In my spotlight this week is a song about weather and intimacy. It’s a song where my soul gets bared a wee bit, so if you’re squeamish or lacking the voyeuristic tendency most of us have, you’d best look away now. It’s complex in its simplicity or maybe it’s simple in it’s complexity, but we thought it would rain all day.
On Sundays I like to pick one of my songs and write a little bit of background about it. It feels like a month of Sundays since the last one – the Sunday Spotlight took a break over Christmas and New Year. It returns this week with a song I wrote in 2004: Everybody Has Their Part To Play.
This week the spotlight is one of the more introspective songs from my Edinburgh student days (like Don’t Fall Again). Back in 1986 I was living at 10 Brougham Place, Tollcross – I was a student of Computer Science & Electronics and shared a flat with two medical students and an arts student. This healthy cross-faculty mix was certainly a factor in the four of us getting on so well over those 2-3 years. But I was definitely the geek of the group and often struggled to keep up with some of the more philosophical discussions that took place.
That's me in the middle, c.1989
Speak My Mind was my way of expressing the frustration I felt at not being able to adequately express myself. The theme of the Irish paradox, wounded land and magical paradise, comes from the discussions I had with “closest friend” Linda (the arts student). At the time she was adamant that she wouldn’t visit Ireland because of “the Troubles”. I was relieved when these views mellowed some years later and she was happy to come on holiday through Ulster and Connacht.
This week I point my spotlight on a rather private song I wrote in 1987. It was born out of the shock of hearing that my flatmate George had suffered quite a serious fall, smashing his elbow in the process.
In my second and third years as a student in Edinburgh, I shared a flat with the same 3 friends. Two years is like an eternity when you’re 19 and 20, so we became a really close-knit bunch. We shared our flats in Tollcross and Marchmont with a couple of canine flatmates: Acorn and Ember. So regular dog-walking trips to the Meadows, the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill.
Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, scene of the falling incident 22 years previously
For my Sunday Spotlight this week, I’m going right back to my songwriting beginnings with a song that was born back in 1985 on a Friday night in Kelly’s Cellars, Belfast. It wouldn’t be accurate to claim it as one of my songs as it was a spontaneous collaboration – a blues number that sort of wrote itself between a bunch of 18-year olds out for a bit of a laugh with a few pints and a sing song. For me, it became a fun song to belt out when the mood was right and it has endured in my repertoire down through the years.
In the spotlight this week is a song I wrote just over a year ago when I travelled to Edinburgh for a weekend with a group from my East Clare football club, Mixed Bag United. The football was over and I was enjoying the last evening of the weekend, touring a few of my favourite pubs with one of the other Mixed Bag players.
Lyrics | No studio recording for this one, but I’ve got this video shot in November 2008 as part of the “Hats Challenge”, which was just a bit of fun on YouTube involving hats and songs. Read more…