I’ve been exploring ways to bring my music and writing together more creatively, starting last year with a series of prose pieces directly inspired from songs I’ve written – not to reiterate the lyrics, but to pick up on the themes, or spin-off from the subject matter in some way. And then, the other night I read the ‘TV in the Snow,’ piece at Spotlight alongside Dave George, (which went better than I could ever have hoped for, he played loops with great sensitivity, responding to the transitions in the piece as if he’d been rehearsing it for weeks rather than, well.. playing it for the second time, as the situation was in truth!)
In Monkeyrack we’re currently working on a new audio anthology, in fact, they’re coming round to record later on today. One of the pieces I’m putting forward as part of my set on the anthology is ‘Granny Spoon.’
Exactly the sort of thing Granny Spoon might have on her sideboard
‘Granny Spoon’ had its first outing at the Spotlight Open Slam last month and I was very, very happy to come second! (My certificate is currently on the wall in the hall. )
The thing about ‘Granny Spoon’ is it’s a bit weird. As Ron put it, ‘It has a touch of the Yoko’s about it,’ and Sam and the Plants said it was a bit frightening, but in a good way…
The song came from the guitar riff – I was noodling around on Tigger, the nylon string guitar I got from the Children’s Society charity shop, and later that evening the melody was wandering around my head and the lyrics, ‘Crazy granny making tea for me granny is making tea…’ came together – more as a fun way to fit to the rhythm, but I liked it’s quirkiness and Rob and I had a go at recording it.
Now… (and at this point I feel Ihave started the story in completely the wrong place…) we have a marvellous instrument called the Bobular Bells. This delectable construction was put conceptualised by Nickie out of a set of shelves, a funnel, some glockenspiel bars, a spanner and a goblet. They were a birthday present for Bob, as part of his junk drum kit.
Whilst recording ‘Granny Spoon,’ it became apparent that the Bobular Bells were simply perfect for creating the weird, anti-bedtime story atmosphere, as was a valiant hamster cage that I just KNEW would come in useful one day. (Thanks, fellow Morecambe West Endians – Sometimes you do fly-tip useful things outside my back door. The fish tank, for instance, raised a modest sum for charity and the chair that Scary Maisonette Guy hurled over his railings is now in my Mum’s living room having been repainted and recovered.)
So, I had a version of Granny Spoon recorded, but there was only the one line refrain ‘Crazy Granny making tea…’ twice in the whole piece, the rest was instrumental, and this is where the spoken word version as performed at Spotlight came about. I wrote a ‘poem’ to perform during the instrumental sections and we’re partway through recording it for the Monkeyrack anthology.
However, if you would like a sneak preview, you can hear the initial version (without the poem) on LastFM.
(Other tracks available including a free download of Bonejig)
I hope you enjoy!