Big City Dreams​/​Small Town Failings

by Mark Ayling

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1.
AN ENDLESS PROCESSION OF RED AND WHITE LIGHTS STREAKING ALONG THE MOTORWAY TO SOMEWHERE FAR OFF, OUT OF SIGHT YOU SIT WATCHING FROM YOUR BEDROOM WINDOW EVERY NIGHT WONDERING WHEN YOU'LL BE FREE OF THIS PLACE FREE OF THE BOREDOM AND URBAN GREY AWAY FROM THE SMALL MINDS AND PETTINESS AND ALL THOSE KNOW-ALLS THAT ALWAYS SEEM TO GET THEIR SAY THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THESE WINDOWS SEEM LIKE PRISON BARS THE DRUNKS IN THE STREET BELOW ACTING AS ARMED GUARDS THE HILLS ALL AROUND SEEM LIKE MOUNTAIN RANGES THE HIGHER YOU CLIMB THE HIGHER THEY RISE UP BUT YOU KNOW THINGS NEED TO CHANGE SO YOU DREAM OF HITCHING OUT OF THIS PLACE SO TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT YOU HEAD INTO THE WIND, TOMORROW IS A FRESH NEW DAY THE STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD AS A RUNAWAY YOU CLIMB THE HIGHEST BUILDING AND LOOK AROUND THE CITY LAID OUT AT YOUR FEET BUT YOU KNOW NOW IT'S ALL A FAKE FACADE BECAUSE THE BIG CITY MARCHES TO THE SMALL TOWN BEAT
2.
03:40
I GET NOSTALGIC FROM TIME TO TIME THE NEED TO RETURN TO THIS PLACE I'M NOT SURE WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR OR WHAT I WILL FIND BUT I'M SURE OF THIS; IT'S BEST LEFT BEHIND ONCE AGAIN I MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AS THE WOLF PACK GATHERS THERE'S NO FLESH LEFT TO TAKE THIS LACK OF JUDGEMENT IT ASTOUNDS EVEN ME SUCH IS THE EMPTINESS OF THIS FAMILIARITY I DRIVE SO FAR TO GET AWAY BUT I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO ESCAPE A BAD TASTE STUCK IN MY THROAT A DULLING NUMBNESS IN MY EARS AND THIS PLACE IS BEST VIEWED FROM A DISTANCE FROM A THOUSAND MILES AWAY FROM FAR OVER THESE HILLS FROM THE EDGE OF THE EARTH AND I KNOW THIS TOWN IS BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US YOU HAVE YOUR CORNER AND I'LL FIND MINE BUT YOU CAN'T REMAIN THERE YOU HAVE TO PUSH AND MAKE A FUSS DON'T SAY YOU DON'T BECAUSE YOU DO IT EVERY TIME AND BECAUSE OF YOU THIS PLACE IS BEST VIEWED FROM A DISTANCE FROM A THOUSAND MILES AWAY FROM FAR OVER THESE HILLS FROM THE EDGE OF THE EARTH YOU KEEP PUSHING ME YOU JUST KEEP PUSHING ME AWAY YOU CAN'T STOP PUSHING ME YOU JUST KEEP.....
3.
03:01
EVERYBODY IS SO OUTSPOKEN THESE DAYS WITH SO MUCH OF NOTHING TO SAY IT DOESN'T MATTER YOU CAN TALK ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH BUT THEY'LL TELL YOU ABOUT THEIR DAY THE SECOND YOU PAUSE FOR BREATH YOU'VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE, IT'S ALWAYS THE SAME EVERY LITTLE COMPLAINT AND EVERY DETAIL MUNDANE BUT THE TELEVISION'S ON NOW AND IT ALL GOES QUIET REALITY HITS, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT AND THE STAGE IS SET, THE LIGHTS ARE DIMMED AS THE CROWD GOES WILD FOR THE KARAOKE KING A PRETTY POSE AND A MUSCLE FLEX WITH THAT SO-CALLED FACTOR OF 'X' SO IT COMES DOWN TO THIS - WE ALL WANT TO BE HEARD WE'LL PLAY THE GAME, EVERYTHING WE'VE LEARNED WE'LL PLAY IT SAFE, WE'LL KEEP IT TAME FOR OUR 15 MINUTES OF FAME AND IN A DARK CORNER, HIDDEN OUT OF REACH IS THE DREAM OF EVERYTHING THAT WE COULD HAVE BEEN BUT THERE'S NO POINT NOW WAITING FOR SOME IDEALISTIC REBIRTH AS THE TALENTLESS HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH IT'S REFLECTED IN EVERY PERSONALISED NUMBERPLATE AND EVERY FACEBOOK PAGE EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE KNOWN FOR SOMETHING 'COS BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT (OR SO THEY SAY) BUT THERE'S NO NOTORIETY HERE JUST THE MASSAGING OF FRAGILE EGOS IN THIS WATERED-DOWN VERSION OF FAME AND EVERY TOWN AND CITY KEEPS UP THIS CHARADE WITH THE ENDLESS LOCAL BAND POP-PUNK IDENTIKIT PARADE WHO INSIST ON SINGING "INDIVIDUALITY IS FUCKING GONE"* BUT IT'S BECAUSE OF THEM THAT I WROTE THIS FUCKING SONG *copyright Escape To Victory (Aberdeen band, now disbanded)
4.
I WAS ALWAYS THE QUIET ONE I NEVER WISHED ANYONE HARM I TOOK ALL YOUR ATTITUDE I TOOK YOUR PATRONISING AND MAKING FUN BEHIND MY BACK SO WHAT WENT THROUGH MY MIND AS I LEFT WORK THAT DAY? WELL, I KNEW THINGS HAD TO CHANGE AS I SAT IN MY EMPTY ROOM FROM ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES I MADE UP MY MIND AS THE SUN ROSE ON A FRESH, NEW DAY I FED THE CAT AND LET HER OUT TO PLAY I WASHED THE BREAKFAST BOWLS AND STACKED THEM NEATLY AWAY I PACKED MY BAG IN THE SAME NEAT WAY I LOCKED THE DOOR BEHIND ME AS I DO EVERY DAY NOW EVERYTHING LOOKS GREY FROM HERE ON THE FLOOR THE FAMILY PORTRAITS, CIRCLES ON THE CALENDAR YOU WON'T NEED ANYMORE AND AS THE SCREAMS DIE DOWN AND THE SIRENS FADE AWAY FROM ABOVE THE RINGING IN MY EARS, I HEAR SOMEONE SAY "THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE IT'S JUST NOT POSSIBLE HE ALWAYS KEPT HIMSELF TO HIMSELF, HE'S NEVER BEEN IN TROUBLE BEFORE" THEY BLAME RELIGION, THEY BLAME SOCIETY THEY SAY THAT I WENT MAD! BUT I NEED YOU TO KNOW THAT IT WAS ALL ME IT WAS ALL ME.....
5.
THE TRUTH IN MY REFLECTION IS SOMETIMES HARD TO LOOK AT I CAN'T STOP MOVING FORWARDS IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW FAR I LOOK BACK I CAN DREAM AND DREAM AND I CAN WISH I CAN SCREAM BUT I'M SURE THERE'S NO-ONE LEFT TO LISTEN AS THE SUN LEAVES THIS PLACE AND THE SHADOWS GROW LONG ALL THE PRETTY LIGHTS LEFT TO SHINE TO NO-ONE ALONG THE PROM THE BARS FALL SILENT, THE SHUTTERS CLOSE DOWN ON THE FADED GLAMOUR OF A SEASIDE TOWN THE ORANGE RUST STREAKS STAIN PEELING, UNCARED FOR WALLS THE LONELINESS IN MY FOOTSTEPS ECHOES THROUGH US ALL SO I HURRY THROUGH THE BACK STREETS TO THE WARMTH OF THE CROWD BUT AS I TURN THE CORNER ON THE HIGH STREET THERE'S NO-ONE AROUND THERE'S NO-ONE LEFT HERE AT ALL AS THE SUN LEAVES THIS PLACE AND THE SHADOWS GROW LONG ALL THE PRETTY LIGHTS LEFT TO SHINE TO NO-ONE ALONG THE PROM THE BARS FALL SILENT, THE STORM SHUTTERS COME CRASHING DOWN ON THE FADED GLAMOUR OF A SEASIDE TOWN THE FADING LAUGHTER ON THE MERRY-GO-ROUND THE FADING LAUGHTER ON THE MERRY-GO-ROUND
6.
IT'S BEEN SO LONG, JUST HOW LONG WOULD IT BE? 20 OR 21 YEARS NOW? SINCE I WAVED GOODBYE TO YOU ON THAT BUS HEADING SOUTH I GUESS YOU NEVER LOOKED BACK, YOU DIDN'T SEE ME STANDING THERE BUT I KEEP WRITING THESE LETTERS I SEE YOUR MUM FROM TIME TO TIME, WHY DOES SHE NEVER SMILE? WHY WON'T SHE TALK TO ME FOR A WHILE? SHE WON'T TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE, OR WHEN YOU'RE COMING BACK BUT I GUESS THAT YOU'LL TELL ME YOURSELF THERE'S NOTHING TO DO HERE ANYMORE, I JUST SMOKE MORE CIGARETTES I'LL HIT THE TOWN LATER ON BUT IT'LL BE AS DEAD AS EVER ALWAYS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NEW BUT CAN NEVER SEEM TO FIND YOU JUST THE SAME DULL VIEW THOSE CRAZY NIGHTS OF TWENTY YEARS AGO THEY ARE LONG, GONE AND FORGOTTEN REMEMBER OUR LOCAL? WELL, THEY GAVE IT A REFIT AND THEY LEFT OUT THE JUKEBOX AND THERE'S NO ROOM FOR BANDS TO PLAY ANYMORE WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WHILE I SIT HERE WAITING FOR YOU? I STILL CARRY A PHOTO OF YOU IN MY BACK POCKET AND LOOK AT IT EVERYDAY I BET YOU'RE STILL THE SAME, JUST LIKE I AM WITH A FEW MORE WRINKLES AND A HINT OF GREY I MAYBE SHAKE A LITTLE MORE , THE DOCTOR SAYS I SHOULD GIVE UP THE DRINK BUT I KNOW HE'S WRONG WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO WHILE I SIT HERE WAITING FOR YOU? ALL MY MATES HAVE LEFT TOWN SINCE THEY CLOSED THE DOCKS DOWN BUT I DECIDED TO STAY I COULD NEVER FIND THE RIGHT JOB WITH THE RIGHT HOURS AND PAY THEY ALL TURNED ME DOWN ANYWAY SO HERE WE ARE AGAIN, I'VE RUN OUT OF THINGS TO SAY I HOPE YOU WRITE BACK SOON I'LL GIVE THIS LETTER TO YOUR MUM SO SHE CAN PASS IT ON LIKE I DO EVERY TIME I REALLY HOPE YOU WRITE BACK, I KNOW YOU NEVER HAVE YET, YOU'LL BE TOO BUSY I BET BUT YOU KNOW THAT I AM WAITING FOR YOU WHEN YOU DECIDE TO COME HOME SO THAT WE CAN FINALLY SETTLE DOWN I HAVE A LOVELY PLACE IT JUST NEEDS A GOOD CLEAN AND A FRESH COAT OF PAINT WE'LL BOTH BE HAPPY HERE, WE'LL BOTH BE HAPPY HERE, WE'LL BE SO HAPPY HERE....
7.
05:19
A REFLECTIVE MOMENT BEHIND THIS HARDENED FACE THIS TREE SHELTERS ME FROM THE DRIVING RAIN EVERYTHING I'VE SEARCHED FOR EVERY QUESTION LEFT UNANSWERED LIE SCATTERED ROUND ITS BASE OVER THE NOISE I TRY TO REMEMBER BUT IT'S HARD TO HERE THIS PLACE IS BUSIER NOW THE WORLD'S MOVED ON 19 YEARS BUT IF I LISTEN HARD ABOVE THIS SOUNDTRACK TO OUR LIVES A BRASS BAND PLAYS THE LAST DANCE I'M STILL SEARCHING THROUGH IT ALL AND I STILL HEAR YOUR CALL I KNOW THERE'S NOTHING LEFT HERE FOR ME JUST THIS SENSE OF MY OWN MORTALITY IN THIS GARDEN NOW, FAMILIAR SENSES I RECOGNISE FROM DAYS GONE BY BUT THIS FEELING OF CHANGE LIKE THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER I CARRY WITH ME NOW I'M STILL SEARCHING THROUGH IT ALL AND I STILL HEAR YOUR CALL I KNOW THERE'S NOTHING LEFT HERE NOW FOR ME JUST THIS REMINDER OF MY OWN MORTALITY THERE'S SO MUCH EMOTION AT TIMES LIKE THESE HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO SEE? WHEN ALL THAT'S LEFT IS JUST A FADING MEMORY AND ASHES SCATTERED TO THE MERCY OF THE FOUR WINDS
8.
HE SPENDS HIS DAY SITTING IN THE PUB HE'S THE ONLY MEMBER OF HIS FAN CLUB BUT WHEN THE BOYS ALL GATHER ROUND HE'LL BUY THEM A DRINK AND SIT THEM DOWN HE'LL TELL THEM ALL HIS STORY OF HIS VERY OWN PAST GLORY OF HOW HE USED TO HAVE IT ALL HOW HE WAS SET UP FOR A FALL HE'LL TELL THEM HE WAS A MAN OF HIS OWN MAKING HE WAS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD AND EVEN THOUGH NOW HE'S GREY AND AILING ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS WANT TO GET IN TO HIS BED THE FANTASTIC MR GRAY, FANTASTIC MR GRAY HE'LL TELL YOU HOW GREAT HE IS ALL DAY THE FANTASTIC MR GRAY, FANTASTIC MR GRAY FANTASTIC MR GRAY...... NOW ALL THE LADS SECRETLY LAUGH BEHIND HIS BACK THEY LISTEN JUST TO DRINK HIS BEER AND SMOKE HIS FAGS WHEN HE'S FINISHED ONE STORY THEY'LL MAKE HIM TELL ANOTHER BY CLOSING TIME THEY'LL HANG OFF HIM LIKE A LONG-LOST BROTHER SO IF YOU'RE DOWN IN CROWN STREET LOOK OUT FOR THAT BAR THE ONE WITH THE BIG RED 'T' ABOVE THE DOOR HEAD IN TO THE BACK AND TAKE A SEAT GRAB AND DRINK AND YOU'LL BE SURE TO MEET THE FANTASTIC MR GRAY, FANTASTIC MR GRAY HE'LL TELL YOU HOW GREAT HE IS ALL DAY THE FANTASTIC MR GRAY, FANTASTIC MR GRAY FANTASTIC MR GRAY HE'LL TELL YOU HIS FANTASTIC STORY OF HIS VERY OWN FANTASTIC PAST GLORY OF HOW HE LOST IT ALL AND HOW IT WAS EVERYONE ELSE'S FAULT NOW, THE COUNCIL PAY HIS BILLS AND PAY HIS RENT 'COS HE'S CAUGHT IN HIS OWN VERSION OF EVENTS I'M NOT SAYING THAT HE'S LYING, OR THAT IT'S UNTRUE BUT I CAN'T SAY THAT I'VE HEARD OF HIM.....HAVE YOU?
9.
I CAN SING SO MANY LINES OF REDEMPTION BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER I CAN PLEAD FOR FORGIVENESS BUT IT ALL SEEMS SO SHALLOW NOW IT'S JUST THE MOVEMENT OF AIR ACROSS VOCAL CORDS THAT YOU DEMAND ARE SO PERFECT AND IN TUNE AND EVERY SINGER ON MY RADIO IS DOING THE SAME DEMANDING THAT I LISTEN TO THEM AS THEY SCREAM THEIR DEMONS AWAY BUT I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THAT IT'S ALL SO PITCH-PERFECT AND AUTO-TUNED THERE'S ONE THING THAT I'VE LEARNED IS THAT AS FAR AS YOU'RE CONCERNED THESE SONGS FROM THE HEART WILL NEVER BE GIVEN A CHANCE THESE WORDS THAT I SING TO ME MEAN EVERYTHING BUT ALL IT IS TO YOU IS JUST SOMETHING THAT I DO SO SHOULD I SANITISE MY SOUL AND SELL OUT MY EMOTIONS? SHOULD I JUST SCREAM FROM THE HEART WHILE GOING THROUGH THE SAME OLD MOTIONS? OR DOES IT REALLY MATTER DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY LISTEN ANYWAY? THERE'S ONE THING THAT I'VE LEARNED IS THAT AS FAR AS YOU'RE CONCERNED THESE SONGS FROM THE HEART WILL NEVER BE GIVEN A CHANCE THESE WORDS THAT I SING TO ME MEAN EVERYTHING BUT ALL IT IS TO YOU IS JUST SOMETHING THAT I DO IT'S JUST SOMETHING THAT I DO
10.
AN APPLE SEED SOWN BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD A HAPPY FAMILY IN THE FOREST OF GOLD THIS FADED COLOUR PHOTO FROM LONG AGO WE DROVE ALL DAY HEADING FOR THE SUN AND ONCE IN A WHILE THESE MEMORIES COME BUT FEWER AND FAR BETWEEN AS TIME GOES ON REMIND ME WHERE I'M FROM AND WHERE I'M MEANT TO BE HEADING UNTIL THEN I'LL WAIT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD WHERE ONCE WE'D HAVE TAKEN PRECIOUS TIME NOW CITIES AND TOWNS GO RUSHING BY IT FEELS LIKE A METAPHOR FOR OUR LIVES NO LONGER THE LONELY WESTBOUND ROAD CASCADING DOWN THROUGH THE FOREST OF GOLD THIS SIX-LANE ROLLING RIVER FLOWING ON AND ON AND ON AND ON........ REMIND ME WHERE I'M FROM AND WHERE I'M MEANT TO BE HEADING UNTIL THEN I'LL WAIT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD THE APPLE TREE'S GROWN BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD FROM THE SEED THAT WAS PLANTED SO LONG AGO SO LONG AGO WE WATCH THE DANCING, FALLING LEAVES CARRIED AWAY ON THE AUTUMN BREEZE LIKE THE LOVED ONES THAT WE'VE LOST BY THE WAYSIDE WHO REMIND ME WHERE I'M FROM AND WHERE I'M MEANT TO BE HEADING AND I'LL MEET YOU THERE AT THE END OF THE ROAD.....

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released September 16, 2016

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Mark Ayling UK

A lifelong drummer, Mark Ayling has branched out into the world of acoustic music. Discarding the usual folk/acoustic influences such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Mark takes his inspiration from artists as diverse as The Jam, New Model Army, The Specials, Motorhead and Joy Division, creating a sound that has the energy of punk whilst retaining the melodic elements of the acoustic guitar. ... more

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