepentant lysergic trip-outs, to confessional ballads detailing his life in catchy, upbeat songs that are never feeling sorry for themselves. He hasn't been dealt the best hand in life, but you won't hear him complain. (Well, unless maybe he runs out of pot.) He was discovered by electronic/experimental musician Lee Ashcroft, whom some of you mashup fans may remember as Mixomatosis. Lee writes: I have my friends at Colchester Arts Centre to thank for introducing me to Bernie's world. It was 2005, years before I'd heard the term outsider music, and I went to see Matt Elliott from Third Eye Foundation live. Leaving the venue I walked past a table full of hand-made CD-Rs. Stained by tobacco and cannabis smoke and leaves, they each bore the name Bernie Sizzey. Bernie was nowhere to be seen but, after being told the Arts Centre was the only reliable place to find these discs (a fact that remains to this day - you won't find him on Bleep.com), I was told to help myself. Few others did. This was raw, powerful music. Through the haze of psychedelia, it seemed that one man had encompassed pop, rock, trance and hip-hop into a single, unique sound. At one moment he could be rapping about the Avon lady, the next singing a bal...
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