It was hurriedly recorded immediately after I wrote it (witness some bum notes with the lead line and buggering up the harmonies at the end) and never tidied up, so I don’t think we ever gigged it.
You come to me quietly as rain that’s not yet fallen.
Your currency is urgency, your pockets full of beauty.
You carry no enquiries when you come around calling
for an instant from the routine and desire derived from duty.
And your lover tells you that he loves you,
and you owe him imaginary debts.
So you go and do the things you feel you must do
and return to the silence, half-clouded in regrets;
oh, my lover, the rain’s not fallen yet.
You come to me gently as the bulbs that have not broken
out into the sunlight, and then when you start to flower
you sing to me reluctantly like it’s a song that you’ve not chosen;
But the tune is as pure and simple as the fading of the hours.
There are people who say I push too hard in questions:
they don’t give answers precise enough to hold.
I saw your sister, the one that steals all your inventions,
on the last day of summer before the season turned too cold.
An early 90s live (and unusually mellow) version of a song I wrote about someone who wasn’t called Jacqueline. In fact, while writing the song its working title was “Marigold Says” until I settled on “Jacqueline” because (a) it scans and (b) the only Jacqueline I knew was Jackie Foster at school, and I quite fancied her. (“Caroline” was another possibility, as it also scanned and I fancied Caroline Fowles, but that bastard Lou Reed had already recorded “Caroline Says”.)
Jaqueline wants, so Jacqueline gets.
How long she’ll keep it for is anyone’s guess.
Mary gets drunk, Mary gets to her knees
She never wants the things that you know she needs.
I am sick and tired of you coming round
And falling down and going home.
I’m sick of getting no response.
Won’t you tell me what Jacqueline wants.
Mary should know but it’s been a long time
And you soon forget those once-intimate signs.
Jacqueline wrote, and Jacqueline said
“I drown as the world comes round and fucks up my head”.
She said “You are you and I am me;
what other way could it be?”
I might have thought differently once”
Won’t you tell me what Jacqueline wants.
I recall the boys in the band taking the piss out of me for “going all prog rock” on account of a D diminished chord in the chorus.
Here’s the normal, rawer (and worse recorded) rehearsal version.
Down at my Dad’s house, I found some old cassettes of demos I made in the early 90s. So bad luck, blog watchers; expect to find the tech content of this blog spoiled with hissy wow-and-fluttery vanity posts.
Anyway, here’s one of the favourite songs I wrote during that period. I was obsessed with TS Eliot’s poem Marina, a monologue inspired by Shakespeare’s Pericles. So I ripped that off, nicked a line or two from The Waste Land, pinched a bit of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and, while the literary store detective was looking the other way, ran off with a bit of Dylan Thomas too.
It’s a 4-track demo, hastily recorded in order to test out the harmonies swirling in my head, and the cassette suffers from being in a cupboard for 20 years, but maybe you’ll like it.
I’m a ship becalmed after stormy seas.
You’ve been silver and green;
I love you best now for your clarity.
You sing to me in sharpened keys.
You bring me emeralds and harmonies.
I will be here for you if you’ll be here for me
Sometimes, the tide turns
and everything becomes monochrome.
Your wet hair dries in the warm sea breeze.
Lie still and dream
Of the mountains – there you feel free.
Sail across still memories
Under sleep where all the waters meet.
This music crept upon the water to me
I’m a machine
Powered by your electricity.
You ebb and flow with melody;
You bring me emeralds and energy.
What seas, what shores,
what great rocks?
Sieze what’s yours;
What grey rocks?
What islands? What water laps at the bow?
The sea’s daughter, you ebb and you flow;
The sea’s daughter, in emerald green;
The sea’s daughter, my Aquamarine.
Lie still, be calm, and dream.
O my daughter.
A decade later, my wife had a dream of a baby girl swimming to her through water so took a pregnancy testing kit the same day. 8 months later, our daughter was born. We named her Marina.
A tune by Shez, which we recorded on our ever first day in a recording studio back in 1991.
I rather regret that the lyrics I wrote were pretty shit, and my multi-tracked guitars at the end are way too overpowering. Neither is it helped by the fact that the engineer managed to mic up the drums to sound like Andy Cope was hitting a wet cardboard box with a fish.
But I still quite like my trademark dirty guitar solo, with the feedback squeak as it goes back into the melody, and Shez’s bassline rocks, especially when he goes into the descending alternate riff at the end.
The guys in the band challenged me to write a vaguely happy song, so this song celebrates a midsummer’s day when I sat at twilight watching a dozen hot-air balloons fly low overhead, while smoking a spliff with sexy Sangeeta.
Shez plays bass; Nick Sherrard on lead guitar; Andy Cope on drums, soundman Paul Williams displays his unerring sense of rhythm on tambourine. Bruce on vocals and rhythm guitar; Andy and Shez on backing vocals. Written and recorded some time in 1991.
Woh!! Teenage – or rather, early twenties, angst. There was half an hour at the end of a long recording session so we quickly did this – and kept it, sandpaper throat, microphone pops and all, due to our being out of time and money. It was a staple of the live set, the rest of the band nicknaming the song “One for the ladies” due to its popularity with the girls in the audience.
Shez on bass, Bruce on guitar and overdubbed lead guitar, Andy Cope on moral support.
Kitty Fisher was a lover of Charles I. "Kitty Fisher’s Locket" was an old English folk song that I’d heard of (it was a rude song, as locket was slang for vagina). I never found the original words or tune, so wrote my own. Alison Eglinton sings double-tracked vocals, I play double-tracked guitars and a bit of keyboard.
(Here’s the demo version, recorded on a rainy Sunday afternoon as I was writing it, with me on vocals and double-tracked acoustic guitar:
So a mate of mine, Bruce, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 by Libby Purves the other day, and asked me to burn a CD of the interview. While doing so, I hit upon the idea of splicing up some of the dialogue and making a dance song that had Libby mocking the size of mate’s dick. I don’t usually like dance music (cos it’s piss-easy to make) but I’m rather proud of this!
The tune was written 5 years before the lyrics came together, the title stolen and song inspired by TS Eliot’s La Figlia che Piange. Alison Eglinton sings vocals, I play guitar. It was done in 1 take, except the final 5 bars (which we got wrong), then 1 take for the guitar overdubs.
From Ocean To Sky” was written when I’d been reading a lot on Pythagoras’ discoveries of the mathematics of music and the mathematical foundations of Da Vinci’s paintings. I’ve always wished I could draw or paint. The long outro didn’t work as I’d hoped; the first take had some screaming feedback guitar for the last 45 seconds which the engineer’s son accidentally taped over when he was pissed. Ah well. Vox are Bruce and Alison, quad-tracked harmonies so there’s never a breathing space in the vocal lines; violin by Naomi Cooper. Guitars and keyboards by Bruce.