Songwriting Workshop

Had a great time speaking at the Edinburgh Schools Creative Writing workshop – along with Douglas Kay (.com) on Thursday.  I was talking about and performing a couple of songs; so in case you are interested, here are the lyrics:

Donkeys and Elephants

Who the hell would want to be the President

when the world can go wrong?

Who would want to be the major resident

of a big white house at the centre of a target-shaped lawn?

And everybody knows your name,

makes you easier to blame –

I guess I’ve fallen out with fame.

Donkeys and elephants are ruling this world,



Who would want to be a major Hollywood star

when your new film just bombed?

And who would want to ride in a long white car (with blacked out windows)

and have your private life combed?

And everybody knows your name,

some scream it out as they take aim –

I guess I’ve fallen out with fame.

Donkeys and elephants are ruling this world.


(Hello hello hello, tell me are you OK, now?

Did the heat get too much? Did you get a little headrush?

Animals are sitting in the Capital, passing laws that are domestically tactical,

then the whole world waits for the newsflush –

doesn’t matter whose badge you’re wearing and I’m past caring now.)


Who will look after all the refugees

when the last wave’s in charge?

Who would leave a home sweet family,

and cross the white-tipped ocean

to where it’s cheap to grow large?

And everybody knows your name,

’cause silver smells of cockle shells like a stain –

I guess I’ve fallen out with fame.

Donkeys and elephants are ruling this world.


Oh, elephants and donkeys,

elephants and donkeys,

elephants and donkeys,

elephants and donkeys…


So if nobody knows my name

I won’t get upset, I won’t feel ashamed,

just ’cause I’ve fallen outwith fame,

donkeys and elephants are ruling this world.


Get Back in the Van

Did I ever equip you with the story of our trip to see the wonderful, sunderful euro-babble of the happy rabble? We planned long and she worked hard to match date to date in somewhere other than our own backyard – ah, and come to think of it, this is your postcard.

But it almost didn’t happen right before it began, ’cos I was working too hard and then a tyre outlived its life span: a ragged hole right where the rubber should be, and then a jack like a toothpick compared to a tree. So with the trouble and the traffic and the orange light in front of me, on more than one occasion it resembled a conspiracy of sabotage – to keep me and the boys away from La Plage.  Would you just get back in the van… 


C. Get back in the van…

Get back in the van…

Get back in the van…

Get back in the van…


Morning Holland! We packed it up and got in, but when I turned the key well all I heard was eninininininin.  I thought the little light could surely be denied but when they towed me off the boat, man, we were stranded on the quayside.  Ten ‘k’ to the pump for which I prayed – there were no taxis and buses, it was a windmill-driven travesty. (Made me wonder ’bout the wisdom of the whole Dutch transport strategy.)

Suddenly up pulled Henk with a car and with a can and then he drove me to the diesel pump ’cos he’s a very nice man.  Filled it up and with a little difficulty, prodded and pounded until the engine sounded healthy. Then we all set off to find ourselves a tyre – and that’s a whole other story about machines we couldn’t hire.  But in the end we’re ready for the road to Amsterdam and the first gig, man – just get back in the van…

 C. Get back in the van…

Get back in the van…

Get back in the van

Get back in the van…

 Well we strode into the Waterhole like we were John Wayne, and by half way through the second set we’re rumbling like a wagontrain; I’m riding high out front like nothing could harm me, just like Frank says: ‘Relax Bro, this isn’t the army…’

 Noyelles-sur-mer, what can I say? Pete and Pippa poached a poisson that just blew us all away.  Relais de la Baie was stunning but the engine soon was running and we’re back in the van, barrelling ’cross the campagne to Paris – precipitately, ’cos we nearly missed the sound-check slot that should have been before three.  We hit the gas, shifted ass and made it to the Fleche D’Or really fast.

The gig was a blast, we got ourselves a big hand for our bigger band: on the stand that night was Steve the Ear, L’Oreille, the daddy on the tenor, and Jean-Baptiste was playing radical piano, but like all good things it came to an end with au revoir to our friends and a jazz head taxi driving me round the bend to the Formule Un.  Enfin?  We were back in the van…

 L’Olympic one week later (picking the sand out of the radiator), Lionel and Rera taking care-a us; with dancing on the tables from the start, while D.K. blew the harp, then the gendarmerie came to see so quick as a flash we’re playing cool jazz…

We packed up for the last leg and headed off to sample kegs of Leffe – for the life of me I can’t explain the night we had in Hu-y!  (Felt like I’d gone ten rounds having the shit kicked out of me by Hong Kong Fooey.)  But the gig came so shakily I had to reawaken me, a little wine and sunshine, suddenly we’re happy to see the smiles, it’s the finish; but the miles did not diminish so by seven am – the opposite of heaven…

 C.x2 Get back in the van…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Myspace button