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I’ll give you beautiful, my son

September 4, 2008

Over the last couple of years, my history has started rumbling, remembering itself young.

My colleagues from boyhood onward, Jonny and Kieran, have been helping me recall certain parts of our correpsondence. A DVD of a weekend spent making music in Jonny’s then empty house, maybe four or more years ago, is soon to surface. The title of that little document is SILENCE IS STUPID.

Going back even further, though — back to when we were, say, seventeen, before universities came along and ruined everything — an archive of some of our 1998-2000 bedroom recordings is being assembled. The three of us switched our collective title quite regularly. I quite liked The Party Machine as a name, but a lot of people didn’t understand that the phrase came from the vocabulary of British politics. Instead we became The Shadow Cabinet.

In those days I had a chip-pan fire on my shoulder.

What else was different then? I was a guitarist. No, really — look:

That’s me during one of our concerts, playing to a load of people in a pub in Leeds who perhaps didn’t understand a bloody word of what we were trying to tell them.

I didn’t write very many songs then, and I certainly didn’t sing. Jonny and Kieran did most of that. Perhaps once every six weeks, Kieran would turn up to my house on a Wednesday with a bag full of about 30 new songs. Jonny was steadily producing songs with incredibly difficult and unusual chords in. This was important to the way my guitar sounded because it meant that I more or less gave up on trying to follow chord shapes and normal scales, and just roamed around making noises. The two of them also wrote some sincerely beautiful pop songs. Then it we’d have some fish and chips and blu-tac our work onto the wall.

I’ll probably post more of these little historical documents as and when they become available, but for now, here’s a song with Jonny singing and me playing some fairly noisy guitar. I’m working on trying to remember the title of it, but the lyrics are (I think) as follows:

Bleed, the speed police, the little boys out on the street
Are smashing mirrors to the beat of an unfamiliar drum.
Look out of the window, see the wall is lost for words
And hear the clowns all praying in the gutter to a distant sun.

My home is in the suburb of the city you call heaven
But the air in hell is easier to breath.
City life rife with shitty rites, chic sheep realigning chic sheep all night find
Morning pinning cobwebs to the soul they don’t believe in yet.

My fire lights your cigarette, indifferently you burn
And I am such a beautiful machine
I’ll give you beautiful, my son, til I confess that I confess that I don’t need anything at all.


Update: the song is called IRRATIONAL ANTHEM.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2008 3:56 pm

    When you think about it, what’s really to stop us resurrecting Wednesdays? You know, apart from the Atlantic Ocean and the north-south divide.

  2. September 5, 2008 5:44 pm

    Remember the Wandering Tape?

    That could’ve worked.

  3. September 7, 2008 6:50 am

    Yeah. Let’s have a wandering mp3, or something.

  4. Rachael permalink
    September 8, 2008 11:25 am

    I still sing songs to myself that I can’t remember who wrote from you guys – there was one, went a little something like this “First time she disappeared in ’83, all ears and distance stupid soul…she moved into the city where the streets were paved with baby teeth, and everything was silent, ‘cept the light….etc.” (Forgive any lyrical mistakes my memory has made) Beautiful song! It was a pleasure to have known you all (albeit two of you not very well!)

  5. September 8, 2008 6:33 pm

    Yeah, that one’s here…
    [audio src="" /]

    The line was actually “everyone is lonely, but polite” but I like “everything was silent, ‘cept the light”!

    I really shouldn’t have played the guitar so much though. I ruined about half of the songs in the archives that way.

  6. Rachael permalink
    September 8, 2008 10:37 pm

    That’s awesome. That song rules etc.

    You didn’t have much other choice at the time though really did you? Anyway, it wasn’t just guitar -it was sparkly blue guitar!

  7. September 10, 2008 12:58 pm

    I love the retro photos.

  8. Heather permalink
    September 16, 2008 3:11 pm

    Oh, Rachael! I love that song! Ross put it on a mixtape for me once.

  9. September 19, 2008 8:19 am

    Yeah bitches. I wrote that song.

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