VPO home   Orchestration   Recording   Editing
Line of notes with lyrics underneath

(notepad and pen)LYRIC SESSIONS

This page lists lyric writing sessions. It does not explain how to write lyrics [this is an external link, although I have done some work on a presentation on how to write songs].
Lyric writing sessions these days always come first, with the orchestration then being built around the lyric, sometimes after a long interval. There have even been odd lyrics that were never written as songs, or where work on the song at some point was abandoned. Look for these titles later in the orchestration or recording session lists. The actual lyrics themselves do not appear on this website. They have appeared in print only in CD booklets with copies of CDs made by me, except for any songs currently posted on my Broadjam listing, or possibly on My Space, which will have lyrics listed there.

21/8/14 - Planning blues. Written during a long exchange of emails and phone calls with the planning department. I got very frustrated about it. After a while I realised that there would probably be a lyric in it. A little while later I sat down at the dining room table to write it. As usual I wrote the verses first, then the choruses, then the middle 8. It wasn't difficult, it just came, two or three lines at a time. It probably took 25 or 30 minutes. 

13-14/7/14 - (All my) tomorrows. Written during a long weekend trip to Hythe (Romney Marsh), this is quite heartfelt and romantic, though it does have some frustration in it.

31/5-1/6/14 - The Hokey Croaky. This is vintage me, completely off the wall and full of wry black humour. The gist of it is that people with illnesses routinely get the brush-off from doctors, and some of them may actually be more ill than the doctors realise. I think it was a delayed reaction to someone at work who was always going on about machines (such as PCs) being "The Hokey Cokey 4000" which is allegedly an improved model from "The Hokey Cokey 2000". I think the point he was making was that salesmen (sometimes) tell complete rubbish to sell things if they think the prospective buyer doesn't know any better. The lyric is partly based on "The Hokey Cokey" reportedly written around 1940 though who by seems to be disputed. There seem to be various theories about what the original lyric was actually about. The earliest known version of it seems to go back even further, to 1857 and a song then called "Right Elbow In".

17/5(?)/14 - It isn't. This odd lyric appears to be the first one that responds directly to fans who have been very kind about my music. It expresses an ambition to write better material though an acknowledgement that at the time I work on any one song, I do the best I can on it.

29/4-2/5/14 - C'est La Vie (That's bloody life). This was triggered by another song by someone else that prompted me to write a spoof. I haven't been able to trace the original, though the rhythm of much of what I wrote is the same as the other song so you might spot which one it was. I vaguely remember something about someone starting a rock and roll band, but I can't now find it. It isn't the one by Boston, or Van Morrison.

26-28/4/14 - Thomas Island. Written in Canada, this is about a convict pondering on his past and his present. It was started in a car park, while Oona was in some official office on Vancouver Island sorting out some paperwork. The name is fictitious. As far as I can find out via an Internet search, there isn't any island with this name, nor apparently any other song with this title. I don't know where I got the name from. It just came to me and felt right. I remember sitting in the car looking across at the trees waving in the breeze, and lots of it just came to me. I finished it later.

22/4/14 - No matter. Written in Canada, this is a parent [obviously not me, as I have no children] talking about an estranged son, but also the somehow unbreakable bond that still exists no matter how estranged the son becomes.
(I'm only) killing time. This is a kind of north American small town mining type song, possibly triggered by Alberta which struck me as somewhat brown and industrial.

12/4/14 - Dream on. Written in Canada, this is another one triggered by Hugh Lawrie, this time Changes which was itself originally based on an existing tune. Partly I wrote it because I was niggled that Changes seemed a bit light on lyrics and that Allan Price [who wrote it] should have done more with it. When it eventually gets orchestrated I will of course be using my own tune, not the same one as Price.

14/4/14 - Biscuit Shovel. This was a spoof Hugh Lawrie lyric. I had been due to play in a chess match, which had been rearranged as the other team hadn't turned up before. I went out to play at the rearranged match, and after some pacing up and down and reading a book, they didn't turn up again [If you're wondering, some while later it was re-arranged a second time, and this time they did turn up]. I drove back home, listening to a Hugh Lawrie CD. A little while later, while idly thinking about it, I thought maybe I could write a spoof of that kind of lyric basically taking the mickey, and it just came. I don't know why I called the character Biscuit Shovel, the line just came to me (as so many have)... "There's a man called Biscuit Shovel, he's got the blues..."

7/4/14 - Immigration shuffle. It was wet one lunchtime at work, so I sat on a bench rather than go for my customary walk. I thought that it would be a good opportunity to write a lyric, but that there was nothing particularly that I wanted to say. Then I thought idly of having had my hair cut a couple of days earlier by a Russian, who had told me that her best friend was a Czech. Then, almost without effort, it started coming... "I heard it from a Russian, that he'd heard from a Ukranian, who said that he had got it from a Pole..."

30/3/14 - Listen up. Written at Newquay. Triggered by an absolutely awful band who were performing in a local pub, this is an irritated plea for popular bands to do something decent for a change.

30/3/14 - Messin' 'round. Written at Newquay. Triggered by some street musicians who were playing bluesy - R&B stuff. I recorded them for a while. After they stopped I wandered off up the street looking for Ellen. I was idly playing with tunes in my head, thinking about how a tune like that might sound, and a vaguely R&B type lyric started coming.

28/3/14 - The day I wrote this song. Written at Newquay. We were at a cafe round the side from a courtroom tourist attraction. They were playing music. I think it must have been a 70s CD. One of the songs was about a river in the USA, though I found out later that it had been written by a Dutchman. Apparently he in turn was inspired by a song about a US state recorded by a British band. The Dutchman's song, written in English, was almost a requiem for a style of music that was passing, and referred neatly to itself in terms of what the writer would always feel every time they the song. It was a good song, and apart from how catchy it was I also liked the circularity. I decided to write something along similar lines, and this was the result. In it the narrator reflects on various things that happened after he wrote the song containing the reflections.

21(?)-26/2/14 - Dog gone. This peculiar lyric of a vaguely country style came from one line. It will probably get tweaked before it gets recorded.

28/12/13-7/1/14 - One too many mornings. This rather Neil Diamond-esque title came to me when I woke up one morning. Ellen thought it was a bit too maudlin, but then she hadn't read the lyric. I tried not to make it too gloomy.

22/10/13 - Some dreams come true. Triggered oddly enough by something I said. I sort of heard myself say it and realised that there was a lyric in it. Likely to be used on Optimism.

11/10/13 - If I died. The narrator is pondering on whether there is any point to living and whether ending his existance would be better. Likely to be used on Times past.

15/9/13 - (Don't tell me) how I feel. This was triggered by something someone said. It has a troubled, uneasy feel.

13-14/8/13 - The stuff of dreams - about an actual fictional character, not Jason Bourne but that kind of character. Written as though it was going to be used as film title music, which of course it won't be. It deliberately doesn't say who the character is. Used on Out of character.

10/8/13 - Firm understanding - in which a character who appears to have connections with organised crime calls in previous favours. Used on Out of character.

30/7/13 - Billy no mates. Sarcastic reference to someone at work, which I haven't used as I felt it was too lightweight.

22(?)-27/7/13 - Guess who. A fairly sarcastic lampoon of and attack on a well known singer. I'll leave you to guess which one. The rhythm of the lyric was intended to mirror one he used in one of his own songs.

20(?)-22/7/13 - Smile (with the one you love). This is about what love can mean when it's working. It's a happy, optimistic sort of lyric that was triggered by one phrase that just came into my mind.

17/6/13 - Funny how it happens. This appears to be a love song albeit a somewhat contemplative one. It does borrow from life but as usual isn't really a straight piece of factual reporting.

24-28/5/13 - I wouldn't know. I started writing this in Brussels, and completed it after I got back. We were in a square. There was a female guitarist busking. She was facing the other way, and some distance, so I only heard the guitar and the tone of the voice. I started wondering what she was singing about. I imagined her as a sort of Joan Baez cum Joni Mitchell folk protest singer, and duly wrote that kind of lyric for her, although for all I know she could have been singing about something else entirely.

19/5/13 - Here's the gen. This started coming one morning while I was still half asleep. I scribbled some of it in a notebook and then tried to drowse some more so that I could get more of it. However I progressively woke up, so by the time I was writing the last of it, I was wide awake. It purports to be 'the gen' on life, the universe and everything, but it's phrased sufficiently obscurely that it's very hard to make any sense of it. As such, it's arguable that it's a biblical (possibly new testament) send up. This ties in with a long running theme of wariness towards organised religion that has run through a certain amount of my musical work.

29/4 - 4/5/13 - What? This is a Delphic, vaguely troubled lyric, written in bits and pieces over some days, that was triggered by a conversation with Ellen.

24/4/13 - Fry's Turkish delight. Personal impressions of social work based on bits and pieces of what in general the job involves gleaned from Ellen. Written in odd minutes at work, based on an idea I'd had for a while.

1/3/13 - Banana and his electric dog. I'm not really sure where this came from. It does read like a throw-back to the style of That's odd, although it does owe something to Simon Smith and his amazing dancing bear (a hit for the Alan Price Set in 1967, although it wasn't their song).

31/1/13 - Want. This followed a conversation that made me uneasy. I was trying to understand what had been said, so I tried to sum it up. It wasn't really that I consciously tried to write this - it just came, the words started fitting together, so I wrote it down.

8/1/13 - I wish (I could tell you). I wrote this immediately after seeing the film A mighty wind which contained the song A kiss at the end of the rainbow. I suppose it started me thinking about beginnings and endings, and too much water under the bridge. I was wiping tears away at one point.

2012 was a good year - I make it 25 lyrics - although still well short of the dizzy heights of 2009.

5,12/12/12 - I'll advertise. Triggered by rather annoying adverts playing from loudspeakers at Chstham Dockside shopping centre, including one very earnest one that sounded like "Cup cakes... without a doubt... without a doubt."

13-14/10/12 - I'm so upset. This was a sideways comment on how I can seem to have a knack for upsetting or irritating people.

15/9/12 - Round and round. This was written at Cambridge University botanical gardens. It's about things that happen over and over again, that you don't realise at the time are just repeating.

10/9/12 - Carolling, or, Good old dad. The last of the four lyrics that were written in Croatia. I was sitting in my hotel room trying to think of what to write, and for several minutes nothing came. Then for some reason I remembered my dad shouting at some carol singers to clear off, and I started pondering on a spoof Christmas song. As soon as I thought of it I knew it would work.

8,10/9/12 - X1, or, Enjoy the show. Written in Croatia. This was a series of reflections on an ex girlfriend and my time with her. Of course it was all a long time ago.

8/9/12 - Fraulein Fi. Written in Croatia. For some reason I was thinking about my dad being embarassed (as he wasn't a great socialiser), and then I was thinking about a Bavarian beer evening, with steins being waved, and various parts of the anatomy being slapped in time with some bawdy song or other... and then I wondered what the lyrics might be. That was it, that was enough.

6/9/12 - Far away. Written in Croatia. This is again about holiday memories, but this time in a more general sense, about what their emotional significance is.

5/9/12 - Moments. Written in Croatia. A collection of holiday memories, tied together loosely (and fictitiously) by being remembered in Egypt (although in fact I was there in 2004, before some of them happened).

30/6 - 13/7/12 - The inner Humperdinck. This was the third lyric I wrote mentioning Englebert Humperdinck. This one is an annoyed, sarcastic complaint about well-meant words of advice about things coming right in the end. having said that, a certain amount of it borders on nonsense lyric.

30/6/12 - Read the manual. This started on holiday. The lyric describes a device of some sort that was broken, despite an attempt to repair it, though it carefully doesn't say what it is. For any curious people out there, the original jiggerypoke was actually a ventilation fan.

21/6/12 - All the gen. This was an idea I'd had for a while for a daft conspiracy lyric. In point of fact all the conspiracies in the lyric are actual theories that have been put forward. For the record I'm not saying that I believe any of them - this is really a swipe at a conspiracy theorist at work.

19/5/12 - Ain't it always. A very strange lyric, quite unlike me, about a character with a dark, devious side who is persuaded to reform. Even the language isn't like me; it reads like something written by someone else.

29/4/12 - Nearly. This was also written at the hotel. It was intended for Times past. I used the same basic method - lots of notes about a particular school, pulled into an organised structure.       

28-29/4/12 - Understood? This was my answer to a song Jessica Andrews used to sing called Who I am. It took two evenings (during a weekend away at a hotel near Bristol) to write. I started by writing three pages of notes on what I thought was characteristic of me, and then proceeded to pull this together into a structured form. The initial version appeared to be in an inconsistent order so the following night I rewrote it.

21/4/12 - Lord. This must have been Charlie Rich influenced, as it was written virtually immediately after heard his famous 1973 album Behind closed doors. It's a spoof gospel lyric in which someone is grateful for how God has looked after him, although it becomes clear as it goes on that in fact his life has been one long catalogue of disasters.

19/4/12 - My father's boat. At the time I had spent some while going over and over My Grandfather's Clock which was a song recorded by among others Grandpa Jones. I thought I could try writing a similar sort of song about my dad's boat. It came out very emotional which was understandable. The song about the clock was somewhat anthropomorphic so I included shades of that in my lyric.

12/4/12 - Lord. This was very clearly Charlie Rich influenced as I had just heard one of his CDs and wrote this lyric immediately afterwards. I'm afraid it's God getting another pasting. Or perhaps I should say, one particular way of looking at God.

11/4/12 - Buzzword bingo. This was based on a Canadian insurance company actually. I came across a list of management buzzwords that they used to use to play this game, and combined with some I'd heard I put together a lyric written in ghastly management speak.

9/4/12 - But. The idea behind this was to have a lyric saying the person was quite happy 'but' there was just this sort of but hanging around in brackets that he couldn't get rid of. It mentions having a cold beer, and I was actually in a restaurant at Bluewater at the time, finishing some Italian food and having a cold beer.

8/4/12 - Tortoise R.I.P. This strange piece started from an odd phrase that just came to me: "You know I didn't mean to flush your tortoise down the loo." It's a bit pythonesque with shades of A Fish Called Wanda about it.

7/4/12 - Funny. This is a really weird lyric that came just after a shower, while I was thinking about the fact that I don't find set piece humour funny. It's a sarcastic dietribe against comedy as a genre. I've never seen anything like this lyric anywhere else before.

4/3/12 - Everybody's talking. This was triggered by of all things something a footballer (I believe a goalkeeper) shouted out during a match - "Everybody's been talking". I had no idea what he meant, although talking may have meant calling for the ball, that is asking the goalkeeper to give it to them. It was such an odd phrase for a football match that it lodged in my mind, however it wasn't until the following morning that it occurred to me that it could be a song title. I could only see one way to make it work, although been got dropped as it was easier to get the stressing to work without it. I wasn't trying to make any particular point, although I did borrow from reality to an extent purely because it was easier.

26/2/12 - (You're just) somebody that I used to know. This was something someone said (to someone else) in an online chat room. I then said, do you think that sounds like a good song title? and she said, yes. So a bit later I wrote a lyric. It wasn't intended to be especially autobiographical, although as you do I've borrowed from my own experiences because it was easier. It's not that I was trying to make any special point, I was just trying to write something that would make sense of the title.

18/2/12 - Pebbles in a jar. This was a really strange one. It came from a dream. In the dream, I was listening to the radio, radio 4 or something, and somewhat unexpectedly it's interrupted by an announcement saying something like, the Welsh service will now follow on this frequency. It cuts to what sounds like a church or possibly a hall, and a presenter introduces a piece of music in a desperately earnest voice. For some strange reason the title, which is intoned even more earnestly, is in English: "Gabbledy gabbledy gobbledy gobbledy gabbledy 'Pebbles in a jar'." A late middle aged male singer then starts singing it (in a language that sounds more like German) with an acoustic guitar backing. It sounds fairly introspective and miserable. He gets about two lines through it and then I wake up. I was so struck by this that I wrote the lyric while I was having breakfast.

19/1/12 - Wonderful. Apparently a bitterly sarcastic dietribe against an ex, though I only very vaguely remember writing it.

I make it 19 lyrics in 2011, more than 2010 but still far fewer than for example 2009. About half of them were written in Portugal during the Douro cruise.

22/10/11 - The great goodnight (apologies to Offenbach). Originally written so that it would if required fit a classical song that had foreign lyrics, this is really a nonsense lyric, although it does clearly appear to refer to death.

9/10/11 - Stick insect blues. Written at Bluewater shopping centre. This came from pure chance - I happened to hear a blues song on Jazz radio station while hunting through channels. I thought, if I was to write another blues song, it would be something like, oh I don't know, someone's a bit sad as his pet stick insect has just died. That was enough. I wrote a verse of it fairly quickly and the rest of it I think a day later.

10/9/11 - Riot act. This is basically someone being dumped. It does read like a sarcastic parody, so I was evidently letting off steam, which suggests that I was still mentally processing the break with ex four.

7/8/11 - I'm done. Written in Portugal. Remember this was after the relationship with ex four ended. This lyric expressed the feeling that enough was enough, I really didn't feel inclined to attempt anything again, and remember this was after nearly a year alone.
Queer as folk. This is a spoof folk lyric inspired by a folk evening on the last day of the holiday in which the group played what sounded like exactly the same tune about fifteen times.

6/8/11 - Cruising. This was a pretty literal description of aspects of the Douro cruise (Portugal).

5/8/11 - Drop dead. Written in Portugal. This is a caustic tirade at boring people. I don't quite know what triggered it although I think the punchline came first.

4/8/11 - Antisocial. While I was on the Douro cruise (Portugal) I cheerfully admitted to being as I put it 'an antisocial sod'. This lyric was an attempt to amplify a bit on that statement.

3/8/11 - Not my problem. Written in Portugal. This was an attempt to write something optimistic, although it came out as a somewhat sarcastic list of current affairs issues that I wasn't proposing to do anything about.
Nuthin' but the sun
. This one I like a lot. It's very chilled out, unusual for me, and was inspired by the sun deck of a cruiser that was going up and down the Douro river in Portugal at the time.
A wee drink. I'm not quite sure where this one came from. It's obviously about drink, but it has a kind of innocence about it as I don't drink a lot. It's also wryly funny if you like that kind of humour.

16/6/11 - I dreamed (I'd say I love you) - this is very unusual by my standards, and was triggered by a dream. I didn't trust the dream, and didn't believe it (which comes across in the lyric).

29/5/11 - Lifetime. Has obvious echoes of In my life by the Beatles, but more philosphical than that, pondering on whether my life is where it 'should' be and whether it 'could' have been otherwise. At time of writing this has already been recorded.

20/5/11 - Seagulls - a wistful lyric about getting older, this may get delayed due to The Sailor already having gone onto Mortality.

15-16/5/11 - Why. This is a very obvious candidate for the hopefully forthcoming That's odd and is largely a stream of consciousness nonsense lyric.

8-9/5/11 - Cloudy with rain later. Written during the Somerset trip and very largely a description of it, this does have overtones of melancholy. The title was a deliberate attempt to be metaphorical.

25/3/11 - Sod off. More nuanced than you might think, this was a reaction to what I felt was an unfair lecture from an ex. In the end it is I'm afraid inevitable that there is a sharp distancing from ex's and this does inevitably mean that the way you regard them is let's say very much less rose tinted, and I'm sure that works both ways round. I doubt this lyric will ever get used.

5-6/3/11 - Now. Another odd lyric, substantially along the I-need-to-follow-my-own-star type. Not sure this will get used, it might not.

22/1/11 - Ghosts. Slightly odd philosophical lyric about past relationships, obviously heavily autobiographically. Written in the car park at Dickens World. May have been triggered by descriptions of Dickens' personal life.

4/1/11 - Smokey river. Standard format blues lyric about a hard drinking aging character sensing that his time is becoming short. There has already been a song with this name, that appeared on a folk album in 1965, but I don't believe that I'd heard it when I wrote my lyric. There has also been a band called the Smokey River Boys, and a tobacco shop in Belgium called Smokey River, but again I'd never even heard of either of them until I did a web search after writing my lyric. I have no idea where the phrase smokey river, which in my lyric is the protagonist's nickname, came into my mind from.

I make it 10 lyrics in 2010. You'll notice that most of them were written for Abstracts, really almost as test pieces. At this point Mortality was on hold until I was confident that I knew what I was doing using Logic Express on the MAC.

20/11/10 - Don't blame me. Sarcastic song about modern art (yes, another one), written specifically for Abstracts as I felt that there ought to be a song about art in it.
Sea shells. Largely a reaction to economic woes, this is a very bleak, cynical lyric, and may not get used.

4,9/10/10 - Farewell words. This is obviously a comment on the way the relationship with Oona ended. I should also say in fairness that it is one side of the story and doubtless Oona saw it differently. It took my some while to understand that this is actually an angry lyric.

7/8/10 - Bittersweet. Fairly directly a comment on the situation with Oona. Not sure when I'll be brave enough to orchestrate it.

10-11/7/10 - Are you ready? - largely an attack on talent shows. Lots of it so it would need to be fast paced.

6/7/10 - Get up - strange lyric by my standards, apparently a spoof disco lyric as becomes clear towards the end.

31/5/10 - Cotton fields. Obviously strongly influenced by the novel A painted house by John Grisham, this lyric has a now very comfortably off man musing about how he learned everything he knew on his parents' cotton fields as a kid, although it becomes clear as it goes on that he's done nothing of the kind.

6-16/5/10 - What isn't going on. Started off vaguely inspired by Marvin Gaye's What's going on, but clearly more English than that. For some reason it took a lot longer to write than my lyrics usually do.

13/4/10 - Get down (to the doctor). This started coming after seeing a detective story set in a psychiatric home. It's a very strange and intriguing lyric, apparently a rebuke to a man who has treated a woman badly, but I couldn't tell you what it means(?).

13/3/10 - The tune. Largely drawn from comments made about my music by my mother. Lots of it is fairly verbatim.

I make it 53 lyrics in 2009. Not far short of half of them appear to have been written in a period of about three weeks. I don't think I understood at the time quite what a feat that was.

30/12/09 - The sailor - very reflective lyric about ideas about life changing as you get older.

26/12/09 - What you could have done. This is a wry but very downbeat take on life. I'm not sure why I would have felt that way then, although the first intimation of the breakup with ex four was to come within a fortnight.

25/12/09 - Life and living it. This is a wisftul song about time passing and getting older, one of my regular themes, although it does contain some fairly sarcastic references to overly sentimental nostalgia.

5/12/09 - Dig those crazy climate change email blues. Triggered by a news story about the East Anglia University climate research unit. A large number of emails, I believe over a thousand, came to light, and some of them apparently showd some discussion of what should or should not be public knowledge.

30/11/09 - Gordy baby. Spoof 60s style song about Gordon Brown and how 'grateful' we all are that he 'saved' the country and the world.

27/11/09 - The company song. Parody of industrial policy.

17/10/09 - The last word. Frustrated piece about the future of the planet. I'm afraid I'm very pessimistic about this and have been for some while.

12/9/09 - Blah blah blah. Sarcastic rant at the music industry for being shallow. I have written about this before however this one is particularly blunt and savage.

24/7/09 - I guess I changed my mind. Very philosophical lyric, one of a number of recent ones dealing with life and mortality.

21/7/09 - The lighthouse. Unusual lyric about people seeking things.

21/6/09 - The five million dollar duck. This obviously owes something to homeopathy, and superficially appears to be a sarcastic attack on it, but also has surreal elements. Triggered by a few phrases that came to me as I was getting up i.e. still drowsy. I make this 22 lyrics in 21 days(!).

20/6/09 - Numpty of the year. The singer is very proud that his father has been awarded the title of "Numpty of the year" by locals who for some reason that the singer doesn't understand find this very amusing. Obviously heavily influenced by Oona. Numpty is a Scottish word that I hadn't come across until she used it.

19/6/09 - Nautical Dave. Another oddity that came together from whimsical musings. I wouldn't claim it as profound, it's just a light-hearted oddball thing.

18/6/09 - The elephant. Another attempt to be as odd as possible. I think it probably came from the phrase "the elephant in the room" meaning something very obvious that everyone is strangely refraining from mentioning.

17/6/09 - Yoghurt as meditation. This was a deliberate attempt to be odd in anticipation of a collection of oddities. I heard it in my head as a very oriental sounding song, but how I'll actually orchestrate it (if indeed it gets used) remains to be seen.

16/6/09 - Thoughts of home. An expatriot who has apparently being going on emotionally and at some length about a home country he consciously and deliberately chose to leave behind is reminded that this was his choice and that he doesn't even now really regret having done it. This was triggered by a chance remark but isn't intended to be anybody in particular. Arabian circles. Triggered by an odd phrase that came to me when I was half asleep. I'm afraid I don't actually know what an Arabian circle is (suggestions?).

15/6/09 -
Time passing backwards. The singer appears to have been dumped in favour of someone younger by his partner. He is both critical of the new arrival and wistful that he cannot go back and be the person he was. [This lyric is undated but appears to have been written on the 15th.] Sin at speed. The singer urges a friend to do something adventurous. The lyrics don't spell out what is being talked about but it appears to be an affair. 

14/6/09 - Read the manual. Triggered by a chance remark that Oona made.
Catholic shame.
A character throws themselves into Catholicism very enthusiastically, but is told that this appears to be less genuine piety and more guilt about something they did in the past. Again, not anybody in particular.

13/6/09 - Old. A character has a nightmare in which he dies and then gets told by St Peter that he's got there too late and is just too old to get in. He ponders gloomily about being old. The whole thing has a very black humour about it.

12/6/09 - Tell me why. A rather sombre lyric about getting older and not looking back too much. By this time I was consciously assembling new lyrics for two possible projects, one a collection of oddities, and the other a series of pieces revolving around mortality.
What it feels like.
This was another technical exercise. I was trying to make the wording as confusing as possible to mirror the way people sometimes speak - for instance they might say "I didn't see nothing" instead of "I saw nothing" or "I didn't see anything". I was trying to get the singer to mangle the language so badly that it became difficult to follow what he meant.

11/6/09 - Englebert Humperdinck (or not). I wondered out of curiosity if I could write a lyric with "Englebert Humperdinck" in every line, so I had a go. I didn't quite do it - one line only had Englebert, and another didn't have either part of the name - but 23 lines out of 25 isn't bad, don't you think?
Cordon Bleu -
based on something that happened on holiday. I still don't know what the offending dish was, though I gather pureed chestnut is one possibility.

10/6/09 - Memories are gold. Wistful, somewhat sad lyric about getting older. Based on a comment made by somebody I used to know.
The grand design. This odd lyric came to me while I was very relaxed and drowsy (on holiday in fact, as I was until returning on 20th June). It appears to be a character expressing some irritation on being asked about the meaning of life.

7/6/09 - Just me and the sea. This time a more content character is quite happy by the seaside.
Killing time.
A man of means and leisure laments how meaningless being able to do anything he wants feels.

6/6/09 - If I liked you. Wistful lyric about people and relationships. Contemplating the void. Strange lyric about mental states and the universe.

3/6/09 - When you've got to go. Spoof statement by an MP announcing he is standing down following an expenses scandal.

1/6/09 - I dreamt I went to Baldalay. Triggered by having a recurring nightmare about going bald again. Largely a rapid-fire stream of bald jokes.

31/5/09 - Intimations of mortality. Triggered by a description of what one of someone else's songs was about. This is an irregular format of lyric.

30/5/09 - Er. Very strange lyric, apparently a sideways comment on the human condition.

29-30/5/09 - Eight arms to hold you. The Beatles said it couldn't be done, it was impossible, so I did it.

28/5/09 - It's so strange. Inspired by my father's description of what it was like being terminally ill.

23/5/09 - Was that it? Yet another sarcastic song, this time about people full of strong but worthless opinions.

10/5/09 - The letter. This is a longish and possibly somewhat unwieldy lyric in which someone in financial difficulties appeals to the representative of a financial institution for help. We gather from the lyric that it's somewhat unlikely that he'll get it.

3-4/5/09 - Fort William. Sarcastic song about the alleged merits of this Scottish highlands, erm, resort. Mostly written while I was actually there.

29-30/4/09 - The twitty song. Sarcastic parody, much more focussed than postcard.

25-26/4/09 - Answers on a postcard please. Strange lyric, largely an attack on the music industry for being unoriginal.

25-26/3/09 - Gasworks terrace 4am. Triggered by a remark of Oona's that it was odd I'd never seen anybody drunk.

13-14/3/09 - The Englbert Humperdinckness of it all. The title to this came first, the rest of it turned out to be very philosphical.

12/3/09 - A cheerful wee song. Obviously influenced by Oona, although with the usual dark sarcastic twist.

3/3/09 - Farewell. Another death song, this one loosely based on a terminally ill character played by Clint Eastwood in the film Honky tonk man.

2/3/09 - Say goodbye. This was triggered by hearing a cheerful tune while out somewhere and thinking that maybe there should be a cheerful tune about death. However common sense prevailed and it ended up fairly sensible.

27/2/09 - Something about a garden. Send up of a Stevie Nicks lyric. Title may get changed. Lemons. This deliberate attempt to be weird has an oddball humorous lyric.

25/2/09 - Bankers' waltz. Based on a suggestion by someone else. Most of it was written very fast, about three quarters of it in less than 15 minutes.

31/1/09 - Say it with a gun. An attack on violence in society especially among young people. Not sure what triggered it, although the chorus came first.

27-29/1/09 - Mumble mumble. Written to go with some sound recordings I already had of a horse racing event. Intended for A sense of place, but not used.

27/1/09 - Speedway. Written to go with some sound recordings I already had of a speedway event. Intended for A sense of place, but not used.

10/1/09 - Fine. (I considered calling this "hamster trouble".) Sarcastic parody of crime fiction, inspired by the TV programme Jonathan Creek. Appears to have a good chance of making A sense of place.

8/1/09 - Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. Yet another oddball sarcastic lyric, this time with political overtones. Good, but will have an uphill struggle to get on to A sense of place.

4/1/09 - Some other rainbow. About saying goodbye when you don't really want to. Sad but good. Started with the chorus and the idea of an alternating me and you.

I make it 31 lyrics in 2008.

31/12/08 - Reasonable. Another very sarcastic parody of events at work.

29/10, 20/11/08 - I think of you. This was a reaction to a very difficult conversation. At the time I took it calmly, but I did feel a reaction to it, and this lyric was an attempt to explain why.

9-11/10/08 - Song contest. A linguistic experiment sarcastically attacking song contests.

20/9/08 - A little chat. Savagely sarcastic symbolic revenge based on a real incident.

28-29/7/08 - Saltcoats on my mind. This is the one I have been teasing Oona about ever since she jokingly said she would write it.

20/6/08 - Too late. This is sufficiently good that something may get bumped from Introspection to make work for it. Three verses, chorus, middle 8. All I ever wanted... completely off the wall, even by my idiosyncratic standards, but good with it, very funny and oblique. Three verses, chorus.

17/6/08 - Rocking chair blues. Written shortly after hearing a George Harrison song that mentioned a rocking chair. I was picturing some old guy in a rocking chair with a guitar.

14/6/08 - 116th dream. Long dream type sequence (pages of it), not structured except for line length, possibility for end of next CD.

11/6/08 - Everyone else but me. Three verse/choruses, middle 8. Hard to see this being used for the foreseeable future. This is what I was trying to write when One more drink came out.

7/6/08 - Rain and sun. Send up of a certain other song in which somebody says goodbye before they die, but it is a very sombre subject, so not sure if I'll use it.

6/6/08 - The easy to assemble furniture flat pack blues. Yes, really; though actually more R&B than blues. Two long verse/chorus sections. Likely to have to wait some months to get orchestrated. As I originally conceived it, it had a Chuck Berry type flavour to it.

8/5/08 - One more drink. Remember One more for the road, the song Sinatra used to sing - set 'em up Joe and all that? Well here's the same character, back in the same bar, telling the same barman another tale of woe... four verses in two patterns, so it balances in the middle. More intricate rhyming than usual. Won't make Introspection but looks a dead cert for the one after. [It was in fact used on A sense of place, though I very rapidly decided to orchestrate it somewhat differently from the song that inspired it.]

6/5/08 - Screaming leemies. Started writing this while up during the night with back trouble one night. Vivid and expressive, but appears unlikely to be used.

5/5/08 - One day you'll understand. Three verse/chorus sections, looks like A-B-A Handel-type structure. Probably the best lyric I've ever written, though it is wretchedly sad. Doesn't look likely to make it onto the current CD [A sense of place] though a dead cert for the one after that.

4/5/08 - Leaving Venice. Three long verses. Two choruses. Sarcastic holiday song, drawn from parts of reality but not representative of what actually happened. Intended for A sense of place, but not used.

3/5/08 - Every minute. Based around an odd phrase that came into my head. Three short verses, three short choruses, middle 8.

31/5/08 - Noddledirk (oh yeah wow far out). Very sarcastic disco parody. Three verses, three choruses.

31/5/08 - The shoes blues. Classic format (albeit completely incongruous) three cornered blues lyric. Based on a real incident.

28/5/08 - Gatwick airport. Yet another savage satire, this time of airport delays. Partly based on a real incident.

26/5/08 - Listen. Very odd lyric, started from two lines that came into my head apparently from nowhere.

17/5/08 - Me and you. Two long verses, middle 8. This poses me with a problem as I think it needs to go on Introspection which means something else gets cut.

9/5/08 - Grand. Sarcastic swipe at Certain People who have been Saying Things. (Thanks to "N" and "R" for the inspiration for it.) At present appears unlikely to make it onto Introspection. Three verses, total 24 lines. [This wasn't used on either Instrospection or A sense of place.]

6/5/08 - Screaming Leemies. Started planning this one around 3am while lying in a chair with bachache. Two long verses, two choruses, middle 8. Very unlikely to make it onto Introspection.

28/4/08 - A guide to the City. Spoof song supposedly in praise of a beauty spot. Partly inspired by a sci-fi short story with a similar name, though with entirely different content.

14/3/08 - Creation. Very irregular, intended to be classical in tone. Strong possibility for opening track of Introspection [which is what happened].

12-13/3/08 - Thoughts. Triggered by a conversation about the extent to which thoughts were equivalent to actions.

25/2/08 - You thought, I thought. Three verses, three choruses. Very heartfelt, I was wiping tears from my eyes writing it.

26/1/08 - Need. Mostly written in a town centre car park in a few minutes, with a little more added shortly afterwards. 3 verses, middle 8. [Intended for Introspection, but not used.]

11/1/08 - Tragic. Spoof ballad, written in sheer annoyance at superficial pop music.

6/1/08 - Think of something else. Inspired by a blood test (really), that to my irritation required a 12 hour fast beforehand. Written at Hastings chess congress.

2/1/08 - 2 billion dreams. Two longish verse/choruses. No middle 8. Likely to be fairly short. Wistful, verging on spiritual. [Intended for Introspection, but not used.]

I make it 24 lyrics, possibly 25, in 2007.

28/12/07 - Going. Very long. Two verses, huge middle section. Based on a suggestion by Oona.

15/12/07 - Toleration. Two long verses and a middle 8. Triggered by a remark someone made at a Christmas dinner.

24/11/07 - Organic Jack. Appears to be doggerel. Not quite sure how I'll use it.

8/9/07 - What's it for. On the face of it this is a lyric about something like an unwanted birthday present. I'll leave it to you if you hear a finished version of this to decide if it's really about that, or about something else.

2/9/07 - The football song. Written after hearing part of a football phone-in. [This might fit on a collection of oddities though the lyrics are very coarsely worded.]

1/9/07 - I wish. Another introspective-sounding lyric, written at the theatre during a performance of the musical Avenue Q, and shortly afterwards.

31/8/07, 1/9/07 - God (did you do it right?). Started as a large lyric segment that looked like the final section of The end, but the idea had more depth than that and ended up as a separate lyric.

28/8/07 - JFDI. Not quite sure how this came about. Sort of pastiche military legend type song. Probably had something to do with events at work. Could also have been inspired by the television series Sharpe. Cough up. Written after watching a bidding television channel (you'll gather I wasn't impressed).

27/8/07 - Only me. Very long introspective lyric with obscure poetic phrases.

18/8/07 - Waiting for my soup. Written after slower service than I would have liked in a store cafeteria.

11/8/07 - We're all going to die (later retitled Doom is nigh). Ecological song written after visiting ecology section of Natural History Museum in London.

4/8/07 - Basic BASIC. A potted history of computer programming. Yes, really. Three verses, three choruses, middle 8.

25/7/07 - Fifteen hundred pounds. Three verses, three choruses. Also based on a true story.

17/7/07 - (I hate) that bloody tree. Based on a true story, with some exaggeration for dramatic effect. Three verses, three choruses.

16/7/07 - I don't know how. Three verses, chorus. Written at Glasgow airport.

9/7/07 - We've got lots of money (and you haven't). Irritated sarcastic swipe at contemporary pop as a genre. Lots of lyric, long lyric lines, might be difficult to deliver it fast enough.

7/7/07 - Let's all have a party. Written in twenty or thirty minutes as I was getting up and starting breakfast. This was after a party next door with a lot of angry shouting some time around 1:30 or 2am. Two verses, chorus.

28/4/07 - The theme theme. Written at Chessington World of Adventures. Four verses, chorus.

17/4/07 - Cheerful news. Written at Glasgow airport. Three verses, chorus, middle 8.

14-15/4/07 - Footsteps in the hall. Written in odd moments in Scotland. Three verses, chorus, middle 8. Very sad. Possible opener for Mustn't grumble though could also work near the end of it.

13/4/07 - Round the bend. Written at Stansted airport. 3 verses plus a chorus.

8/4/07 - Weeds. Three verses, two choruses. Will be short if I use it, but I suspect it's not going to get used.

2/4/07 - Let's stop whinging. Two verses, same sort of rhythm as My old man's a dustman. Two choruses. Short middle 8. Looks like 4/4, will have to be careful it doesn't sound too much like something else. Will probably need cutting fairly short. Intended for near the end of Mustn't grumble.

31/3/07 -
The End. Three long verses, looks complete but due to no choruses this looks like being A-B-A format. The rhythm should fit into 4/4. Intended as the last track on Mustn't grumble.

Undated, I'm assuming late 2006 or early 2007 - My voice. Rueful and wryly funny, but unlikely to get used.