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Songs: Save A Meadow

notes / gigs / releases

There's a field with not much in it, when I say not much I mean
It's full of grass and birds and people, fresh air
Dogs and paths and trees
But there's nothing makes a profit and that must be wrong because
It means there's really not much in it except for all of us

Because it's just somewhere thatís good
It's just a meadow but a meadow that we love
Well it might not be suitable for a visit from the Queen
But let's be honest, if we're honest nor are we

There is no conservation order, none of its species are unique
It's merely used by working people to break up the working week
It makes no claims to be important in terms of history because
All it needs to be important is what it means to all of us

Because it's just somewhere thatís good
It's just a meadow but a meadow that we love
It's not a shining pure example of Great British Scenery
But let's be honest, if we're honest nor are we

And oh, they could build us yet another car park
Goodness knows we'd love loads more of them
Oh, or an office block or shops
Or something else that we've already got

Well a city's like a lifetime in that what it's all about
Is not the landmarks or the money or awards that really count
Making other people happier's what matters in the end
And a meadow is a smile from a friend

Because it's just somewhere thatís good
It's just a meadow but a meadow that we love
Therefore, in conclusion
What we're singing this song for
Is a for meadow, save the meadow, save us all
Save a meadow, save the meadow, save us all

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This song was written on February 11th 2007, though I had another attempt the day before. It came about because John The Publisher sometimes gets Requests For Songs which he passes on to me, and this time it was for a song to try and stop the selling off of a meadow. I read the email from the chap requesting a song, which said that it was really difficult to get any help for projects like this because it wasn't a special conservation area or site of major environmental interest or anything, it was just a place people who lived in the city loved to go to and use. The more i thought about it the more i realised that this was a chance for a METAPHOR, saying that this particular meadow was just like the most of us, it wasn't particularly unique or "special", but it WAS loved, and that if we don't value THAT we don't really value ourselves.

That's the general idea anyway. The first go I had was very Arran Sweater and - frankly - HIPPYISH. It drew FROWNS from my in-house audience/editor, which is never a good sign. "It needs more OOMPH" she said. It was a Saturday and she was off out for the night and following evening, so when i rose in the morning I set to work COMPLYING with her wishes, and got the first verse knocked out pretty sharp-ish. A cup of tea was required to get the chorus and second verse, the middle bit came after some lunch and the end got done in the afternoon. The Headline On My Article (for LO! it was she!) returned home in glory later in the day and suggested a couple of changes (originally the chorus had "love" repeated as the main rhyme, and there was only one "Oooh" in the middle), and I changed the KEY to make it a) easier to sing and b) less like another song I've recently written, and there we were.

I really REALLY enjoyed writing this one, especially as I found that it had a theme i REALLY agreed with (NB which i guess isn't that surprising, as it was me what wrote it) and it's got some Good Bits in it. I especially like the bit about a meadow being "a smile from a friend", the SARCASM in the middle and the whole "nor are we" idea.

I recorded a version of the song at StudioSonic and sent it off to John The Publisher, who forwarded it to the people concerned. They seemed very chuffed with it and there was all sorts of talk about using it for the campaign, getting to radio contacts, releasing it as a single and so on. I got quite excited about it, and John was assured that it was all GO... but nothing ever happened. I spoke to one chap a few times who seemed quite nice, but wasn't QUITE as keyed in as we'd been led to believe, asking me how you go about sending CDs to radio, for instance, when we thought they were on top of all that. He went off to save a lake instead (true!) and passed responsibility onto someone else. This person never called me, so I tried ringing him and ended up speaking to what I assumed were his INCREDIBLY RUDE children but turned out, i think, to be his INCREDIBLY RUDE student housemates. After several horrible discussions where I asked if he was there, was told "NO!" and had the phone slammed down I eventually got through to him and had a WEIRD conversation which felt like he was sitting at the other end HATING me with RAGE, yet refusing to SPEAK. It was all "Yeah. Mmm. No." and i got the IMPRESSION that i was speaking to a Student Activist who, well, was a bit more interested in showing off about being active than actually DOING anything.

By this point I'd read a bit more about the specific campaign and found that it was all Quite Complicated, and there was a suggestion that the campaign in question was mostly posh people who didn't want a mental hospital built on the open land behind their houses, so when he said "So what gigs have you organised then? How often do you come here? What do you expect ME to do?" I gently suggested that MAYBE he could have a think about what exactly THEY wanted to do, and then to let me know and I'd see how i could fit in. I was POLITENESS PERSONIFIED and, of course, he never rang back.

Still, i really liked the song and as it never named the SPECIFIC meadow I thought the EMOTION behind it still stood up, and THUS it was always going to be a contender for the solo album. The bodhran was recorded in Charlie's Van at the same time as I Did A Gig In New York after which I added on the guitars vocals and UKES. It felt like it needed MORE so I asked Tom to do some strings. While he was doing that I listened to it a few more times and became very aware that it was lacking so, rather than wait for Tom's bits, I asked Mr George Gargan to do some GUITAR.

After THAT i sat down to re-do some of my bits, as I wasn't happy with what I'd done, putting on a MUCH better vocal take and a VASTLY improved bass line, replacing the old distorted and clumpy one. This suddenly made the whole thing sound much better, and then when Tom's rather ACE fiddly diddly fiddle bit came in it felt like it was COMPLETE. I'd been expecting George to do some lightweight twangy PICKING acoustic guitar so, as with Down The Narborough Road, when his FANTASTIC and DERANGED lead guitar parts came down the interweb i was a bit surprised, but EXTREMELY pleased, as it took the whole thing in a slightly different direction.

So, really, it's been a bit of a VOYAGE for this song, but the destination was VALID!

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