The Golden Bowl (3:25): This oneís sort of
faded away a bit, but I still think itís a wee cracker. Not about
a girl, just about a book. Duelling guitars there Ė not since Edwyn
Collins and James Kirk in Orange Juice, eh? The funny thing is Normanís
never even heard of James Kirk, at least not that one, and still he manages
to come up with an almost exact replica of his twang, which I think is
Mostly We Just Care About Girls (3:53): I wouldíve
loved to have had this as the title track for an album, but I donít think
anybody else would have been agreeable. Itís a highly charged sort
of manifesto; it might not come across as radically as I wanted it to,
but the basic message is that things are really horrible in South Africa,
Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, people are starving to death in Ethiopia
but the truth of the matter is that mostly we just care about girls, and
itís time we faced up to that fact without feeling guilty about it, more
that there is a certain degree of truth to the view that that is the most
important thing in the world. We never played it as a band, which
is a bit of a pity. Also I wanted to write a verse chord pattern
with the usual four chords in a row but without a single simple major or
minor chord. I think that also shows a general pattern that, over
the five years of TBP, my songs started to get more rockist and also a
bit more humorous.
Cut (3:26): One of our regular live numbers,
with the addition of a really funky guitar solo at the end. While
I donít think either this or Where Are We Going Tonight? is a particularly
monumental work of art, I really like the lyrics of them both.
Full Fathom Five (2:08): While we were working
on our album, one of the things that was suggested for a while by Gary,
our manager, was that we do another four-track E.P. and record three major
This ďBlue PianoĒ songs and one solo thing with me. I thought it
would be neat to try and follow his very specific ideas: to write a song
under three minutes, that used just voice and acoustic guitar, on the subject
of Ireland, and that included something spoken Ė I think he wanted to take
commercial advantage of my real-slash-hidden accent. I wrote three
songs. Iím almost completely embarrassed to hell by the parts that
are spoken; I discovered I just canít write anything that would normally
be considered literature. Originally I wrote this as a version of
the song from The Tempest, then when Gary came up with his idea,
I changed the lyrics while keeping the basic form and stuck on the stupid
talking bit. Actually, maybe this oneís not as bad as I remembered.
Hey! Diana (3:05): I think this is about the
only song I ever wrote that has a true Stiff Little Fingers influence.
I really liked it for a long time; we changed it quite a bit when we actually
got round to playing it live, and maybe commercialised it slightly in the
chorus, but I still like this version that I recorded by myself.
I think it represents a sort of ideal that I had in the latter days: a
standard three-minute guitar-driven pop song with the hooks and the title
prominently displayed in the chorus, and lyrics that appeared to be very
conventional rock lyrics about lost romance and things, but yet beneath
which there lurked another hidden meaning. I used to get a big kick
out of going onstage and saying, ďThis is the only song in our set that
isnít about girls Ė itís called Hey! Diana.Ē Obviously there
is a hidden meaning, which I guess I could best encapsulate as ďPaul Anka
addresses the goddess of chastityĒ.
Falling Down Again (4:42): It always astounded
me how Norman and Ken were so quick to pick up on their talent, whereas
I had to pass through a year and a halfís apprenticeship before I could
write anything that was at all decent. This was vying with Then
I Saw You for the longest time as the song that was gonna be the single
from the album, when we ever did record it. If the rhythm has a slightly
computerised quality, itís probably because we must have played it about
a thousand times since we decided it was gonna be one of the major songs
we were concentrating on.
Another Lonely Night (4:31): This was gonna
be one of the big songs on the album. I guess it was one of the qualifiers
for maybe the best song I ever wrote: Iíd put it up there with Groundís
Gone. This was changed very drastically, and again I still prefer
the version that I did myself. Julian Cope can have that bit at the
end, too, if he wants.
Done With The Dreaminí (4:03): This song explores
the ambiguities in a relationship: not at all what you expected it would
be, but clearly the romantic big time. In my particular view itís
probably the best song I ever wrote, and itís the last one we ever played,
which adds poignancy to it. On the surface it seems to be a very
comfortable version of the relationship, but if you really think about
what the words are saying you realise that thereís a lot of confusion.
Back To The Start (3:41): This is one of the
ones that were gonna be on the album we were planning on recording just
before we split up. One of the more catchy ones that we had.
Falling Down Again [alternative version](3:31)
I Donít Need You Tonight (6:19): A bruising
kind of song written after I stopped going out with a girl, and listening
back to it, I realise what a great big pile of crap it really is.
Itís a highlight of my explicit stage of lyrics; Iím still trying to come
back to that now and again, but I find it really difficult to do.
Iím now back to doing things fairly obscurely.
The Same Old Song (4:18): The only song thatís
been written by all four members. Of course, thereís nothing in that
that wasnít flanged! It happens to be about the same girl that Euphoria
was about, although this time itís Ken writing about her. We pass
íem around in this band, mentally, but nothing ever comes of it.
That sounds terrible, I know; Iím not that kind of guy, honest.
Smiles Away (5:34): This was a song I wrote
about a girl I went out with for four days, before I discovered that I
actually had a chance. Itís shouldnít really be this long, but itís
kinda nice, very very Orange Juice. The lyrics have all sorts of
literary references, so you can play little games, seeing who you can pick
out. OK, maybe theyíre not quite as disguised as I remember them.
Most of the songs are about a book and a girl; the book that goes all around
these is Time And Western Man by Wyndham Lewis.
We Envy The Dead (6:08): This was originally
called The Prince Is Dead, and had terribly obscure lyrics; I rewrote
them, and then sat down and played them to everybody and tried to see if
they could work out what the hell it was about, so I gave up and left it
with the second set of lyrics. ďWe envy the deadĒ sounds terrible;
Iím not that kind of guy either.
Where Are We Going Tonight? (3:39): Not really
done any more, we never really even worked it out, itís not that good a
The Light And The Lion (5:19): This is one
of my favourites, maybe the best song Iíve written in ages. Iíve
really no idea what itís about. I know it has a This ďBlue PianoĒ
verse, and then a William Butler Yeats verse, and the last verse is a Goethe
verse, basically because he wrote it: I just lifted the words straight
from the Penguin edition of Faust. All I know is somewhere
thereís Van Morrison wandering around in the background, too, but Iím really,
really proud of this.
Look Away (3:58): If you donít think thatís
a funny song, you should have been there when I played that tape to the
boys in the band for the first time and heard the gales of laughter that
greeted that guitar solo, further enhanced when I pointed out to everybody
that it shifted from one side to the other! It was never worked out
for playing live, though.
Jack And Jill (3:09): I was also writing songs
to be played by myself. I think this one met the newer S.L. requirements
of humour and rockism. Awwwright!
Blood For The Nightingale (3:41): There exists
no This ďBlue PianoĒ version of this at all. Iím actually not too
sure whether itís called Blood For The Nightingale or ...Nightingales;
if itís the former, then the subject of the song is Morrissey; if the latter,
I guess itís Morrissey and Paul Weller. I guess itís my song about
the great mixture of music and politics that those two particular authors
put over on us. You might think Iíve suddenly got religion from some
of the lyrics, but I thought some of the stuff on The Queen Is Dead
so puerile in its attack on religion. I guess thatís another reason
I wanted to get out of this business: anything that lauds people like Weller
and Morrissey as major cultural figures has really got a problem.
ónotes by Stephen Lamont