Monday, May 19, 2008

Ok ... you asked for it. You'll be sorry.

One of the odd things about making new chums via your blog is that as soon as you get quite matey, your conversations tend to transfer to email or FleshSpace (TM). Consequently, they become private and don't get shared with other blog visitors any more. This is a bit of a shame as there have been some deep and meaningful discussions taking place elsewhere where you can't see them. There's also been some inane gossip and some serious bitching of course ... but you're probably better off without that.

One recent conversation started as a query about the fact that I haven't included any astrological information on my Blogger profile. Well, I decided that it was pointless and silly to do so as I don't believe in astrology, or any other form of superstition (and that, for me, includes religion - I am a confirmed atheist). However, for those of you who do believe that your lives are in some way driven by a bunch of unrelated deep space atomic fireballs arbitrarily arranged into patterns, I am a Leo (August 11th) and was born in the year of the Ox (1961). There now, it's all out in the open.

The first photo I could find of me and Huw performing circa 1977. Hair by Black and Decker.

But then another conversation began about the description of me on my profile. 'Writer and artist and occasional songwriter' it says. 'What songs had I written?' I was asked. Well, nothing you'd have ever heard of. I've never had anything published or recorded. But, then again, I've never really tried. And probably with good reason ...

I started writing songs back in the mid-1970s after my dad had taught me a few chords on the guitar. He taught me to play drums first of all, but drums were no use to me for songwriting. I needed some way to record the tune. And I had so many tunes and lyrics in my head. Being honest now, much of it was angst-ridden teen poetry that had appeared as soon as I became spotty and pubic. But writing poetry was always going to get me beaten up, so I called the poems 'lyrics' and thus became more credible. I still got beaten up occasionally but that was because I wore flares.

1978 - My Meat Loaf phase. Just 827 burgers to go.

I formed a strong friendship with Huw Williams whom I first met when we were about 13. He, like me, listened to Yes, Genesis, ELP, Argent and the Alex Harvey Band while many of our peers were still clumping their platform shoes to Gary Glitter and The Sweet. He was learning to play piano and bass while I was doing guitar and drums. We decided that we were the perfect songwriting team and, over the next 30 years, we've utterly failed to become particularly proficient in all four instruments. However, we have written over 200 songs. We still write to this day, but it's only relatively recently that we've thought about actually getting any of our songs recorded. So far we've 'laid down' (Ooh - get me and my rockstar lingo) two tracks. It's taken us three years, mind you, and neither of them are finished yet. But given our normal rate of progress (in terms of our musical careers), we're practically supersonic.

So, despite the fact it's not quite finished - it needs some real drums, a few more horns, a solo and the vocals need to be recorded properly - I thought I'd share one of them with you. In kindness to Huw, I've chosen a song that I wrote back in 1994. Therefore, your cabbages, eggs and tomatoes need only be thrown in my direction. That said, the sound of the finished product is as much due to Huw as to me as he came up with the horny-sounding bridge and the overall arrangement. Clever chap, that Williams. Just throw soft fruit.

It's 1980 and I've bought a twin neck. Now I can be incompetent twice.

The song is called The Girl from Coverack and it's almost semi-autobiographical. However, it isn't about any one person; the young lady in question is an amalgam of four girls that I used to know. Back in school, I had a bit of a thing for two girls called Tracy and Andrea ... but I could never get near either of them. My looks may have had something to do with that. But I also had very little to offer a potential mate when compared to the sailor boys from the nearby naval station (RNAS Culdrose) who had cars and wages and fags. Consequently, my lusts (and finer sentiments) went unrequited. There was also a girl at school called Debbie who I did have a brief encounter with but who also then discovered the lure of the matelot. She, however, fell pregnant, got married and was soon swifted away to quarters in Portsmouth. That sort of put the mockers on any future relationship hope I might have had. Finally, there was a fourth girl - I can't honestly say that I was very fond of her - but she too married a sailor and moved away. My interest in using her for the song lies in the fact that, some years later, I discovered that she was working as a stripper in Plymouth. So I put all of these girls together and created the song.

1989 - Huw wondering if he can reach the third keyboard with his willy. Annoyingly, the answer is probably yes.

It's the woeful tale of a boy with a crush on a girl he can't have; a girl who then falls pregnant, gets married and moves away, later to be abandoned by her man. She then has to work as a stripper to make ends meet. Our hero bemoans the sad fact that, had he been given a chance, her life could have been so much better ... Sniff.

And the title? It's just a play on The Girl from Ipanema, nothing more. None of the girls in the song came from Coverack, which, if you didn't know, is a very pretty little Cornish fishing village on The Lizard, very near to where I grew up.

I've always been very pleased with the lyrics (which I hope are clear enough - if not, I'll post them up some time). I've also made up a little video to go with it. I hope you enjoy the song.


Blog Princess G said...

Great... bedtime, but I've got "But I wasn't bitter" running through my brain. Argh!!

I enjoyed your song Steve. :)


Stevyn Colgan said...

Catchy isn't it? Like Herpes.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Twin neck guitar? I love it! Looking very Jimmey Page-y!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Yeah ... the old twin neck was a real late 70s/early 80s toy. Jimmy had one. Mike Rutherford of 'Genesis' had one. Anyone who was anyone had one. I wasn't actually looking to buy one,to be honest, but I was in a music shop in London and Mike Oldfield (of 'Tubular Bells' fame) was playing this very guitar as I walked in. I had a brief chat with him - he was incredibly shy - but he suggested that it was a good buy for the price. And I was so star-struck (I was only 19) that I said, 'I will!' And did.

It was a monster. It weighed a ton (solid wood with metal fittings). I think I played it live twice. Nowadays, of course, it's all lightweight resins and polymers. And guitar synthesisers mean that you just need the one neck. But it did make me feel like a rock star for a few years - albeit a rock star whose shoulder ached quite a lot.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

But the burning question is, was it a chick magnet?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Me? Chick magnet? Ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha!

Well, I didn't get near three of the girls commemorated in the song lyrics. That's pretty much the story of my life!

Me said...

Me - Chick Magnet - of course I am not! I dont think the guitar was either.
Have to say though Huw looked VERY foxy in 1989!