Island in the Sky – 2021

Overall concept – The Human Condition

The Isle of Glass [Faith + Belief]
‘Ynys Yr Watten’, the Gaelic for Isle of Glass, where the name Glastonbury was created from its origin. Originally an island in a low level lake/marsh, Glastonbury is forever linked to Arthurian legend, although the truth is probably very far from the mythology we would like to imagine. The song is a mix of legend, belief and truth as it asks the question posed in ‘Jerusalem’ in a different way. The eagle has landed. A man on the moon. A belief in Arthurian legend. A truth in what we can do. The song is about faith. Can it come true? Yes. Can it move mountains? No. If ‘I saw you in a dream…’

Union [Conflict + Division]
Using the tenet we are stronger together than apart, perhaps it is timely in these times of Brexit and division to pose the question. The song highlights tribalism across humanity often in the association of populations to flags and chores to die for from green to religion. If our present leaders don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then the peoples of earth don’t have a great future in store for them. The arms manufacturers and undertakers look like they’ve a prosperous future.

Our Children [Malice + Destruction]
In 1980, the threat of nuclear war was far more likely than a biological attach by terrorists, so this was, a don’t, even for then. The possibility is now more real after the rise of religious terrorism especially as our science and technology can imagine no end of horrors that can endanger life on earth. The events of the 2020/21 COVID pandemic bringing such thoughts to the forefront. The Dr Strangelove nature of those who can, is the question. There’s always someone who wants to push the button.

The Icing on the Wake [When money means more than lives]
On becoming Prime Minister in 1979, The Iron Lady set about the country with her politics of greed and the mantra that greed is good. The end product of this, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, set up a clash between right wing ideals and left-wing protest. The miners and mining communities paid the price for the strikes against the tyranny. The song is based around the time of 1991 when John Major took the reins so there are references and word play throughout. The irony of the mining communities was that although based on the wealth created through mining, the miner’s lives were hard and accidents and disease shortened life. ‘We’re god-fearing miners who are dying to meet you Lord.”

2021: The same government – a different Prime Minister! Has anything changed?

Lament For Persephone [Love & Parting]
An instrumental representing the life lived between two worlds. To be at home at home in neither is deeply sad. Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was taken to live underworld by Hades, according to Greek mythology.

The Man Who Cried [Inside & Outside]
John (or was it Joseph) Merrick was a hideously disfigured individual who lived in late Victorian London. Named ‘The Elephant Man’, his fate was to be a caged sideshow amusement for London’s streets. Widely regarded as an imbecilic buffoon, he was treated terribly by his ‘owners’. A doctor, Frederick Treves liberated Joseph and discovered him to be an articulate and gentle human. Merrick became the toast of London society, until his failing body, ravaged by fibromatosis, eventually gave up.

The track pays tribute to Joseph Merrick and inspired by David Lynch’s touching film The Elephant Man (1980) and marked in 2020 with a 4K restoration of the film.

Lights Out Over Berlin [Interacting with the world wide web]
With the increasing access to a world on-line, our world is becoming increasingly remote in terms of how we react to each other and increasingly open to abuse and being scammed. With the needs of ‘everything on line’ and the increased cyber security requirements, it’s only a matter of time before we fall and are hurt in the process. Perhaps playing on the internet has too high a price? The song tells the dangers of a life lived exposed…

There Be Monsters [Epitaph]
An instrumental refrain (tone poem) in the style of Keith Emerson

Nightwing [Dreams, nightmares & the psychology of the mind]
Originally a section from a much larger body of work called Projections Part 1-8. Nightwing is about the inner fears of the mind and sets out a nightmare scenario in dreams. It has many references, lyrically and musically and the main theme was modulated in the guitar piece Lightwing, which appeared on Ashes For the Monarch, our second album.

Oddessay [Outro]
Inspired by Arthur C Clarke’s short story ‘Sentinal’, this is man stepping into the heavens above. To be continued on album No 4…