The Nearest Door

by Robin Grey

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1.
Meadowlark, shouldn't you fly somewhere warmer, my dear? Let's go outside holding hands. Meadowlark, you know this is my favourite time of the year. Let's go outside holding hands. Enter the day I just arrived so I'll take my time. Hour by hour we see that there is no hurry, We just take our time. Meadowlark, I checked in the book and it's not what it seems. Let's go outside holding hands. Hey what's up trees? Who gave your orders to drop all those leaves? Well if you must, I suppose. Ever since the day we fell up to stand down, There were mice in the aisles dressed in frocks and in gowns. I won't tell you its likely, you won't tell me the news So we stand here in the dirt getting puddles in our shoes... Wondering why. You count the numbers and I count the cost But although we're a good team something has been lost 'Cause it's not been the same since the mice moved upstairs, Dreams of Mariam's cake go down well with sancerre... Wondering why?
2.
This song was begun underneath the thumb Of one who’s thickened by the cold.. Listless, longer, bolder than perhaps he ought to be. Forgive quiet and then lie down here lengthways on the floor, Hoping that the blood with flow again, Hoping that the blood with flow again. Easily forgot, what was lifted and first felt, an anchor to the blood, Howling at the moon as the stars are falling fast. Leaves, Wind, Earth and Rain, we look forward to look back These songs were begun one winter on a window thick with Frost her finger drew a map of all possibilities
3.
You know this place it means the world to me. Knock it down build flats knock it down. The first place I really felt home in London. Knock it down build flats knock it down. Now my life is in bags and my heart’s on my sleeve Knock it down build flats knock it down. And there’s so many memories I’d rather not leave. When I moved here 'The Four Aces' club still stood proud And 'The Vortex' on Church Street was in with the crowd. Now 'The George' is up next and my dear studio And Vogue says that Hackney’s the in place to go. Tesco’s are popping up like unwelcome weeds And they just put a pound on the price of a pide. The places we used to shoot pool: they’re all gone. Whilst the prostitutes, pimps and drug dealers look on.
4.
I can look at this and I can Reminisce about this and that for a day or two. If ignorance is bliss and nothing is amiss then I would insist We get there the easy way I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it, I don't want to no But I want to be there, but I want to be there But I want to be there, but I want to go I can look at this and I can Stick or twist regardless of the cards in my hand. In the light of day it seems that Man's flying machines will always mark the sky with their lines. I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it, I don't want to no But I want to be there, but I want to be there But I want to be there, but I want to go I'll see Ru on Tuesday then I'll know I'll see Ru on Tuesday then I'll know
5.
Looking for distraction, close your eyes and count to three. There’s a gun, a rope, & a candle stick, so please choose carefully. I’ve got Dylan on my stereo, I’ve got women on my mind. There's a fire burning in my heart and a pulse racing fast behind. It’s the break of dawn on Christmas morn But the clock reads half past three, The clock it broke down years ago and just spectates silently. I’ve got lawyers trying to chase me for some money they say I owe, But I’m broke and sure I’m in the clear So I’ll tell them where they should go… I say hey there, you there, look there… How’s it going to be? I’d love to know your mind, Maybe one day we’ll find the time, Then put the world to rights, Oh how much fun it would be! Looking for distraction, turn your head and smile at me. I’m in danger of being happy now so please speak carefully. I know now for the first time there’s no distance left to run Sit back, enjoy the ride, and I'm sure that the rest will just come! I said hey there, you there, look there… How’s it going to be? I’d love to know your mind, Maybe one day we’ll find the time, And then put the world to rights, Oh how much fun it would be; Running round late at night, naked in the candlelight But that was just a daydream, and you’re stubbornly fully clothed, Still I change address every two months now So perhaps it’s time to go I think that this year will be different, I can feel it in the air. You know it’s a miracle that I made it here at all, They placed bets I’d die young at school and I guess I proved them wrong. You might see me in the street and you might never really know But some things they are best left unsaid, They’ll melt in the winter snow.
6.
Trading names with the wind Fall to ball in the eyes of a friend Restless branches, that soon will retire Uphold these in the light Draw a penny from the floor to a source of delight with A cliche my Grandma adores And I couldn't hope or ask for more Feather view, welcome find Stay with stillness, the ticking brings time to attention Feet falling flat on the floor And I couldn't hope or ask for more 'Cos you see... The light, it was just perfect The freezer was noisy but perfect The dirt on my jeans it was perfect When seen through these eyes right now
7.
There is a fine gent christened Ru Litherland Mulch, sow and then reap There is a fine gent christened Ru Litherland And he has green fingers on both of his hands I’ll be good to the land and the land will be good to me With the vicar’s fair daughter he dreamed a bold dream To grow food for his kinsmen as nature decreed. By the edge the forest they spied a fine patch And to grow fruit and veg there a plan they did hatch. The men of the hour dreamed of buildings not plants A development would far more there profits enhance. Our forefathers fought for this fair forest land So now against the law was the businessman’s plan. After twelve months had past did the council relent Now we’ll work the earth as our forefathers meant. Now if you past by here you may hear a tune: Mulch, sow and then reap Now if you past by here you may hear a tune, The melody is old and the words will be soon. I’ll be good to the land and the land will be good to me
8.
Somewhere between The cows and the concrete the asphalt and the sky That's where I'll be And if you don't here from me know that I am doing fine. No what defines me? Does this skin and bone labour too hard to find all of the dreams That others forgo for the sake on an easy ride? Perhaps that's naive Of them or of me I'm not sure I'm so sure anymore I used to climb trees, I don't do that anymore Perhaps that's cos I'm wiser now Or maybe I'm just scared I might fall I awoke at half past four again, rolled over in my bed; What the hell am I doing awake at this ungodly hour? The moon plays his part why on earth can't i play mine? Cos you are not here with me at this ungodly hour So lay me down in a field of heather someplace that's far from here I miss your warm body darling - I miss it most this time of year The sun just hurts my eyes! I know that it gives you delight But you are not here with me awake at this ungodly hour
9.
Tell me which colour is blue Then stand in a line and shout “Idiot, yours truly” Nothing compares to this feeling of flying And gravity wants to join in for the ride! I don’t know which one is true The fool and the knave they both have intuitions But foolproof plans which require ten volumes To explain the subtleties just don’t sound right. I will determine the last day on earth And I will determine what Winston was saying So I can make way for the peach and the pear and the plum (and you will not fault what I’ve done!) The concrete must yield to the steel And some sun could reach me despite of the morning. Patio living with no remote features Could be a solution but think of the mice! I will dig deeper than others will dare And I will dig deeper regardless of warning I will make way for the peach and the pear and the plum (And you will not fault what I’ve done!) No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
10.
I am the only warm body here Let me alone with my pen, We want to consider the future Will there be birds? Will there be bees? Will there be grass? When all this progress has come to pass. Will we still call each other James or John? I am the only one still awake All of the thinkers are sleeping chained to their waking spells Tell me one thing, then one thing more Bow down your head and exit the room via the nearest door That leads back to the din from this enormous town Turn out the light and come to bed I see your head, i hear you heart and they both crave sleep Will there be peace? Will there be love? Will there be moments when the sky is freed from these omens That others leave racing by day and by night In such a rush to be so far away

credits

released October 1, 2011

All words and music by Robin Grey except track 7: words by Robin Grey to a traditional melody; and track 2: words and music by Robin Grey quoting and misquoting 'These Songs Were Begun One Winter' by Brian Patten.

The original poem 'These Songs Were Begun One Winter' can be found in 'Brian Patten's Collected Love Poems' published by Harper Perennial.

(c) & (p) 2011 Robin Grey.

(cc) This record is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, giving you the freedom to copy and share the recordings for any non-commercial purpose.

All rights regarding the commercial usage of the record are reserved and unauthorised commercial replication is strictly prohibited. For more information visit creativecommons.org.

Tracks 5,6,7 & 10 recorded by Jonny Cole at The Mill in Norfolk.
Track 1 recorded by Thomas Heister at Flesh & Bone in Hackney.
Tracks 2 & 9 recorded by Dean Firth at The Hospital.
Others recorded by Robin at Dalston Culture House and The Vortex.

Mixed by Dean Firth and Robin Grey.
Mastered by Dominique Brethes at Flow Mastering.


Robin Grey - vocals, guitars, ukulele, bass, percussion and organetta.

with

Iain Macleod - banjo on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Amy Bowles - bass on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Basia Bartz - violin on most tracks
Ben Oliver - piano on tracks 1,5,6 & 10
Joe Allen - drums, percussion and broom on 1,4,5,6,7 & 10
Tori Handsley - harp on tracks 2 & 9
Jane South - accordion, flute, voice on tracks 1,4 & 6
Louisa Jones - accordion and voice on track 3
Ewan Bleach - clarinet on track 3

Cover photo by Lynda Laird

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