EMBARRASSING LYRICS

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A couple of days ago I was rummaging through an old box, when I came across an old sketch book. It was one I used in my early twenties to write song lyrics. Reading through some of the songs, I was confronted by my younger self. Who was this strange cynical disturbed youth? I could recall writing some of these lyrics; sat in a flat in Camberwell in South London. At the time I was working as a photographer at South Bank Polytechnic and in a relationship. Despite this somewhat stable environment, the lyrics suggest insecurity, loss and cynicism.

I’ve always been largely an introvert, as a child my schoolwork suffered, as I spent most of my time looking out the windows day dreaming. When I was about ten I was put into, what I can only assume, was child therapy. This mostly consisted of writing, drawing and playing. To this day I am unaware of why my teachers considered it would help my development. Did it help? I’m not really sure; it didn’t cure anything as far as I am aware. As I wasn’t aware of anything that needed curing.

At the age of twelve I was shipped off to a minor boarding school. An experience that I hated. It was borderline Dickensian; run by a Viennese professor and a crotchety old Scottish spinster. Think Dotheboys Hall. It was an environment in which only the tough survived. I left at the age of seventeen with three ‘O’ levels and an animosity towards the world in general. I never went home, I moved into a flat in a community of artists in Hertfordshire. I began to study graphic design at the local art school.

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Art school proved more problematic than I expected. One would expect the lecturers to be an open-minded bunch. Think again! By this time I had discovered sex, hash and rock n’ roll. My disparate lifestyle soon led to consequences.  Firstly, I was chucked out of my flat in the artist commune for having a noisy drunken party. Well two drunken noisy parties. The artistic temperament of my neighbour artists was a bit more conservative than I had anticipated. Secondly, I was removed from art school at the end of the second year. They made some feeble excuse as to why they had taken the decision, but it was clearly based on my  behaviour rather than artistic ability.

I spent some time after art school at my parents house in Shropshire, reading and getting stoned. Then, I was offered a place at college to study photography in Blackpool. I lasted a year, but, it was a great year! I enjoyed the course immensely. I had always been interested in photography and now I had the opportunity to study it full-time. Blackpool at the time was amazing, I got to see some ground-breaking bands, made some good friends and discovered acid. Oh! and the women were friendly, open and frankly very accommodating.

But once again I fell foul of the bureaucracy. For complicated reasons I cannot really comprehend, I got on the wrong side of the college hierarchy. One day, without any warning I was taken, by the college pastor, to the local police station for questioning. Strangely, they were not interested in me, but my then girlfriend. They wanted to know whether she had sold me drugs! They used bullying tactics to try and get information out of me. Threatening to charge me with kidnapping, after we had both visited my parents for the weekend. It was frankly ludicrous, but they did scare and intimidate me.

Shorty after this, the college decided, (after a year of study), that I didn’t have the right ‘O’ levels to be on the course in the first place. A rule that didn’t apply to some of my fellow students. So once again I found myself set adrift in an uncertain world. For a couple of years I bummed around, before ending up in London. Which brings us back to where I started this blog, sitting in a South London flat writing songs that very few people have ever heard.

And here I am in the twenty-first century attempting to understand these embarrassing lyrics. Do they tell me anything about my younger self or older self? They say that the child is father to the man; perhaps this is true? But, I only feel the sense of unease that permeated my younger self rarely. I look at these lyrics and I am perplexed; what does it all mean? Who wrote these songs? Where is he now?

Anyhow, below you will find some of my embarrassing  lyrics laid bare for all to see. So, any analysis would be welcome, because I’m damned if I can understand a word. Well maybe a few.


Green Sea

I am a man of few words
I am an eater of mushrooms
I am the beginning and the ending
Of my own life
I am an immaculate conception
I am a blood stained knife
Green, green, green sea
Why don’t you wash over me?

Had many lovers
And this I know
When you play with fire
You don’t want snow
Oh you pretty things
With your hair so long
You’ve got ice between your thighs
So why do you come on so strong?
Green, green, green sea
Why don’t you wash over me?

I am the man
I walk inside the void
Seasons follow on my coat-tail
Your worship is my joy
The day they came to take me
I kissed my father’s ring
I knew the kind of worship
My death would bring
Green, green, green sea
Why don’t you wash over me?

NB. I had just read: “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East” a 1970 book about the linguistics of early Christianity and fertility cults in the Ancient Near East. It was written by John Marco Allegro. You’d probably have to read the book to understand!


Persona

Fire burns, stomach churns
Out of the night
Where are you my compatriots?
Where are you my past?

The future comes
The future always comes
I pray for my future

I don’t walk alone now
But I stand alone
I read a lot
But what do I know?
The truth is sad
Lies can be bad

Am I all the man I think I am?
It’s all the same when it hits the fan
When I saw the space I upped and ran

I often join in the game
But I know I’m playing just the same
So I bend the rules to fit the frame

Wild winter big city
Stuck in the room
Digging the gloom
We all live in head room
The horizon stretches through
No matter what I do
I’m no nearer you

I dig the news
That we can all choose
Choose me a blues
Choose is in the nooze

All my lovers bare me
What can I do
I choose to stand naked
But why must they consume me
They are stealing my head

I want friends to share my time with
Friends who
Speak
Think
Live
Friends who Give

Are you scare too?
Scared I’ll melt you
Scared I’ll take and not give
Scared to throw off your stance

You have faced me
Deface yourself
Stand naked
Trust me

Maybe the time will come up
When the space we fill
Will be calm
Will be still


Common Ground

The monkey that you’re wearing
Has been there too damn long
The world’s been long past caring
To take the poison on it’s tongue

This planet spins like a crazy top
As the joker waits in the wing
The instant before the storm breaks
He lifts up his eye and begins to sing

The ground on which we stand is sacred ground
Our ancestors lay mingled with it’s dust
You forever gave us a knife in the back
When all we wanted was your trust

And out along the wasteland
Where my crazy vision flys free
There’s room enough for all of us
If you just want to be, that’s okay with me


Out of the Blue

I was lost in the hungry past
Devoured by each memory
Savouring moments long ago
It all seemed so real to me

I was young and my time went slow
A clown in the art school ball
I didn’t see any shadows then
I didn’t see the writing on the wall

I took a job in a town in Wales
Working for a guy named Hugh
Cleaning out the local drugstore
That’s where I met you
Sailing through out of the blue

I bought tickets on an all night coach
Out of Holyhead
Wrapped up in my overcoat
We was warm, but underfed

Taking a pencil out of your bag
You proceeded to give me a clue
Scratched on the back of a matchbox
I love you
Sailing through out of the blue

You took the darkness out of my dreams
Turned my head around
You dealt the cards so delicately
I didn’t see the ace go down

I see no future in my past
Now that I see it straight
No rosy recollections
Will influence my fate

There was a time before the storm
I dealt in day dreams too
Clinging onto a passing cloud
But that was before I met you
Sailing through out of the blue


 Next of Kin

The signs of life are slowly disappearing
As the flies buzz around the carcass in the sand
The reasons for it’s demise are questions not worth asking
The final program just got out of hand

And the mother earth is slowly taking over
Turning all the daydreams into sand
The death of fourteen thousand generations
Is born again as seeds upon the land

The temple bells are falling from the steeple
The deity lays face down in the mud
The accumulation of two thousand years of waiting
Falls from the sky as two thousand years of blood

And we shall find our own salvation
Holding hands together in the dawn
We shall be the brand new nation
We shall choose the rose and not the thorn

And the empty sands they seem to last forever
An infinity of seeds beneath the sky
And now my vision set free from paranoia
I know at heart this earth will never die

And the whole ghostly mess is slowly sinking
Trying to drag us down beside it in the shit
But we will have no part of moral masturbation
The door is closed the pyre already lit

And I realise as the death knell slowly rattles
The age that dies is born within my skin
The faults that we attribute to our fathers
Are the faults we pass on to our kin

And we shall find our own salvation
Holding hands together in the dawn
We shall be the brand new nation
We shall choose the rose and not the thorn


Hester At Her Needle

She takes a cab
Makes up her face
The foggy buildings lean together in the waste
Outside on the pavement
The human race

The place is small
A smokey bar
A man in the corner plays guitar
The wine from the barrel
Tastes like tar

She waits an hour
The barman leers
She put a hand to her eye
Trying to suppress her tears
She has another drink
Trying not to show her fears

And morning finds
Hester at her needle

It’s the kind of day
She’d welcome rain
Sat in a faded chair
Trying not to show her pain
Outside the window
The sky is like a stain

A faded print
A photograph
Held in her fingertips
The thrown to the hearth
He’s a pearl
I’m just a laugh

And morning finds
Hester at her needle

A china cup
A silver spoon
She takes her needle out
And shoots for the moon
Embroidering a heart
In an empty room

And morning finds
Hester at her needle


Waiting for the Ragman

The sun sink slowly
On a small provincial town
When your daddy flicks the switch
There’s nowhere to go but down

So you don your faded Levis
An the shirt got bought last week
And you slip out through the backdoor
To meet the man they call the geek

And you’re stuck in the lamp post halo
Throwing up poses in the rain
The kids think you’re a drag man
Spending your time
Waiting for the ragman

The mayor and corporation
Meet at the corn exchange
The Jacey by the gasworks
Plays guns across the range
You walk out from the Wimpy Bar
Feeling kind of strange
But you know it’s just amphetamine rushes

The lamp post on the corner
Cuts deep into the night
The glory boys on Newport Street
Are trying to pick a fight
So you duck into an alley
Trying to avoid the light
There’s no success in being a victim

You head out for the blackness
Around the edge of town
You hit the local graveyard
Just to see what’s going down
In the country of the blind
The cyclops wears a crown

And you’re stuck in the lamp post halo
Throwing up poses in the rain
The kids think you’re a drag man
Spending your time
Waiting for the ragman


Eden Express

Everybody want’s to grab a piece of the action
Looking over their shoulders
Trying to gauge the people’s reaction
But me I must confess
I never passed the acid test
I just stand here watching the rest
Trying to catch the Eden express

All the pretty peoples
Putting cocoa up their collective noses
While all I have to sniff
Is everlasting plastic roses
Me I just ain’t that blessed
I missed out on the cream of the jest
I just stand here watching the rest
Trying to catch the Eden express

All the space cadets
Are getting their time out of joint
When they gave me a blast
I just seem to miss the point
When I finally got to the crest
I was half a mile behind the nearest
I just stand here watching the quest
Trying to catch the Eden express

All the small ads in the paper
Selling salvation to the rich
When it comes to prophets
They’ve certainly got the pitch
But when it comes to looking East or West
Enlightenment’s just got messed
I just stand here watching the blessed
Trying to catch the Eden express

All the Bogarts of the age
Are turning their heads to Zen
While I just sit here
Trying to give myself the yen
The I Ching is just a pest
The tarot should be suppressed
I just sit here watching the rest
Trying to catch the Eden express

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