This is intended as a home for some articles that actually already exist on another blog. Or at least pointers to and summaries of those articles. I’m just trying to rationalize slightly.
The nature of those articles is probably obvious from the title of this page. I don’t often lapse into parody, but…
For the words and music (in the form of MP3s) you’ll need to follow the links to the actual articles.
New words by David Harley to ‘Cocaine Blues’. This article is also published on my song/music site David Harley’s Songs, though not yet with a recording.
However, the whole ‘why-do-I-put-up-with-this-alarmist-BS-anyway-when-I-could-retire-to-a desert-island-with-no-internet?’ thing keeps nagging at me. (The answer is because I’d rather live somewhere with reasonable access to a wine merchant.) There’s probably enough mileage in this for a whole (rather sour) opera, but life’s too short for that. I suspect I’ll probably record this version sooner rather than later, however.
I suspect that this rant may offend some prophets of doom, security marketroids, politically active acquaintances, other acquaintances about whom I May Not Speak, The Register, Mark Zuckerberg, and my pro-meme and pro-gun friends on Facebook. If so, I’ll try to live with it.
[Apologies to Harburg and Gorney for borrowing the tune for ‘Brother can you spare a dime‘ for one section. I guess if I ever do anything serious with this, I’ll have to rethink that particular leaning towards Lehrerism. But this is actually more a curiosity than a demo.]
Around the start of the 1980s I went through a somewhat theatrical phase: in fact, a couple of the best songs I wrote around then were for a revue called Nice If You Can Get It, directed by Maggie Ford: in particular, Hands of the Craftsman and Long Stand . This one is a little more flippant: I don’t think this was intended for any project in particular, and I can’t actually remember playing it in public anywhere, but I found this version on a cassette recently and quite liked it. Just vocal and electric guitar.
While I might harbour a secret desire to be the sort of Renaissance Man presented here, the ‘hero’ definitely isn’t me. I’m a slow writer – slower as I get older, and I’ve never written an opera – though I once started to put together a concept album back in the days when that wasn’t considered absurdly pretentious. I don’t play the Minute Waltz – least of all on the piano – though these days the wonders of the internet will probably turn up a version on YouTube of someone who does play it in 35 seconds flat, probably on ukulele. So you can spend 35 seconds listening to it and 5 minutes wondering why anyone would do that. I don’t fly gliders or water-ski – these days I do my best to avoid flying even as a passenger – I usually leave cooking to my wife, who is an excellent cook and also very adept with the cocktail shaker. And I don’t drive. I was once a wood-machinist – which is why my right thumb is much shorter than the left and I almost invariably play with a thumb pick – but certainly not a cabinet-maker, and am certainly a mediocre artist at best. I just write and play a few things. And take the occasional photo. Which all sounds so dull that I can’t imagine why you’d bother to have read this far.
An attempt to teach good privacy/security practice via music. Paul Simon would probably not approve.
Or, just when you thought it was safe to order another pint of gold top…
Even if you remember the 1970s song by W.C. McCall [actually, that’s C.W. McCall: possibly a Freudian slip there…] or the Sam Peckinpah movie, you may not be aware of the projected follow-up movie, where the action was to be moved to a milk round in West London. If you don’t remember the song, the movie or milk floats, this won’t mean a lot to you.
What would Christmas be without The Snowman?
For years this was just a single verse stranded in the first draft of a novel I’ll probably never finish now, and then a few years ago it demanded to be finished. Its first public appearance was after the funeral of my friend Graham Bell. That might seem less strange if I tell you that the funeral finished with the Ying Tong Song. Graham was always urging me to play more jazz, but I think he would have approved of this anyway. Apologies to both Howard Blake and Raymond Briggs, who might not approve.
I did once sing it at one of Vic Cracknell’s open mike evenings in tandem with a vaguely jazzy instrumental version of White Christmas which probably proved conclusively that I was not born to compete with Wes Montgomery or Barney Kessel.
Recorded on primitive handheld equipment: perhaps one day I’ll take another run at it in my updated home studio and do a little OTT overdubbing. I’m thinking celeste, harpsichord and orchestra. (I have access to a Yamaha keyboard and I’m not afraid to use it.) Not that this is ever going to be translated to a commercial recording. 🙂