My Ride (An Open Letter To NCT) – Annotated Lyrics

Here’s a new song written during FAWM 2016. Consider it a love letter to Nottingham and it’s excellent public transport system. As a family we’ve managed without a car for 10 years now which would only be possible in a city like Nottingham. The song could have been twice as long with all the people and places I wanted to mention but at least I got a few in. 

The song was inspired by the Beastie Boys track An Open Letter To NYC from To The 5 Boroughs. I loved the way they name checked various places and transport systems. NCT is Nottingham City Transport which run 372 buses.

Aye up me duck! A traditional Nottingham greeting Public service announcement, Lemme push the bus as the way to get round Hoodtown = Nottingham, a reference to legendary Notts outlaw Robin Hood now Yellow 71 stops opposite Bulwell Bogs an area for playing, paddling and fishing near the banks of the River Leen. ‘Bogs’ is unfortunately also slang for ‘toilets’ Ya Blue 45 goes up Mapperley Top Mapperley (pronounced Map’ley by locals) is the highest point of the city, hence Mapperly Top It’s got the posh kid voice that’ll give you the creeps Various bus and trams have experimented with using local people to do the automated announcements but for some reason the 45 has a child with a very upper class accent that wouldn’t sound out of place in Village Of The Damned Got a ticket for the cricket? Get the Green 13 to Trent Bridge There’s a farm smack-bang in the middle of  Stansville  Stonebridge City Farm is in St Anns. St Anns = Stans = Stansville Get on the 21 actually the 25 or 27 might be better same as the Panthers fans will The Nottingham Arena/National Ice Centre is the home of the the Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Team. Most of their fans actually come in on the tram and get off at Lace Market.

Northbound 40 if you’re feeling Blue, scratching like  DJ Jazzy Jeff to the GMU Genito Urinary Medicine (for sexually transmitted diseases) Little C, big C or up the duff = pregnant, Looks like City’s where you wanna get off bruv/love maternity/neonatal and cancer treatment facilities are also based at Nottingham City Hospital Orange 36 to the QMC Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham’s other hospital, deals with many things including A and E. Stop at the Savoy Cinema on Derby Road is Nottingham’s only surviving pre-Second World War cinema via Sainsbury’s. Ya gotta stock up man, them sweets ain’t cheap I would never advocate smuggling sweets in the cinema Screen 1, have a cuddle in a double seat Yes they have double seats!

My ride is bigger than yours even Jay-Z’s ain’t got two floors. My ride is bigger than yours even Kanye’s ain’t got two floors. My ride is bigger than yours even Chuck D’s ain’t got two floors. My ride is bigger than yours even Tupac’s ain’t got two floors.

There’s kids sneaking maccy d’s McDonald’s fast food onto the 43, round the corner from where Fopp used to be Fopp Records on Queen St moved to the Broadmarsh Centre to make way for a Red’s True Barbecue Brand new Nokia, take it out, feelin proud, shocking taste in music, bled = friend/brother (lit. ‘blood’) imma play it loud. Old Jack’s eating crackers on the back of the bus On the coffin dodger = old person run no one makes a fuss Wollaton (pronounced Woolaton) is a sedate part of Notts with a large amount of elderly people Pink 30 powered by beets not Beats By Dre the Ecolink 30 was an Ethanol-powered bus introduced in 2007. When ethanol got too expensive it was converted to diesel Beetroot that you used to eat yoof = any male person [lit. youth] back in the day sadly Ethanol is made from sugar beet not beetroot but it’s too late now!

Roll past Wayne Manor Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house built in the 1580s and was used as the exterior location of Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises. Wollaton Hall is five miles north of Gotham (pronounced ‘Goat Ham’) where Batman’s Gotham City got its name 

back into town, driver’s complaining, Shurrup! = be quiet (alternative – “stop chunterin’) Put the ramp down. The lady with the [wheel]‘chair that’s chin-controlled wants to ride this beast up Illson Rd Illson = local slang for Illkeston Always drama livening up the place, the mums is fussin over buggy space cos theres a pimped up pram with the spinnin rims, so big no other mothers can squeeze in. My ride is bigger than yours…

Drivers skiving = avoiding work down the alley on Angel Row Next to the Central Library Taking five minutes for a crafty smoke where the Beatles played the Odeon in ’63 Twice. On 23rd May they headlined a tour supported by Roy Orbison and Gerry & The Pacemakers; and on 12th Dec they were supported by The Kestrels. They also played a ‘one night stand’ on 7 Mar 1963 at the Elizabethan Ballroom Co-Operative House (on Upper Parliament Street) with Gerry & The Pacemakers and returned to the Odeon for one last time on 5th Nov 1964 supported by Mary Wells. Now we got a Nando’s and a Nando’s wannabe Rooster’s Piri Piri is on the site of the Odeon Cinema, Nando’s is a little further down Angel Row. Annie’s Burger Shack is hard to beat Home of outrageous gourmet burgers (eg the Johnny Vegas Burger – bacon, toffee apple butter, black pudding, sweet chilli paste and a mini Guinness-flavoured jelly doughnut on a stick) started in The Old Angel Pub, moved to the Navigation pub before settling in it’s own building in the Lace Market. Owner Anmarie Spaziano grew up in the house featured in horror film The Conjuring and says it’s all a load of baloney. But you’ll never get to try it cos you’ll never get a seat Annie’s is still extremely popular, but their booking system is much better than when it first opened sloppy joe for lunch at Brown Betty’s on St James Street or try Homemade cafe on Pelham Street (or at the Pavilion at the Forest Recreation Ground) Maryland skim your can but they keep your change Maryland Chicken on Lower Parliament St, purveyors of the cheapest chicken in Notts are not allowed to hand you a can of coke. They are contractually obliged to slide it to you across the counter. And though everything is £?.99p on the menu, they never have any 1p pieces.

Kids swimming in schools to Oceana the largest nightclub in Nottingham Girls like goldfish, lads like piranhas. Pure and simple, maybe, simple not pure Walk past the Left Lion see if he roars There are two large art-deco stone lions guarding the entrance of the Council House in Old Market Square. It’s traditional to meet someone at the ‘Left Lion’ (the one on your left as you face the building). The local legend is that the lions roar when a virgin walks by. Xylophone Man’s got a blue plaque Frank Robinson was an eccentric busker, nicknamed Xylophone Man because he played a child’s glockenspiel (not xylophone) repeating the same odd phrase over and over again (like the tune you hear on the track). A plaque (black granite, not ‘blue’) in his honour was placed on his ‘pitch’ (outside H & M on Listergate) the year after his death stating “He played his Xylophone here for fifteen years, bringing a smile to the faces of the people of Nottingham”. The feds = police would cut him no slack if he came back ironically Nottingham now enforces a strict ban on unlicensed buskers like Frank Would he get on Mark Del’s show? Mark Del presents the popular and influential NUSIC (New Notts Music) Podcast Can I get a “Hell No!” Poddingham might though – he’s the Pope of Mansfield Road Poddingham Paul is another Notts Pod/Vodcaster known to frequent a particular drinking establishment on Mansfield Road.

How you rolling? I’m rolling heavy. You need to wash your tabs = ears out= you are obviously hard of hearing I’m rolling heavy, said heavy I’m rolling. 13 tons. Built in Poland. 39 Feet from head to toe, 6-cylinder diesel, direct-injection, four-stroke Most NCT buses are Scania OmniCitys, a transverse-engined, low floor, citybus with similar specs to above and built in Słupsk, Poland. Looking for a rhyme or a rhythm or a pattern In a skanky old Metro The Metro is a free newspaper given away on Notts buses that an old lady sat on. There ain’t no clowns round Canning Circus (home to the Warsaw Diner) is where Derby Road, Alfreton Road and Illkeston Road meet. They’re just workers, no one’s gonna murk us = kill/badly injure us. Nottingham’s unfair reputation as a ‘gun-crime capital’ has led to it being called ‘Shottingham’ by outsiders.

Gooseh’s got rides Goose Fair is held at the Forest Recreation Ground and is one of the largest annual travelling funfairs in the UK. The fair dates back to around 1284. Author D. H. Lawrence return home from London every year to attend. Mela’s got rhythm The Nottingham Mela, celebrating Asian music, dance, art and culture, is the longest running Mela in Europe. Tarantino hit Broadway brought Pulp Fiction with him  Quentin Tarantino curated Broadway Cinema’s Shots in the Dark Festival in 1994 and gave a surprise British premier of Pulp Fiction, bringing the film with him from the Cannes Film Festival. I’m loud like Little John the hour bell in the Council House. Tuned to Eb it’s the UK deepest bell, and at 10 tons it’s the 5th heaviest. It’s chime was offered as a temporary replacement for London’s Big Ben during repairs. Sillitoe-gritty Alan Sillitoe, one of the so-called “angry young men” of the 1950s, wrote Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Hooks as sticky as the floor in Rock City legendary music venue and nightclub on Talbot St which opening in 1980 Getting busy like the bus stop at Forest Rec a staggering amount of buses head out of the city centre down Mansfield Road and all of them try to stop at one small, badly-lit stop next to the Forest Recreation Ground or Tight like the floor space inside Rob’s Records Rob’s Record Mart in Hurts Yard (a place resembling Diagon Alley painted in preschool-friendly colours) is a vinyl store so small and chaotic that when Rob tidied up it became an item of local newsSo bring me a bus! Bring me a driver! Bring me breakfast from Warsaw Diner! at Canning Circus (on Derby Road) get there early if you want a seat!

© Matt Blick/Pete Glover 2016

About mattblick

Songwriter/Singer from Nottingham, UK. My 2nd EP, Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky, is out now. I'm blogging (& podcasting) through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy. In my spare time I wish I had some spare time.
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