montreal

Let’s take a trip down Somerset Island,
Across the mainland to Hudson Bay.
We’ll take a boat across the water
Down to Montreal.

Taking our time we’ll cross the border
And be in New York for christmas day.
We’ll meet the friends we made in Philadelphia
In Florida sometime in May.

I’d escape across the sea,
If you would come with me to Montreal.
I would run away
If I thought it possible at all.

Let’s take a boat from Norway
Sail north across the Barents Sea.
We’ll spend some time in Anderma
And take a train across Russia.

I would gather sweat and dust,
If that is what I must do to get away.
I wouldn’t care of others views,
Lets wear out all our shoes in vain.

Let’s drink tea in China,
Let’s drink coffee by the Arabian Sea,
Let’s go walking in the water
But only up to our knees.

So I’m sitting in my room,
Pencil in my hand,
Drawing lines on the wall,
On my map of the world.
I couldn’t be in Rio by tomorrow
Even though its an inch from my nose.

Looks like it’s Brighton or Moorgate for us.
Call in sick on tuesday.
I’d be happy walking on the beach alone,
You’ve got money, could go anywhere at all.

I would sail across the sea
If you would come with me to Montreal.
I would run away if I thought it possible at all.

i love leonard cohen

What’s in that box? What’s hiding in here?
Pictures from Bedford, taken half a blue moon ago.
My we were young then, all mix-tapes and alcopops,
Bum bags, shell suits and meatloaf cds.

Did I really dress like that and dance to that tune?
Then stumble home drunk by the light of the moon.
Guess times they change and the change times they guess,
And nonsense can still be a welcome relief.

My Weezer cd’s well they hardly get played,
My obsession with Ani Difranco has faded,
You might ask is anything sacred these days,
And I’d probably tell you that I love Leonard Cohen.

A snail carries with him some slime and a shell,
I have ten boxes plus cartons as well
As these books, bags and a case
My grandfather used in the war.

Did I really write those words
And did she write back?
Stray hands in Row G all through that James Bond film.
Nonsense it still has a welcoming ring,
And heroes they never don’t come easy.

Chorus

august news

Hey Hey

I hope all is well with your summer. I am finally back and have the use of my hands again after three months of being nearly wholly dependent on others to work and play. Quite a humbling experience.

To ease me back into gigging I have a couple of shows coming up – firstly at The Basket Club in Brixton next Monday 18th at The Windmill and then at The Musician in Leceister on Wednesday 27th.

I am going to do both the shows solo as it has been ages since I last played on my tod and have some spangly new tunes which I am dead excited about performing.

(FYI – hmmmm… apparently ‘on my tod’ – By myself. Alone. Rhyming slang from Tod Sloan, the name of an American jockey – so now we know)

I have had some lovely things written about my music and album recently including my first interview. See the ‘reviews’ and ‘interviews’ blog catagories to see them and have a read.

Lastly, Iain and I recently worked out a banjo and guitar arrangement of my favourite Sparklehorse song called ‘Happy Man’ which can be seen here.

Right enough clicky clicky, time for some strummy strummy.

Best wishes

Robin*

stop okay go interview

‘Stop Okay Go’ have just done a little feature on me with an interview – you can read the original along with other thoughts and musings at http://stopokaygo.typepad.com/ or read it below…

I often forget that there’s anyone reading this blog, happily wrapped up as I am in my own obsessions. So imagine my delight and surprise when I found out that London folksinger Robin Grey read an entry I wrote on him way back in April. Luckily, the medication was working that day and I was being nice. And what is there not to love, really? The thoughtful Grey sings in a deep English voice that gives his songs a sweeping and poetic quality. His album Only The Missile is out now. Read more from the ukulele-teaching and Eminem-loving (we have so much in common!) Robin Grey below:


Stop Okay Go (SOG): The song ‘Every Waking Hour’ is soooo romantic. What girl doesn’t want to hear that there’s a man who is thinking of her in his every waking hour? Tell the truth: was it written sincerely or as a way to pick up girls at shows?

RG: Definitely from the heart. I write silly/insincere songs too but they don’t sit with the majority of my material so I choose not to perform or record them at the moment.

I have been toying with the idea of putting on a wig and adopting an alter ego so these other songs get an occasional airing in public but the lighter side of my personality gets a good work-out teaching kids ukulele so I feel no need at present. At the time of writing ‘Every Waking Hour’ I was lucky enough to be living next door to a drum and bass producer called Mark Watt who also rocked the double bass. He jammed a groove which made the song for me and really picked up the tempo. I recorded that rest of the song about two years later when I rediscovered Mark’s bass line whilst deleting old material from my computer.

SOG: I also love the storytelling and delicate pluck-work in ‘The Finchley Waltz.’ What a beautiful song. I read a review that said your voice sounds like it would be suited for protest music. Is there a message in the song and how do you feel about political songs? You don’t hear many of them anymore.

RG: Thank you. There is a political message in ‘The Finchley Waltz’ somewhere but it gets very tangled up with the other themes of Englishness, motion, love and lost innocence. The song was written just after the 7/7 bomb attacks in London when the police were bringing the town to a stand-still whilst raiding the houses of suspected ‘terrorists’.

When I sing ‘The Good Guys and The Bad Guys stopped play’ I am certainly flagging up my sorrow at our politicians/media/societies urgent desire to pigeon-hole situations into ‘us’ v ‘them’ and ‘good’ v ‘bad’ etc. and how unhelpful I think that can be.

The image in my head at the time was of cops and robbers (suicide bombers) stopping a cricket match and stuffy elderly Englishmen in the crowd (politicians) tut tutting about what a bad show it was and how they should jolly well stop all that nonsense (and further opining it should be prevented by locking up anyone who stands out of line).

I have written political/protest songs but canned all of them thus far because they either sounded preachy or trite. For the time being I think politics will remain a background theme in my lyrics unless I can pen anything as good as ‘Blowing In The Wind’, ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ or ‘What’s Going On.’

SOG: We’d love to see you here in the U.S. Will you be performing stateside any time soon and what does the future hold for Robin Grey?

RG: I’m currently settling for pretty much the first time in my nomadic little life with a lovely little studio and house in a leafy, ramshackle corner of East London. I am finding it hard to leave my neighbourhood, let alone the country at the moment. I would love to travel with my guitar again one day but I am enjoying putting down roots and growing things too much at the moment.

As for the future, I have another 20+ songs I am working on at the moment and now I have a better idea of the recording process I can’t wait to start playing with microphones again. I may also have a stab at putting my own band together at some point to expand the live show.

Since my album has been out I have been getting better shows and audiences and I hope I can continue to grow things patiently whilst having fun and learning more about songwriting, arranging, recording and performing.

SOG: Thanks Robin! Best of luck!

la gare d’austerlitz

my words fall flat and clumsy,
my pen scratches the page.

school-boy rhymes collide with stunted haikus,
scattered amongst extinct to-do lists,
and piled up under a burden of exile, expectation and exhaustion.

on four hours sleep, in le gare d’austerlitz,
i let down my guard and fall in love.

the lady with red trousers and a violin sits down next to me
unaware that we are married and expecting a son called claude.
we exchange smiles and i put hers in my pocket as she gets on the train.

at the toilet i urinate next to a boy with a machine gun.
somewhere between platforms 18 and 10, after passing
a hairy man scraping chewing gum from the concourse,
i fall in love with paris too for good measure and remember
that i need to buy some nail-clippers when i get to orleans.