Song: The High Street

It's a rare (for me) parody, this - well, a re-write, I suppose, since it's not really meant to be funny...  I originally reworked Flanders & Swann's 'The Slow Train' three years ago, and only performed it once or twice. Well, the recession didn't go away, we aren't out of the woods, and more high street chains are going to the wall. Hands up if any of this surprises you. No? Good. You've been paying attention...

Events of the last week or two have caused me to rework my own reworking somewhat - when life hands me a straight line like the very last name in the song, I have to take it and run with it.

I hope this captures some of the affection and pathos of F&S's original. It's meant with all respect and homage to them.

* * *

THE HIGH STREET        (ttto Flanders & Swann: The Slow Train)


Barretts and Priceless to The Works

Passion for Perfume to Waterford, Wedgewood

Olan Mills; Land of Leather

No more will we browse past jigsaw puzzles and Sticklebricks

On  the High Street, at Woolworths for a quarter of “Pick’n’mix”

No vinyl records, no Ladybird clothes

No gift soaps in lavender, lilac or rose

We won’t be buying again

On the High Street

I’ll travel no more from Whittards of Chelsea to MFI, at

Adams Kids there’ll be no cute dungarees for an aunt to buy

No flat packed wardrobe, no caramel tea

No cafetiere and no lost allen key

We won’t be meeting again

On the High Street

When the rent’s due and the takings plummet

‘Sale’ signs appear

At Zavvi and the Officers’ Club

They came too late that year

Though shoppers shop at Ebay and Amazon

Only discount or second hand prices entice sales from anyone

Nothing is certain, no-one’s secure

And Woolies... is not even there anymore

They’ve all passed out of our lives

On the High Street

On the High Street.

Millets, Blacks, Hawkin’s Bazaar – on the High Street

Peacocks and Bon Marche have gone away...

Thorntons Chocolates – on the High Street

Past Times...

Song: Victims, Princesses and Bears.

Well, alright, it's a lyric so far, but you bet I'll be looking for the tune. I'd heard about the panda business, then I read Elizabeth Moon on the subject, and then I followed her link to the Jezebel article, and then my brain went 'ping' at me, which it does periodically. Ranty ranty rant. Ironically, I did write a sweet little song about a red dress earlier today, just as a break from the political polemics.


VICTIMS, PRINCESSES AND BEARS


Here’s to the women of twenty-eleven

The BBC thinks you’re all great;

It’s published the names of its favourite dozen

And that’s caused a storm of debate

It’s not what she’s done gives a woman her worth

It’s who marries her and what she wears

And that explains why more than half of those listed

Are victims, princesses and bears.

Victims, princesses and travelling pandas –

Oh, ladies, don’t give yourselves airs!

That explains why more than half of those listed

Are victims, princesses and bears!

One woman chosen is head of her country

Another aspires so to be

One is an athlete and one is a singer

They all represent you and me.

But never mind science and never mind literature

Honestly, nobody cares

When the chief among women of twenty-eleven

Are victims, princesses and bears.

Victims, princesses and bears, Sweetie!

Ladies, don’t give yourselves airs!

Here’s to the women of twenty-eleven

The victims, princesses and bears!

______________________________________________________________________

Words by & © Talis Kimberley 31st December 2011

Blowing kisses to Mitch Benn...

...who seems to like my sound. I shall get in touch with him and tell him about the morse code and the bouzouki, and maybe send him some more tracks - some Hearth and the Hive, some Queen of Spindles...

Mitch Benn often does the musical funny on BBC Radio 4's 'The Now Show', and is a writer and performer of many years' standing. He's included my song 'The Steps of St Paul's' on his latest podcast - available now...

http://www.mitchbenn.com/podcasts#

That song just keeps going, doesn't it? And I sang it AT St Paul's on Monday, which was just an amazing experience - inspiring and wonderful.

Song: David Attenborough Says

Been too long since I posted here, sorry 'bout that... you know I turn up on FaceBook and Twitter as well these days, right? Well. I've slipped out of the habit of telling you how the gig went here, but just now I'm at the end of the year's gigs and I'm looking sidelong at the things filling up my diary for next year, many of which look like huge fun.

It's been a little while since I posted a new song lyric here as well, and that I *can* remedy, and hereby do so. Green and quirky, just what I like. Guess what I was watching on iPlayer this evening?


DAVID ATTENBOROUGH SAYS
 
 
David Attenborough says the world is warming
And I rather think he knows what he’s about
He’s been showing me the world most of my lifetime
And he seems to think there’s little room for doubt
He’s a first class grade one national institution
(Though I believe that’s not a term he likes to hear)
David Attenborough says the world is warming
And in half an hour we’ll sit and watch ‘Top Gear’.
 
David Attenborough says the sea is rising
And I tend to think that David knows his stuff
He’s been showing me the world most of my lifetime
And he seems to think there’s evidence enough
In his gentle pleasant unflappable manner
In that breathy voice that no-one else can do
David Attenborough says the sea is rising
Now I’ll just re-boil that kettle for a brew.
 
David Attenborough’s shown us this blue planet
Taken all of us on after-supper treks
Shown us reptiles, fish, amphibians and mammals
And how orchids worms and hummingbirds do sex (not altogether!)
If we’ve paid the least attention to Sir David
When we’ve watched him in our sitting-rooms for, so very long
If David Attenborough says we’ve got a problem
How can we be so convinced he’s got it wrong?
 
 
 
Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 9th December 2011.

One busy weekend...

So that was: write the lyric, post the lyric. Find the tune, record the rough, post the rough. Wake up the next morning to find the Youtube as a gift from a dear friend, post that... and scoot off to achieve first airplay on BBC Radio Wilts. Well, THAT was fun! 'The Steps of St Paul's' has clearly gone a long way and been read, seen and heard by very many people. I'm tremendously grateful to all of you who've helped link, share and forward it. Thank you!

It's all quietened down a bit now, for me - though I'm still sending off links to places, and you're all cordially invited to do the same. The vicar of St Johns at Bethnal Green was on Radio 4 this morning suggesting, iirc, that St Paul's open itself up and run a huge night kitchen and shelter and let the protesters inside as it gets colder. I cheered at that. Maybe I'll send it to him?

I let the songs go where they will and never know who will get in touch with me as a result; now I crack on with the next set of jobs, musically, which right now means organising logistics for this year's remaining gigs and firming up the bookings for next year, and more pitches to folk festivals and clubs, literary festivals, and moots...

Oh, and yesterday we finished recording the last material for 'Queen of Spindles' - we're into the mastering stages now. VERY glad about that. Which begs the question, what to work on in my regular Tuesday session tonight?

Well, that's going to be 'start the next album'  then, isn't it?

The Steps of St Paul's - now on Youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpOynViUeDk

Fresh this morning: Youtube by my dear friend Kim Parker - images to accompany my protest song about St Paul's and its response to the Occupy protest at its front gate.

This is my way of supporting the movement. Please, if you will, spread the word again; some people click through a Youtube link more readily than other formats.

I can only thank you for your support.

Lyric: The Steps of St Paul's

THE STEPS OF PAUL’S
 
 
On the eve of the feasts of St Jude and St Simon
The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigned
While democracy stumbles and falls here on the steps of St Pauls.
The whispering gallery’s noisy with rumour
Great Paul’s saying nothing, but fear like a tumour
Is ruling within these fine halls under the dome of St Paul’s
 
Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren,
When will my England lie easy again?
With sanctuary offered to the women and men
Who stand on equality’s side?
The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigns,
But the bulk of his colleagues have pulled down the blinds
While their restaurant serves only the finest of wines
And the organ plays ‘Here comes the Bride’...
And democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls.
 
Bookends and stationery, jigsaws and gifts
For the lovers of luxury, strangers to thrift
All your cufflinks and printed silk shawls bought from the shop of St Pauls
Gordon Brown’s laughing so all must be well
‘We’re a centre for public debate’ say the bells
The economists set out their stalls under the dome of St Paul’s
 
Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren,
When will my England lie easy again?
With sanctuary offered to the women and men
Who stand on equality’s side?
The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigns,
But the bulk of his colleagues have pulled down the blinds
While their restaurant serves only the finest of wines
And the organ plays ‘Here comes the Bride’...
With your cufflinks and printed silk shawls bought from the shop of St Pauls
And democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls.
 
Do let’s go see the cathedral again
It’s sure to be open at quarter past ten
Was a sanctuary within these walls when this was the church of St Pauls
The tourists are missing their clotted cream scones
It’s fourteen pounds fifty, one adult alone
And please, if the Archbishop calls, tell him I’ve gone to St Pauls
 
Christopher Robin and Christopher Wren,
When will my England lie easy again?
With sanctuary offered to the women and men
Who stand on equality’s side?
The good Christian Reverend Fraser resigns,
But the bulk of his colleagues have pulled down the blinds
While their restaurant serves only the finest of wines
And the organ plays ‘Here comes the Bride’...
Was a sanctuary within these walls when this was the church of St Pauls
With your cufflinks and printed silk shawls bought from the shop of St Pauls
While democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls.
 
The economists set out their stalls under the dome of St Paul’s
And please, if the Archbishop calls, tell him I’ve gone to St Pauls
Where democracy stumbles and falls, here on the steps of St Pauls.
 
 
Words by & © Talis Kimberley 27-28th October 2011

* * *

Dated so because it was yesterday, and the Eve of the Saints named, when I began this monster. I haven't had a song fight me this hard for a long time; it was like trying to land a very big, very fierce predator fish. Please keep my name and copyright notice attached and then share as you will - link, quote, pass on down the line. If the tune comes easily I'll get a scratch track up online, of course, but the lyric's not a half hour old as I post this.

And I want to share it. Widely.

Long Crendon Folk Club

At the Eight Bells last night Chantelle and I had a lovely evening at this warm and friendly folk club. We had some unexpected friendly faces, always a treat! (Hi, Paul, Sandy & Kim!) The singaround sessions were truly amazing - the quality and the scope of flavour was incredible, from traditional ballads through Dylan, Cleverly Bros, Robb Johnson (yay!) and a stunningly poignant ukulele-accompanied version of 'You are my Sunshine', to concertina and fiddle and flute and the invisible drumkit - I can't remember the name of it - you sit on it as a stool and the front gives you a snare sound.

I like to think we mad esome friends there, and I hope we'll be back one day. We were handsomely fed and watered by Alan and Moira - her apple pie is the stuff of legends - which gave us a lovely breather between the long hot journey and the evening's music.

As ever, here's the setlist. It took some shuffling round, of course! But this is what we actually sang:

Appleby Fair
Eleanor Roosevelt's Knitting
Spoon
Plenty
Gathering Summer In
Shiny Things

Clever Men
Queen of Spindles
The Orchard
The Common Bunting
Corn Jenny

...I think 'Clever Men' was our best yet (pace Simon and his bassoon!) and 'Corn Jenny' is a song I just want to pick up and cuddle. It was a long tiring drive home and bed was very welcome at the end of it. Lovely evening, thank you Long Crendon Folk Club!

Progressive Club, Tamworth, 23rd September

Well, that was a whole bunch of fun! What a gig! We had a ball!

So, Chantelle, Rika, Simon and I set off after lunch on Friday, (Jan unable to come due to illness - he was most dischuffed about that. We missed him, but we coped and reshuffled the who-does-what a little) on the trek north. The roads were a bit horrid, traffic and roadworks and accident combined to slow the M5 right down so we went cross-country a little - got to the venue in plenty of time for our soundcheck, though, and met the team who were putting the gig together - Chris and Emma, and Martin and Tim and Neil and all...

Lovely folks, it was great to meet those with whom I'd corresponded, and make new friends besides.

Tim Philpott opened for us, with some engaging and well-played songs that showed the variety of colours in his voice. His 'grumpy people' song was as popular with the audience as with the organiser who had booked him on the strength of it, and he was delightful company besides.

Do you know, I almost stuck to the setlist! I swapped 'Mermaid' in for 'The White Swan' because I'd been speaking with Tim about mermaids before the set, and I switched two songs around, but apart from that I was very good and didn't throw any surprises at the band at all. We debuted 'Corn Jenny' for our encore, which was clearly what she wanted, as my bandmates and I no longer turn to each other and say: 'Jenny in my head! Aaargh!' as we had done since I wrote it - this is one catchy song, be warned. You can't even get it out with a Spoon. We tried.  Anyway, since letting it out on an audience the song has stopped haunting us continually. For now. And she was as much fun as I'd hoped.

We had a lot of bassoon inthe set this time, (after a very long hiatus largely as a result of orchestral duties) - Simon was back with his young tree, making lovely noises all over several songs. 'Clever Men' with the bassoon taking the trumpet part, was particularly entertaining. We had a good bit of singing back at us on the singalongs - I'd printed off a set of flyers with the lyrics to some choruses, in hopes of fostering just that. I think it worked, and I'll do that again.

Here's what we performed:

Queen of Spindles
Green Places
Common Bunting
Spoon
Orchard
Appleby Fair
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Knitting
Clever Men
Underpass Mary
The Well
Gathering Summer In
Shiny Things
Jack Hare
Lady Moon
When I was a Mermaid
Plenty
X Libris
The Finding of the Feather
---------------------------------------
ENCORE: Corn Jenny

I'd like to think we gave good value - I believe so. Hoping for a rebooking some time, there or elsewhere, from our lovely organiser, Chris, who worked her songs off setting up a very fine event. And the bar did mugs of tea! How splendid was that? I got to sit with my knitting and a mug of tea while listening to Tim before our set! And Chris had taken food as well... so we weren't starving creatures either. And Afterwards she took us all home for more tea and then quite a lot of zzzzz. In the morning we put the world to rights and set off home... stopping briefly at a service station where we caught a little bit of the rugby too. Lovely.