supported by
/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      £7 GBP  or more

     

1.
02:15
2.
3.
4.
00:37
5.
03:14
6.
05:30
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

about

with contributions from Tony Morris (Gothtronic Boys), Jenny Eells (This Summer), and May Marsden (Death and the Lady)

Produced by Rich Whitworth; Peter Batchelder, aka Peter the Great; and Jon Fleming, aka Quidgybopper

Sound engineered by Mark Poole, Rich Whitworth, and Jon Fleming

Mixed and mastered by Jon Fleming

Deadtown, Gothtronic Boys, and Love & Chaos were co-written with Rich Whitworth, who sang on Love & Chaos and Blue-John Barleycorn, and played bass and organ on Deadtown; guitar on Deadtown, Gothtronic Boys and Love & Chaos; lead/bass synths on Gothtronic Boys; and light/dark synth pads on Penguins

Thom Whitworth played slide guitar on Deadtown

Photograph taken by Grandpa Mangham in Chapel Lane, Scamblesby

Songs 1–7 are originals
The words in Emily Brontë are Emily’s
Songs 8–12 come out of the folk tradition of the British Isles
The Mythical Creatures poetry was self-penned

credits

released May 1, 2017

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Deadtown
Deadtown [by Rich and Blue-John]

Deadtown, you won’t drag my brother down.
Blank spaces; bleached-white faces.
He will never make his home here.
You almost bled him dry here.

Deadtown, a knife-like frost cuts him to the bone,
and you try to swing him round,
but he’s a cat on his ninth life.
You won’t make him take his own life.

Survival tips born of restless sleeping:
hide in long grasses; keep perfectly still;
thwart Lucifer himself by force of will.

Deadtown, that girl’s got him spellbound;
she’s a spark of inspiration.
They’re walking back to her place;
he’s sunken-eyed and punch-drunk.

Deadtown, he’s dressed up to the nines,
and he’s talking up a storm,
when her gentle, doorstep goodbye
makes him switch to flying monk mode.

Afternoon tea by the sea: across the
Moors, then down Blue Bank, to Whitby. But I
think it only fair to make you aware
that, along with Beckett’s sticky cakes,
and Gutsy Ginger’s incense,
mythical creatures are to be found there,
steeped in song.

Deadtown, he no longer feels the chill.
He slips free of sea-stone shackles,
wraps his coat around a vagabond,
and whispers kindly to the vixen.

Deadtown, graffiti hackers razed you to the ground;
you bored them half to death.
Marauding gulls and feral children came;
they live inside your scorched remains.
Track Name: Eggshell Blue
Eggshell Blue

The vicar wets his whistle
with liquor from a hipflask.
He’s fraying at the edges.
His mask begins to slip.
Wendy said she saw the Devil
in a damp patch on the wall.
She cleans on Tuesday mornings—
knew his faith was wearing thin.

Down the local rec, her nephew
picks the clubhouse lock.
He’d no ingredients for Food Tech,
so now he’s doing glue.
Later, using misdirection,
and ramping up the pathos,
Wendy says she sees an angel
in graffiti on the wall—
a wounded angel.

Paint the room eggshell blue!
A soothing, gently cleansing colour scheme!
A liberal coat of eggshell blue!
Let the light in—imprison the
winter night’s whispering of vampires.

She’s got a lifetime’s worth of songs and
books and films and
photographs of those departed;
all of them amount to what?
Secrets of the universe are bound up in
Nothing—difficult to un-imagine;
is Nothing what they think it isn’t?

Fictitious, fretful child,
your mother’s only flaw
was to love you for all time;
she could never let you go.
She began to see the answers
to long-forgotten questions—
patterns in black mould,
expanding on the wall.

Not being a man’s man,
the vicar does the best he can—
goes with Wendy’s nephew
to the local boxing club.
Wendy is a hit
on the psychiatric wing.
She sees the good in everyone,
and gets us all to sing...

I’m quite fond of Christmas coffee—
cinnamon muffins, too,
though I’d settle for a cup of brick-red tea,
and a sharing of secrets with you.

Eastertime eggshell blue...
Track Name: Gothtronic Boys
Gothtronic Boys [by Rich and Blue-John]

From my unseen vantage point, I can watch,
in the window of the sandwich shop, quick
self-conscious glances of goth reflections,
and gothtronic boys making their hungry
appraisals of electro-gothic girls.

Gothtronic boys; electro-gothic girls;
Victoriana; mascara smudging;
pocketwatch and cane; arms locked in the rain.

Gothtronic boys; electro-gothic girls;
“That’s one tea, and perhaps a paper, too?”
To you, unnoticed freak, I tip my hat.

Whitby, unblinking, receives the parade,
and the uncertain meanderings of,
half-smiling, a solitary misfit.
His arms are too long for the sleeves of that
Victorian frock coat; his face is the
wrong kind of pale; slightly to the left of
imagined perfection, he always walks.
To you, unnoticed freak, I tip my hat.

When a sea fret rolls in, its chill clinging
To your skin, and a gull’s ghostly spiral
Describes a longing for companionship;
When, ebbing from the upstairs warmth of a
Faint glow, the words of an old ballad are
Indistinct; when a snarling, slavering,
Ungodliness preys on your mind, and you
Hurriedly enter the wrong ginnel; when
Spectral, waiting blood-letters begin to
Unfold, like ghastly museum pieces,
Their wing-membranes and Victoriana;
When the Un-dead wake: take my hand, and run.
Track Name: Love & Chaos
Love & Chaos [by Rich and Blue-John]

Tales of love and chaos constantly orbit her head.
She takes her tea, toast and laptop—seeks contentment
in bed.
A delicate paper lantern, she kisses the stratosphere,
and then...
Our future queen finally surrenders to sleep.
Track Name: Penguins
Penguins

Penguins, penguins, on the snow.
Penguins, penguins, off they go.
Penguins, penguins—little wings, little wings
Flapping, flapping when they swim.

And I love you both so much it frightens me,
to the point it might destroy me one day.
And I long for your laughter more than words can say,
more than words can say, more than words can say.

I am writing to you from the past, which is a bit like time-travel, only cheaper. When you were a little tot, I tried to teach you to listen to what the trees were saying. Your fingers and mine would rub their bark. I think you were paying attention! I wasn’t your dad, but you made me feel like I wanted to be.

We put our hands back to back.
We say, “I love you this much”.
We put our hands back to back:
that’s an infinite universe of
invincible, effervescent,
never-ending love.

I lived around the corner from you and your mum. You lived above her shop, and part of me hopes you are still there when you read this, and that the door is still the same bright yellow. You were such a character back then, and would mimic the sound of the Whitby gulls. The soft whispering, which leaves make, is ‘susurration’—one of my favourite words. I will give you a single piece of advice: listen to the trees like a child again.
Track Name: This Summer
This Summer

I throw my voice to the gulls on the quay.

Strawberry tea—the black kind, which can take
milk; champagne mornings; afternoon cakes too
pretty to ignore—too pretty to eat.

This summer, a retreat for you, perhaps?
Notebooks; sketch pads; a green, feathery hat;
a seamstress’ paraphernalia;
and, well, a garret (of sorts) by the sea.

This summer, on the sand we will lie, absorbed by the night.
With paper and pen, we will capture the heartbeat of the universe.
Let’s get in sync with the summer—let’s form a band of renegades.
With flea market gadgetry, we will fashion songs of Whitby jet.

Ink bleeds; dark energy pushes the stars apart;
a blinding datastream enters my mind.

I throw my voice to the gulls on the quay,
then a kind of electrical storm begins.
It’s you and me, side by side:
hand in hand, we face the polluted tide.
There, amid the litter on a gust of summer air,
her discarded umbrella becomes a crow set free from a snare.

Welcome to this small and yet significant northern town
of harbour fog, B&Bs, lobster pots, and balladry.

This summer, inhale the dawn, and press your
lips against pale flesh, as hard as you dare.
Set up shop if you want to; I don’t mind.
Really, I don’t. Stay as long as you like.

There are those who return to pick fruit, or
barter for unbroken horses at the
fayre. This summer, we will learn what they know.

There’s that girl with cats’ eyes tattooed on her
back. I try not to stare: it’s a battle
I’m losing.

Strange, pretty girl, you seem to drift away
From time to time, like a beautiful but
Half-finished thought. Let’s revive the lost art
Of letter-writing—throw caution to the
Warm summer wind. Real ink; coloured paper;
Smudges; scribbles; feverish crossings-out:
Molten love beneath gently dwindling flame.


Into the Tumulus: Out of the Fire

Bellerophon tenderly bridles the
Uncertain nuzzling—the untameable
Stallion. Playfully rebellious,
He rears. His sculpted musculature steams,
Tautened. His vast wingbeats bring wave after
Breaking wave, and a feathery sea foam.
His veins are dark with Medusa’s rich blood.
They journey into the dread-enwombing,
Deathly tumescence of the chimera’s
Bone-strewn lair, and emerge like smoke-hatchlings.
To not relinquish the reins is to know
Tumult—the breathless exhilaration,
Anguish, and love of poet-warriors.
Track Name: Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë [words by Emily Brontë]

The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her brow;
"I have been struck," she said, "and I am suffering now;
Yet these are little worth, your bolts and irons strong;
And, were they forged in steel, they could not hold me long.

"He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars.
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

"Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels:
Its wings are almost free—its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulph, it stoops and dares the final bound.

"He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald death, the vision is divine!"

Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.
Track Name: Blue-John Barleycorn
Blue-John Barleycorn [incorporating phrases found in early incarnations of John Barleycorn, the first being Allan-a-Maut from before 1568]

There came three knights out of the north,
their victory to try,
and they did make a solemn vow
that Barleycorn should die.

They ploughed him down, and harrowed him in,
and burst clods on his head.
A joyful banquet then was made,
when Barleycorn was dead.

He rested still within the earth,
till he felt warm raindrops fall,
then young, and clad in green, he rose,
which sore amazed them all.

Midsummer brought men with whetted hooks;
holly flails flicked flesh from his bones.
Like rooks from hell, they blinded him,
and ground him ’tween two stones.

But Barleycorn will exact revenge,
when he comes with mickle might,
to take their tongues away,
their legs, or else their sight.

His blood remains in an earthen bowl,
for it makes the merriest man,
and he will doubtless cause those fools to drink
till they can neither go nor stand.
Track Name: Death and the Lady
Death and the Lady [a broadside ballad set to the melody of The Cruel Mother as sung in 1885 by Eliza Wharton and her brothers—gypsy children]

Fair lady, lay your costly robes aside.
No longer may you glory in your pride.
Take leave of all your carnal, vain delight.
I’m come to summon you away this night.

What bold attempt is this? Pray let me know
From whence you came, and whither I must go.
Shall I, who am a lady, stoop or bow
To such a pale-faced visage? Who art thou?

Do you not know me? I will tell thee, then:
’Tis I that conquer all the sons of men;
No pitch of honour, from my dart, is free.
My name is Death. Have you not heard of me?

Yes, I have heard of thee time after time,
But being in the glory of my prime,
I did not think you would have come so soon.
Why must my morning sun go down at noon?

Talk not of noon. You may as well be mute.
This is no time for vain dispute.
If Death command the king to leave his crown,
He, at my feet, must lay his sceptre down.

My heart is cold. It trembles at the news.
Oh, for these bags of gold, pray me excuse.
Release thou them whose sorrows are so great,
But spare my life to live a longer date.

Though some, by age, be full of grief and pain,
Till their appointed time, they must remain.
I take no bribe. Believe me, this is true.
Prepare yourself to go. I come for you.
Track Name: ’Obby ’Oss (She Moved Aleatorically)
’Obby ’Oss (She Moved Aleatorically) [traditional]

Where are the maidens that here now should sing?
For summer is a-comen today.
They are in the meadows, the flowers a-gathering,
in the merry morning of May.

My young love said to me: “My brothers won’t mind,
and my father won’t slight you for your lack of kind”.
Then she stepped away from me, and this she did say:
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day”.

She stepped away from me—she moved through the fayre,
and fondly I watched her move here and move there.
Then she went her way homeward, with one star awake,
as the swan, in the evening, moves over the lake.

Last night, she came to me—she came softly in.
So softly she entered, her feet made no din.
Then she laid her hand on me, and this she did say:
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day”.
Track Name: Rufford Park Poachers
Rufford Park Poachers [traditional]

A buck or doe, believe it so, the pheasant and the hare
were set on Earth for everyone, quite equally to share.

So, poacher bold, as I unfold, keep up your gallant heart,
and think about those poachers bold, that night in Rufford Park.

They say that fourteen gallant poachers, they were in distress—
they’d often been attackéd when, their number, it was less.

Among the gorse, to settle scores, these fourteen gathered stones,
to make a fight for poor men’s rights, and break the keepers’ bones.

The keepers went with flails against the poachers and their cause,
to see that none again would dare defy the rich man’s laws.

The keepers, they began the fray with stones and with their flails,
but when the poachers started, why, they quickly turned their tails.

Upon the ground, with mortal wound, Head Keeper, Roberts, lay;
he never will rise up until the final Judgement Day.

Of all the band who made a stand to set a net or snare,
the man they brought before the court was tried for murder there.

The Judge, he said, “For Roberts’ death, transported you must be,
to serve a term of fourteen years in convict slavery”.

So, poacher bold, my tale is told, keep up your gallant heart,
and think about those poachers bold, that night in Rufford Park.
Track Name: While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping
While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping [traditional]

I had a long-legged lurcher dog;
I kept her in my keeping.
She’d flush out hare on a moonlit night,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.

One day the policeman collared me,
to have me in his keeping.
“Your brindle made a moonlit raid,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.

“I seen her come out of the woods,
across the fields a-speeding.
A partridge she had in her mouth,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.”

“But my dog’s black and white, you see,
so I’m not for your keeping.”
He couldn’t see I’d brindled she,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.

One day, his wife fell mortal ill;
he had to give up policing.
But I dropped one bird on his door each night,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.

Now, she fared so well upon pheasant broth,
her colour come back creeping,
so long as my bitch roamed abroad,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping,
while the gamekeepers lay sleeping.

Then the bitch she pupped, and I given him one,
to have in his own keeping.
Now he’s left the force, and he roams wi’ me,
while gamekeepers lie sleeping—
while the world and his wife,
in the dead of night, lie sleeping.


Magical Dog: Mercurial Vixen

Laelaps is unrelenting in pursuit:
The Cadmean Fox is uncatchable.
Dizzied by an unending paradox,
Zeus locks the chase, transforming them to stone—
Punctuating the Vault of Heaven with
Still-to-be-seen celestial bodies.