Strange Things

What a productive fortnight it’s been at Chez Freud – for here is another song, piping hot from my songwriting forge. Well, that’s a bit of a lie because it was written for the most part a few years ago, but I recently rediscovered it, decided I liked it… and here we are. Have a listen, check out the lyrics, then rejoin me for the tale of how it all happened.

Lyrics

Have you ever eaten snails?
They’re cooked in garlic
And then impaled
On tiny pitchforks
I don’t know which forks
They use for whales

They made a tunnel
Just for carp
A carpal tunnel
(Or so I heard)
That goes nowhere
Though I don’t know where
A carp’ll go

Strange things are happening to me
Strange things are happening to me
Strange things are happening to me
And I don’t know why I bother getting out of my head
When the demons come find me in my bed
Strange strange times indeed

My head is full of
Shits like this
I wonder what it really means
Am I someone
Or is someone
Really me?

Strange things are happening to me
Strange things are happening to me
Strange things are happening to me
And I don’t know why I bother getting out of my head
When the demons come find me in my bed
Strange strange times indeed

Backstory

As you possibly know (assuming we’ve met) I suffered a brain tumour in my late 30s. In fact, it had been growing there for perhaps a decade – and during that time I made any number of disastrous miscalculations that ended lots of friendships, almost cost me my marriage, and from which it’s possible I’ll never really recover.

But, I had a brain op – which is pretty fucking cool – and while I was at home for a few weeks recovering, dozens of songs dropped out of my head. Listening back to them now, they were largely terrible – and all of them were informed by a weird fantasy I had of stringing them all together to create a kind of continuous song (or maybe a medley like that found on the Beatles’ Abbey Road)

One of these songs came from a hazy part of my psyche and began as a lyric – the opening couplet (“have you ever eaten snails…?”) a sort of random phrase that crossed my mind.

As that entire period of my is a little bit fractured in my memory, I can’t tell you much about the rest of the process – but I’ve got the original demos on my phone and it’s weird to see just how unable I was to play even the simple repeating figure that starts the song. Like most people who are brain damaged/mentally impaired, I don’t think I could really see exactly how impaired I was, so it’s weird to look back now from a position of relative sanity.

Lyrically, it is deliberately obtuse – trying to capture the generally uncertain nature of my thoughts at the time (and since). It doesn’t make sense, and that’s the point.

We did work the song up to the point where we could have played it live with the band, but as it was sort of personal and (let’s face it) a bit musically cliched it never really grabbed the lads’ attention and as I am be nature pretty diffident, I let it slide into obscurity.

But the other week, I found myself strumming it again and realised that I actually really liked it. Sure, the verse is almost parodic of a certain strand of ‘tasteful’ blues you got in the 70s a lot, but there is a certain sultriness to that that appeals to me – and I don’t often get anything with a latin flavour so I went with it: even deploying a guiro in the last couple of verses.

I didn’t do the main guitar solo, but I am quietly pleased with the slide parts over the extended outro, which have a nicely uncertain, slippery vibe perfectly in keeping with what I feel like the lyrics mean.

There’s a few issues I have with the mixing, but overall I’m quietly satisfied with my work here.

 

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