Friday, 26 March 2010


 Regular readers (either of you) may remember the "time and distance" blog.  The working lyrics are*:

Two new lovers
Reach out across the void
Wondering about
What will never be.
Is he a fool, is she annoyed?
They both stare out to sea.

Their minds meet
Across the vast distance
But they only touch oh-so-briefly.
And it's only by chance:
Like the moon touches the sea.

Earth rise,
Earth fall,
Like Empires rise and fall - 
It lives on in memories.

They say a photograph can last forever,
Even after it's been deleted
And there's a polaroid I had of you,
Never to be repeated.

Earth rise,
Earth fall,
Like Empires rise and fall - 
It lives on in memories.

And somewhere out there tonight, it's still Christmas Eve 1968.
They're still sailing round the moon,
And the ghosts of Borman and Anders still fight
Over the taking of AS8-14-2383 - 
Another one locked in my memory.

Earth rise,
Earth fall,
Like Empires rise and fall - 
It lives on in memories.

Nothing like I wanted it to be, I guess, but feel free to make suggestions.
* Or more likely, the non-working lyrics . . .


Brendini said...

As I look up at the face of the moon,
I know that I shall see you soon.
I wasn't born with a silver spoon,
But it doesn't matter. The month is June.

Sorry, Dave a more considered comment shall be forthcoming.

Dave Leeke said...

No, no, thank you, that's perfect. I realise what I've been doing wrong all these years.

Mike C. said...

I'm not sure about the tone (Brendini's comment is not entirely facetious, I think): is this an amusing song or a wistful song or something wryly bloke-ish somewhere between the two a la Loudon Wainwright? Knowing what you're aiming for (audience in tears, audience in fits, audience in spellbound silence) helps know how to react and where to suggest changes.

I think the thing about the "earthrise" photo is that it stood everything on its head -- holy shit, the earth (seen from the moon) looks just like the moon!! As a revelation of our planetary vulnerability, it almost fired the starting gun on the environmental movement. An important, shocking, and beautiful moment, that came about as an unexpected and humbling by-product of a hubristic enterprise.

You could maybe make more of these two being sat on that lonely thing, not just looking out into space but being in space (do you know that scene in Gregory's Girl where they dance on their backs?). Maybe the important thing is that they completely lack that "earthrise" perspective?

N.B. it's only digital photos that have a life beyond destruction unless you think God has the negatives...

Now there's a metaphor... Hmm, polaroids don't have a negative ... the metaphor deepens... Probably more suitable for a poem than a song, though.

The word "polaroid" almost always has naughty connotations in this sort of context -- presumably you realise that? "I have a polaroid of you" sounds almost like a threat of blackmail...

I could go on (and on), but it's too easy to bloviate when you have nothing at stake. Keep at it, Dave, there's nothing more important than making something out of nothing. Don't be put off by us kibbitzers.


Dave Leeke said...

No, the comments aren't unwanted but it is easy to sit and help elucidate - we all do it!

The song should have remained one about the astronauts taking the photo (not in a Bill Caddick "Writing of Tipperary" way though) as it was intended to be. It got written at the wrong time and became embroiled in my anger (possibly) at something that shall remain private - and will eventually be forgotten. I was certainly thinking of how polaroids used to get used - and could have been in this case!

But time heals (but I still bear the weals). I was trying to be too clever and bring myself, the present and the past together (like NY's "Zuma" - and I know she's living there and she loves me to this day)unsuccessfully.

The big problem, of course, is that it is incredibly easy to write about someone you don't have a relationship with any more (the whole of Al Stewart's early career was based on his ex-girlfriend) but when you have to be guarded about what you say, then things get difficult.

After 5 pints of Woodforde's Wherry on Friday night, I felt I could say anything. In the cold light of day I will basically go back to my original idea and write about the taking of the photo and its impact.

I'm sure the human race is waiting with bated breath for my comments on that momentous occasion.

Mike C. said...

I mentioned Loudon Wainwright because I was listening to him on Spotify yesterday (I love the live version of "I'm Alright"). I came across the song "Father/Daughter Dialogue", in which he says, "Darling daughter, can't you see, The guy singing the songs ain't me".

It reminded me that no one cares what any of us has to say about anything, except insofar as they can see themselves in the mirror we hold up. There's a song in linking these two things, I'm sure, but it's more important that it works than it be "true".

You can see how "Your Mother and I" might bother Rufus and Martha (not to mention "Rufus is a Tit Man"...), but it's still one hell of a song!


Dave Leeke said...

Interestingly, there was an interview in The Times yesterday with Rufus. Some of these things were covered. It took me a long time to like Loudon and I'm not particularly a fan of his children. But living lives in public is interesting.

Incidentally, I am not a reader of The Times usually but I was sent 50% off vouchers.

I still think "It's Been A Hard Day On The Planet" is my favourite LWIII song.

In retrospect, planning a song rather than one born of a flash of inspiration leans towards "song-making" rather than "songwriting". I guess it's all to do with self pleasure than creating Art. Over to you then, Brendan . . .

Dave Leeke said...

And another thing:

I think Julie Gold probably covered (in a melodramatic way) the feeling that can arise from seeing Earthrise. It was always my intention to look at the event of taking the photo.

Back to the drawing board, I guess. In the meantime, I've just dug out my copy of "One Man Guy: The Best Of LWIII". So I'll be listening to a real songwriter while I pot-boil the Pork.

Brendini said...

Dave, there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning a song and then creating it. Treat it as a skilled craft and try to ensure that what you produce is beautifully proportioned and a joy forever.
The other difficulty here is that we are only looking at your lyrics completely out of context. They need a choon to go with them. With a choon you may possibly whittle the verbiage down a little and see what a bit more repetition may do.
But what do I know? I'm not a songsmith. I'm only sitting here cultivating hairy palms (you started it!).

Dave Leeke said...

What's interesting here is that the moon and your hirsuteness seem to be linked. As I spent last week studying "American Werewolf In London" and previously "The Company of Wolves" - where men that are "hairy on the inside" are to be avoided - I'm beginning to suspect that some deity or other is having a bit of a giggle.

As the weekend started off with a series of strange orange lights in the sky - a subject I was going to come back to - I strongly suspect that there is more to this than meets the eye. Eyes, of course being a central motif in "American Werewolf In London".

Actually, perhaps I should just get out more.

Mike C. said...

Yes, what Brendini said. Songs -- like everything else -- are always crafted, rarely inspired. And what kind of tune and approach? I'm intrigued (in a good way) by how you'd get away with singing the reference number of the photo...


Dave Leeke said...


AS eight (pause) fourteen (pause) twenty three, eighty three.

It's hell in my head, you know - all those voices telling you what to do.

The chorus goes from E minor to A minor 7 (I told you "Zuma" was on my mind!) but it's basically just slow and will probably have some mournful slide guitar in the background.

I say probably because, as usual, I'll get the 4 track out and tune my guitar, open a beer and then go and find something more useful to do.

Dave Leeke said...

One more thing:

I meant "Cortez The Killer" from the album "Zuma". But you're all kind people and know that I've had a hard life.