Better Things

“Uh well… this an oldie. Well.. it’s an oldie where I come from”


Everybody you can see has fallen asleep at the wheel
Everybody can see you but nobody knows how you feel
And I don’t understand the way that I feel

It’s the traffic signs and yellow lines and never getting to top gear
It’s the same old days and same old nights for day on week on month on year
And I don’t understand the way that I feel
And I don’t understand the way that I feel

And I don’t understand all the games that the people
Don’t you know I’ve got better things to do?

Mr Clean’s been living easy – it’s the same old every day of the week
His eyes are too square and his lips are too numb to speak
And he can’t find a way but bringing him down
And I can’t find a way for getting away
And I can’t find a way – an easier way

And I don’t understand all the games all the people play
Don’t you know that I’ve got better things to do?
And I don’t understand all the games that the good people play (oh no)
Don’t you know that I’ve got better things to do?


It is 1995. You are the frontman and artistic genius behind the meteoric rise of Leeds band Sleepwalker – who have only recently sold the entire print run of 40 cassettes of their first E.P. to an adoring crowd of uni mates, cousins, mothers and the occasional drunk at the Duchess of York.

You shake your massed curls at crowds of up thirty as you stand on stages in places like Heckmondwike, Dewsbury and Cleckheaton and drink in the accolades, hedonism and women that inevitably come with that level of fame.

But! You are living a dual existence. For the next day you are sat in your Fiat Panda, driving through Beeston – past the Tommy Wass and Beeston Fisheries on your way to writing help manuals for software used to keep supermarket warehouses fully stocked.

“Don’t you know that I’ve got better things to do?” you scream silently at the back of the Citroen in front of you as your engine idles outside Babylon Pizza.

And so your next hit is born. You grab your guitar on your return home confident that an idea will come. You are at the peak of your commercial powers and channel a tune that – if one squints with a degree of generosity – is reminiscent of something from the Beatles’ Rubber Soul.

Tuesday night. Band rehearsals. Everyone likes it. It has just the right amount of inane bounciness for the times. Soon, it is a cornerstone of the set. Literally scores of people hear it as it stays in the set for a couple of years before the band all get married and get jobs and decide to do other things instead of flogging your guts out for £8 from the door Bud’s in Heckmondwike.

Years pass.

Suddenly you are 45. Your hair is now a distant memory. Your once-trim waistline is stretched and rubbery. From some angles you look like a post weight-loss Michelin Man.

You are rummaging through an old notebook from the mid nineties. The words “better things” swim into view through your comically thick glasses.

You reach for your guitar and find yourself picking the chords out. Hmmm. You are reminded of easier, happier times – when you had the pick of the women of the Batley.

4 hours later your iPad hums with the sound of your resurrected song as best as you can remember it. You know you used to have a killer guitar solo for it, but it is lost to the mists of time like Atlantis and your dignity. Instead you drop in an automatic keyboard part from the good people at Apple Inc.

You finally release your song to an unwitting world, a quarter of century too late for it to do you any good.

Pleased with your efforts, you settle down with a nice gin and a slimline tonic next to your wife. She looks up from Love Island.

“Where you been?”

You smile a little ruefully.