Reader's Voice (E​.​P​.​)

by Ian Evans

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about

Four songs recorded in 2015/16

credits

released March 20, 2016

Everything played, written, drawn etc. by Ian Evans. Made under the influence of red wine, real ale and crisp sandwiches.

Thank you to Rich Lawden for suggesting the strings, timpani and radio-tuning sample on W12 7RJ.

Serving:

Fender USA Telecaster
Daneletro Pro guitar
Eko Rock VI guitar
Crafter City-Thinline Series 12-string guitar
Chad Valley Rock Star toy guitar
Westone Spectrum GT bass
Zoom MRT-3 Drum Machine
Yamaha PSR550 keyboard

Love to all my friends. Dedicated to Ray Grant.

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Ian Evans UK

Pop/experimental/rock musician and songwriter from London

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Track Name: Head Steadiness
Lyrics:

You never clean out a wok or teapot
Just soak in green tea, like that girl on Sherlock
In Heston's pudding is a whole orange
So over Christmas all the juice soaks in

My toastie machine, soaked in aged, rich cheese
A guardsman's jacket, from the age of steam
A brace of pheasants racked above
Carving the half-life of galvanic sludge
Rubbing an apron in salt from the sea
Feeding a fruitcake up with neat brandy
An hourglass filled with milk and blood
I'm stuffing an oild drum with galvanic sludge

The students' fryer never changed its oil
A baby's blanket with her mother's smell
Yamaha resonate guitars to age
Resting a steak to keep in juice and taste

A poetry book splashed with crumpet stains
Died in the chalet whilst I slipped the reigns
The ingrained pub smells since the smoking ban
Her hips a lyre and a ripening sun
The aftertaste of Casu Marzu cheese
All beaty is ripening and part of death too

File under "Imagination: Lack of"
All things of carbon shall return to sludge

References:

* "Head Steadiness" - I like the way this phrase scans and it was a much better title than Galvanic Sludge. (It just implies holding your head together, by accepting that all things must pass). I actually thought of it after watching a video of owls in flight, which demonstrated their crazy ability to keep their heads completely still. Look it up :-)

* "You never clean out a wok or teapot" - Both of these items are traditionally left uncleaned, so that they can soak in flavours throughout their lives. (You should just give them a wipe, rather than spoil their character with soap)

* Soaking in green tea - In the BBC series Sherlock, an expert on Chinese tea demonstrates maturing a teapot's character with green tea. I would have liked to call her a woman rather than a girl, as it sounds a little patronising, but I had to song what would fit the melody - This kind of frustrating decision happens all the time if you write songs

* Heston's pudding - Heston Blumenthal is a famous chef, known for his experimental ideas. He made a Christmas pudding for Waitrose, which contained a whole orange. As it cooked, the orange melted into the pudding. It tasted absolutely gorgeous and I'm so glad I bought one

* My toastie machine, soaked in aged, rich cheese - As a bachelor, I can't say that I bothered to clean out my toasted sandwich maker very often...

* A guardsman's jacket, from the age of steam - Steam trains smell amazing and the driver's uniforms would soak in the scented smoke

* A brace of pheasants - Pheasants (which I've never tried) are traditionally hung up to mature before eating

* Half-life - Decaying radioactive chemicals are measured by their half-life - The time it takes for them to lose half their mass

* Rubbing an apron in salt from the sea - Whale hunters would make aprons from the whales' skins, which they then matured with salt. I don't endorse hunting wales of course - far from it

* Feeding a fruitcake - My mum matures Christmas cakes by soaking brandy into them over several days

* An hourglass filled with milk and blood - This imagery came to me in a dream, but is basically feminine symbolism which I won't explain away

* The students' fryer never changed its oil - When I was at university we used a deep fat frier which no one would ever change the oil in. It looked disgusting, but apparently they never stop working, no one ever gets sick from it and the chips you make taste the same

* A baby's blanket with her mother's smell - Some parents give their babies a bit of their clothing, as they recognise the smell and are comforted by it

* Yamaha resonate guitars to age - The Yamaha company vibrate some of their instruments, to artificially replicate the effects of them improving over years of "playing in"

* Resting a steak - If you do this, they keep in a lot more juice and flavour. I tend to be a bit gung ho about ignoring rules like that, but it really does make all the difference

* A poetry book splashed with crumpet stains - A quote from Withnail and I, about a book that literally soaked up the evidence of the people using it and their type of relationship

* "Died in the chalet whilst I slipped the reigns" - This is more imagery from a dream I once had, about a rotting body in a holiday chalet. I'm imagining myself escaping from death, in that one situation

* The ingrained pub smells since the smoking ban - After smoking in pubs was made illegal in Britain in the early 2000's, the ingrained smells of dirt, sweat, toilet cleaner etc. (which had been covered up by smoke) started to become noticeable. They soon fixed it

* Her hips a lyre and a ripening sun - In the book Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut he compares the shape of a woman's hips to a lyre. I'm just riffing on women's hips being a place of life and the sun also being a source of life. Traditionally, the moon is more associated with feminine energy of course

* Casu Marzu cheese - An Italian cheese that's so matured it's literally allowed to develop live maggots. I don't know if I'd have the nerve to try it. Their meatiness and the extreme maturity of the cheese caused by the enzymes they release is supposed to make it a good thing

* File under "Imagination: Lack of" - A quote from one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes Ghostlight. (The villain is defeted by his inability to accept that nothing can last forever)
Track Name: W12 7RJ
Lyrics:

Christmas week in 2011
Waiting at Wood Lane
With my new, Nelson, graphic novel and Ghost’s album playing in the rain
Ayse’s knife was taken from her by security
But not their one-armed man…
Approaching a mosaic building; like a question mark on a napkin

And W12 7RJ, meant more to me than Hollywood...yay!

The real BBC2 black and orange clock was not a graphic
The real Gordon the Gopher
The model Tracey Island, in cereal boxes
Christmas beers with all and pregnant Liz, in the Defector's Weld
There’s a mistake that they made earlier…
Losing a temple
Answers on a postcard please

References:

* Wood Lane - The area of London where BBC Television Centre is

* Nelson - An excellent graphic novel, which I'd just bought at the time. Every few pages changes to a different artist, so multiple people get to add their vision

* Ghost - A Swedish rock band, whose album I'd just bought. I was listening to it on the way to meet my friends

* Ayse’s knife - On the way into Television Centre we had to have our bags searched (which has been common since 9/11 and the London bombings of 7/7). My friend Ayse had a penknife in her bag, which she needed to hand in. It became a joke, as it wasn't a dangerous one and the idea of her being heavily "tooled up" was amusing

* The one-armed man - A BBC documentary about Television Centre mentions a one-armed security guard, who worked on the front gate for many years

* Mosaic building - The main foyer features distinctive mosaics. They were often seen in the background of BBC shows

* "Like a question mark on a napkin" - The architect of the building drew his intial idea on a napkin, whilst brainstorming. He eventually settled on a question mark design, so that the multiple TV studios could radiate around a central circle

* W12 7RJ - The postcode of Television Centre, which was often mentioned on Children's BBC when they asked you to write in

* Hollywood - Seeing Television Centre filled me with awe, which I didn't get in the same way when I saw the real Hollywood sign

* The BBC2 clock - BBC2 often showed a very 1970's clock between programmes. I was amazed to see that it wasn't a graphic but a real clock, which they simply pointed a camera at between programmes. Seeing the real clock, in a glass case in the foyer, filled me with joy

* Gordon the Gopher - A puppet character, who co-presented Children's BBC in the early 1990's. He was much loved

* Tracey Island - This model (from the Thunderbirds TV show) was the most popular thing made on Blue Peter. (They always showed viewers how to make a model out of cereal boxes or such like, and this one was amazingly popular). On our tour of the building we saw the actual model!

* Pregnant Liz - My wife was pregnant at the time, which was of course a big deal

* The Defector's Weld - A nice pub, very close to TV Centre. I was aware that I was about to become a Dad, so getting to stay late at pubs was something I really focussed on, as a joyful thing I'd probably be doing less of in future

* "Made earlier" - Blue Peter's model makers were famous for using the catchphrase "Here's one that I made earlier"

* Losing a temple - I'm sad to say that Television Centre has now been closed down (although thankfully some of it has listed status and can't be demolished). BBC Television has now moved to Salford (and a sadly much less iconic building)

"Answers on a postcard please" - Another catchphrase from BBC Children's programmes (when they asked you to write in, pre-the invention of e-mail!)

Why would you swap a much loved icon for a generic and more "business over art" focussed building? I don't know
Track Name: The Rats' Song
Lyrics:

Pickle is a little white rat, who sits and watches me shave
She’s bigger than a weasel or a gnat and ever so brave
Sausage is a larger brown rat, who’s fat and sleek in misbehaviour
She’s smaller than a beaver and she’s smaller than my flat
If I ever died in here they’d eat me (and it’s fair that…)
Anything a person can eat a rat can eat

Halo Jones engaging in a rat war
Running like a person in a rat war

Rat King’s tails
Berkshire stripe
Stop looking like a mouse
Rat King’s tails
Eternal multicoloured girls

References:

* "Anything a person can eat a rat can eat" - This is almost true.... Rats evolved alongside humans and have learned to digest almost anything that we can. They certainly love junk food and prefer pizza or a bit of burger to seeds. However, they can still choke on thick pastes or large lumps of food, so you shouldn't allow them to share anything I just liked the concept of humans and rats sharing a lifestyle and common goals - which we do

* Halo Jones is an excellent comic by Alan Moore, which does feature the terrifying concept of, “rat war”

* A Berkshire stripe is a white marking on the bodies of some pedigree rats (including Sausage)

* “Stop looking like a mouse,” was a comical instruction to Pickle from her breeder as, when young, she did look exactly like a mouse

* A rat king is a monster in German folk-lore, which is said to be born when rats became tangled by their tails. (One is featured as the bad guy in the Nutcracker Suite). I also like a band called Sidi Bou Said, who wrote a song called Rat King
Track Name: Tropical Squash
Lyrics:

I like beeves and I like treats
I like weekends
I like concrete
I don't like David Cameron's dreams

I like Christmas and Harrod's cheese
I like your coat
I'll need sharp teeth
I don't like David Cameron's throat

I like scarves and I like bread
I feel all things
I like your legs
I don't like David Cameron's Head

I like Children of the Stones
I'm scared a triffid is under my bed
I don't like I don't like David Cameron's head

References:

* Beeves - The plural of beef, which is a real word, believe it or not. My wife and I heard it on honeymoon and it became a running joke

* David Cameron - You could write a more intelligent song about how bad this British Prime Minister's views were, but there's no point in preaching to the converted. I just wanted the catharsis of moaning about his cruelty in such a childish song

* Harrod's - I love walking around this luxury shop and buying odd things. You can try some world class cheese for only a couple of pounds, a gormet scotcth egg or have a go on a Steinway piano. It's worth just window shopping as if it were a museum, and trying one thing each visit

* "I feel all things" - I feel other people's unhappiness more than is probably healthy (which is why I don't like David Cameron's policies). I'm lucky to be fairly middle class but I have lots of friends who are poorer and hit really hard by libraries and child centres closing, being made to work against doctor's orders etc. I've never seen a government directly hurt so many people close to me before

* Children of the Stones - A BBC "folk horror" drama for children, from the 1970's

* I'm scared a triffid is under my bed - A very real fear of the 7 year old me

* Bovril - A delicious warming drink. The name comes from "Vril" - The mystical energy described in the occult novel The Coming Race

* A green and urban land - I'm a London/city person, so I couldn't say green and pleasant land. I love the parks and trees in cities, but I go mad with loneliness in the countryside. (I spent my whole childhood in a rural area and feel that I've paid my dues now)

* "Tonight I'll enter his dreams, taking the form of a minotaur. Only one of us shall wake" - This amazing, mythical-level quote is by the comedian Frankie Boyle. I read it on his Twitter page, where he was fantasising about cursing another Conservative MP