this ungodly hour

somewhere between
the cows and the concrete
the aphalt and the sky

thats where i’ll be
and if you don’t hear from me know that i’m doing fine

what defines me?
does this skin and bone
labour too hard to find

all of the dreams
that others forgo for sake of an easy ride?

perhaps that naieve
but of them or of me
well i’m not sure that i’m so sure anymore

i used climb trees
i don’t do that anymore

perhaps that cos i’m wiser now
or maybe i scared i might fall


i awoke at half past four again
rolled over in my bed
what the hell am i doing awake at this ungodly hour?

the moon, he plays his part
why on earth can’t i play mine?
cos you are not here with me awake at this ungodly hour.

so lay me down in a field of heather someplace that’s far from here
i miss your warm body
i miss it most this time of year

the sun just hurts my eyes
i know that it gives you delight
but you are not here with me awake at this ungodly hour.

younger looking skin

a bit of fun in one take with two of my guitar students – not quite sure why it goes out of sync but hey… this is not hollywood…

i think this song is going to be the first track on my next album. happy days.

oh and you can download it free from here as long as you give a copy to your mum!

Joseph’s in the forest looking for the man that they call Peter.
I am in the bathroom looking for the marbles that I’ve lost.
The pig if flew out of the window, landing deftly in the garden.
Elly is in Hampstead desparately hunting for some moss.

I don’t like your fashion business, mr.
I don’t like those drugs that keep you looking so thin.
I don’t like your fashion business, mr.
I don’t need no cream to give me younger looking skin.

Ruth is down in southern spain, talking to my long long twin brother.
I just washed my eyelids and hung my blue coat high upon a cross.
The fish and spoon returned with plans for getting married in the autumn.
Jakob’s leaving puddles in the bathroom for the bugs to skate across.

Making sense of wedsnesday is only rivalled by making sense of tuesday.
Tuesday’s only rivalled by monday and perhaps sunday too.
A drink, a fuck, some luck and maybe we might keep the boat a floating.
Patching up the scars with some cardboard and some karma just might do.

these songs were begun one winter

After following some intriguing big arrows from Broadway Market in London Fields I randomly came across an awesome art exhibition back in December called ‘These Songs Were Begun One Winter’ which featured the work of a very talented lady called Caitlin Hinshelwood and some of her equally talented friends.

The exhibition was inspired by a poem of the same name by Brian Patten and has in turn inspired a song which I have just recorded also of the same name.

The poem can be found in Brian Patten’s Collected Love Poems (published by Harper Perennial). Here is the link to buy it from Amazon –

Caitlin will hopefully be doing some illustrations for modifythevan’s website and perhaps even some artwork for me in the future. Happy days. You can see more of her work at and


This song was begun underneath the thumb
Of one who’s thickened by the cold
Listless, longer, bolder than perhaps he ought to be
Forgive quiet and then lie down here lengthways on the floor
Hoping that the blood with flow again

Easily forgot, what was lifted first felt
An anchor to the blood
Howling at the moon as the stars are falling fast
Leaves Wind Earth and Rain
We look forward to look back

These songs were begun one winter
On a window thick with frost her finger drew
A map of all possibilities

roses from africa

they stumble but the march of progress goes on –
distilled in a book and captured in song,
when laughter drowns the dogma we’ll be free.

nature doesn’t need to win this one with words
and somethings rise, others fall I’ve heard,
remember this as rings inside a tree.

i won’t be the last one out the door and this is all just make believe

so i make my mind to take my time,
a bird silhouette on the laundry line,
the blackberries are ripe, it’s havest time again.

did summer come early? did it come at all?
flip-flops in puddles all down the road.
the ice is melting someplace far away.

i won’t be the last one out the door and this is all just make believe

a ring of roses and they all fall down –
water the blooms but forget the town.
sacrifices or indignities?

please tell me something i can understand,
a truth i can hold in the palm of my hand,
a song i can sing for all humanity

i won’t be the last one out the door and this is all just make believe

the theatre of man has come to town
the curtains back, the house lights down
spotlight on a blushing history.

don’t try to make sense of the words above
i’m not the only one confusing war and love –
do whatever you must to live your dreams.

i won’t be the last one out the door and this is all just make believe

grace 101

A little song inspired by the lovely Joanna Newsom and some of Michael Stipe’s more obscure moments…

Tell me which colour is blue –
Then stand in a line and shout “Idiot, yours truly”
Nothing compares to this feeling of flying
And gravity wants to join in for the ride.

I don’t know which one is true –
The fool and the knave they both have intuitions
But foolproof plans which require ten volumes
To explain the subtleties just don’t sound right.

I will determine the last day on earth
And I will determine what Winston was saying
So I can make way for the peach and the pear and the plum
And you cannot fault what I’ve done.

The concrete must yield to the steel
And some sun could reach me despite of the morning.
Patio living with no remote features
Could be a solution but think of the mice!

I will dig deeper than others will dare
And I will dig deeper regardless of warning
and I will make way for the peach and the pear and the plum
And you cannot fault what I’ve done…

no, no, no, no
no, no, no, no


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.