New Song: A Little Spillage

 

The Horse is fine, of course, although the van is far less certain!
Just your average Cockney-Kiwi, Bernard Cribbins-type jam.
A collaboration with Stephen Wordsmith.
Download     Chords (pdf)

One of the pleasure of FAWM is meeting incredibly creative people you from all over the world. New Zealander Stephen Wordsmith writes incredible lyrics often comprising of fiendishly difficult puzzles or dazzling wordplay. During FAWM 2015 we collaborated on A Little Spillage which to my mind sounded like an old fashioned children’s song. I set the lyrics to a musical part I could barely play and moved on to other things. When Stephen approached me this year about including it on his new album ‘Tintinnitus’ I actually learned how to play it and did a proper recording.

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Canterbury Lorry
Met a paint truck from Otago
A paint truck from Otago?
A paint truck from Otago!
And the paint truck from Otago’s
Gone and spilled its precious cargo

There’s ochre and orange and buckets of blue
And rivers of red in most every hue
Midst puddles of puce and great gushes of green
With flicks of sienna to finish the scene
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With colour and life along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A car from Alexandra
Met an ice-cream van from Lincoln
An ice-cream van from Lincoln?
An ice-cream van from Lincoln!
So you’d better get there quick
Because that ship’s already sinkin’!

There’s caramel, coffee and chocolate and cherry
And cookies and cream among boysen and berry
With pieces from Reece and vanilla from France
All mingling as one in their trickling dance
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With flavour and fun along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Clydesdale from Ashburton
Met A Clyde van selling curtains
A Clyde van selling curtains?
A Clyde van selling curtains!
The Horse is fine of course
Although the van is far less certain!

There’s spartans and tartans and circles and – cripes!
There’s spots and there’s dots and diagonal stripes
With florals that flourish and ziggies that zag
All rotten with cotton (or so says the tag)
Come quickly, and watch all the patterns explode
Unfolding like sails along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village!

Lyrics by Stephen Wordsmith
Music by Matt Blick

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Dan Wright: Long Gone Woman Blues

Here’s First Tuesday member Dan Wright with a solo version of a Most Ugly Child song live at Filthy’s Open Mic Night

Dan and Stevie were also featured on a recent episode of the Proc Cast Podcast, playing live in the studio and being interviewed.

Listen here

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Teaching Music Is More Important Than Teaching Math(s)

Welcome to Soapbox – a series of short posts where I put forward a unusual argument about music, education, musical education (maybe even educational music?). Each post is a single bite and is not intended to cover every possible point pro or con. 

Teaching Music Is More Important Than Teaching Math(s)

This runs counter to everything coming out of mainstream education, but it’s true.

One reason it’s true is that the skill required to do many maths problems is being rendered obsolete by computers. And not just huge MIT style, server farmed computers. The tiny computers your 10 year old kid carries around in their pockets and occasionally phones home on. Just like we no longer teach kids how to use a mangle, churn butter or shoe a horse, most people no longer to need to learn the kind of maths we spend days, weeks and months cramming into the heads of 8 year old kids. Like map reading, it’s a skill which the machines are now doing faster, better and cheaper.

Music creation on the other hand is not a profession that our robot overlords are going to be taking over any time soon. Programmers have succeeded in creating software that can listen to music, decipher the tempo and then tap a robotic foot along to. That’s as good as it gets. But the human brain can hear Happy Birthday To You, played fast or slow, on a piccolo or a bass guitar, in the key of Bb or F# and instantly perform the mind-numbingly complex equations to identify the tune without, you know, your mind going numb. We’re decades away from a computer program that can do that.

That’s decades of gainful employment making music with no threat from the machines, while the math dudes are asking “do you want fries with that?”

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New Song: Every Fist Was Once An Open Hand

To both be heard, to both be seen
A cry for peace and reconciliation
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

In 2015 I set myself a goal of writing 50 songs. I finished demoing song no 48 (Guns) on Dec 31st but I was determined not to fail I wrote and recorded song 49 (New Mistakes) with 40 minutes to spare. Digging into my ‘song starts’ folder I found the title Every Fist Was Once An Open Hand. It was a paraphrase of something I’d heard on a radio 4 program maybe 15 years before. Against the deadline I wrote and played the first words and chords that came to mind and demoed it as the new years fireworks began to go off (listen closely to the end of the demo for proof!). I rerecorded the song ‘properly’ in early 2016 but it was worse than the ‘New Years Eve one mic live take’ so I went back to that and added a little overdubbing to fix a spot where I got the words wrong and a few sweeteners.

I wish you peace, I wish you joy
I wish we’d have no fear of laying down our swords
To both be heard, to both be seen
Living in the light of shared humanity
It’s not too late for us to understand
Every fist was once an open hand

I pray for hope, I pray for grace
I pray that I can put the smile back on your face
I see the scars that your still bear
I know my actions and my words put them there
Can I change? I believe I can
Cos every fist was once was an open hand

You have a cause for which you fight
And the God you serve believes you’re always right
No second thoughts, no feeble doubts
Just the strength to carry your decisions out
It’s not too late for you to change your plans
Every fist was once an open hand

Call off the missile strikes that fall on foreign lands
Let every fist become an open hand

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RJ Marks/Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Huge congratulations to my former pupil Sheku Kanneh-Mason for being named winner of BBC Young Musician Of The Year. I taught Sheku everything I know on the cello (which is NOTHING!) but I did teach him guitar for a little while. I remember teaching him Pass Out by Tiny Tempah but wisely he decided to go for Shostokovich’s Cello Concerto no 1 instead (which by a strange coincidence is actually one of my favourite classical pieces – you should check it out).

Something else to check out is the new single from Nottingham duo RJ Marks. Another former pupil Jake Buckley make a cameo appearance at 2:38!

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