How Gorky's Zygotic Mynci singer Euros Childs let me glimpse the future
The brown package dropped through the letterbox last week. My name and address was written on it in awkward black felt-tip.
On the back another felt-tip, this time green, had been used to draw a seal over the flap. A green box had been shakily constructed inside on which the words National Elf had been written.
Not since my Dad sent away the coupons to get the Shredded Wheat 1970 England World Cup book had I been so excited about post.
Inside, the CD fell out alongside another hand-written note. Dear Michael, it said, here is a copy of Summer Special. I hope you like it, Euros.
Do you know what? Five days later, I'm still bowled over by the package, because it points me to something that we are in danger of losing sight of.
It tells a story of love and dedication to craft and a way we might reconnect with the things we care about. Let me quickly explain. Euros Childs is a Welsh singer. The descriptions idiosyncratic and eclectic do not come close to describing his career trajectory.
Oh, and he's a pop music genius, a disgracefully unheralded gem.
Back in the 1990s, his band, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (bear with me on this), were a staple sound on the John Peel Show.
Often singing in the Welsh language, they were a beautiful and crazy hybrid of folk and punk. Have a listen to the exquisite Spanish Dance Troupe online to hear what I mean.
For reasons that are more our fault than his, country-wide acclaim did not follow. He's now a delightful half-secret for the chosen few. But Euros isn't the sort of guy who ever imagined himself being told by Cheryl Cole that he "really nailed it" on prime-time TV.
He plays in pubs and small venues all over the place and has turned his house into a cottage industry of music. Hence the terribly-punned homemade National Elf record label.
Eight solo albums of sometimes madness, sometimes beauty have followed.
On his website, you can download them for free (he asks for a donation), or buy a CD. Hence the package last week.
Summer Special is his latest and it is wonderful.
The ever-eccentric Euros says it is his paean to Gilbert O'Sullivan and that's no bad thing. But, more importantly, he's uncompromised. By taking himself outside of the system, he has made a direct connection with the people who like his music.
He symbolises what will become an increasing return to the roots of music, free from the shackles of Cowell, Sony and big business.
His business model is a heady concoction of the new (website to communicate his music directly to his audience) and the old (remember that lovely old felt-tip?)
I've pinned that note onto the board at home. Like the hopeless fan I become in the presence of music that moves, on that day last week I felt a bit like the 15-year-old me travelling home on the bus with the new copy of Talking Heads 77 by an unknown New York band under my arm.
Give Euros a listen. I think he is the past and future of music.
Mike Gilson is Editor of the Belfast Telegraph