Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tea with Vincent

The Drains were a rather brutally-bad punk band from Newport in the late 1990s. They had the misfortune of having me as their singer and guitarist. Mike Morgan from The Five Darrens was the bass player and floating drummers included Slim, Carl Bevan from 60ft Dolls and Steve Evans from Novocaine.

We only ever played a small handful of rather terrible gigs. A couple in the Legendary TJs, a couple in Le Pub, one in the Riverside. I would post an mp3 but I've never had one. Somewhere is a live tape, but it's terrible. And probably lost. But I thought I would resurrect this song for Vincent Van Gogh's birthday, nonetheless.

It was written with him in mind at a time when I had the cool breeze of Prozac fanning around my face. I was in a bad shape mentally but was on my way back up the cliff. I felt some kind of connection with the painter. I decided that I might be able to help him out. Ha.

The song was inspired by my long-term desire to liberate his paintings from the galleries that imprison them, and to burn these jails down. I've always considered his paintings to be rather unhappy where they are. Particularly in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which is a deeply unsettling place. This feeling of Vincent being wronged by his legacy was compounded by the chance sighting of a thin, ginger-haired figure in the window of a train to Cardiff. The traveller was the spitting image of Vincent's self portraits. In the song, I put the sighting down to Wendy: an old work colleague. Why? Because Wendy nearly rhymes with 'friend'. The Drains were not too subtle. I did say!

Anyway. Written-down lyrics are the height of pretension, unless you're Bob Dylan or something, which I'm not. But for Vincent, on his birthday, here are the lyrics to 'Tea With Vincent'. The offer of a cuppa still stands of course. I would get the absinthes in - but I don't think that would be a good idea...

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Are you watching from the stars?
Have you heard of aeroplanes? Or motor cars?
Are you watching from the sky?
Have you seen your film? It's brutal, how you die.

I've just made a pot. Would you like me to pour you a cup?
I saw your picture in a shop. I took it home, I hung it up.
Won't you come back down? I'd be so proud to show you around.
We could take your pictures out - and burn the galleries down.

Let me introduce my friend. her name is Wendy
And she'll never talk again.
She thought she saw you on a train. Had to pinch herself
And blink and look again.

I've just made a pot. Would you like me to pour you a cup?
I saw your picture in a shop. I took it home, I hung it up.
Won't you come back down? I'd be so proud to show you around.
We could take your pictures out - and burn the galleries down.

1 comment:

  1. Better than Don McClean not as good as Jonathan Richman.

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