Shellshock

This one didn’t make it onto the Christmas album.

Shellshock
Shellshock

Sent back from the front to the children and me,
There’s a twitch around your mouth where your smile used to be.
Cramps and groans but no broken bones.
Oh my love.

Too haunted to speak and too angry to eat,
You’re clinging to the bed as I change the wet sheet.
Strange yelps and moans but no broken bones.
Oh my love.

Are they old friends that you stare at all night?
Or the enemy impaled, rising up for a fight?
So many unknowns but no broken bones.
Oh my love.

I must endure and pretend to be glad
For these daughters and this son who can’t fathom their dad.
Broken men, broken homes, but no broken bones.
Oh my love.

One summer’s day and you’re off to the shed.
Here’s to regimental pride! Seven swigs till you’re dead.
Lying cold as the stones but no broken bones.
Oh my love.

Click here for a version recorded at home, November 2018

Click here for a version read by Lytisha Tunbridge

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Their Front Pages

A song about the Tory war on decency and the Tory rags that fan the flames.

Express Migrant children 01

Their Front Pages

What’s the latest front-page lie?
What packs a tabloid punch?
700,000 “foreign” kids are claiming free school lunch!
They demonize the weak and poor,
There’s no empathy, there’s no shame,
And when they call this Austerity it’s a cull by another name.

Let’s have Princess Di and Maddie stories
From your wretched servile hacks
And never mind the foodbanks, never mind the bedroom tax.
They’ll means-test this, they’ll means-test that
And then reject your claim
Cos when they call this Austerity it’s a cull by another name.

Give us “Rule Britannia” headlines
And then call us lazy shirkers.
Blame Europe, blame the unions, and let’s blame the migrant workers.
Make the old and sick jump through endless hoops
In a twisted hopeless game
Cos when they call this Austerity it’s a cull by another name
And when they call this Austerity it’s a cull by another name.

Click here for a version recorded at home, October 2017

Click here for a version on SoundCloud

Dublin Bill

A song about my grandad William (1919–2007).

dublin-bill

Dublin Bill

Shall we begin back in County Kildare, Dublin Bill?
Would it be fair to say you weren’t a one for school?
All your bridges swiftly burnt
And your letters left unlearnt,
Just a tearaway, but you could charm them all,
Nobody’s fool,
Sooner use your wits than follow any rule.

You took a girl for a romp in the hay, Dublin Bill,
At the farm down the lane, in a shed.
Found some guns in the straw,
Told your dad what you saw.
“Breathe one word of this and we’ll all be dead,”
Father said,
“Here’s a clip round the ear, now off to bed.”

The next morning you’re put on the boat, Dublin Bill,
Bound for London to live with Auntie May.
When you find out she ain’t real
You don’t know what to think or feel,
Then two ladies of the night kindly say
“It’s okay,
If you want you are welcome to stay.”

And they taught you to read and to write, Dublin Bill,
Slowly taught you to write and to read.
Then the press-gang hit town,
Combed the streets all around,
They said “Paddy boy, you’re just the kind we need,
Yes indeed
You’ll be better off in khaki than in tweed.”

It’s the bomb disposal unit for you, Dublin Bill,
Bomb disposal will suit your steely eye.
Soon you’re shaken to the core,
Can’t do the job no more
When you see your new best mate blown sky high,
God, you cry,
Jesus Christ that ain’t no bleedin way to die.

Well you’re settled down in Ashford, so it seems, Dublin Bill,
And showing fillums at The Flea Pit keeps you calm.
You’ve wed your Chislet girl,
Got one young Patrick, one young Pearl,
But you’re a tearaway so now your winning charm
(Or is it smarm?)
Don’t belong at home but down the Denmark Arms.

Click here for a version on SoundCloud

Click here for a live version at The Anchor in Wingham, June 2017

Click here for a version performed by Cookie, May 2017