Song 2015: One Brick At A Time

January 29, 2018

One Brick At A Time

The fireplace pushes a little more heat out
Instead of adding to the chimney’s roar
The insulation must be making a difference
I don’t see my breath anymore
Next up? Replacing the windows
With a mix of wood and technology
To trap the warm but keep the sun out
Yet seem to fit in naturally

Disconnect
From the past
Find new
Mountains to climb
Building what
Remains of the future
One brick at a time

Lucinda follows Natalie tonight
Car Wheels on top of Tiger Lily
Finding new depths of immersion
Satisfaction in melancholy
I know they’re both very different
But they make the same sense to this boy
Happiness seems so overrated
Compared to the pain and the joy

Disconnect
From the past
Find new
Mountains to climb
Building what
Remains of the future
One brick at a time

Lately time seems to pass so quickly
While I learn how not to career
And after a while there’s only winter’s silence
Adrift in the dregs of another year
I’ve patched the roof and battened down hatches
Now I’m writing dispatches and Xmas cards
Digging holes for planting seeds
Before the ground gets too hard

Disconnect
From the past
Find new
Mountains to climb
Building what
Remains of the future
One brick at a time

Words and Music by T.G. McEwan ©2015 Heads Together Music. December, Edinburgh

[D] The fireplace pushes a [A] little more heat out

[D] Instead of adding to the [A] chimney’s roar

The [Bm] insulation [A] must be making a [Bm] difference

I don’t see my [E] breath anymore

[D] Next up? Re [A] placing the windows

[Bm] With a mix of wood and tech [A] nology

To [Bm] trap the warm but [A] keep the sun out

Yet [Bm] seem to fit in [E7] naturally

[D] Disconnect [A] From the past

[Bm] Find new [A] Mountains to climb

[Bm] Building what [A] Remains of the future

[Dm] One brick at a [A] time

 

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Song 2016: The Moon Only Brings Bad News

January 29, 2018

The Moon Only Brings Bad News.

It was the night we saw John Hiatt
Afterwards, you went quiet
A full moon followed us home
When I woke I was all alone
We’d been watching Dont Look Back
Thought we were getting life back on track
But now no matter how hard I try
“I can’t remember if we said goodbye”

For days I walked these streets
Asking everyone I’d meet
But as the moon went black
I knew you weren’t coming back
By the time its light returned
The only thing I’d learned
No matter the life you choose
The moon only brings bad news

And now the moon is full tonight
As bright as any streetlight
Harsh shadows on the avenues
The moon only brings bad news
The stars come out to play
Pointing out a better way
Another route to choose
While the moon only brings bad news

Harsh shadows on the avenues
Options that only confuse
Kick me over my travelling shoes
The moon only brings bad news

Words and Music by T.G. McEwan ©2016 Heads Together Music. September, Edinburgh

 [D] The moon is [Gm7] full to [D] night

As [D] bright as [A7] any street [D] light

The [G] streets are [F] full of [G] clues

The [D] moon only [C9] brings [D] bad news

The [G] stars come [C] out to [G] play

[G] Pointing out a [C] better [G] way

Giving [D] options [A7] you can [D] choose

While the [D] moon only [C9] brings bad [D] news

Tangle, a play with songs. Complete Script

October 11, 2017

The play is already here in 11 sections, each with links to individual songs, but for convenience here is the  PDF for “Tangle”

The album from which it sprung is all on Reverbnation. All 17 of the tracks below are there and are currently free to stream. A couple may even be downloaded. A higher fidelity mix will eventually go on sale.

It had several different versions on cassette but although I circulated a few copies at the time, I was busy doing wacky things with early multimedia technology and then developing some of the world’s first MP3 players.

The initial tracklist for the album was 40m 43s long:

1 Long Term Longing (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 00:04:06
2 Screen Kiss 00:03:39
3 Precious Freedom (with Polly Philips) 00:03:27
4 Unysis Blues (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 00:03:46
5 I Sleep Alone 00:05:57
6 Betty and the Scarlet Woman 00:05:03
7 Tangle With You (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 00:03:31
8 Ethnic Cleansing (Sax: Suzanne Carol Senior) 00:03:16
9 Precious Freedom (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 00:03:04
10 Tangle With You 00:03:21
11 I Sleep Alone (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 00:04:26
12 Long Term Longing (instrumental coda) 00:01:13

The tracklist at Reverbnation reflects the play, and I’ve annotated the provenance of each track below. The bonus tracks were packaged with different editions of the album in 1996/7. There were a few other tracks around at the time but these are yet to resurface.

1 Long Term Longing 4:06
2 Screen Kiss 3:39
3 Precious Freedom (with Polly Philips) 3:27
4 Unysis Blues 3:46
5 I Sleep Alone 5:57
6 Betty and the Scarlet Woman 5:03
7 Tangle With You (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 3:31
Bonus Sneakin’ In (Tom and Nicki live) 4:16
Bonus Long Term Longing (Tom and Nicki live 26 Apr 1994) 4:23
Bonus Sometimes I Feel (Tom and Nicki, live 26 Apr 1994) 4:45
8 Ethnic Cleansing (Sax: Suzanne Carol Senior) 3:16
Bonus Miss Melissa (Tom and Nicki live May 1994) 3:45
9 Precious Freedom (with Nicki Sbaffoni) 3:04
10 Tangle With You 3:21
Bonus Best of You (Tom and Nicki 26 Apr 1994) 3:22
11 I Sleep Alone (Nicki) 4:26
Bonus Babes of Farmington Hills
(Previously released on Moon On White Lake)
3:03
12 Long Term Longing (instrumental coda) 1:13

Tangle, a play with songs, part 11 of 11

October 11, 2017

Links: Part 1. Part 10.

ACT 2 SCENE 9, WAYNE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, BA CHECK-IN FOR LONDON

Rob is at the back of a queue waiting to check in luggage. A woman taps him on the shoulder. He lifts his bag to get out of her way

MEGAN

Rob?

He turns, and his face fills with astonishment.

ROB

Megan? You look …

MEGAN

Old? Haggard? Tired?

ROB
No! I was going to say “great”. What are you doing here?
Oh, are you travelling somewhere?
Is this the hub for wherever-you-are in Wisconsin.

MEGAN

Well, it is. But, no, I’m not travelling. Not now anyway.
I was looking for you. I’ve been looking for you.
We went to Chicago last night but that woman, Katy?
She told me what had happened.

ROB

We?

MEGAN

Yes. Paris. Back in a minute, just went to the bathroom

ROB

I’m, uh, not quite following you?

PARIS

Mommy?

A child of about ten, indeterminate gender tugs at her jacket. Rob is even more confused, expecting to meet Megan’s husband or something.

MEGAN

This is Paris, there’s a lot to explain, some of which I don’t understand.

But we’ll get on to that.
Paris, this is the man I told you about

PARIS
You are my biological father?

Rob isn’t sure what’s confusing him more. That a ten year old would speak like that, or the words being spoken. And now he realises he doesn’t know if Paris is a boy or a girl.

ROB

I’m wh..? Megan?

MEGAN

It was Paris’s tenth birthday recently and he started asking questions

ROB
(One less source of confusion for Rob)

You’re my son?

PARIS

Biological son. I have a dad. He lives in New York
The queue is inching forward. Rob’s head is swirling. But he crouches to Paris’s height and puts out a hand, which Paris takes gingerly and shakes

ROB

Very pleased to meet you, young sir, but you’ll appreciate I’m a little confused

PARIS

He talks funny, Mommy. Are you English?
(Megan and Rob reply together)

ROB, MEGAN

Scottish!

Rob stands up slowly and inches his suitcase forward. Then stops and invites the people waiting behind him to go first, which they do. He looks at the time and realises that he still has plenty of time to check-in.

ROB

Let’s sit down

(They move over to the seats. He looks at Paris, then at Megan)

Named after the city?

MEGAN

At the time it was the only I knew for sure. I was still recovering. From the birth, even still from the crash

PARIS

Mommy. I’m going to play in that ball pool.

MEGAN

Sure, honey.

Megan and Rob watch Paris until he gets to the ball pool (off stage), and turn back to each other

It was months afterwards before I even knew I was pregnant.
And in the hospital, that was something you’d think they’d test for but it could only have been a handful of days.
And then … well, he grew, but very slowly, inside of me, maybe because of the coma, the other injuries. It was months before I even realised.
I didn’t even know, that time I saw you on the way to that wedding. And I must have been three months.
When I did find out. Well you know what my father felt about your NHS. He thought I’d been, y’know, attacked, when I was unconscious. One more reason not to let me out of his sight.
Then, when he was born, well … first everyone thought he was a month premature. And he was light. So fragile.
But they did a bunch of tests and said he was full term. Which blew my mind.
So then I had to figure out what had happened … during the time before the accident that I couldn’t remember.
I still can’t remember.
Figuring it out took years.

ROB

Your parents?

MEGAN

My father was the problem. He didn’t like you.
A baby was just one more unforgiveable sin. But worse, he made my mother swear to keep it secret.
So I really didn’t know … who. I decided I’d picked up some guy after a gig before Xmas. But I also knew I hadn’t done that for months, years even.

ROB

Meanwhile your mother was telling me to be patient and keep writing to you about music

MEGAN

She was in a difficult position with Pop. He opened all my letters that first year. Medical bills, fall out from the record contract.
Mom knew he would simply lose anything … intimate … you wrote.
When I did eventually find out, well, Paris was two. That day, we walked out on them.
I meet Mom sometimes at the mall, but haven’t seen Pop since.

ROB

But … by then we were writing – you told me about becoming a realtor, and about wanting to be a teacher.
And then the letters stopped

MEGAN

Graduated last year. Teaching middle school.
It took a few months to figure out what I would say to you. Years, even.
It just seemed better to get on with things. The job, Paris, grad school.
And then I heard, from Jackie of all people, about you getting married and then the baby. Iona? Cute name.
And then the problems you had when it all fell apart. Well, it seemed like you didn’t need more complications.
Jackie’s Xmas cards kept me updated, but the moment never seemed right to get in touch.
Then, recently, I sent you a couple more letters but you didn’t reply.

ROB

I didn’t get them?
(a beat)
Yvonne!

MEGAN

Your ex? I met her in Edinburgh. Nasty piece of work

ROB

You were in Edinburgh?

MEGAN

We flew over. Two weeks ago. Midterm vac.
I wanted to tell you face to face. But she sent me away.
I remembered about the theatre workshop and they told me about your folk’s place. And they told me you were over here, on tour.
So we came back. Too late for the Ark, but Chicago …
Paris saunters back from the ball-pool

PARIS

I’ve been to Edinburgh Castle.
And the Zoo. And the Botanics.

ROB

You’ve been all round my hame toon, Paris.
Did you climb Arthur’s Seat?

PARIS

Is that the big lion hill? Yeah that was … triumphant … most excellent!

ROB

Bodacious?

(Paris nods, Megan smiles)

MEGAN

Bit of a Bill and Ted fan

Rob looks at the ceiling and then slowly down with a stupid grin on his face

ROB

I have a son

PARIS

Biological son!

ROB

You have a biological sister too, Iona. She’ll be four soon. She lives with her Mum … Mommy on an island

PARIS

Is she a pirate?

ROB

Her Mommy? Yeah maybe. No she’s nice you’ll like them both.

(He looks up and realises that check-in is about to close. To Megan, all in a rush)

We have a lot to catch up on. Do you use computers? Do you know about Email?

Have you heard of the web?

We can send pictures, even soundclips to each other. For free!

MEGAN

There’s a computer in the school. Only a few of us have figured it out.

ROB

And video conferencing

(To Paris)

Soon you’ll be able to do that on every computer.
But I’ve got to get on an aeroplane. Like, now

MEGAN

We do too.
But this is just the start.

She and Paris hug him and disengage, just as the studio recording of Long Term Longing comes over the airport sound system.
Rob belatedly recognises it as they move apart and goes through astonishment, to realisation to confusion about what he should say and then realises that’s there’s too much to explain and they all have to go. They wave.

THE END

Tangle, a play with songs, part 10 (of 11)

October 11, 2017

ACT 2 SCENE 7, SATURDAY EVENING, A HOTEL ROOM IN CHICAGO

KATY
She’s lying on the bed, talking into the phone

Man, this is a shitty line. Hotel room phones…
I said “hotel room phones”.

Anyway, I’m glad they let you change the ticket.
I’m sorry, again. I hate it ended up like this.

He is a shit. But maybe I’m used to it. Just learned to put up with it.
Some of the others are even worse.

I’ll give you a shout after the tour. Will be back before Xmas.
If I’m not back on the road, I’ll come and see your play? When’s it start?
I’ll come to opening night. Bring a few people.
(Laughing)

No, not Brendan. Glad you’re still able to joke about it.
And you know – singing together, at the Bluebird, that’ll always be my highlight of this tour.

Definitely.
You and Jeff missing Melissa?

Jody? You’ve got no chance. Bet you. Bet you a night in a hotel room!
No cheating! Bye

Katy looks out at the city and plays a plaintive I Sleep Alone. Changing the words for her situation
Song: I Sleep Alone (reprise)

DON’T KNOW WHEN, OR EVEN IF
I’LL EVER SEE YOU AGAIN
YOU ALWAYS USED TO COME AND GO
AND NOW IT SEEMS YOU WENT
NOW YOU’LL BE A DISTANT VOICE ON A TRANSATLANTIC TELEPHONE
A FEW MORE WEEKS, A FEW MORE MONTHS
I SLEEP ALONE
I SLEEP ALONE
I SHOULDN’T WORRY, SHOULDN’T SAY SORRY
AT LEAST YOU’RE IN GOOD COMPANY
I’LL BE MAKING A SUCCESS OF IT, BEING WHAT I WANTED TO BE
YOU’LL WANDER ROUND THAT BIG OLD HOUSE, WATCH THE GARDEN GETTING OVERGROWN
I’LL WALK ALONE,
TALK ALONE,
SLEEP ALONE
IT’S NOT FOR WANT OF WANTING SOMEONE ELSE – ANYBODY
I’VE SPENT SO LONG LONGING FOR SOMEONE
ANYBODY
TO HOLD THIS BODY
THIS PLACE IS IN CHAOS, SO MANY THINGS I SHOULD HAVE DONE
SO MUCH HALF STARTED, SO MUCH MORE NOT YET BEGUN
DO I HAVE TO PAY, FOR DRIVING YOU AWAY,
DID YOU REALLY WANT TO STAY?
I WALK ALONE,
I TALK ALONE,
I SLEEP ALONE

ACT 2 SCENE 8, SUNDAY EVENING IN THE IRISH BAR

ROB
Managed to get a direct flight from Wayne tomorrow evening. Stops in Montreal.

JEFF
That’ll be a total white-out this time of year

ROB
It’ll be dark anyway

JODY
Here ya go guys

ROB
Thanks Jody. Hey … tonight’s my last night in the states. When you finish work?

JODY
You guys! You never give up. Love your accent, though.
But that’s a “I ain’t telling you”

She leaves the drinks without her smile cracking once

JEFF
Now you better up the tip. Harassing the server!

ROB
I wasn’t … oh you’re joking aren’t you

JEFF
There’s a lot you just don’t get about the lifestyle here in the ‘burbs.
Why I bet you haven’t even read The Rules?

ROB
There are rules?

JEFF
No, man, it’s a book, but it’s the complete “etiquette”, as you Brits might say, to the dating game

ROB
Guess we don’t do “dating” in Scotland. Not my generation anyway. It’s more sort of “bag off wi”. Then ye get marriet. And then you’re no. And then ye’re with somebody. And then ye’re no.
Ach, it’s all just a game

His attention drifts to the other side of the bar

JEFF
Just a game? The game is all there is, buddy.

ROB
Kinda looking for something more?

JEFF
Yeah man, know what ya mean.
Half the bozos here never shut up about hitting their sales targets, pumpin’ at the gym. Pimpin’ their wheels.
The women are just as bad, the hundred pound babes

ROB
Looks back over at the bar, perplexed
Money?

JEFF
No man! Weight. Like seven of your stones. They live to be under the hundred. And to promenade down Cass Ave.
But hey … they’re not all like that. Some are pretty cool too.
Listen, I got a couple of girlfriends dropping by later. Maybe you should meet. Maybe we’ll light ourselves up something mellow.
And, man, they’re the experts and happy to teach the rules. And they could use some fresh meat.

ROB
Och, we’ll see, Jeff.
Maybe had enough of games and rules for a while…

Just been people watching there.
Think that guy over there is dealing little white envelopes.

JEFF
Probably.

ROB
Seen a fair few knock back several beers then jump into their cars

JEFF
DUI ain’t such a big deal here except during the day when there’s kids around.
We should find a way for you to come back over.
Things are pretty cheap here compared to Europe, and you can ignore the stuff you don’t like.
Seriously man, I think you might become quite partial to a few of these babes here in Farmington Hills

(Rob strums a chord and sings Babes of Farmington Hills)
Song: Babes of Farmington Hills

ROB

I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER STORY ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE
LIVING THE GOOD LIFE WEST OF ORCHARD LAKE AND NORTH OF 10 MILE
THE FLIMSY JOBS SELLING EACH OTHER ALL THE TRAPPINGS OF A MIDDLE CLASS
SKIMMING THE CREAM FROM THE MELTING POT,
GOING OUT AT THE WEEKEND, BLOWING A LITTLE GRASS

JEFF

I CAN SEE WHERE IT’S ALL LEADING AND I DON’T LIKE WHAT I SEE
I FELT THE NUMBERS THEY’RE RUNNING, NOBODY DOES THOSE THINGS TO ME

ROB

THE PRISSINESS OF THE PRETTY PRETTY,
PERFECT FACES SEEKING ANODYNE THRILLS
I’D RATHER GO BACK TO THE BITCH IN BLACK

ROB, JEFF

THAN PLAY STUPID GAMES WITH THE BABES OF FARMINGTON HILLS

JEFF

THE COMPANY MOVED ME HALF ACROSS THE WORLD
LEFT ME IN THIS CULTURALLY BARREN PIT

ROB

THE RIGHT SIDE OF GRAND RIVER, IF YOU LIKE PEOPLE BORN WITHOUT A WIT

ROB, JEFF

THE SCENE-STEALERS AND COKE-DEALERS CELEBRATE A GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO LIFE
SOCIETY STRIVERS AND DRUNK DRIVERS
BUT AT LEAST YOU’RE SAFE FROM THE MUGGER’S KNIFE

JEFF

SEE THE PRINCESSES AND UNDERSTAND THEM, THE THINGS THEY DO JUST ONCE A WEEK

ROB

GET DRUNK, MAKE LOVE, PERFECT THEIR TEETH AND SCULPTURE THEIR PHYSIQUE

ROB, JEFF

THE PRISSINESS OF THE PRETTY, PRETTY,
PERFECT FACES SEEKING ANODYNE THRILLS
I’D RATHER GO BACK TO THE BITCH IN BLACK
THAN PLAY STUPID GAMES WITH THE BABES OF FARMINGTON HILLS

ROB

I CAN SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR THE LIFE THEY LOVE TO LEAD

JEFF

ONE DAY WE’LL TAKE AWAY THEIR CARS AND IMPROVE THE AIR THEY BREATHE

ROB

WE’LL TAKE AWAY THE SUNBEDS, FREE THEM ALL FROM MELANOMA

JEFF

WE’LL MAKE THEM ALL BUY CONDOMS, SAVE THEM FROM KARPOSI’S SARCOMA

ROB

WE’LL GO OUT AND WE’LL DETOX THEM, SAVE THE MEMBRANES IN THEIR NOSES

JEFF

WE’LL TEACH THEM HOW TO WALK DOWN CASS WITHOUT STRIKING UP THE RICH KID POSES.

ROB, JEFF

THE PRISSINESS OF THE PRETTY, PRETTY,
PERFECT FACES SEEKING ANODYNE THRILLS
I’D RATHER GO BACK TO THE BITCH IN BLACK
THAN PLAY STUPID GAMES WITH THE BABES OF FARMINGTON HILLS

and fade

I Sleep Alone. Words and Music by T.G. McEwan 15 Aug 1993 Copyright 1993 Heads Together Music. This version performed by Nicki Sbaffoni (Vocal) and TG McEwan (Guitar) Edinburgh 1994. First released as a bonus track on Tangle (1996)
Babes of Farmington Hills. Words and Music by T.G. McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music (March 1992) This version performed by TG McEwan Steve’s Place, Detroit 1992 First released on Moon On White Lake (1993)

Tangle, a play with songs, part 9

October 10, 2017

Link to Part 8

ACT 2 SCENE 6, FRIDAY EVENING, BACK IN THE BAR.
Katy comes in with a dark expression
ROB
I tried but he wasn’t in …

KATY
Tracked him down. He’s been on a bit of a bender. He does sometimes. Often.
But he’s not having you back, apology or no. He doesn’t think it’s working.

ROB
Oh well, win some, lose some
(He’s not really very worried)

KATY
It’s more serious than you think.
Rob.
Your visa depends on still working for him.
Without it you have to leave the country

ROB
No-one could find me to chuck me out!

JEFF
Yeah, man.

KATY
Well I have to keep them informed at all times about where you are, and, if you are no longer working for him.
Well, technically, you work for me.
And now I have to get another musician over.

ROB
Great, so you’d shop me to immigration?

KATY
If I don’t, Rob, I’d lose my accredited status.
And the mind Brendan’s in, he’d be on a phone to them anyway, given half the chance
And if you delay, it’ll totally stop you getting back in, for years to come.
But I’ve convinced Brendan that getting a replacement is easier if we say you were taken unwell.

ROB
Great so now I’m a sick bastard.
What have I got? AIDS?

JEFF
Woo, man, I wouldn’t joke about that. Not if you want a chance with the local babes.

ROB
Jeez, you open your mouth in this country and someone fires you for it.
Thought this was the land of free speech

JEFF
Man, that’s just to stop the government..
Companies fire people all the time

ROB
Well. At least I stood up for something.
Freedom is dying on your feet instead of living on your knees.
My Ma taught me that

KATY
Oh Rob. Some parts of you haven’t changed have they?
(Now she sings Precious Freedom, but very tenderly, a total contrast to Yvonne’s strident accusatory version earlier)
He harmonises on chorus and middle 8. Jeff joins in.
Song: Precious Freedom (reprise)

HERE YOU COME WITH YOUR MOTHER’S FACE
SAYING THINGS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR
TRYING TO SOW CONFUSION
WHEN WHAT I WANT IS SO CLEAR
DON’T WASTE YOUR WORDS OR YOUR TWISTED LOGIC
YOUR TRAIN HAS LEFT THIS STATION
IF YOU’RE STILL ON BOARD IT’S SAD, NOT TRAGIC
JUST GO TO YOUR NEW DESTINATION

KATY, ROB

SO TAKE IT, TAKE YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
YOU’VE BEEN WANTING IT FOR SO LONG
WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
AND GO WHERE YOU BELONG

KATY

FOR I’VE SEEN YOUR EYES AND HOW THEY WANDER
AFTER THE GIRL IN THE CHINESE DRESS
NOW’S THE CHANCE YOU ALWAYS WANTED
I’M SURE YOU WILL IMPRESS
ALL THESE THINGS THAT YOU BOUGHT, THAT MATTER SO MUCH TO YOU
I WON’T LOWER MYSELF TO SHARE
YOU CAN TAKE BACK YOUR RING, YOU CAN KEEP EVERYTHING
THE TRUTH IS I DON’T CARE

KATY, ROB, JEFF

SO TAKE IT, TAKE YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
YOU’VE BEEN WANTING IT FOR SO LONG
WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
AND GO WHERE YOU BELONG
GO WHERE YOU BELONG
GO WHERE YOU BELONG
GO WHERE YOU BELONG
GO WHERE YOU BELONG
SO TAKE IT, TAKE YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
YOU’VE BEEN WANTING IT FOR SO LONG
WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND YOUR PRECIOUS FREEDOM
AND GO WHERE YOU BELONG

ROB
Hah, Yvonne thought you wrote that about me.

KATY
Yeah? Well maybe some things eventually fit.

ROB
Whereas your other one, that’s more about not messing with fat old folksingin’ dictators

He sings Tangle, in a wistful even hesitant way, improvising a little
Song: Tangle (reprise)

MY EYES CAN’T TELL YOU EVERYTHING
EVEN WHEN YOU HEAR ME SING
THERE ARE WORDS I CANNOT BRING MYSELF TO EVEN WHISPER
MY THOUGHTS ARE RUNNING OVERTIME
AS I DUCK MY HEAD AND SPOUT ANY OLD LINE
TO STOP MYSELF FROM SAYING SOMETHING THAT MIGHT LEAD ME TO BE YOUR PRISONER
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BE AFTER ME THESE DAYS
I COULD TAKE IT AS THE HIGHEST PRAISE
BUT THEY HAVE WAYS OF MAKING ME FEEL LIKE I’M THE ONE TO BLAME
YOU, YEAH, YOU, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
ANOTHER PLACE AND TIME YOU’D CERTAINLY DO
BUT I DON’T NEED ANOTHER EXCUSE TO HANG MY HEAD IN SHAME
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

SO LET’S JUST DO THE SMILE AND PLAY THE ROLE
I DON’T NEED ANOTHER TORTURED SOUL
SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL I THINK I’D RATHER …
DID YOU THINK IF YOU WERE IN DESPAIR,
THAT I’D COME FLYING THROUGH THE AIR
TWIST MY FINGERS THROUGH YOUR HAIR AND DROP INTO YOUR LAP (WHAT CRAP!)
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU
I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

JEFF
You guys are a barrel of laughs.
Well I guess you ain’t hitting Chicago, Rob. You can stay at mine for a few days, least until you can get your flights sorted.

KATY
I’m so sad this is where we’ve ended up.
I‘ve got to send the notification to immigration tomorrow, but it won’t get to them until Monday, so that buys you a bit more time.
Listen I’ve got a shedload of stuff to do tomorrow morning, so I’m not staying out late. But did you want to …

ROB
Aw Katy, can’t think of anything sweeter. But it would only prolong the misery. And I don’t plan to bump into Brendan at any breakfast buffet.

Let’s just kinda leave it here for now. Maybe with a song
There’s always this one – remember it?
Song: Best of You

I GUESS WE TOOK THIS AS FAR AS WE COULD
AND NOW WE’RE GOING NOWHERE
YOU’RE SWITCHING ON AND OFF FROM ME
FEELING GUILTY WHEN YOU REALISE YOU JUST DON’T CARE

KATY

HEY THIS WAS ONLY EVER MEANT TO MAKE US SMILE FOR A WHILE
AND IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY WITH IT, I CAN’T SAY I AM WILD

ROB, KATY

YOU BETTER PACK UP ALL YOUR DOUBTS AND FACE THAT WE’RE THROUGH
BUT LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU
LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU

ROB

I WAS UNDER NO ILLUSIONS
I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS YOUR SECOND STRING
BUT I’VE GOT MY OWN SWEET WORLD
YOU WERE NEVER MY EVERYTHING

KATY

IT WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN MUCH FOR ME TO SEE A FUTURE WITH YOU
I CAN’T PRETEND YOUR LEAVING WON’T LEAVE ME FEELING BLUE
BUT SPARE ME THE AGONISED “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO”

ROB, KATY, JEFF

LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU
LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU

KATY

I NEVER WOULD HAVE DREAMT
YOU’D BE SEDUCED BY THESE TAWDRY CHARMS

ROB

AND I NEVER WILL FORGET THAT FATEFUL NIGHT
WHEN YOU FELL INTO MY ARMS

ROB, KATY

NOW WHEN I REACH OUT TO TOUCH YOU – YOU HOLD UP YOUR HAND
YOU WANT SOME SENSE OF SPACE BACK, AND YOU’LL SEE ME WHEN YOU CAN
BUT I CAN SENSE YOU STALLIN’
‘CAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR WHAT TO DO

ROB, KATY, JEFF

LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU
LEAVE ME WITH THE BEST OF YOU

And fade

Precious Freedom. Words and Music by TG McEwan Copyright 1991 Heads Together Music. This version recorded with Nicki Sbaffoni (vocal) TG McEwan (guitar and backing vocal), Edinburgh 1994. First released on Tangle (1996)
Tangle. Words and Music by TG McEwan Copyright 1994 Heads Together Music. This version recorded with TG McEwan (guitar and vocal), Edinburgh 1994. First released on Tangle (1996)
Best of You. Words and Music by TG McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music. This version recorded live with Nicki Sbaffoni (backing vocal) TG McEwan (guitar, harmonica and vocal), Edinburgh 1994. First released on Tangle (1996)

Tangle, a play with songs, deleted scene

October 5, 2017

This scene (song) would fit between Act 2 Scene 2 and Scene 3, after they leave the Bluebird and go back to their respective, adjoining, rooms in the hotel. Although she has knocked him back, in the process of singing those two songs together at the Bluebird, there’s now a bit more ambiguity about their relationship.

The song’s about 4’30” (add 1’30” for instrumental sections) and there’s no dialogue. It’s different, but also works, with Rob and Katy swapping over the lines they sing below. Some of the lines are more romantic, some more lascivious. In the chorus one echoes the other’s lines. This can alternate.

If used, then perhaps a line or two is needed in the previous scene mentioning Katy’s failed love life. Note that the recording, linked to below, fades out before the final repeated line (which is just the first line of the chorus repeated over the chorus melody).

It’s a reflective song for a reflective scene. Lots of echoes and mirror images.

DELETED SCENE

Interior. Adjacent bedrooms seen into by the audience. The rooms are the mirror of each other. Rob and Katy are each getting ready for bed. Rob switches on the radio in his room and Katy does hers a few seconds later. A soulful late night country instrumental is playing. Perhaps they hear each other through the party wall.

Song: Sometimes I feel

ROB

AT WORK I SEE YOU, DAY AFTER DAY
WE SMILE, WE TALK, SO EASILY

KATY

AT NIGHT MY THOUGHTS DRIFT BACK TO YOU
WE DO ALL THE THINGS THAT I LONG TO

ROB, KATY

SOMETIMES I FEEL IF YOU MOVED CLOSER TO ME
NOTHING ELSE WOULD COUNT – I COULDN’T RESIST YOU
SOMETIMES I FEEL YOU’D FEEL THE SAME WAY
YOU WOULD NOT TURN ME DOWN – IF I PRESSED YOU

ROB

SOMETIMES WE SHARE A CASUAL TOUCH
THE PAT ON THE BACK, THAT MEANS NOTHING MUCH

KATY

IS IT ALL IN MY MIND – THIS ELECTRICITY
THE POWERFUL ATTRACTION THAT MUST NEVER BE?

ROB, KATY

SOMETIMES I FEEL IF YOU MOVED CLOSER TO ME
NOTHING ELSE WOULD COUNT – I COULDN’T RESIST YOU
SOMETIMES I FEEL YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY
YOU WOULD NOT TURN ME DOWN – IF I PRESSED YOU

KATY

WOULD IT BE SO WRONG TO WISH YOUR LOVE AFFAIR
LED YOU NOWHERE – THE WAY THAT MINE HAS
TO WISH THAT WE TWO SHARED THE SAME SORROW
THE SAME NEED FOR A TOMORROW WITHOUT REMINDERS

ROB

WOULD IT BE SO WRONG TO LEAN TO YOUR LIPS
REACH FOR YOUR HIPS, TUMBLE INTO YOU
WHISPER SOME DREAMS, SING YOU SAD SONGS
GO WHERE MY HEART BELONGS OR FACE FAILURE?

ROB, KATY

SOMETIMES I FEEL IF YOU MOVED CLOSER TO ME
NOTHING ELSE WOULD COUNT – I COULDN’T RESIST YOU
SOMETIMES I FEEL YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY
YOU WOULD NOT TURN ME DOWN – IF I PRESSED YOU
SOMETIMES I FEEL
SOMETIMES I FEEL
SOMETIMES I FEEL
SOMETIMES I FEEL

The song winds down wistfully and they each retire, mirror images of each other.

Sometimes I Feel. Words and Music: TG McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music performed by TG McEwan and Nicki Sbaffoni, live in Edinburgh 1994. Released as a bonus track on some versions of Tangle. 

Tangle, a play with songs, part 8

October 4, 2017

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3 Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7.

ACT 2 SCENE 4, THE NEXT NIGHT, WEDNESDAY, ONSTAGE AT THE ARK, ANN ARBOR,

They are just finishing the coda for Betty and the Scarlet Woman. Everyone looks happy after a successful night

BRENDAN
OK, OK thank you. They’ve told me that really was the last one, they gotta close.

So thanks, eh? Thank you. It’s been a braw nicht, eh?

Glad so many of yez support the tradition. It was us Scotsmen y’ken who started your country, signed the declaration of independence and that.

Scotsman that couldnae stand the English!

Nae offence, doll!

(Katy half smiles, heard it all before)
She’s a Geordie anyway, practically Scottish.

(His mid-Atlantic accents suddenly gets a lot more mid-Scotland. He’s also had a few too many drinks.)
Noo, these sangs o mine. They’re aw aboot preserving your culture, keeping it free from outsiders, settlers, eh? Celebratin’ it, eh, ken? Incomers cannae unnerstaun whit we’re aw aboot, ken?

If ye ask me? That’s what caused aw yon stooshie in Yugoslavia an’ that. Incomers no unnerstauning the culture.

And now you got politicians wanting tae interfere, send oor sodjers tae sort them oot.

And I tell yez, pals, dinnae vote it only encourages them.

Thanks again. Back hame they cry me the Original Black Bitch.
(Katy and Brendan have been looking askance at him. Katy trying to wrap things up, Rob getting angry. Katy grabs the mic)

KATY
In case you’re, uh, wondering, since the sixteenth century, that’s what they call people from Linlithgow. We know it doesn’t mean the same over here!
And on that note, we really do have to go – ladies and gentlemen – one last time for Mr. Brendan. McPherson!
(Rob has already left the stage, and Katy drags Brendan away before he digs them any deeper. Brendan has one more splutter into the mic)

BRENDAN
Aye and thank you Katee and Robbee and all, my valiant compadres. Good night and thanks again for coming
(As they walk backstage, Rob is fuming. He struggles to control his anger and articulate his objections. )

ROB
What was that … shite aboot, Brendan?

KATY
Rob? Don’t

BRENDAN
Well maybe I’m sick of you bending my ear about Yugo-fuckin-slavia.

ROB
I thought you cared about injustice. Your song in the movie about the clearances?

BRENDAN
I care aboot my ain folk, son. I dinnae care aboot other countries. Live and let live.

ROB
Live and let live?
But they’re dying there, man

BRENDAN
Aye well us interfering isnae gonnae change that

ROB
And it’s up to us to get the politicians to do their job and stop the massacres happening

BRENDAN
Politicians? Ye’re deluded as well as naïve.
Son. I dinnae care. I went there once. I dinnae care for their languages, their religions. It’s all mince

ROB
But you have to care, as a human being

KATY
Rob – just leave it

BRENDAN
Aye listen to the little lady, just leave it son or you’ll no like where it takes you

ROB
I used to look up to you.
I thought you believed in stuff.
I thought you mattered

BRENDAN
Oh I do believe in stuff, and you can bet I matter.
(Brendan builds an icy fury)
I matter a damn sight mair than some jumped-up. Muzak-spewin’. Mandolin strummer.
He jabs Rob in the chest with each word
I don’t need you to look … up … to me … son.
Because where you’re going you won’t see me

ROB
Aye where’s that, then, hard man?

KATY
Stop it Rob. Brendan, don’t do this

BRENDAN
Shut it, Katy, or you’re gone too. You’re off the tour son, you can pack your bags, you can trade in that return ticket. Fuck off. Vamoose!
(Meanwhile Jeff has come backstage to say hi, carrying four beers, sees all this, puts two beers down and pulls Rob back into the bar to calm down.)

JEFF
C’mon boy, don’t make it any worse. Maybe he’ll calm down

ROB
He’s no talking to me like that

JEFF
He’s the boss, son, and he’ll talk how he wants.
A few minutes later Katy comes out with Rob’s guitar and mandolin

ROB
He’s no talking to me like that

KATY
That was incredibly stupid.
You’re hanging by a thread now, Rob.
Just shut up, say nothing and I’ll try and rescue this
She returns to the dressing room.
ROB
He and Jeff sit at a table, as Rob gets his guitar out.
I can’t believe that. He was a hero but he’s just a prat.
(Rob punches out a chord or two.
Jeff takes out his sax and plays low register along with him. Rob sings)

Song: Ethnic Cleansing.
I’M SITTING IN THE ARK, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
TEARS ARE WELLING IN MY EYES
A MAN OF MY OWN LAND UP THERE ON THE STAGE
SPOUTING DESPICABLE RACIST LIES
“YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND THIS COUNTRY”
HE SINGS TO ALL OUTSIDERS
AND HE HOARDS HIS CULTURE AGAINST THE ENGLISH AND THE CITY
HE SINGS TO US OF BIRTHRIGHTS,
DELIGHTS IN CLANNISH WARFARE
BUT THE CONSEQUENCE OF WHAT HE WANTS
ARE SOMETHING LESS THAN PRETTY
HE STANDS UP FOR A DOCTRINE
THAT DESERVES NO DEFENDING
AND SO ENDORSES ETHNIC CLEANSING
HE STANDS UP FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING.

HE HAS A PLATFORM AND A DUTY THAT COMES WITH IT
THAT HE SQUANDERS BY TELLING US NOT TO VOTE
HE SAYS “ALL POLITICIANS ARE EVIL, THEY MANIPULATE THE PEOPLE
IT’S BETTER TO IGNORE THEM THAN SLIP UNDER THEIR COATS”
HE STANDS UP FOR A DOCTRINE
THAT DESERVES NO DEFENDING
AND SO ENDORSES ETHNIC CLEANSING
HE STANDS UP FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING.

I AM SITTING IN THE ARK, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
TEARS ARE FALLING FROM MY EYES
A MAN OF MY OWN LAND IS UP THERE ON THE STAGE
WITH ALL OF HIS INSIDIOUS RACIST LIES
“YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND THIS COUNTRY”
HE SCREAMS TO ALL OUTSIDERS
AS HE HOARDS HIS CULTURE AGAINST THE ENGLISH AND THE CITY
HE SINGS TO US OF BIRTHRIGHTS,
DELIGHTS IN CLANNISH WARFARE
BUT THE CONSEQUENCE OF WHAT HE WANTS
ARE SOMETHING LESS THAN PRETTY
HE STANDS UP FOR A DOCTRINE
THAT DESERVES NO DEFENDING
AND SO ENDORSES ETHNIC CLEANSING
HE STANDS UP FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING.

As they finish, BRENDAN emerges from backstage and hears the last few lines

BRENDAN
You are so finished.

ROB
Dickhead.
Katy looks exasperated at Rob and drags Brendan away.

ACT 2 SCENE 5, THE IRISH BAR, THURSDAY EVENING

ROB
Irish jazz, eh, Katy?
So what does the Master say.

KATY
Aw, Brendan is infuriating.
But you were stupid.
I need to work on him.
You need to apologise.

ROB
Kate, I’ve got to stand up for what I believe in.
Isn’t that what Brendan used to do?

KATY
Rob, it’s beyond that. Get off your high horse and be practical.
You are four thousand miles from home, with not much money.
Rob, I don’t know if you can even change the plane ticket.

ROB
OK.
So I apologise to the big ape

KATY
Rob!

JEFF
OK, OK. Cool it guys. Chicago’s two nights away.
Maybe things will calm down by then.
Go and see him tomorrow Rob. Apologise then.
In the meantime there’s beer to be drunk.
(A new server comes over, with the same flirty style and appearance as Melissa. )

JODY
Hi I’m Jody.

I’ll be your server tonight.

ROB
Where’s Miss Melissa?

JODY
She flew off to Jamaica this morning.
She’s so lucky. A magazine flew her over.

JEFF
Why would anyone want to miss the start of a Michigan winter?
Pitcher of beer and three glasses, please, Jody

JODY
Comin’ right up!
She goes to get the beer. They start joking and making up stories that turn into an improvised song, and they cheer each other on as they invent lines to the song

KATY
Comin’ right up!

JEFF
Oh man, gonna miss Melissa
Rob strums a chord. They trade lines, apparently improvising
Song: Miss Melissa.
ROB
SEEMS LIKE SHE’S BEEN ALWAYS HERE
JEFF
TO STOP US CRYING IN OUR BEER
ROB
AND WITH THAT TANTALISING SMILE SHE’D SLIP AWAY
JEFF
WE’RE ALL HATCHING WILDER SCHEMES
ROB
TO SNARE THE WAITRESS OF OUR DREAMS
KATY
AS IF SHE COULD BE CAUGHT SO EASILY!
ROB
WHEN WINTER TURNS OUR CRIES TO WHISPERS
JEFF
WHEN WE’RE ALL SUFFERING IN THE COLD
KATY, ROB, JEFF
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU JUST FEEL OLD
KATY
THEY SAY SHE’S GONE TO JAMAICA
WITH A BOY WHO’S A REAL HEARTBREAKER
ROB
BUT I KNOW SHE’LL KEEP HIM IN HIS PLACE
JEFF
SHE DON’T NEED THIS WINTER CHILL
DON’T NEED US DRUNKS, NEVER WILL
KATY
THIS’LL BE THE YEAR THAT SHE’LL BE “THIS YEAR’S FACE”
ROB
WHEN WINTER TURNS OUR SHAKES TO SHIVERS
KATY, JEFF
WHEN WE’RE ALL SUFFERING IN THE COLD
KATY, ROB, JEFF
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU JUST FEEL OLD
ROB
THE OWNER’S BROUGHT A GIRL IN TO REPLACE HER
SAME KIND OF LEGS, SAME KIND OF HAIR
JEFF
BUT SHE AIN’T GOT THE STYLE
ANYWAY IT’S NOT WORTHWHILE
PLUGGING A GAP IS NO PERMANENT REPAIR
KATY
SHE COULD BE THE NEW CARIBBEAN QUEEN
JEFF
SAID THE JERK FROM THE MAGAZINE
ROB
WELL I HOPE SHE PLEADS ROMANTIC IMMUNITY
KATY
JUST CAUSE SHE’S LYING ON THE BEACH
JEFF
DON’T MEAN SHE’S WITHIN HIS REACH
ROB
SHE’S NO RUN-OF-THE-MILL PHOTO-OPPORTUNITY
KATY, ROB, JEFF
WHEN WINTER TURNS OUR CRIES TO WHIMPERS
WHEN WE’RE ALL SUFFERING FROM THE COLD
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU MISS MELISSA
SOME NIGHTS YOU JUST FEEL OLD

JODY
Here’s your beers. And I brought you some popcorn, on the house.

ROB
Thanks. Ah’m hungry!

KATY
Lurve that accent. Where are you from?
(They catch each other’s eyes and smile, while Jody carries on oblivious to any possible response.)JODY
Grand Rapids – the other side of the state.

Gee …can you tell the difference? Wow! That’s so cool!!
(She heads off to serve another table)

KATY, ROB, JEFF
SOME NIGHTS YOU JUST FEEL OLD!

Ethnic Cleansing: Words and Music: TG McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music; performed by TG McEwan and Suzanne Senior (Sax) Edinburgh 1994, Released on Tangle (1996) 
Miss Melissa: Words and Music: TG McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music performed by TG McEwan and Nicki Sbaffoni, live in Edinburgh 1994. Released on Tangle (1996)

Tangle, a play with songs, part 7

September 29, 2017

Act 2 Scene 2, a few hours later at the Bluebird Café’s Open Mic

It’s break-time at the Bluebird, Brendan has joined
them and they are discussing Bosnia.

ROB (CONT’D)
I mean look at the ethnic cleansing …

BRENDAN
Aye that’s awfy, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them in Sarajevo.
But you’ve got to remember, son, these are all very different cultures.
It’s like Northern Ireland, or Glasgow.
There’s Catholics and Protestants, and there’s Muslims and they all hate what each other
stands for.
And then there were all these different countries banged together – like Scotland and
England.

(The compere resumes the stage.)

COMPERE
Welcome back, folks. The next act has come all the way from Scahhhtland. Let’s give
them a big Bluebird welcome

ROB
That’s us then, eh.

BRENDAN
Have a good one.
(With a twinkle in his eye)
If you’re any good you can be my support act!
(They take the stage)

KATY
Actually, he’s from Scotland, I’m from Tyneside, but there’s not much difference.

ROB
We’re really glad to be here. Read about this place. Always wanted to play here.
(Checks the tuning, then looks up at the
audience)
You gotta imagine you’re in a really dingy bar!
This one’s about watching your Dad playin’, up there on the stage. While you’re still
underage!
It’s called Sneakin’ In

(As he plays the opening chords, they set up a good
rapport with each other and the audience and launch
into Sneaking In.)

ROB AND KATY
(In tight harmony)
Song: Sneakin’ In

DADDY PLAYS GUITAR

IN A HONKY-TONKIN’ LOSERS’ BAR

MAMA GAVE UP ON HIM LONG AGO

SHE MAKES SURE THAT I WORK HARD

SO I GET TO COLLEGE AND THEN SOMEWHERE

BUT, MAN, I LOVE TO WATCH HIM PLAY A SHOW

THE BOUNCER KNOWS THE SCORE

BUT THERE’S ALWAYS THE BACK DOOR

AND THE BARMAID ALWAYS GIVES ME SUCH AN
EVIL GRIN

SURE, I AIN’T NO FOOL

I GET WHAT IT TAKES FROM SCHOOL

BUT I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

HIDING AT THE BACK OF THE BAR

NO-ONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE

IF HE KNEW I WAS HERE, WHAT WOULD HE SAY?

I HEAR HIM SAY WHAT I SHOULD NOT HEAR

WATCH HIM DRINK BEER AFTER BEER

BUT SOMETIME AFTER MIDNIGHT HE REALLY
STARTS TO PLAY

HE SINGS ABOUT THE HURT

HOW HE’D WAKE UP IN THE DIRT

HOW IT’S A ROUGH OLE LIFE – YA EITHER SINK OR
SWIM

I GOT MY MAMA’S CONTROL

BUT I GOT MY DADDY’S SOUL

AND I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

SOMETIMES HE LOOKS SO WEARY.

SOMETIMES HE’S JUST MY DAD.

SOMETIMES HE SETS THE PLACE ALIGHT

AND FOLKS SAY “HE AIN’T BAD!”

“HE COULDA MADE IT BIG” THEY SAY

“IF HE ONLY GOT A COUPLA BREAKS”

“MAN – YOU KNOW – HE GOT WHAT IT TAKES”

I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

I GET MY EDUCATION SNEAKIN’ IN

Words and Music: TG McEwan Copyright 1992 Heads Together Music performed by TG McEwan and Nicki Sbaffoni, live in Edinburgh 1994 

ROB
Thanks very much. This is my first time in the states, and I’m really honoured to be
touring in the band backing a fellow countryman, a man I’ve long admired – Mr Brendan
McPherson over there in the corner – he’s playing the Ryman in a month’s time. Hope
you’ll all be there
(polite applause as Brendan beams)

KATY
This is another of Rob’s songs – we cut it just a month ago – might even try and sell y’all
a few cassettes after. Or trade them at least.
(They play Long Term Longing. The
audience would be forgiven for thinking
they were singing about each other as the
act comes to an end)

Song: Long Term Longing (reprise)

ROB

WHEN I TOUCH YOU BABY

WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES

THERE’S A REACTION I JUST CAN’T HIDE

ROB, KATY

NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY

SOMETHING THAT I JUST CAN’T DENY

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME, LONG TERM LONGING

IN THE FACE OF OUR OTHER COMMITMENTS

LONG TIME, LONG TERM LONGING

FEIGNING TOTAL INDIFFERENCE

TO THE MATTER OF EACH OTHER’S EXISTENCE

KATY

BUT JUST LATELY I’VE FELT THE CONSTRAINTS

UNRAVEL AND FALL TO THE FLOOR

I SENSE THE DISSATISFACTION

ROB, KATY

THAT YOU CAN’T HIDE ANY MORE

YOU DON’T SEE WHAT THE HOLDING BACK’S FOR

ALL THESE YEARS WE’VE KEPT A SECRET FLAME

ALL THIS TIME HIDING THE REACTION

TO THE SOUND OF EACH OTHER’S NAME

She echoes him

WHEN I LOOK AT YOU BABY (WHEN I LOOK AT YOU
BABY

I SEE US DOWN THROUGH THE YEARS (SEE US DOWN
THROUGH THE YEARS

ROB

LIVING A LIFE THAT WE WOULD NOT SELECT

ROB, KATY

FOR SAKE OF SAVING OTHERS’ TEARS

OR JUST OUR OWN UNSPOKEN FEARS?

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME, LONG TERM LONGING

IN THE FACE OF OUR OTHER COMMITMENTS

LONG TIME, LONG TERM LONGING

FEIGNING TOTAL INDIFFERENCE

TO THE MATTER OF EACH OTHER’S EXISTENCE

Words and Music: TG McEwan Copyright 1993 Heads Together Music, performed by TG McEwan and Nicki Sbaffoni, live in Edinburgh 1994 

ACT 2 SCENE 3, AN IRISH BAR IN FARMINGTON HILLS, MI

It’s the night before the first gig of the tour, in Ann
Arbor. Brendan, Katy and Rob are talking to Jeff, a
local sax player who’s just finished a set. They joke
about traditional Irish jazz. 

MELISSA
Here ya go guys, four Glenlivets, and, as a bonus, all the popcorn you can take

BRENDAN
Thanks Melissa, you’re making us feel like we were back hame in oor local

MELISSA
Aww you guys, lurve your accents.
Hey Jeff, how come you can’t talk so sweet

JEFF
Missy, Missy, I keep my sweetness for my horn

MELISSA
Behave!

JEFF
(suitably chastened)
Miss Melissa!

MELISSA
Anything else I can get you folks?

KATY
No, we’re good, Melissa. Thank you.

MELISSA
Thank you, honey. I’ll leave your tab – you can pay at the bar, or I’ll look back later.
You guys have a good one
She walks away

ROB
Jeez, much friendlier than a Scottish barmaid

KATY
(Mimics)
Thank you, honey!
They are counting on your tips.
And drunk Scottish guys are usually good for them.
And it’s “server” not barmaid!

ROB
(To Brendan)
D’ye think Betty would last long here?

BRENDAN
Betty? Oh she’d be spanking these preppy boys down, fast as ye like. Don’t ya think
Jeff?

JEFF
Betty? Was that the place you took me to in, in Linlin-tho, liglintho, how do you say that
damn place?

ROB, KATY, BRENDAN
Linlithgow!

JEFF
Yeah whatever. Hey, Rob, how did things go with Mr Canned Music USA

ROB
Not sure. I’ve left him one of the DATs frae the Edinburgh session, and the copyright
info and stuff. He said he was “short of fresh product for this month’s mailout”

KATY
Oh so now you and I are elevator music?

ROB
No, we’re … oh you’re just winding me up again. Anyway – they supply shopping malls
and airports and there’s a standard royalty – no much but they send out tapes to several
hundred places at a time, and they promise so many new songs each time, blah blah.

BRENDAN
Can you no get me in on this, Katy?

KATY
You’re above that. Ye daft lug. You’re getting played on the radio stations from here to
San Diego. The lead-in to each show, you’re on rotation, and the record stores are primed
with stock, and the gig tickets go into overdrive. The distributor told us all that in
Nashville

BRENDAN
Feels like Ah’m missing a trick, eh, though I’m pleased fir the lad, o’ course.
(Knocks back the whisky)
C’mon guys, lets get going
(The others follow suit. Brendan gets out
his wallet)

JEFF
No, man, this one’s on me. I’ll settle up – See you at the Ark tomorrow, yeah?

BRENDAN
Cheers man. For sure. Bring your horn, aye? We’ve nothing for the next two nights, so
we can get well plastered after the show.

ROB
Thanks Jeff

KATY
Yeah, thanks Uncle Jeff

JEFF
My pleasure.
(Katy, Brendan and Rob walk out arms
around shoulders a wee bit unsteady,
singing repeatedly)

ROB, KATY, BRENDAN

Song: Betty and the Scarlet Woman (reprise)

BETTY PLEASE!

DA DA DA DA DA DA DA

BETTY PLEASE!

DA DA DA DA DA DA DA

(They arrive at their three motel room doors)
Brendan’s door first)

BRENDAN
Grand night eh? Tomorrow will be fine, eh? Night!

ROB
Night, Brendan

KATY
Night
(They walk towards Katy’s door, Rob’s
is the one after. She unlocks the door. )

ROB
Living the dream, eh. Malls and airports. Who’d a thunk it?!

KATY
Well if you promise no more Americanisms, I might just have another sweet dream for you.
(She pulls him into her room)

ROB
Katy? You, erm, sure?

KATY
Oh shut up, Rob.
No promises about the future, though

 

Tangle, a play with songs, part 6

September 28, 2017

TANGLE: ACT 2 (LATER IN 1995)

ACT 2 SCENE 1, A TINY NASHVILLE RADIO STUDIO

Later in the year, Katy and Rob are backing
Brendan on Betty and the Scarlet Woman. Brendan
is proving very hard to please, contradicting himself
at times as they play snippets to his instructions.
But they get through a take as the engineer tells
them that they’ve run out of time.

BRENDAN
No, give me a bit more bite in between the verses

KATY
Like this?
(She plays a bit harder on the flageolet
and Rob strikes the mandolin nearer the
bridge)

BRENDAN
Why can’t they just use the album track. We spent weeks getting that right.

KATY
Been through this, Bren, the radio station wants to have something “in session” that
they’ll playlist in the lead in to the big Celtic show at the Ryman next month

BRENDAN
Tell me again why we only get to do a 15 minute set at that …

SOUND ENGINEER
Hey buddy, your time’s just about up

BRENDAN
Aye  – ok, ok … let’s roll it. One last take, ready? Yeah?

They start with a bright instrumental intro then go
into the verse

Song: Betty and the Scarlet Woman

THE CRIMSON CAPE MUTTERED TO BETTY THE
BARMAID

“I’M PREGNANT I SHOULDNAE BE DRINKIN”

BETTY SHRUGGED, THE BLOODY MARY WAS
SERVED

I WATCHED RED SPIRITS SINKING

SHOUTIN’ TO HER GIRLFRIEND A YARD FAE THE
BAR

“WHAUR ELSE WILL STILL BE OPEN?

WHAT DAE I DAE NOW WHERE DAE I GO

THAT RESULT WASNAE WHIT I WAS HOPING”

BETTY PLEASE, CAN’T YOU TELL ME?

WHAT AM I GONNA DO?

BETTY PLEASE, I’M NEEDIN’ ANSWERS

CAN’T I GET THEM FROM YOU?

BETTY PLEASE I CAN’T FIGURE IT OOT

HE LEFT LAST WEEK, HE LEFT IN NO DOOT

HE’D NAE INTENTIONS O’ RETURNING TO STAY

BUT BETTY HE NEVER KNEW THAT HE LEFT ME
THIS WAY

THE SCARLET WOMAN (OR WAS IT MERELY
MAROON)

NEVER COTTONED ONTO HOW SHE’D STARTED TO
BLOOM

HOW SHE CAUGHT THE LIGHT THIS PECULIAR
NIGHT

AND THE EYE OF EVERY GUY IN THE ROOM

AS HE EVENING WORE ON,

SOME SIR GALAHAD, HELL, HE MUST HAVE BEEN
ALL OF TWENTY

SAID “BETTY, WHIT’S THE NAME OF THE LADY IN
RED?

WITHOUT HER MY LIFE FEELS SO EMPTY

BETTY PLEASE, CAN YOU NO TELL ME?

WHAT AM I GONNA DO?

BETTY PLEASE, I’M NEEDIN’ ANSWERS

CAN’T I GET THEM FROM YOU?

BETTY PLEASE WON’T YOU INTRODUCE ME

I’M A BASHFUL BOY, AND SHE’LL JUST SLIP AWAY

BETTY I’M BACKWARDS IN COMING FORWARDS

CAN’T YOU RING AROUND TO ROSIE AND HERE’S
WHAT TO SAY”

MEANWHILE THE GUINNESS FROM WHICH I HAVE
SUPPED

HAS DISAPPEARED OFF INTO NOTHING

I’VE WORDS LEFT TO WRITE AND A THIRST FOR THE
NIGHT

BUT I MISSED THE FINAL CALLING

RUBY STILL RAMBLES AROUND THE BAR

IT SEEMS LIKE HER NIGHT IS STILL HEARTY

WISH I COULD RESIST THE ALLURE OF THE ENDING

BUT I’M NOT A DISINTERESTED PARTY

BETTY PLEASE, WON’T YOU GIVE ME ANOTHER,

I NEED TO DISCOVER HOW IT ALL WORKS OUT

BETTY PLEASE I KNOW YOU CALLED TIME

BUT WON’T YOU GIVE ME A FINAL SHOUT

BETTY SMILED AND THREW ME GENTLY OUT

SO I’M WALKING HOME, ALL ALONE

SUDDENLY MY HEART SANK

A CARDINAL CAPE LAUGHING AND JOKING

WITH THE LOCAL BOYS AT THE TAXI RANK

BETTY PLEASE

BETTY PLEASE

SOUND ENGINEER
OK that’s it or you go into overtime rates

BRENDAN
Fuck’s sake. Fucking American unions

KATY
Brendan, it’s good. It’ll do

BRENDAN
Ah’m going to the bar
(He storms out the door, leaving Katy
and Rob to tidy up the instruments)

ROB
What a charmer

KATY
He gets worked up. After a beer and a dram he’ll be all smiles.
Well done you, though, you nailed it

ROB
One minute he’s wanting us dead on the beat, the next he’s wanting a more laid back
sound!

KATY
Usually I manage to keep him from those decisions, but this was a such a rush job for the
station.
They need a fresh version that they can say “And we got him into the studio the other
day to lay down a special version just for us”. And for every other radio station between
here and San Diego

(They’re all packed and ready to go)
Anyway … you got everything? Let’s catch him up.

(They walk out the door into the deserted foyer)
You did great, pet! Magic!!

(She reaches for him to give him a casual hug. He
misinterprets and looks deeply into her eyes.)

ROB
You’re, em, pretty magic yourself, Katy.
Forgotten how magic. Jeez … Your eyes …

KATY
Hold up, cowboy!
(She sings)
Song: Tangle with You.

MY EYES CAN’T TELL YOU EVERYTHING

EVEN WHEN YOU HEAR ME SING

THERE ARE WORDS I CANNOT BRING MYSELF TO
EVEN WHISPER

MY THOUGHTS ARE RUNNING OVERTIME

AS I DUCK MY HEAD AND SPOUT ANY OLD LINE

TO STOP MYSELF FROM SAYING SOMETHING THAT
MIGHT LEAD ME TO BE YOUR PRISONER

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BE AFTER ME THESE DAYS

I COULD TAKE IT AS THE HIGHEST PRAISE

BUT THEY HAVE WAYS OF MAKING ME FEEL LIKE
I’M THE ONE TO BLAME

YOU, YEAH, YOU, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH
YOU

ANOTHER PLACE AND TIME YOU’D CERTAINLY DO

BUT I DON’T NEED ANOTHER EXCUSE TO HANG MY
HEAD IN SHAME

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

SO LET’S JUST DO THE SMILE AND PLAY THE ROLE

I DON’T NEED ANOTHER TORTURED SOUL

SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL I THINK I’D RATHER
GO AND TAKE A NAP

DID YOU THINK IF YOU WERE IN DESPAIR,

THAT I’D COME FLYING THROUGH THE AIR

TWIST MY FINGERS THROUGH YOUR HAIR AND
DROP INTO YOUR LAP (WHAT CRAP!)

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

I CAN’T AFFORD TO TANGLE WITH YOU

(He’s a bit crestfallen at the knockback. She
chivvies him.)

KATY (CONT’D)
C’mon let’s leave Brendan to himself for a bit. We can join the queue at the Bluebird, see
if we book a slot at the open mic.

ROB
Yeah? I’ve heard of that place.
(They leave)

Betty & the Scarlet Woman: Words and music by T.G. McEwan (c)1993 Heads Together Music, performed by TG McEwan (guitar, harmonica, vocal), Nicki Sbaffoni (backing vocals) Dominic Harris (flageolet), Pod (mandolin). Recorded at Mighty Reel, Edinburgh 1993, and first released on Gallery compilation CD 1993, then on Tangle (1996). Tangle with You: Words and music by T.G. McEwan (c)1993 Heads Together Music, performed by TG McEwan (guitar, harmonica, backing vocal), Nicki Sbaffoni (lead vocal). Recorded on a portastudio Edinburgh 1994, and first released on Tangle (1994).