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August 8, 2008

Love You, Hate You

Okay, so I'm trying to give my verbal ceativity a kick in the butt. It's not necessarily about writing functioning lyrics, more about writing something with some validity. Channeling, if you like. No, not like Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends network! I'm talking about honest expression here.

Art (pretentiousness alert, pretentiousness alert!) isn't something that comes easy when you're essentially in a happy place. It's usually born of angst, hate and persecution. Okay, so picture this: last night I spent an hour or so scrubbing the decking on our back patio to try and clean the years of dirt and algae off it...

...okay, that was it! I just wanted it noted SOMEWHERE that I tried to clean that bloody decking. That way when someone says "it doesn't look like anyone's ever cleaned it" I can point them to this blog and say, "See... see... 7th August 2008!"

I tell you, come The Revolution, that decking's going to be the first up against the wall.

Right, I just went completely random. Sorry. It's been one of those weeks. Back to the point...

...which is that there have been times in my life where I've been truly, gloriously unhappy. Downright miserable, if you must know. Fabulous, eh? A wealth of angst just waiting there to be pilfered. This isn't one of those times, though, which makes it hard to write stuff about 'now' that isn't all fluffy bunnies and Flossy the Sheep. So, I thought to myself that what I really needed to do was to think back to a time of abject misery (oh, the joy of songwriting), immerse myself in it, freely associate about was going on at the time and basically just write something down on paper (or screen, as the case may be).

Here's my first attempt. It's not lyrics. It's not a poem. It's just an emotional blurp. While some people enscribe their art on expensive heavyweight paper (or on TP if that's the only thing handy), I typed this directly into Microsoft Outlook. Classy, eh?

So, the background to this is (and I'm sharing here, dammit, so be nice)... the background to this is that after a string of failed relationships (boo-hoo) I got myself involved with this guy with whom I felt the need to make it work, no matter what. The problem was that less than a year in, I realised that he was an arsehole and that I didn't even like him, let alone love him. Even so, my compulsion to 'do the right thing' led me to stick with it until the bitter end. And yes, it was bitter but, thankfully, it ended. That was two years I'll never get back. Hey, look, I'm channeling already. Ride the ride... here goes!

Why don't you make me hate you more
Why won't you cheat, why won't you lie
You keep me stuck here every day
Confined to this righteous path

Til death do us part is a funny thing
I never thought I'd crave the end
So much I'd sit and watch the tracks
Waiting for the train to come

Maybe I should be the one
Show you who you let inside
Play the part so you're the one
Who breaks these perfect chains of love

Eh? Eh?

Y'know the sucky thing is that when I do stuff like this it drags me back to that time and, frankly, it bums me out. Really.


Istvanski said...

These lyrics are good, but the question to ask yourself is this;
Would you sing this emotional type of stuff on stage without getting too emotional as to ruin the performance.
Andy Partridge has written songs describing and celebrating the joy and wonderment of life (Senses Working Overtime being a prime example) so you should go with the flow with whatever comes into your mind. What reservations you may have with certain topics, others may take to very well.

Axe Victim said...

And Ister makes a very good point here. For example, if Magic Ship tried to play 'Lifeboats For The Dead' live I'd be useless, crying all over the stage and everything. I'm asking you why you want to trudge up the worst of your past and all of its hurtful memories in the first place. Yes, you're probably right by saying that geat art comes from tragedy etc. but why not try to delicatly 'dip' into those feelings rather than 'burn along in hell' with them? Sometimes you have to get words down on paper - but don't force anything. I often think up, nay stumble over - a line that I really like and it comes from this point forward. For example on my song 'Black Holes Don't Eat Everything' came about after I found a copy of New Scientist lying around the mens room at Airplay Studios and this was the lead caption on its front cover. I was having a leak and looking down at this caption. I nicked it 100%. I rushed backl to the lads adn had a total Eureaka moment about it proclaiming that I was going to write a song with this as the title. I just didn't know what the words were going to be at the time.
So don't force anything. Let it flow. Find your inspiration, build it up. Black Holes went through many versions in its development. I was constantly trying to write a thirtd verse but couldn't and eventually Sam gifted me with a new set of words that just so wonderfully fitted the song that it was an awesome develpment. Keep these words in your folder/file though. You can plunder them for good lines at a later stage as you're crafting up a new song and you think you've got a killer lyrical hook 'in the bank' so to speak.

Write a load. Fill up a note book. Cut and paste a few together. Go through the Gurdian on a Saturday and write down some interesting sentences. Add a few of your own and Bob's yer Uncle - a song will coem together. By the time you have started manipulating the context and adding in bits of your own you will be half way home. How else did you think that David Bowie wrote all of that Ziggy nonsence? Don't be afraid to just be you. Don't try to become the songwriter by inhabiting what you think his mindset might be. Let you come out to the fore and be comfortable being you. You'll then find plenty to sing about I am certain. And remember. You're writing from a solo's perspective. That's got to be really bloody hard. I've done a half dozen or so but not many of them are very good. I'm lucky that I have the lads to bounce material off. And that in itself is anguish for a writer. Oh the exposure of revealing a new song to the lads in the band and hoping that they will all like it. It's a great feeling when they do...

Kenski said...

You know what the funny thing is? (Not diminishing everything that's been said before...)

The songs I find hard to sing are the happy ones. I'm sure a psychiatrist would have a field day, but there are loads of (other people's) songs which I relate to times gone by where I was really happy, then that happiness was taken away. The association brings me down, so when I try to sing them I can't. Hey ho... most of them are cr*p songs, anyway :-) About the only one I wish I could sing but it kicks me in the balls every time is "Please Be With Me". I have such a strong sense about the first time I was in love and about how that whole thing f**ked up, that, even though it's essentially a positive, happy song... well... you know...

Axe Victim said...

Ken you're missing the point. Some people 'do' happy and others don't 'do' happy all that easily. I don't' 'do' happy and am yet to write one. I'd love to, but it just doesn't come naturally to me. So I don't force it. It'll come naturally when it's ready to flow. 'Please Be With Me' is a song I would love to have written. I reckon I'll never even come close. But Ister is right when he says that 'happy' can be written about in many ways - such as 'Senses Working Overtime' by Andy Partridge. Don't think too hard about it. Read those bloody books and then try some song writing exercises. I used to sit back and think - right, now I am gonna write something in the vein of XYZ band. That's how I started. I still use that trick now and again to get me in the 'zone'. Don't think so hard eh?