The Burning EP (Derelict Roller Disco Records, 2018)

by Blue-John Vs Quidgybopper

/
  • Streaming + Download

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

      £3 GBP  or more

     

  • Limited Edition Compact Disc in Handmade Sleeve
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Artwork by Blue-John Benjamin

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Burning EP (Derelict Roller Disco Records, 2018) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

1.
2.
3.
4.

about

1. The Burning [with Peter Lagan on lute]

The epic ‘I Come From Ireland’ by Raphael Doyle—a true poet—made me want to try setting a long poem of my own to music.


2. No Chains Can Hold Us

My starting point was hearing the hopeful letters of a young Sylvia Plath. This is for her.


3. A Firestorm in Downing Street

Borne on a quiet fury felt last June, dead children take the form of swallows made from flames, and angels administer retributive justice. No radio plugger would touch this track with a bargepole, thinking its subject matter too ‘highly charged’.


4. The Man on the Bridge

A simple tale told by a ghost of sorts.


—Blue-John Benjamin, Whitby, England, 2018

credits

released June 1, 2018

Produced by Quidgybopper
Words, vocals and firestorm guitar by Blue-John

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Blue-John Benjamin Whitby, UK

"We put the boot in - flew the freak-flag;
We stood resolute like Morrissey’s quiff."

contact / help

Contact Blue-John Benjamin

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: The Burning [with Peter Lagan on lute]
The Burning

Taliesin: that is what they called me
long ago, for I have died many times—
taken many shapes beneath flick-books of
moons—since then. Again and again, breaking,
womb-snug, into the bright white of the world,
kindly pummelled, my tiny lungs snatching,
my tabula rasa whispered at by

ink-stained, bramble-thorned ghosts, I have endured.
I have clung to Her; to fractal Knowledge;
to the Unresolved, a questing reborn.
I, who met with Arthur’s stare—who, in the
Battle of the Trees, fought alongside their
enchanter, Gwydion—did not find on
Cader Idris, alone and mumbling through

snow-tipped whiskers, that which my soul desired.
An intricacy in the palm of my hand,
caught by the dawn’s silvery sliver, the
lapwing’s sought-after secret provided
no solace. None at all. There was, instead,
the troubadoric yearning, the sorrow,
The Burning. I felt it at Agincourt,

knee-deep in the blood-blackened mud, my face
spattered and appalled. I felt it on the
Field of the Cloth of Gold, blazing unseen,
almost unbearably vermillion.
I felt it against the hilt of my blade
when a cruel witch-pricker was brought to heel
(there is no beast more monstrous than a man).

I felt it crouched quietly in a trench,
Lucifer the architect. I felt it
huddled in a café, in the tilt of
a poem, in another day’s first blush,
in fingers of imagination pushed,
exploring the edge of the Universe.
I felt it weep from ley lines, which led me

back to a town hemmed in by sea and moors,
where the Barghest begat Bram’s Dracula.
Taliesin: that is what they called me
long ago, for I have died many times.
Now, only a trace element remains,
diminished beyond recognition, but
I have found Her. At last, at last, at last.
Track Name: No Chains Can Hold Us
No Chains Can Hold Us

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold her.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold him.

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold us.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold us.

At school, my introduction to her words
disturbed me. Gashed with a blade from the flames,
written with the blood of womanhood, they
shapeshifted, her body a paperweight,

brutal asceticism allowing
brilliance to penetrate. The doorway
sealed, walls demolished, roof blown,
shackles thrown.

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold her.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold him.

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold us.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold us.

Serialised on the radio, a
collection of letters from long ago
ignites; cooled embers are stirred back to life.
There dawns the realisation that I
know—have always known—her. She became an
arrow. She interconnected all things.

Her elemental wings; enfoldment;
sparks sent into the night; a sharp ascent.

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold her.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold him.

Sorry to break this to you:
no chains can hold us.
When Ariel takes flight,
no reins can hold us.
Track Name: A Firestorm in Downing Street [FREE]
A Firestorm in Downing Street

A newsreader’s charred backdrop—
the still-glowing poverty trap.

A straw PM flaps in a gale;
let the crows make of her what they will.

If she goes to ground, set the hounds loose;
dig her out like a fox.

Feeling the pinch, we sing, with all our hearts,
Flaming June’s twenty-first century blues.

A firestorm in Downing Street—
blazing souls of children
in the form of swallows.
There will be a march;
a day of reckoning;
the burning gaze of angels.

The scarecrow propped itself up,
but the blue touchpaper was lit.

Hyenas take their summer selfies,
the backdrop a grim, black skeleton.

Let the privileged few cue for tins;
make them rummage in supermarket bins.

They tried to keep a lid on the toll,
failing to sweep Flaming June away.

Run if you must, driven from your burrows;
there is nowhere to hide.
Those who died want to know why.
Divinely incandescent swallows
will cram your mouths with soot,
and pin the sleeves of your designer-wear,
bloated by straw, to limbs
from a tree stripped bare
(its magical leaves, once torn,
were nothing more than dust).
The perpetrators are to be stationed
on hillsides of golden loneliness,
in smoulderings of wheat.

A firestorm in Downing Street—
blazing souls of children
in the form of swallows.
There will be a march;
a day of reckoning;
the burning gaze of angels.
Track Name: The Man on the Bridge
The Man on the Bridge

The man on the bridge, the man on the brink.

Where I live is beside the river,
which I especially like when the
water is a calm, deep green, reflecting
the trees at dusk. Spotting oystercatchers
brings me luck.

I watch night-time double-deckers above
me, illuminated from the inside,
on the bridge.

I no longer bother to go to bed;
not since the wheel fell off my car three weeks
after it was serviced. Instead, from the
settee, I have seen gulls flying behind
me, heading in the direction of Mars
at first light.

But I was feeling strangely restless when
I looked out early one Sunday morning.
Perhaps the tawny owl brought me out of
that no-man’s-land between being awake
and asleep.

It was still dark, blustery, autumnal.
A piece of the picture made no sense—seemed
wrong. I scrunched my eyes, adjusting to the
murk. Then I instinctively telephoned
999.

“There appears to be a man on the bridge,”
I told the police operator.
My conversation with her became a
long one, as we waited for her colleagues
to arrive.

“A woman is with him—his partner by
the sound of it,” I said, describing
any developments as best I could.
“They are tussling. Now she is screaming.”
“Actually, I think I can hear that,”
the operator said.
“Yes, you probably can,” I replied.

He was this side of the barrier—
the suicide side—silhouetted
against streetlamp orange, swaying wildly
in the wind and lashing rain, his arms
crucifixion-like.

I have seen a few things in my life.
Never a man plummet to his doom.
Personally, I would prefer a
Virginia Woolf-style wading into
the river.

“Will there be a dead thump,” I wondered
inwardly, hearing it, “or more of a
high-velocity watermelon
exploding on concrete effect?” I winced.

“Think of the kids!” his partner cried out
to no avail; the man’s mind was made up.
She pleaded with the gloom: “Please, someone call
the police!”

At that point, the police van came crawling
warily across the bridge. The woman
fell silent.

So too did the wind, suddenly dropping.
It was as if everything was being
held in the palm of a giant hand.

The officers ascertained the man’s name,
asking for a chance, carefully coaxing.
Eventually, they hauled him out of
no-man’s-land.

A ringing telephone—a thank-you from
the police—jolted me back to the edge
of my drifting. Though “very poorly” (that,
I had already deduced), the man was
safe—cared for.

Afterwards, I remember the relieved
laughter of the officers on the bridge,
which merged with the whistling of birds, and a
gentle rain.

If you like The Burning EP (Derelict Roller Disco Records, 2018), you may also like: