Stickered Guitar (2004)
1. Grassroots Sustainable Futures
2. Living in a Bender
4. Silver Birch Tree
5. London Town
6. Calstock 14-3-99
7. Lyminge Forest Victory Song
8. We Will Survive
Grassroots Sustainable Futures was
a sort of mantra at first, i was thinking of a chain of nice words to describe
what i wanted to bring into my life, partly inspired by friends singing
Indian and Sanskrit mantras while i hvered in Glastonbury. I wanted a mantra that worked for me,
in my own language, of some of the things i wanted to call into my
life and onto the world. It swiftly developed into a whole song, and featured on the Earth Stars Permaculture Musicians Compilation CD. Song Lyrics
Living in a Bender
takes a look at where i used to live at Steward Community Woodland in
Devon, and where i lived on my way there, and contains repeated and
joyous usage of the phrase "Yes I'm f**king glad that i live in a wood"
- just so you know. A more family friendly version is available in the
Paddox EP. This is my most requested song to date, and includes visions
of motorways being grown over by trees, weapons maufacturers being
closed down and ICI being taken over by a forest. I started writing it
while in bed with a German girl called Ira, to whom i am very grateful.
Szeged is a song i co wrote with my friend
Ken Moon while we were hitch hiking to Romania for an international
eenvironmentalists gathering called Ecotopia, organised by EYFA. It
was our sixth day of hitching, and we had walked for miles to find
a decent spot outside Budapest, but no one wanted to give us a lift.
Szeged was a town on the border between Hungary and Romania that looked
like a good place to be heading for on our way to Timisoara, so our
cardboard sign said "Szeged please". But no one stopped,
and we eventually walked back, and ended our week long epic hitch
with a few train journeys to the gathering. It was very dusty, and
i remember buying some watermelon from a road vendor near our hitching
spot, and writing this song together to pass the time, sitting in
the dust with Ken and my stickered guitar.
Silver Birch Tree is the song i wrote for the
funeral of my grandmother Muriel (or Moo...) Cow. She was the only
one of my grandparent i knew, and i miss her, and i wish she had been
happier in the last part of her life, and that i had found a way of
getting closer to her than i did.
London Town was written opposite Victoria Station,
on a small patch of fenced in grass, with a big old tree in one corner,
which i sat against and wailed out my feelings of frustration about
being in London for however long. I was staying at the Campaign Against
Arms Trade office in Finsbury Park - sleeping between computer hard
drives at night, and planning actions and publicity during the day.
This is all well and good, but it was not nourishing my body and soul
very much, and i clearly longed for some space and trees. Its a lie
that all i had to share was that song, but that was what i wanted
to say at the time. Maybe i was pretending in my mind to be a homeless
busker, i guess i identified more with them than the smart business
people or logo-ed shoppers hurrying past with their eyes shying away
from human contact.
Calstock 14-3-99 celebrates a piece of land
on the Devon/Cornwall border that the group i was in was considering
buying. The song tries to capture the inspired hopes and dreams of
that moment, envisioning the possibilities of setting up a shared
life with 10 other people in some beautiful fields overlooking the
mighty Tamar river, trying to find our more wild selves, and helping
the fields reforest themselves. We decided not to go for that land,
as it was a little expensive, had too few trees, wasn't south facing
enough, and the neighbours unnerved us a bit. We eventually chose Steward Wood and the rest is history...
Lyminge Forest Victory Song was written next
to one of the Douglas Firs in the West Wood car park at Lyminge forest.
I couldn't resist the opportunity to perform at the open mic night
scheduled as part of the "tat down" (vt.- to dismantle,
pack down) celebrations. I had visited the protest camps near Lyminge
a few years earlier, at the height of the protest, and had made myself
a home for a summer there in a suspended net/bender between 3 trees
at camp 'Asterix' (the last camp to hold out to hold out against the
Romans you see... other camp names included Treacle Mines, Gone to
Pot, Camp Bastard, Rat Trap, The Curry House and Hecklesville). It
was lovely waking up and looking through the net at the tops of trees,
then abseiling down to the firepit for breakfast. It probably wouldn't
have been a good structure for the winter time though - it was basically
a net between a scaffold pole square, covered by a shell of bent hazel
poles (a bender) and plastic tarpaulin.. Protest camps are where i
got to really develop my passion for constructing places to live in
from basic and recycled materials, and i got to live in them too.
They were much nicer than the damp Victorian terraces in Cardiff,
where i occasionally studied towards my degree in English Literature.
We Will Survive is a new version of the disco
classic, reworked with a political, anarchist, DIY culture edge. I
can't remember where or when i rewrote it, but it goes down a treat.
details the angst and woe i used to derive from trying to price up
woodland products for sale. Its the recording i am least happy with on
this album, so i considered it a bonus track. Nice lyrics though.