The Stranglers - Written In Red


Valley Of The Birds

Ray decided to be silly after all
He'd died a 1000 times before in the viet war
So he strapped himself in and he took his chances
Into the valley of the bird, absurd
I don't remember what it was the old man said
I know I' d tempted fate a 1000 times before
So we strapped ourselves in and we took such chances

And had a flight for the brother who can't be
Birdman, looking for the
Wasteland, trying to get my
Face tanned it's beautiful here
Doing it we're flying in the valley of the birds- fly

We decided one for all and all for one
And when I do, I really want to go in style
So without a sense of reason we explored

"Valley Of The Birds. This came from a riff John Ellis had going in a piece he'd brought to the session (Tune-O-Matic, later to find it's way onto John's Spic N Span, 1999 - C.i.B.). The Song was the first written for the album, and is all about a trip to New Zealand. JJ had a few words knocking about, and I think they mostly made up the first verse - I took it on from there really. The brother who is missing is our keyboard tech, Trevor Dawkins, who had to see some long lost family, and missed the mega leap down and across the 150 foot canyon. Ray is an ex Vietnam zip-wire jumper, and, out of the whole party it was Ray - me - Dan Bartley and Mike and Janice Feyen (who organised the rugged outdoor stuff!) who took the jump. So that's how I named us all birdmen. It also ties in with the fact New Zealand was originally known as the land of the birds, so that's that.ke throwing stones into the great known

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In heaven she walks

I always seem to meet you in such unexpected places
In scenes that drift togethter with some strange attraction
Your style is always painted on a world of faces
I'll always look for you in unexpected places

I can't deny the perfect kind
And we'll always be bound to be lost
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks

I always dreamed to meet you in such unexpected places
We seem to shift together with some strange reaction
Your smile is almost wasted on a world of basics
I'll always look for you in unexpected places

Who can deny the perfect find
Cause I'll always be chained to her tracks
These virtual lines disturb my eyes
But I'll always be lost in her thoughts
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
Thank heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
I heaven she walks
...

In Heaven She Walks. This I only added one extra musical part in recording, but the rest is based around an old idea from my previous band - it's really about penis extensions. The fact that men have all these possessions that end up with female names, maybe replacing the perfect woman. After I transformed my video 'ideas' for it with the record company, featuring each of us in our kind of fantasy mode, Triumph Motorcycles offered to lend us a bike for the shoot... and then gave JJ the thing forever for promotional purposes!! Oi...Where's mine??

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In A While

It's 45 in the shade
This fire can't escape
Losing sleep in my dreams
Coldsweat I'm somewhere in between

Someday soon I'll find the strength to lose
Then I'll find the wisdom of the fool
And make some sense of it all

Slipped under the ice
Cool death it made me shiver
Pretty soon I'll be free
Won't have to rule over all I see

I don't want to fight the world
I only came to see it
Not a day tripper
Just let me stay, just let me stay

Don't wanna piece your scene
But this blood gotta hook me in
Last drinks at the bar
And all the way doesn't seem too far

Sometime soon you'll find the strength to lose
Spread your wings and someday you will choose

Your making sense of it all

I don't want to fight world
I only came to see it
Not a day tripper
Just let me stay
Don't let me fake it, I want to stay

I don't want to fight the world

In a While. Guilt is really the subject here and someone trying to convince us that it's just misunderstanding, that they really mean no harm and eventually the world will have sympathy with them. We were playing with a backing track and Andy Gill ended up getting the direction of the piece just right, I had the melody sorted out and JJ had the line, 'I don't want to change the world I only came to see it', and I wrote the rest of it, wait for it............. in a Chinese restaurant in Liverpool on a serviette (really, not a crap 'classic' R&R story)except for the line 'the wisdom of the fool' - that was JE - about an hour before we went back to the studio to do the vocal.

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Silver Into Blue

Set sail on a mirror
Nothing stirs for here it's so easy to be
Just to be

Slipped into a big sky
Not a cloud to be seen
It was a perfect day
Such a perfect day

How can you feel hurt
Now can you see it
See the stars
With your eyes
That was me

See them shine shining just for you
Silver into blue

See a sun
Kiss a sky
Shout the moon

Send the tide turning just for you
Silver into blue

Two feet on the starship
Nothing gets in our way
We're going up and away
Up out of the way (milky)

No time for the red shift
We'll push in front of the sun
And start the world again

Silver Into Blue. This was originally a ballad called "She Sails" but ended up as a kind of Motown/rock track. It's about the slightly unreal trip to New Zealand me and Dan Bartley shared. I'd better stop there!

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Blue Sky

Goodbye blue sky, goodbye blue sky
Did you ever think you had it made
It's a big wide world
Think of all the games left to play
You wrote the letter
I saw your fingers bleed
And your brown eyes glaze
Such a beautiful waste

Goodbye blue sky, what will it be, wash over me
Goodbye blue sky, wash over me
What will it be, wash over me
Wash over me

Whatever happens to the time we give
Never took a life
Never stole a kiss
Sitting here
Staring out, it's a twisting world
Someone's cracked the glass and
Turned it upside down

Blue Sky. A straightforward song about terminal illness. This was aimed at the time at Marian Shepherd, a great friend and hard working lovely person, she had a big fright about her health, and I just wrote the lyrics for her, the music never changed much from my demo really. I'd like to dedicate it to anyone suffering the same sad fate. (Apparently in France, someone had allegedly written that it was about 'smoking a joint in your back garden and looking upwards'. Well, I wouldn't (a) write anything so puerile, and (b) have no idea whom or where this story came.)

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Here

Of silence in pieces here
Voices all disappear
Sacred inside

Doubled our silhouettes
One shape I can't forget
Tears the inside

Here could be sad if empty hands
Were what my head was resting in
Consider them protecting

Footsteps in paradise
Really moving through me now

It's cold lay your hands on me
Don't look into my eyes
I'm burning out the time

Here wrapped in all these chains
Only scent remains
Scares me inside

Feels like I'm sinking fast
Some moments never last
Keep it inside

It's just too bad that empty hands
Are what my head is resting in
I'm rendered unprotected

Fool steps in paradise
Really moving through me now

It's cold don't take your hand from me
They look into my eyes
I'm burning out the time

Footsteps in paradise

Fool stepsOf silence in pieces here
Voices all disappear
Sacred inside

Doubled our silhouettes
One shape I can't forget
Tears the inside

Here could be sad if empty hands
Were what my head was resting in
Consider them protecting

Footsteps in paradise
Really moving through me now

It's cold lay your hands on me
Don't look into my eyes
I'm burning out the time

Here wrapped in all these chains
Only scent remains
Scares me inside

Feels like I'm sinking fast
Some moments never last
Keep it inside

It's just too bad that empty hands
Are what my head is resting in
I'm rendered unprotected

Fool steps in paradise
Really moving through me now

It's cold don't take your hand from me
They look into my eyes
I'm burning out the time

Footsteps in paradise

Fool steps

Here. I love this track. This is the story of a guy so fucked up by constant rejection that when he finds what he imagines is his true love and loses it, he installs himself beneath the boards of her house, looking and listening, living on whatever he can catch-like insects etc- or whatever falls through the cracks above him........well in his head he does but by the last chorus he's beginning to realise what's happening as the medication starts to work. It's a kind of tribute to the Velvet Underground who I used to listen to a lot, they had a track called 'The Gift' about a guy who falls in love with a hooker and sends himself to her in a carton. In her panic to open the parcel she plunges a knife straight through his head killing him! This started with four notes literally of a 10 minute mess about at the end of a day in the studio which became the verse, and I took it home and put it all together that evening.

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Joy De Viva

She wiped the smile right off my face
And hid it away in a secret place
The night was dark and the ground was cold
I slipped myself into a pool
I saw the trees but not the wood
And floated in an icey flood
As cold began to freeze my heart
I heared a voice come through the dark
Bring up the coals
Light up the fire

Joy de viva
Joy de viva
Smile your shining smile on me

If you see her
Say I need her
Joy de viva
Joy de viva

Now sunburned men tell tales of me
Of how I sail the ocean deep
Upon the brow I shade my face
Searching for that sate of grace
Every night the moon appears
She shows me that I need not fear
The crashing rocks and siren wind
And I will find her in the end
Then I will run into her fire

Joy de Viva. I do love singing this song. It's another JE number and I only re-worked the chorus melody wise. After I transformed my video 'ideas' for it with the record company, featuring each of us in our kind of fantasy mode, Triumph Motorcycles offered to lend us a bike for the shoot... and then gave JJ the thing forever for promotional purposes!! Oi...Where's mine??

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Miss You

Your making plans to miss to morning train
You want all the world to feel your pain
Tearing at the rules to ease your mind
Sometimes days are dull without this light

You see me staring down the wishing well
Drowning in the stories kissed and fell
Burning through the daze across the night
Summer days are dull without this light

I won't miss you, down where all the souls are broken
I won't miss you, drowned where all the eyes are soaking
I won't miss you, not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you, I won't miss you
How I miss you

Standing in the shadow of your ties
Said you'd rather lived before it died
Now the days had lost their sweet caress
Decide it was right to taste the rest

You said we really had to freeze the frame
We'll meet another time the perfect plane
But stars really don't mean that much to me
Without their light there's nothing left to see

I won't miss you, down where all the hearts are choking
I won't miss you, drowned in all the stolen moments
I won't miss you, not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you, I won't miss you
How I miss you
Maybe I lost, maybe I'm lost, break me tied knot
Maybe I'm lost, maybe I'm lost, maybe I'm not

Miss You. This was originally a song called 'The Train', a song about a typical beautiful obsessive, always threatening some shit or the other, in that respect the song stayed the same but musically it changed into a slightly different thing once Andy worked on it. I actually preferred my original track but I think it was a bit too 'poppy' for him....win some lose some, I went with the flow but have to say I think it's too 'Stadium' for me, maybe a punk version could be a good idea?

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Daddy's Riding The Range

Oh my child
Walk in your prairie dreams
Shining dawn
Whispers of worlds you'll see
Now it's dusk
Darkness has killed the fire
I must ride
She calls me into my night

And you're leaving me cold as ice

Daddy's riding the range
In the toy cowboy suit
That his mother bought for him
Leaving, he won't stop loving you
Now that he's riding
The trail of the lone star

When you cry
I'll send the sun down to you
When you're lost
I'll spin the world round for you

Daddy's Riding The Range. This is pretty much a JE number but I did come up with the verse and bridge melodies. It is interesting to note that the first recording of this song was a quite beautiful acoustic version, beautifully arranged and wonderful to sing, not to say that the CD cut isn't great as well, it's just different but I do wish the original had been put on the record as well. Wonderful Land. Another JE number. All I really did on this was help tie the song up, it was a bit vague and Andy didn't seem too sure what he wanted so I threw a few alternative melodies at the bridge and chorus and, hey presto we had it in the 'can' (man).

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Summer In The City

Hot town summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down isn't it a pity
Doesn't seen to be a shadow in the city
All around me people looking half dead
Choking on the sidewalk, it's hotter than a match head

At night it's a different town
Go out and find a girl
Come on come on and dance all night
Just what you need, it will be alright
And babe don't you know it's a pity
The days can't be like the nights
In the summer in the city
In the summer in the city

Cool town meeting in the city
Dressed so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
'till I'm wheezing at the bus stop
Running up the stairs gonna meet you on the roof top

At night it's a different town, go out and find a girl
Come on come on and dance all night
Just what you need it will be alright
And babe don't you know it's a pity
The days can't be like the night
In the summer in the city
In the summer in the city

Summer In The City. This version was basically my idea. The band had recorded a rock version of it at the insistence of our MD (record co.boss) I didn't happen to be bothered by the song, it's nothing special, so it was no surprise that it came out rather flat (none of us liked it much). One day at the studio I was messing about with some loops and just started singing the song over the drum track then JE added some odd guitar riffs and we were away as they say. The key really was the half time verse. I reckon it's one better than the original (not that you can really say that, but sometimes another artist can bring out the 'song' in a piece), however not everyone agreed with me including Andy, I don't know if he wanted the credit or he just wasn't convinced of the idea. The rest of the guys didn't seem too interested and our managers did not like it either but, hey that's the way the cookie crumbles, they obviously didn't understand! Bless 'em.........."

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