I wrote this in 1999, after moving to Wellington. I was at an open mic night, at an upstairs bar in Cuba Mall that no longer exists, waiting for my turn to play. I had to wait a while – hence a lot of lyrics.
Solo guitar & harmonica version of track http://www.fiffdimension.bandcamp.com/track/summer-skin
Originally recorded in Wellington NZ, September 2003, for the album ‘Loose Autumn Moans‘, with a mini string section of Mike Kingston on cello and Sam Prebble (RIP) on violin. It also appears on the Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005 compilation.
The 1999 recording had quite a different vibe – spoken word delivery, electric guitars panned left & right, and Paul Winstanley playing a cymbal through a pitch shifter, turning it into a deep sea gong sound.
On other occasions it became a rock riff, based around just an E note and its octave.
I was surrounded by wider & weirder music too. I moved to Wellington and found a kiwi avant-garde scene with free jazz, noise, and theatre gallore. We eventually finished The Marion Flow album in 2001, after recording sessions at Thistle Hall.
The lyrics are some of my favourite. They were scribbled in a notebook sometime in the late 90s. I was digesting the influence of literary modernism (eg lines like ‘yea take in that wake’ a shout out to James Joyce, using nouns as verbs and vice versa, and other general flouting of grammatical rules).
Taranaki and its coastlines inspired much of the atmosphere.
Played by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards – first public performance of this piece, at Dragon Inn, Featherston, NZ, 6 Feb 2019
HERE’S A HEALTH TO MY CRONIES.
HERE’S a health to my cronies where’er they reside, Whether this side or that o’ yon big rowin’ tide ; I care na what country or kingdom they claim, Be they English or Irish to me it’s the same, Gif their hearts to a glass o’ gude whisky incline, I instantly class them as “Cronies o’ mine.”
Awa wi’ yon nabob purse-proud o’ his gear, Neither he nor his wealth hae charms for us here; Awa wi’ yon fop wi’ his clear headed cane, A bit trip through the warld, it’s use may explain; But welcome my cronies wherever ye be, To join in this gude reekin’ bumper wi’ me.
A ﬁg for the wealth that this warld can gie, We naething brought here, sae we’ve naething to lea; The farmer wi’ ousen an’ acres galore, Has his crosses just now, an’ may sune count on more; Then come here, my cronies, let’s kick awa care, As lang’s we’ve a groat or a shilling to spare.
The year got off to a good start, with Ascension Band: Evolution
I had my first taste of success (the fame part of Fame & Oblivion 2005-2012)…
…But by this time I was ready to see the world beyond Aotearoa. I shifted across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne – in Australia, the West Island.
For the next few months I lived in Brunswick, and worked in temp jobs around the city and in rural Victoria.
The results became After Maths & Sciences