Constable Road (an old new song)

As I entered my later teens, I was afflicted by a kind of melancholic nostalgia for the childhood I was leaving behind. It persisted well into my 20s and coloured a lot of my thoughts and my writing. Weirdly, now that I’m actually old enough to have something to be nostalgic for (hair, a waistline, friends) I don’t really feel that any more. Probably having kids and a raft of ongoing personal problems forces you to live more in the moment than when you don’t have any actual troubles to deal with.

Anyway, around the same time I had a spell of obsessing over Build by the Housemartins, which spoke powerfully to me about the way that when something like a new housing development happens, it destroys an unseen world that belongs to the children who play in it. And to complete the picture, my local village had been pegged for housing development and from around 1991 swathes of fields were carpeted with new build houses. Even now I still refer to this development as Toy Town or The New Estate. During the course of the development, many tiny local landmarks probably only known to us kids disappeared under concrete and brick, never to be seen again. The main thoroughfare through this development? Constable Road.

With that in mind, when I began to write songs myself the thought and influence was quite strong in my mind and bore creative fruit in this song (which I’ve sort of mentally got pegged as being written when I was 17). I’ve been playing it to myself and at open mic nights for quarter of century, which also give me some pause for thought!

At the same time, I’m getting to grips with using GarageBand instead of my trusty old Tascam DP-004 and it looks – as you’d expect – to be much quickerer and betterer forĀ getting songs together in a way that sounds halfway professional. If I’m being honest I’m not sure the song warrants a “full band” treatment, as it’s really an intimate one-man-and-his-guitar kind of song, but I was enjoying playing around with overdubs so here it is in workshop form with unnecessary Phil Spectorisation: Constable Road.


I stood beneath these trees
Listening to the sound
Of laughter in the sun
Twisting time about our hands
We ran the world from here
From our little shady glade beneath the sky
Dreams that spiralled into life
We dallied with the tides
That ran amongst our minds
When summer was forever
Did I really walk home this way?
Where everything’s now grey
In a summer they destroyed the place
Of all our dreams
Dreams of children turned to dust
They never noticed us
As they planned their roads
And trampled underfoot
All the joy and trust
With Constance Road
Dreams of children turned to dust