THE APRIL RAINERS
I’ve had to keep it a secret sealed between very few sets of trusted ears and lips, but I’m happy as a well seeded Pigeon to remove the claw from my beak to coo out the news and reveal that I’ve been writing a few songs again. Nothing especially groundbreaking there you may think, but a handful of these lyrics have been worked on by John Hassall (Libertines and Yeti) and his new band in based in Aarhus, Denmark.
Regular Y Tuesday poetry club goers in London would have heard John perform an acoustic version of one of these songs “My two wheels” and another of his own new compositions “Inter city” at the Winter Y Tuesday event but it’s all pretty much under wraps for now.
From the rough versions I’ve heard and the videos I’ve seen from rehearsals, these lyrical efforts have turned out in some ways remarkably similar to how I heard them in my head (which is good) and in others, wonderfully different (which is even gooder). They sound but far better than I might have hoped, as they contain ideas, harmonies and guitar techniques that by far outstrip anything I might have come up with alone. Not having played or performed on the tracks, I actually enjoy sitting back and listening to my scribblings being sung back to me . I can enjoy them without any sense of narcissism or the constant nagging doubts that I need to re-do them, or thinking the vocal could be better and so on, that I always used to feel if I was recording them myself. Being somewhat self conscious, I was also only really happy with my own younger voice ten years later by when it had narrowed in range and I appreciated and lamented what it used to be able to do rather than be critical of it. They seem to fit in nicely with the other songs that I’ve had nothing to do with too.
John and I have known each other for a good number of years, and we both come from north London and have many friends in common but these are our first musical collaborations. Our musical interests coincide is certain areas and differ in others, making these interesting songwriting experiments. The main shared pillars of our musical pantheon are Donovan, The Kinks and the Beatles and John’s previous work. knowing that I was writing these songs for another voice to sing, gave me the freedom to escape myself in certain ways, leave the rigors of the poetry forms I usually use and write with aside and get into a wider mind frame. I was after all, writing for another persons voice. So, expect something Psychedelic made to brighten up our grey European winters . A proper press release from John and the boys in the band will happen in due course.
John Hassall’s new band, The April Rainers, perform their debut gig in Copenhagen Denmark on 10th April, which happens by chance to be my birthday. Unfortunately, being jobless at the moment, I’m not allowed out of this country (England) to attend. I’ll link anyone who’s interested in the project with the band’s web presence when I have further details .
Note a Facebook page” The April Rainers” has now been set up.
I’m probably going to regret this. I rarely if ever put a poem up just after I’ve written it, but I am now and this is it. It may not be here for long.
ONE IS ONE
So now I am a satellite drifting.
My voice should hang suspended
By four springs in a circle,
Blasted into this orbit like a sputnik.
Beaming back images
Of blue flashing lights
Rolling electric down the raindrops
On the windscreen
Of a London double decker bus.
I am in the April rain
Snug as I derive on the top deck
As a sprinkling of glitter rubies
Red as a burlesque heart bleed
Amber as a Latvian’s market stall,
Green as a splash of Absinthe
On a Quality street triangle,
Tingle till we move and pass.
Oh that I could make a living out of this drifting
Through a mish mash of reflections and signs
Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, hand breaks are released,
Two shoes leap to the pavement in a splash
For I know
One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so.
Soon, I am passing the small hotels of Bloomsbury
With their lonely receptionists
And empty lounges
Bed rooms with decades of dreams
Gathered there in the curtains
Restless first nights,
Telephones statnding to attention,
A cocktail waiter snoozing in his gold and black waistcoat.
In Oxford street the mannequins are dressed in Summer shorts
Displaying silver knees and Hawaiian shirts
Topped by straw hatted heads
Dreaming of holidays that so many won’t have
Stuck in retail,
Or brightly lit seductive cafes with the grand title
That fools no-one.
Up above bone grey neons
Light grubby white office walls
Empty but waiting with lockjaw
For Monday morning.
They do not need to attract us
As we beg them to let us enter
Agreeing to the blackmail of survival
Eight, Seven, Six Five, Four, Three make a late dash
Two the other side of the street,
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so.
I used to love meeting her from the train
Here, at Paddington.
The arrivals board, platform changes,
Suitcases, the smell of steel on steel
And a small singing bird in her hand,
There amongst the crowd smiling at me.
Cosy, Paddington perhaps, her Hogwarts station
To a magical London.
I’ve lived here long enough
For most quarters to harbour ghosts and memories,
I conduct my own tourist walk around the London’s in my head
That spill out onto the wet streets of today.
Memories gradually being displaced by property developers
Replacing them with soulless emptiness.,
As if we stand at another map reference altogether.
The bus goes on unexpected diversion,
I love it when this happens,
First floor twilight rooms unused to being observed
Are wide open to my passing gaze,
Hopperesque cameos, Lonely tableaus
What do all these people do by day?
So many bland cream walled rented apartments
With just a poster or framed land to offer a hint of the personality
Of those who live there.
The bus driver slows to negotiate unfamiliar streets
With no tarmac tire tracks worn into grooves by our lumbering form.
Fellow passengers fidget and twitch, looking furtively at each other.
Afraid that any deviation from well trodden routes
Will take them to a far away land.
They seem threatened by my calm watching and scribbling,
“Perhaps he knows something we don’t”
Not realising that my journey has no correct destination
Or route, other than the end of this page,
I am a satellite.