Play That weird Minor

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Daryl Runswick writes: After the success of Chips, the following summer (2007) I came back to Italy with an even bigger project on the stocks. Play That Weird Minor was designed specifically for the One Man Show. By now I had added the piccolo bass guitar to my armoury and the time had come to plan and execute the big work, the synthesis of everything I'd done up to now. It took me all summer, and the mixes had to wait until I got back to London in the autumn. The styles alternate constantly from free improvisation to jazz to rock to concert to avant-garde, but the fractal structure means that every element of the work is unified in a way only classical composers (and few of them) have attempted before.

This version includes the 2014 remix of Portico. I've put the piece up as a single audio file because I want you to hear it as a single span of music. To hear individual tracks please scroll to the times indicated.

[ 1 ]
    Portico       Starts 0'00


[ 2 ]    Don't Just Sit There Starts 7'30

life goes on (till the thunderbolt)
look, it’s a lovely day (and of course that’s your fault)
so what’s to do, kid?
what’s there to say?

hard work, that’s what’s to do, kid
head down and see it through kid
all this worry-worry crap just
gets in the way

so don’t just sit there weeping
the world may be ending but the floors need sweeping

don’t just sit there fretting
the world may be ending but the dinner needs getting

plough on (there’s always a job to do)
now it’s raining fit to flood (and that’s your fault too)
‘cos what’s to fix, kid?
what does any good?

a good time, that’s to fix, kid
I know your bag of tricks, kid
gotta have a good time, see us
out of the wood

(who cares what we write
in this twilight)

so don’t just sit there moping
the world may be ending but my nose needs doping

don’t just sit there praying
the world may be ending but the bank needs paying

and don’t just sit there mooning
the gig starts at eight and my guitar needs tuning

[ 3 ]    Moonstones               Starts 10'00


[ 4 ]    Spring into Summer      Starts 13'45

spring into summer, it happens overnight
all of a sudden, air is warm, sun is bright
everyone cheer up, everybody feel alright
spring into summer – overnight

and how I love it, all you women there
all on the same day, you show your bodies to the air
butterfly dazzle, a thousand colours everywhere
oh how I love it – you women there

and it’s not that I forgot what breasts are like
but you’re so fine, oh you’re so fine, so fine
walking down the street in a skimpy top, that’s what I like
oh you’re so fine, you’re all so fine, so fine

and now I swear it, on my mother’s grave I’m swearing it
there are no breasts, no young, no old, no counterfeit
there are none, there are none, which are not exquisite
on mother’s grave – I’m swearing it

when I was newborn you nurtured and you cradled me
now in my manhood you spark an urgent flame in me
beguile me, excite me, till there’s no taming me
or like a newborn, cradle me

my precious darling, this wasn’t in the script
your breast has cancer, you told me and my life just flipped
lost my foothold, I can’t take this, I’m not equipped
precious darling – not in the script

I see you thinking, will he love me still?
hair out in handfuls, my looks all gone and feeling ill
if that don’t see him off, the first incision will
I see you thinking – will he love me still?

I feel so screwed up, so helpless and so angry too
nothing the doctors, nor I nor anyone can do
what makes you woman, that bastard tumour killing you
I feel so angry – helpless too

and I’m begging all the gods of medicine
don’t let it hurt her, don’t let it hurt her, don’t let it
all the ineffectual witch-doctoring – medicine
don’t let it hurt her, don’t let it hurt her, don’t let it

don’t let it, don’t let it

[ 5 ]    Titan                     Starts 22'30


[ 6 ]    Words    Starts 27'30

what words of mine would stir you to act – to do?   
for is it not so that those who see, do?    
what words would shock you that far? 
– so far as to do some act, some crime.

words. words that shout, that cry, that break bones,  
that bang heads. pull no punch. jab, slash. no words
of mine, not mine, but some words that will shock
you so deep that you will go now and do what it takes.

for if not, we die.

[ 7 ]    Chimney       Starts 28'45

what do you want to be when you grow up?
well it’s a bit late in my case – by this stage
what hope is there for any child of the 60s to ever grow up?
well, here’s a wish in any case –
when I grow up – if I grow up – when – if – if I ever do
I want to be a chimney

there’s a small town I’ve been to
with a new housing estate
where there used to be a factory
but manufacturing everywhere meets the same fate
and it’s gone

now this factory had a chimney
brick, beautifully built, tapering, tall
and when they knocked the place down
every workshop, every wall
they left the chimney standing

so here among the housing
‘to meet the young executive’s needs’
stands a tall, useless chimney
on a patch of scrub among the weeds
like a memento

and it towers there amid the squatness
by the squalid mall, alone and high
– and did I see smoke drifting
from its top out across the sky?
ghostly smoking?

and I thought, I’m a chimney, I’m a tall chimney among roofs
but I’m still smoking

I’m a chimney, I’m a chimney
I’m a chimney polluting you all
they don’t want you to listen to what I’m belching
they call it acid rain – but I’m still smoking, yes I am

I’m a chimney, I’m a chimney
I’m a chimney polluting you all
they don’t want you to listen to what I’m belching
they call it acid rain – but I point fingers

I was walking in my neighbourhood
with Alison, few weeks ago
and in the usual underpass
she shows me a graffito
and it’s perfect

it’s been put on with a stencil
neat, military in form
the recipe for a perfect life
‘obey, consume, conform’
now you just do that
obey, consume, conform

obey Bush, or whatever B it is these days
consume Coca-Cola, or whatever C
and conform, be the same, don’t rock the boat
don’t be a chimney
anything but that

or be a chimney, be a chimney
like I’m a chimney polluting you all
they don’t want you to listen to what I’m belching
they call it acid rain – but I’m truth-telling

be a chimney, be a chimney
be a misfit, don’t take all their crap
they still aren’t telling us what they’re really up to
they’re lining their pockets, they control us

be a chimney, be a chimney
do it softly, you don’t have to scream
imagine billions of us bucking their system
or am I dreaming? – ghostly smoking?


Recorded in Italy, mixed in London/Italy, 2007/14
Engineered and produced by Daryl Runswick.

This composition and these recordings are covered by copyright.