Week 3 – ‘This Town’
by Frank Hamilton
When I think about it last week wasn’t so bad. The enormity of it all (releasing one song a week for the whole of 2012) was knocking quietly on my front door. Of course I heard and even peered through the kitchen window a few times but for some reason I chose not to answer and went back to playing with synths. Everything would work itself out, I decided, and as per usual the minimum amount of planning would suffice.
This week I’ve had no choice in the matter. On Tuesday I woke up to find my kitchen window smashed to pieces and ‘Mr Enormity’ himself sprawled out on the couch smoking a cigar and drinking my last bottle of mulled wine. He stuck around all afternoon, bouncing ideas off walls and making sure I understood exactly what I’ve let myself in for before insisting that he accompany me to a meeting at 4:30.
The meeting went well, as did the 48 hours of recording that followed, but I get the feeling Mr. Enormity’s going to be around for a while. The to-do list keeps getting longer and I’ve never been much good at making things easy on myself. Right now it’s 11:42pm on Thursday and I’ve just finished bouncing and mastering this weeks track, for the 6th and 4th times respectively.
Don’t get me wrong I’m excited beyond belief about the next 49 weeks but I’m also a little worried that if the last 3 are anything to go by I might not live to see the Olympics (not that I even have tickets).
Lots of things spend their lives going round and round. For some of them it’s the best they can hope for (wheels on buses, horses on carousels etc) but for others it’s a bit of a shame – which brings me nicely onto this weeks song. ‘This Town’ is about my home town, a quaint little cluster of houses and charity shops called Saint Ives (the one near Cambridge, not Cornwall).
I’ve got a lot of love for Stives (all one word, as we natives call it). It’s where I went to school, grew up, played table tennis and was repeatedly refused entry into the U16’s disco for being too drunk.
I’ve also got a lot of issues with Stives. It’s where I was beaten up by a bunch of chavs in the town centre for the sheer fun of it (lots of folk saw, none helped) and where I was spat on for obliging when someone asked to have their photo taken with me in the queue at the cash point.
I’m no doctor, but I am convinced that ‘Small Town Syndrome’ is playing a big role in the demise of my home town (and maybe yours too) and I’m desperate for it to be recognised as a genuine and serious medical condition.
It must be said that not all who reside in Stives suffer from STS – there are plenty of decent people, too – but I do often sit there on a nights out at Christmas, deflecting angry looks and wondering what life would be like if I’d never left the shire. Thankfully I’ll never know.
Recording wise I fully embraced the folky 6/8 vibe this week and went with some acoustic guitar, piano, accordion and a light dash of synth for your ears. I also had a chance meeting with the lovely Raquelle Gracie of X-Factor fame (and clearly fortune – she rolled up in a swanky BMW!) who popped over yesterday and sang some bits to make it all sound prettier. Lovely stuff!
I tend to have pictures in my mind to go with a lot of the words I write – and this verse is no different. Some are more vivid than others and this is one of those. It’s of a kid from my school sitting on a couch wearing a pair of fake Adidas 3-stripes. I won’t tell you his name though – for fear of getting beaten up next Christmas.
“They don’t change their clothes and they won’t change their ways
‘Coz there’s something quite safe about wasting your days away
And there’s no need to leave your settee when you live your whole life through TV,
In the town where they dream the same dreams happily.”
I should mention that the first line of this could be considered factually inaccurate, since the same group of lads who used to laugh at me for wearing skinny jeans and pointy shoes have started doing just that!