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The Post Office Tower

by Ian Evans

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Moulding it's galloping up pig hill Six pints of breaker and yell bromide at each girl The Uffington Horse (we used to call him Dobbin in those days) Rats and Delicious, waiting by the side of the stage They've been on strike for five years and now they're craving curry A phase switch like a mantis on parole He's brought back things - a wife from Australia Red brick dreaming town The warmth of cider Stray Blues and the Maravishnu Orchestra Dave's Beatles and Byrds and fleeting fingers Might choose to sell the van to buy more guitars Holly Partridge the stars won't steal you There is no finer band in this whole world References * Moulding - Colin Moulding is the bass player of XTC * Galloping - Before XTC went on stage, they used to play an intro tape of sampled voices. When the word "galloping" was mentioned, it was their cue to go on * Pig Hill - A slang name for Swindon, the home town of XTC. It comes from the Roman words, "Swine Dun," meaning a hill for keeping pigs * Six pints of breaker - A brand of beer from the 1970's * Bromide - For some reason, a fan of XTC would often shout this during their early gigs * The Uffington Horse - An ancient chalk drawing of a horse, close to Swindon. When I was a toddler, I saw a band on Top of the Pops and became fascinated by their mysterious horse logo. Years later, I became obsessed with XTC and suddenly realised that they were the same band that I'd seen as a child. They used the Uffington Horse as their logo * Dobbin - XTC used to call their horse logo Dobbin * Rats and Delicious - The nick names of two groupies, who met the band on tour * They've been on strike for five years - During the 1990's, XTC refused to record any music as a protest against their recording contract * Curry - After the strike ended, Dave Gregory of XTC said that he felt as if they'd been starving themselves and he now wanted a curry * Phase switch - Andy Partridge made regular use of the phase switch on his Ibinez Artist guitar, which made a scratchy insect noise. He described this as sounding like a mantis playing guitar. * Mantis on Parole - The name of an XTC B Side * A wife from Australia - XTC drummer, Terry Chambers, met an Australian wife during their tour there * Red brick dreaming - "Red Brick Dream," is the name of an XTC song, about Swindon's railway museum * The warmth of cider - Andy Partridge was once in a band called Pink Warmth. Cider is popular in the West Country and beloved of XTC * Stray blues - One of Andy Partridge's early bands * The Maravishnu Orchestra - An exotic jazz band, who revived Dave Gregory's passion for music * Dave - Dave Gregory, the lead guitarist of XTC * Beatles and Byrds - Dave Gregory admires the 12 string guitar sounds of these bands * Might sell the band to buy more guitars - In fact, Dave Gregory nearly did the opposite of this, but was later encouraged to continue with his musical talent * Holly Partridge - Andy Partridge's daughter. She is now in a band called the She Beats and (it has to be said) is gorgeous * The stars won't steal you - Andy Partridge suffers from Astrophobia and once mentioned his fear of being swallowed up by the stars
Trouble in the town hall Making love as bomb’s fall onto buildings and bridges and hillsides Playing with the town larks Making love now it’s dark Over railways and sailors and dales Outside the land girls are mowing hay Over the mountains and far away Leave Us Not Little Nor Yet Dark Over and out Three cheers ring out Carrots in the grass dales Railing iron ships sail onto mountains and NAAFI’s and schoolyards Turning into dogfights Shooting up into the lights of the pilots In Spitfires and trails Inside there’s butter and powdered egg For twenty shillings an evening dress Leave Us Not Little Nor Yet Dark Over and out With me Emily Three cheers for her majesty References * Leave Us Not Little Nor Yet Dark – A chapter title from the brilliant book, “The Box of Delights,” by John Masefield * N.A.A.F.I.’s – The Navy, Army and Air force Institutes * Larks – “Larking about,” means to have fun, but a lot of wartime songs also see to mention birds * Dales – Grassy hill areas of northern England * Carrots – Carrots were planted a lot during the war, as they were said to improve eyesight * Railing Iron Ships – Iron fences were often pulled down during the war, so that the metal could be used for ships, guns etc. * Powdered egg – A form of instant food, available under rationing * Shillings – Pre-decimilisation British money * Spitfire – The coolest plane in the world I guess * “Over and Out” – Phrase used to sign off, at the end of a radio conversation
Manic Miner 03:18
Gold, jewels and everything, I brought back today Whilst out prospecting, down Surbiton way Poisonous blossomings block my path above Can I climb telegraph poles, back to the place that I love? Some stranger deity mapped out this cold room Before he's vanishing to a Dutch commune Eugene is blocking me, as I plan my route Can I get home a rich man? Or end up crushed under boot Solar Power Generators burn in my eyes Rats, mice and telephone beasts block every try How to get out, when your oxygen's tight? There's still a poke, which I can type to bring up extra lives... T.Y.P.E.W.R.I.T.E.R. References * Prospecting - The game featured a character called Miner Willy, who discovered a treasure mine under Surbiton * Surbiton - A commuter town in Surrey * Poisonous blossomings - The game featured a lot of these plants, which Miner Willy had to jump over * Telegraph poles - Another feature of the game * Some strange deity - The game's creator was a famously eccentric and reclusive man called Matthew Smith. He wrote the whole game on his own at the age of 17 and (briefly) became very rich. The game featured a continuous soundtrack, which had previously been thought impossible * The cold room - The game's second level * Dutch commune - Matthew Smith did indeed go to live on a hippy commune in Holland * Eugene - An enemy in one of the game's many levels. He looked a lot like my Dad and had square glasses, however he was apparantly based on a friend of Matthew Smith * Crushed under boot - When you lost all of your lives, a Monty Python-esque video of Willy being crushed by a boot was shown * Solar Power Generators - One of the levels featured these psychedelic flashing lights, which made it impossible to see where you were... I never reached the level, but saw it in the run through * Rats, mice and telephone beasts - These were all types of enemy, encountered in the game. The telephone monster was the most popular and was shown on the game's box. However, it took me a while to recognise what it was * Oxygen's tight - The time allowed for each level was shown by Miner Willy's oxygen gauge * "Pokes" - In the 1980's, cheat codes for Sinclair Spectrum games were always referred to as pokes * T.Y.P.E.W.R.I.T.E.R. - Spelling out this word on the keyboard was the poke for Manic Miner. It gave you unlimited lives
Riding the Fairbanks to fly (pulling up the scenes) Tights in the washing machine (struggling to get by) Cracking the Monica bell (R.A.D.A. course engaged) Steps on the Charring Cross Road (no work on the stage) We dream in concert – What should an actress do? Now their robots hunt down men on the streets of Waterloo Short hair and in Lincoln Green (the punters’ drinks won’t annoy) Fishnets and silvery screens (you’re our principal boy) Robots are stuntmen of course (in Alexandra Park) Struggle for my rent in frost (after it gets dark) No jobs to speak of now - How can a girl survive? With a practical pie laid out and a wine glass in act five On every wall (in every hall) the symbols of a rising star We never said that we’d let you make up your own mind References * Fairbanks – A theatrical pulley system used to move scenery. It’s often ridden by stage hands, as a short cut into the rafters * Tights in the washing machine – Tights are the English word for nylons/stockings. Would an actress wash her tights, or just throw them away and buy new ones, I wondered… I now know that girls do wash their tights * Cracking the Monica bell – In Victorian music halls, a bell called the Monica was rung between acts * R.A.D.A. – The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London * Steps on the Charring Cross Road – In the film Withnail and I, Uncle Monty complains about his acting agent on the Charring Cross Road, who had a huge staircase with never a job waiting at the top of them * Dream in concert – An unused title for the second Elevenses album * “Robots hunting men” – The original lyric to this song featured a War of the Worlds-esque story about sinister robots. I decided that I didn’t like the idea enough for a full lyric, but that it could be the play that my actress character was working on. The song was originally called, “Crescent Horns,” (which would have been the sinister symbol painted on the robots’ chests) * Waterloo – An area of south London, featuring a large train station. It’s the train station I use when visiting my parents in Poole (and on my childhood day trips to London) * Lincoln Green – The shade of green used for Robin Hood’s costume (and so potentially worn by an actress in a pantomime) * Punters’ drinks – A, “punter,” is English slang for anyone paying money for a show or product. Actors routinely hang around theatre bars, to see if the punters offer to buy them drinks * Fishnets – A type of tights, which resemble a fishnet. Presumably they don’t require much washing! * Silvery – a good band from London (circa 2007) and also the name of a brilliant, unreleased Cardiacs song * Principal boy – In English pantomimes the, “principal boy,” is the main, male character (always played ironically by a pretty girl) * Alexandra Park – A park in London * Practical pie – The name of a pie, when used as a stage prop
Free Fiona 02:11
Sharing a house is awkward to arrange You need somewhere when you're not ready Contracts end on different work days And you can't move in, before the last tennants move out Landlords can be angry License to print money So why aren't they friends? Give the girl a home and free Fiona Always end up with strangers or alone And so do your friends, because the timing is wrong Someone is left out and hurt and you're stuck in a house, not a home You can afford somewhere that's good, with a best friend Depends on jobs, money and time, hanging around Don't want to see you left alone But homeless if you move along
There's no easy way out (as far as I can see it) And you're hardly just right (but you do something to me) There's no easy walk out (if only you'd stop charming) When you're dashing about (if only you could see it) My hormones jump me up and down When we're out on the town (or knocking back the tennis ball) My synapses jump me up and down I've never had any doubts (from the first time I saw you) You're like a chemical surge to me My heart is beating flat out (as I look to the umpire) He gives romantic advice to me
Everywhere we go, we grow a bit so... it isn't as hard when it comes back Everything you learn, gives the spell a turn... Increasingly a less fearful life Mistletoe for a kiss A raised thumb to make the bus come Carrying a folder to ward off bosses Practice to avoid fear There is no spell to make someone love you... Confidence to seem right Phrygian scales sound metal or Spanish I bought this guitar to right a broken heart This house casts a spell of light, comfort and shelter There is no spell to get what you want References * Crescent Horns - This refers to a magical symbol in Egyptology (and was inspired by a similar song title by the band Nile). I really love them * Mistletoe - A parasitic plant, hung up at Christmas for people to kiss under * A raised thumb to summon buses - My Mum always holds up her thumb, when she wants bus drivers to stop for her. This was also mentioned in a comical book about witches, that I owned as a child.... In the book, raising your thumb is described as a magic spell to summon buses. Perfect for this song! * Carrying a folder to ward off bosses - My Grandad once told me that you should always carry a folder at work, to make yourself look busy :-) It's served me well * There is no spell to make someone love you - Sadly this is true * Confidence to seem right - My Dad once told me that, if you say something confidently, people will tend to believe it. Sadly for truth and society, this is usually true. (I'm generally too tied up by trying to see other peoples' opinions) * Phrygian scales - The Phrygian mode is used a lot in Flamenco music and in heavy metal * "I bought this guitar to right a broken heart" - This refers to a purple Squire Stagemaster guitar, which I bought in London after confessing to a friend that I had feelings for her * "This house casts a spell of light" - My house at the time was in Stoke Newington and I liked it
I've got my bass and my Oyster card and the clippers if we need to change strings But I'm sure there's something else to remember. What could it be? Mr. Gladstone addressed here more like an audience row that a Queen But I'm sure there's something else to remember. What could it be? Iron was made by De Havilland for the first time in 1603 But I'm sure there's something else to remember. What could it be? E.F. Schumacher worked for the Coal Board and the New Soil Committee But I'm sure there's something else to remember. What could it be? Wilhelm Reich was the Orgone guy, whilst his son Peter wrote Book of Dreams Well I love Kate (but will stay open minded about Orgone). What could it be? Dawn and Tim got together and it lifted such spirits for me Well I'd love the other Tim and Daisy to work it out... The secret of being good in bed is to be with the right girl or boy It's just that and good communication References * Bass - At the time of writing this song, I played bass in Elevenses, instead of guitar, and so often had to carry one on the tube * Oyster cards - Cards used in London to pay for public transport * Clippers for changing strings - I always carry these in my guitar case * Gladstone - The Victorian Prime Minister, William Gladstone. Queen Victoria accused him of talking down to her * Iron de Havilland - In the comedy series Look Around You, Iron de Havilland is the imaginary scientist who, "invented," iron. He has one eye and a ridiculously tall head * E.F. Schumacher - The 1960's social theorist who wrote Small is Beautiful. A good guy * Wilhelm Reich - A scientist who believed that harnessing sexual or, "Orgone," energy could control the weather * Peter Reich - The son of the above scientist, who wrote a book about his father's persecution by the government * Kate - Kate Bush. Genius! Her song, "Cloud Busting," is about Peter and Wilhelm Reich's relationship * Dawn and Tim - The romantic couple in the comedy series The Office * Tim and Daisy - A couple in the comedy series Spaced, who definitely *should* get together and probably do. (In the DVD of extras, in the Spaced boxed set, they're shown holding a baby in a scene of their future lives)
Pan's People 03:22
Sew patches on jean pockets. And fish fingers for tea Dread LWT power cuts. Pan’s People on TV The thinking schoolboy’s crumpet And for sure Eldrad must live This one’s for every good Dad, designing toys in sheds The sacred cluttered boxes, of dinosaur remains And Waterhouse’s archways make us feel less alone The Post Office Tower generates each children’s TV show It’s good that people care about each minute hobby world Because I am separate from my girl…. I need reasons not to destroy the world References * Patches on jean pockets – In the 1970’s, it was common for Mum’s to sew brightly coloured patches onto their children’s jeans * Fish fingers – A type of frozen food popular with kids (and me) * Tea – In this case, tea refers to the afternoon meal, held in England at approximately 6pm * LWT – The London Weekend Television company * Power cuts – When I was young, it was common for TV shows to loose sound or be cancelled due to power cuts, which I used to hate * Pan’s People – A 1970’s dance troupe, who appeared on the British music show Top of the Pops. They were a favourite of Dads and looked incredibly sexy and, “girl next door-like,” at the same time. They look ridiculously old fashioned now, but are lovely * Crumpet – English slang for a pretty girl (or occasionally any attractive person). It was also common to use the phrase, “the thinking man’s crumpet,” to describe a classy/intelligent girl. I believe it was first used to describe Joan Bakewell * “Eldrad must live” – A phrase from the 1970’s Dr Who episode The Hand of Fear, which I’d just bought on DVD * “This one’s for every good Dad” – This is a tribute to a similar line in an Auters song. I listened to their After Murder Park album a lot, in my last year at university * Dinosaur remains – As a child, I used to find museums literally spiritual places. Like churches to something better than religion. I still find them really emotional and happiness inducing * Waterhouse – The architect of the Natural History Museum in London * The Post Office Tower – At the time I wrote this song, I hadn’t realised that the Post Office Tower actually *was* used to broadcast British TV. It’s a perfect name for this album, as it really was a central generator of pop culture * “I need reasons not to destroy the world” – After Ariana had to move back to America, I felt that the world had no inherent goodness NB. The false ending of this song (in which the guitar solo stops suddenly and then fades back up again) was inspired by a similar trick in the song Love Circles by Squeeze
Doing Pinks 04:38
You’re in yourself, safe as houses we say Mean it at least. Anyway… How does it feel when you wake up at night and stretch out unto the next day? Under a cover it’s still cold outside Curled up you feel slightly safe You’re being brave (in your life you’re flat out) Sometimes we get like today How does it feel, when I sit with my arms next to your chair? If we don’t talk it through… It’s okay if you cope that way You’re not by yourself (in your life you’re flat out) But I worry how to behave How does it feel, when I sit with my arms next to your chair? While I can keep them hitting me, they’ll be leaving her alone Over the rooftops and houses our city is standing still Oh to hold on to the good things and love here in your world How does it feel?
I’m getting older and need to rush in (I’m off to war, so we’ll be apart) I’m still recovering from a big break up (which really changed your heart) Well I’ve always liked you, but I just don’t see it… (You’re still a romantic and feeling blue) You’re leaving to go backpacking in three months (and I can’t believe it’s true) We’re surfing on a wave of awkward timings and I’d never have believed it true… I still love you (in parts I do) but in such difficult/bad circumstances, nobody but you will do I do love you…. It might be cool, if there weren’t mitigating circumstances I could see you as a friend, if only you could play it cool I’m off to school in the next town in two weeks, so it just can’t be… I think that you’re handsome, but also reckless (I’ve got these exams and an awkward time) You believe in marriage and I’m not so sure (I wish that you were mine) Well you’re only 20 and I’m 25 (I had a bad experience in my prime) Having a career is your priority (romance is now mine)
Pears 02:11
My cat sleeps on the stairs My boyfriend sails at sea It’s a lie that you get paid more if you pass a degree All Royalty and Empire’s saints are in no doubt All small but I am happy and that’s what life is about Nonsense about their weight is worried by each girl I’m savouring the cool underneath of my pillow Some clothes will take two people to rightly put them on Ian smiled at the party but didn’t see her again Cash = just useful to have, upstairs and downstairs Limehouse and Sutton, Finchley and into port the ship Mine is the cry of every woman at the colour changing strip References * Upstairs Downstairs – A 1970’s drama about servants and their employers. It’s also the type of song title that Stars in Battledress might use. They’re an excellent band * Royalty and Empire – An exhibition of English royalty, which was once based in Windsor and run by Madam Tussaud's. I visited it on a great school trip. I loved all my school trips * “Nonsense about their weight is worried by each girl” – I agonised about this line, as I worried that it might be seen as an insult to women’s attitudes. All I’m trying to say is that my female friends often seem to worry about their weight when, to my mind they look nice or even very beautiful * Savouring the cool underneath my pillow – I do this a lot * Some clothes take two people to put them on – For example corsets. It was common for Victorian ladies to require a maid’s help when dressing * Ian smiled at the party but didn’t see her again – This refers to a postdoc, who I met at my first UCL Christmas party. I asked her if she was free for lunch and she said that I should meet her in the lunch room with the rest of her lab. I didn’t quite know how to handle it, as I would have been very outnumbered by people, who would all realise that I was hoping to ask her out properly. It eventually became clearer that she didn’t fancy me, so we just became casual acquaintances and I didn’t have to go to the awkward lunch * Limehouse – An area of east London, featured a lot in Victorian literature due to its high Chinese population at the time * Sutton – Karen’s hometown in Surrey * Finchley – I lived in Finchley when I first moved to London in 2002. It’s a long way from Sutton! * Mine is the cry of every woman – This Jungian idea comes from a book called Seahorses by Bidisha * Colour changing strip – This refers to a pregnancy tester
Morning, I woke up Somewhere, I don’t know A clinic, somewhere I’ve lost memories I don’t know myself I’m strange in my clothes I got put in this school I think I’m about 17 Don’t turn your back on me I’ll give you both barrels I’ll make you famous I’ll dust you up and down And now it seems that governments, should represent and not control But what if those in charge (all like me) were evil Now I try to be kind But I find that I don’t care, just who I cut down I’m finding out who I really am I haunt these corridors With the master’s daughter Now on a pile of opera cloaks… Prefect and orator Your pain gives me such a wonderful life References * I’m strange in my clothes – This phrase came from a song on the True Colours album by Split Enz * I’ll make you famous – This was a quote from something, but I’m not sure what…. In this context, it means to kill someone (hence causing them to be in the news). Perhaps it also refers to the devilish charm of a svengali manager * I’ll dust you up and down – This phrase means to beat someone in a fight. It was inspired by a similar line in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, which I love to bits. It was made into a really terrible film! * The master’s daughter – It’s a commonly held myth (amongst romantic men like me) that being nasty is more attractive to women than being nice. This song is partly about whether it would be fun to be evil and (of course) the character in the song would have to be devilishly attractive * On a pile of opera cloaks – This quote came from a Viz cartoon called, “Raffles the Gentleman Thug.” His character is similar to the schoolboy character in my song and he has some excellent turns of phrase. A pile of opera cloaks refers to an elicit location for a sexual liaison, in a theatre cloak room


This is an album of all the music I wrote between 2005 and 2006. It was recorded at home, but has some magical bits I think. I was reading lots about 70's and 80's culture at the time, which is probably its main theme.

The download comes with complete pdf artwork and a booklet of lyrics and references.

This album is free, but donations always help. Cheers, Ian E x


released January 6, 2006

Ian Evans: Everything, except the female vocals by Karen


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Ian Evans UK

Pop/experimental/rock musician and songwriter from London

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