Track 6

Apologies in advance for adding this one. I doubt many of you will like it, but before you dismiss it completely, I'd love you to know some of its forty-year history.

This is a truly bizarre remake of a track I wrote in the very early '80s. It started life as a squealing guitar played over a sequenced Roland Bassline, with a lyric by my good friend Andy Macdonald. At that point I think it was called The Stretching of Skin. Our band never played live, and when it was time for me to leave, I took the music with me.

Before long it had become one of my favourite songs from the early era of Two Big Boys. New lyrics were written by the singer singer, Ron Meerbeek, who died on Thursday, December 17, 2020. He scrawled the various lines he heard, as well as his impressions of what he saw, whilst sitting in a darkened cinema watching a screening of Last Year in Marienbad. One of my most cherished memories of that time is seeing and hearing the audience singing along to the chorus at The Fridge (the original one opposite the police station, not the later version that moved south down the road) in Brixton.

The version you're hearing here was used as my backing track when I was the support act for a popular punk band at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. Doing this was something from my bucket list, as I had microbacterium Kansasii at the time (little bacteria from Kansas – a non-contagious form of tuberculosis), which, despite being treated for, I still nearly died from. At this point in my life, I could hardly breathe, let alone sing.

The performance went down like a lead balloon but three people clapped: the venue's lighting and sound guys (who were sick to death of the standard fare they got to hear night in and night out) and someone who recognized me from Bede House, where I worked as a teacher.

If anyone cares to try and sing along, here are the lyrics:


It's as though you were not there

You look straight through him

Now you stare into empty space

And see his grey silhouette and smile

And you are not afraid

He told you he would come

All the doors were all ajar

All you had to do was push them

Not knowing what to do

The mirror seems to frighten you

I have a photograph of you

In the morning before you left

What does that prove? you ask

With your hand upon your shoulder

As if in challenge or retreat

I'm really not quite sure


I don't remember any more

I don't remember your face

I don't remember myself

I don't remember

I don't remember any more

I don't remember your face

I don't remember myself

I don't remember

You gaze into the drawer

Full of photographs of you

I enter the room

You see me and start back in fear

I need you alive

As you were every morning

Why can't you remember?

Why don't you want to remember?


Everything fades to white

We stand there in silence

In this ever-open room

With broken balustrade

Frozen with fear

As the shot takes your life

The clock strikes twelve

It's time to leave

It's time to leave

Though the sound quality is as dire as the video is spectacular, this is from a live performance of Two Big Boys at an all-nighter at The Scala Cinema, Kings Cross in 1984 (I think; could be '85). It comes from a copy of the cassette I had the sound crew make. I'm responsible for the guitars and the backing track's drums and various organs. Cartoons were projected over us as we played; it was the height of rock'n'roll. One of the feature films was meant to be Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, but due to an error we ended up with the mainstream film The Valley of the Dolls, starring Patty Duke, which suited me just fine.

The truth is I'm a much better writer than I ever was a musician. Have you read The Scarab Heart? Is it something you might enjoy?

Egypt, 1885. Theft and murder are afoot at an archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings. Lizzie Blaylock, a young materializing medium of some renown, and her mentor, Miss Otis, thought they were there to vacation, especially as Lizzie has decided she wants nothing more to do with her powers. Her powers, however, have other things in mind.

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