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].
writing sessions these days always come first, with the
orchestration then being built around the lyric, sometimes after a long
There have even been odd lyrics that were never written as songs,
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
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].
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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).
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
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
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
7/8/11 - I'm done. Written in
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
6-16/5/10 - What isn't going on.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
11/6/09 - Englebert Humperdinck (or
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.
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
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
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
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
28/5/09 - It's so strange.
Inspired by my father's description of what it was like being
23/5/09 - Was that it? Yet
another sarcastic song, this time about people full of strong but
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
2/3/09 - Say goodbye. This
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
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
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
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
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
26/5/08 - Listen. Very odd
lyric, started from two lines that came into my head apparently from
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
25/2/08 - You thought, I thought. Three
verses, three choruses. Very heartfelt, I was wiping tears from my eyes
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
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
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
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
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.