Upper Lough Erne And Lower Lough Erne (3:24):
A real beaut in structural terms. Love to get into the studio with
this one. Baggage From The Past: the Irish folk-heritage that turns
me into a dangerous romantic fool, a walking, running sore.
Angel (3:46): We were talking about George
Meredith’s The Egoist and I was just about to say that I thought
there was nothing so vile as an author who wrote a book about how bad he
was. Then I thought about Angel. And kept my mouth shut.
About not living up to expectations.
Ckazka (One Out Of Many) (3:57): The next biggie.
Even better than Ground’s Gone. On the plateau of Aztec Camera’s
We Could Send Letters. The title is Russian for fairy story.
It’s about the way a relationship brings you face to face with your own
lack of uniqueness, just making you one out of many. Ironic, eh?
A different slant on Prefab Sprout’s Couldn’t Bear To Be Special.
Ground’s Gone (5:03): Really took our breath
away [during the recording]: lyrics about the loss of my gorgeous romantic
dream with specific relevance to my treatment at the hands of [name excised],
slow Dylanesque music, I gave it three guitars and a classic is born.
Definitely the finest five minutes of my artistic life. [And] I feel
I must point out, John The Bap was recorded and mixed a full month
before The Smiths was released.
Sunset Too Soon (5:11): How many novels have
you read about the decline of the once-great? Tragedy is often best
expressed in financial terms. This is my first ever really impersonal
song. A clichéd ending, I know, but I rather like that.
Most of the backing vocals are me and Norman warbling away. [On these
sessions] Norman’s playing the dinky guitar, and I’m playing the loud,
Serendip (4:00): This has gone through many
a title change since it was written. It was originally called The
View From Serendip, which (I didn’t know) is a book by Arthur C. Clarke.
Then it was shortened to Serendip, particularly since the words
weren’t in the song and that was of course a big issue at one point; then
it was changed so drastically that we actually did put something in that
was in the song, and it was called The Reasons I’m In Love, then
it was called just I’m In Love, and now it’s back to being called
Serendip, for this week anyway. Ken sings and wrote the lyrics,
and gives me ample opportunity to bounce around playing distorted lead
Make You Smile (3:24): It doesn’t matter who
this is about, but I think this is still almost a manifesto. Maybe
it’s a little bit over-traditional This “Blue Piano”, but I really like
it. I also like the backing vocals on the chorus; it’s one of those
neat ideas you have in the studio – all four Pianos screaming into the
Jerusalem (3:51): This we decided to do a lot
slower in the studio than out normal “one-two-three-four” take on it.
The reactions to it at this speed have been mixed. It used to clock
in at under three minutes. About how people ought to face up to their
Then I Saw You (3:37): I’m worried that most
people will think that this is really a genuine love song. The video
– which is what I wrote it for: to be a video – will be the best mocking
video ever produced, but you’ll have to wait for that for God knows how
long. OK, maybe it’s not terribly clever, just moderately clever,
but I still think that the best pop song line ever written is “You’re a
Finnegans Wake, you’re the new George Best, you’re like Simply
Thrilled Honey made into flesh.” I don’t think anyone is ever
going to equal that.
Where Am I To Go? (4:41): Not bad at all, eh?
I still think that knocks the spots off anything else on the [compilation]
record [on which an edited version was originally released in Canada],
even though we didn’t play it that well and it’s not one of our best songs
and the drum sound is pretty weak; I still think there’s at least five
absolutely wonderful things happening in that song.
(5:28): Just as bad, probably a bit worse in terms of musical content,
but at least it’s a bit more funny, and it’s certainly much more obscure.
It’s about This “Blue Piano”; each verse is about an individual member.
There are all sort of triple-linguistic puns in it, my favourite of which
is the title itself, as what most people probably aren’t gonna realise
is that “siniy royal” is Russian for “blue piano”. The first verse
is about Ken, the second Colin, the third Norman.
When It Rains I Get Wet (3:50): A big book
for me this summer  was À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu.
This is a personal recasting of the incident of Swann creeping up to Odette's
house to discover absolute proof of her infidelity – raps on the window
and finds he has the wrong house. About the inexorable pressures
of jealousy. Fast and clever.
Promises (3:20): Actually, the first time I
heard it I was going to gently tell Colin not to write any more songs.
But once we got to grips with it, it developed a bouncy, simplistic little
life of its own. Combine this with the fact that (unlike my own songs)
its vocals are in my optimum range (about 3 semitones) and it’s become
quite an appreciated number, especially by people who aren’t actually in
the band. Can even be punky, depending on the mood I’m in...
Hang On A Minute [S.L.demo] (3:55):
Pretty fierce, bearing a resemblance to Echo And The Bunnymen’s Crocodiles
until its quiet ending. Inspired (believe it or not) by Orange Juice’s
The Day I Went Down To Texas and what I see as Edwyn Collins’s attempt
to convey the essence of life in a drunken, sunny moment of pure bliss.
Mine could be retitled The Day I Went Down To Pau.
I Blinked [S.L.demo] (3:33):
Not a very important musical step, maybe only B-side quality. I like
to keep churning them out; it gives you something to do while you’re working.
Nuremberg Cathedral [S.L.demo]
Sunset Too Soon [S.L.demo] (5:07)
From The Heart Of Me [S.L.demo]
(3:34): The idea of someone writing a song to criticise [my account
of my relationships] was just too much of a temptation, and I wrote one
right back. I don’t know if there’s anything really meaningful about
it; I hope, though, that you did pick up on the Scott Walkerisms, because
I was going out of my way to try and get those in.