Wednesday, May 27, 2015

See how her garden grows...

Trying to express the joys, anxieties and sheer wonder that come with parenthood in a 3-minute pop song is an exercise in futility; you have to be a nutter to try it. So it was that I sat down with my guitar, looking for inspiration in some of the old crayon drawings gifted to me by my daughter during her childhood years, and attempted to capture in song, but a snippet of the awe she inspires in me. 

Since Emma's pictures usually came adorned with gaily coloured hearts, flowers and butterflies, it's a no-brainer that the lyrics would be heavy on garden metaphors, so no apologies for the song title of Butterflies, giddy references to raindrops on petals, teardrops on cheeks, little children shooting up tall, and summery flowers reaching skyward. Sappy? Yep. All part and parcel, I'm afraid.

Well, kids are our little flowers aren't they? We try to nurture them as best we can, we watch them grow, take delight in their blooming, and spend an inordinate amount of time simply being dazzled by their beauty. 

So here I am, several growing seasons on, and my little girl is blossoming into a lovely and talented young woman right in front of my eyes. I'm terribly proud of her of course, but as she eases into adulthood, I know that along with the attendant sense of joy and wonder, I'll also be dealing with a whole new set of worries and anxieties. There'll be car insurance deductibles to contemplate, college reconnaissance spying missions to initiate and dodgy prospective boyfriends to interrogate.

Butterflies? I still have them.

Flushed cheek and teardrop
making my heart stop
teaching me all I know

Her face like thunder
and innocent wonder
see how her garden
grows up very high
to kiss the cloudy skies away

She paints hearts and flowers
in ivory towers
See all the smiles they bring

Delivered in whispers
signs them with kisses
see her she's pulling strings
to hold me down
or lift me off the ground

At once to fly away
then crashing down
and I'm all butterflies
and sunshine smiles
enjoy the ride
here we go...

High, high, high!

Petal and raindrop
making my heart stop
See how her garden grows...

Steve Robinson - Lead & background vocals, acoustic guitars
Ed Woltil - Background vocal, acoustic guitar, keyboards, programming

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

'ello 'ello!

Hello Hello was written soon after reconnecting with my old mate, Mark Pearson. Mark and I had been bandmates back in the UK in the 70s, but we lost touch after I left for the US and he moved down to London.

When you don't see someone for a couple of decades, and you happen to live on different continents, catching up is a bit of a tall order. While e-mail is easy and convenient, it doesn't really compare to a hug and a couple of pints in the pub does it? With so much water under the bridge, it's difficult to know where to start, and truth be told, we barely did. Instead, our correspondence quickly resorted to the familiar, trotting out old memories of rehearsals, gigs and, well, pints in the pub.

We did, of course, exchange photographs of our kids, which in turn got me to leafing through some dog-eared photographs from some of those early gigs. I remember being a little shocked at how young and carefree we looked in them. Well we would wouldn't we? We were young and carefree after all; much like our own kids are now.

Mark was always someone I looked up to. He was only a year older than the rest of us, but there was a charismatic self-assuredness about him that we all lacked. Quicker-witted, more stylish (not a difficult task, admittedly) and with a rather more diverse record collection, I suppose he was the leader of the band. I mention this because one of the aforementioned gig photographs seemed to capture a bit of that for me. 

In it, I'm wearing Dunlop Green Flash plimsolls (don't ask), rolled-up jeans, an old nylon pajama top (please don't ask) and a rather serious, if slightly dazed expression (possibly second-guessing my choice of attire). Mark, on the other hand, cuts an altogether more swaggering figure, wearing an untucked white dress shirt and a pair of zipped-at-the-ankles fencing trousers with matching scowl.

It made me smile; it made me reflect on the different paths our lives took; and it made me want to use the term "fencing trousers" in a song...

Look at me in this one
trying hard to be sincere
And look at you in fencing trousers
and your finest sneer
We were so young
and we were full of it,
fearless on the face of it
and not much underneath
to hold us back,
from taking all the chances,
never looking in,
and never needing answers

Look at how we lost ourselves
and found ourselves again
I pissed off to the USA
while you went down to London to find yourself
Guess I did the same
on different streets with different names
and different points of view
to fall into,
busy taking chances,
drinking it all in
and looking for the answers

Hello hello
Hello hello
Hello hello (we're back again)

And then your parents leave you
with no one to impress
Little children helping you
to make sense of this great big mess
of headlines, deadlines, white lines
by the book, take your time
and take a look at him

He looks a lot like you,
(it might be just as well)
Look at her upon a pedestal,
she's casting spells
They are so young
and they are full of it,
fearless on the face of it
and innocence beneath,
pure and easy
Living in the moment
drinking it all in
It's looking like the answer

Hello hello
Hello hello
Hello hello (we're back again)


It made me happy when we said hello
Ain't it funny how we sing about what we don't know?
It made me happy when we said hello
Ain't it funny how we talk about what we don't know?

Steve Robinson - Lead & background vocals, acoustic & electric guitars
Ed Woltil - Bass, keyboards
Aaron Kant - Drums & percussion
Steve Connelly - Lap steel & pedal steel guitars
Emma Robinson - Background vocals