04 Engineering Notes

This collection brings to an end my time at Durham and it represents a rich period of writing. Most of these went on to be recorded by the band or Chris and myself at a local studio. Nearly all were written on my own in my bedsit.

It contains the usual unrequited love songs but also some reflections on what was going on around me socially. There seems to be less whimsy than before.

1. Take it lying down

Ah yes, what was this? Another attack on conformity probably. It hasn’t weathered terribly well but still of interest are the half-feminist verse (‘dreaming of a lover’) and the ironic ‘Sing, what it brings’.

2. Compromise song

This was a band favourite, partly because of the bass and the drums kicking it off. It isn’t a bad riff and the Sex Pistols influence is evident again, both in sentiment and music. The second half (in case it’s not obvious) is the compromised band performing. Patrick sang it on the recording to provide a contrast, but I sang it live.

3. Let the boy dream

As a friend of ours used to say ‘let the boys dream’. It’s not too hard to write a song about being alone with a guitar when you’re alone with a guitar.

4. Star

We move seamlessly from frustrated to overreaching ambition. This works up to a point but I built a little prison for myself with the verse and rhyme structures. The chorus a tone higher is OK though (sub- sub-Penny Lane).

5. Dark light

This, as they say, is based upon a true story. Much to our surprise a friend was bawled out by her father for being out late, albeit innocently with Chris and me. This with a bit of imagination turned into lover’s lament for being grounded for the same offence.

6. Saturday afternoon

One born from the experience of walking round a shopping centre on, indeed, a Saturday afternoon. Another example of the excluded commenting on the safely included.

7. Wash over me

Like ‘Little Fellow’ this was one of the words of comfort I would say to myself when student misery beckoned – ‘let it all wash over me’. It became a useful phrase when I wanted to sing about the irrelevance of the dull majority, to which I attached an ambiguous statement of faith. And they really are the best statements about faith.

8. Stanley

Perhaps there’s a little whimsy, then. Maybe I’m Stanley and you’re waiting. Maybe not. It reminds me of an old friend who led his life differently, which resulted in him being regarded in general as eccentric, strange or mad. He was a great help to me and I still remember him. Rest in peace.

9. The calendar

This is a favourite of mine. I was going for habitual despair and wasn't far away.

10. Faces

A speaks-for-itself ditty on the barriers (other) people put up.

11. Love stories

A tale of unrequited love. From personal experience of course (apart from the library, though it does conjure up visions of the one I spent time in during my youth).

12. Rose

Chris added music to words written for a great friend who thought it meant that I wanted more then friendship, which was unfortunate. Lots of flower imagery and a few in-jokes e.g. a lady doesn’t sweat, she glows.

13. Simple Simon

Simon is the neglected victim easily dismissed by people like me who are extremely rich in many ways. And we have him sorted out. Another group favourite best heard from the middle of a rock band, if you're ever that lucky.

14. Spiritual

This was written after a succession of failed job interviews.

15. Power & glory

For all of us in the wilderness.

16. Simple Simon

A remake done in a recording session at Dartington. Which is better? You decide (if you can be bothered).