Troubadork

by Ben Walker

supported by
Andrew Dubber
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Andrew Dubber If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted or blogged, you might as well not have existed. Favorite track: You're No One If You're Not On Twitter.
Steve Lawson
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Steve Lawson the internet's bard. Whimsical in all the ways that are good with none of the ways that are bad. Favorite track: You're No One If You're Not On Twitter.
Garrett Coakley
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Garrett Coakley How to describe Ben? Maestro? Troubadour? Comedian? Tall? He is all of those things and more. Favorite track: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
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1.
Angry looks from the guy with tinted windows to my right The traffic's going nowhere and it made me think of you Delivery man is trying to edge his Transit up the kerb You're parked on the yellow grid and there's no way of getting through You used to take me driving round the village pubs You'd wind the Volvo sunroof back and warm my heated seats Crank the tape deck nice and loud until the dashboard buzzed Singing along to Chigago IX on auto repeat Darling I'm stuck since you left me I thought you'd gone but you haven't gone far Darling I'm stuck since you left me The lights have changed but you're still blocking my box junction heart Anxious school run mothers can’t believe they have to wait And angry tinted windows man is seriously late There's one girl in particular attempting a complicated merge I've given her a smile and a little wave to try to let her in But there really isn't room for such a manoeuvre to begin We'll never get anywhere with me over here and you over there Darling I'm stuck since you left me I thought you'd gone but you haven't gone far Darling I'm stuck since you left me The lights have changed but you're still blocking my box junction heart The lights have changed but you're still blocking my box junction heart The lights have changed but you're still blocking my box junction heart The lights have changed but you're still blocking my box junction heart
2.
Dressing Up 03:17
The other day I wandered down To the trendy part of town Bought myself a funky little hat Had a cup of herbal tea With a guy that looked just like me And we had a pretty deep sort of chat He said he couldn't hack it So I bought another jacket It was made of tweed with leather elbow patches Its cool was in doubt But I sorted it out With a couple of very clever little badges I love dressing up like the other boys You know last time I saw you When I said I wore green before you Well I realised today that I was wrong Who could forget the party that time When you mixed red with a sneaky lime And I said "hey that combo's pretty strong" I want to hold you tight And tell you you were always right But it's just too hard and I don't want to be hurt So I help you with your bunches While we finish up our brunches And imagine how I'd say it on a t-shirt I love dressing up like the other boys Later on the bus I'm wearing black The city boys are laughing at my back I know they're only jealous Cos they dress like my dad Yhey're always trying to tell us That they think it's kinda sad that... I love dressing up like the other boys (Flicking through the racks in the charity shops for a tight little cardigan) I love dressing up like the other boys (Drainpipe jeans with tight ankles and baggy knees) I love dressing up like the other boys (You'll never understand) I love dressing up like the other boys (We're all unique together)
3.
You're putting your hand in the blender again Forgetting your own advice You're putting your hand in the blender again There are some things you should never do twice You know how it ended up last time you got it on with that guy The weeks of listening to Carol King when all you could do was cry You said if he turned up you'd give him a slap and put the creep in his place But there you are in the corner quietly attached to his face You're putting your hand in the blender again Forgetting your own advice You're putting your hand in the blender again There are some things you should never do twice I can't really see what you're up to as he sneaks his arm up your back Maybe you're finding the prime position to launch a surprise attack But the more I see the more I stop believing all your hype There's no way you need to straddle a guy to tell him he's not your type You're putting your hand in the blender again Forgetting your own advice You're putting your hand in the blender again There are some things you should never do twice The fact that you need to avoid the guy is hardly rocket science But how can I help it if somehow you've managed to fall for a kitchen appliance? You're putting your hand in the blender again Forgetting your own advice You're putting your hand in the blender again There are some things you should never do twice
4.
Everybody wants to live in a bubble bath world Where nobody can get to them Everybody wants to live in a bubble bath world Where they can be their own best friend Everybody wants to live in a sepia world Moving time and standing still Everybody wants to live in a sepia world Everyone loves time to kill Everybody wants to live in their favourite film So they can hear that line again Everybody wants to live in their favourite film That ends the same though you watch it Time and time and time again... The good guy never dies in sinking sand The hot girl never stays with the evil man The hero never walks away alone Creatures from another planet go back home Superman always saves the world again And Elaine always ends up on the bus with Ben Everybody wants to live in a bubble bath world Everybody wants to live in a bubble bath world But nobody has thought about The wrinkles on their fingers when they get out.
5.
Validate Me 03:27
I put a hundred candles all around your room I've scattered scented petals on the floor I put three or four roses by the side of your bed I know it's not many but the shop didn't have any more Now I'm crouching in the candlelight waiting for you I've been here for quite a little while Why are you making me wait? You're never this late And I need someone to treat me like a child Oh, validate me Just let me know I'm alright Oh, validate me again I need that yes to get me through the night I keep hearing footsteps but nobody's there I'm pretty sure my feet have gone to sleep I can't help wondering what I did wrong Or if it's just that my jaw's too weak Maybe you're out there getting it on with a flashy sort of guy Maybe you've forgotten about me Maybe you'll think it's funny when you get home tonight To burnt out candles, withered flowers and crunchy potpourri Oh, validate me Just let me know I'm alright Oh, validate me again I need that yes to get me through the night Why are you taking so long? What did I do wrong? Why are you taking so long? What did I do wrong? Why are you taking so long? What did I do wrong? I just want to know Oh, validate me Just let me know I'm alright Oh, validate me again I need that yes to get me through the night (yeah) I said I need that yes to get me through the night (woah yeah) I said I need that yes to get me through the night
6.
There's nothing on the shelves But don't be scared to look There are no posters on the walls There's no instruction book This is a different kind of shop To the ones you knew before Let me tell you how it works In the New World Order Store There's no distraction for the eye And we sucked out all the noise There's no team of sexy girls There's no team of sexy boys It hasn't even got a shape No corners you can see And did I mention no escape? There's only you and me Why don't you tell me what you want? Why don't you tell me what you want it for? Why don't you tell me who you are? Why don't you tell me who you were before? Why don't you wait another day Just to see if you were sure? Why don't you give it all away? Just what exactly do you need it for? You want a wide screen TV So it can make your family laugh You want a camera with a flash To catch the moment in a photograph You want to spend your Sundays Riding in a giant balloon While a team of artists Paints your face on the side of the moon Why don't you tell me what you want? Why don't you tell me what you want it for? Why don't you tell me who you are? Why don't you tell me who you were before? Why don't you wait another day Just to see if you were sure? Why don't you give it all away? Just what exactly do you need it for? Why don't you try a little smile Where before you've only frowned? Why don't you head on home And take another look around?
7.
Chicken in a hutch He don't do much Just pecks and flaps and wanders about His cousin chick Was getting sick But someone's let the chicken out He raised alarms About battery farms The work of a hero never ends He gave the birds What they preferred To stop them munching all their friends I want to get out of town I want to bring Tesco down I want to make cabbage stew I want to keep chickens too I want to raise goats and lambs I want to be a rural man I want to be rock'n'roll Like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall He grows PSB In the shade of a tree He's such a country stereotype He overdosed On a nine bird roast He knows his woodcock from his snipe I want to get out of town I want to bring Tesco down I want to make cabbage stew I want to keep chickens too I want to raise goats and lambs I want to be a rural man I want to be rock'n'roll Like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall In welly boots He hunts and shoots He picks his herbs in the morning dew He's got it right He's living the life That's why I want to be like Hugh It's not just for his dashing silhouette against the sky Hughie's got integrity and that's the reason why I want to get out of town I want to bring Tesco down I want to make cabbage stew I want to keep chickens too I want to raise goats and lambs I want to be a rural man I want to be rock'n'roll Like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Ooh ooh ooh, I wanna be like Hugh ooh ooh I wanna walk like Hugh, talk like Hugh too ooh ooh You'll see it's true ooh ooh someone like me ee ee Can learn to be like someone like Hugh (one more time) Can learn to be like someone like Hugh
8.
Candy smiles and straightens up a painting of a mouse Satisfied, she canters back to the trendy metal stool Seven hours and no one's even wandered in to browse One more hour of watching, waiting Dreams of all the guys she's dating Candy plays it cool All day she keeps it bottled up inside At night she bursts into flame Candy Candy's on fire Candy Candy's on fire Candy throws her jacket on the retro leather chair Switches on the disco music seriously loud Pours a gin and tonic while deciding what to wear No more watching, no more waiting Now it's time for celebrating Candy's going out Candy Candy's on fire Candy Candy's on fire Candy rounds the corner just in time to open up Creepy man is waiting with a coffee and a grin Offers her a pastry and a flimsy plastic cup Every morning he's been waiting Even though he's irritating Candy lets him in Locked inside the gallery Candy crossed the line Playing with too much creepy fire Now Candy's burning out Candy Candy's on fire Candy Candy's on fire
9.
I've got this funny feeling I'm a living legend Nobody knows it but it's true And you thought I was just like you I have the same thing every Monday Cheddar ploughmans and a bottle of pop I love you, Monday sandwich girl And I hope you never stop Bringing me my lunch Cos I've got a little hunch you like me too That's why I have to tell you Sunday night I saw you in the scariest dream You had a jumper on that you'd never worn And I swear that it was green I though I'd lost my head So I wrote it on a note by the side of my bed I woke up on Monday morning With a megasupernatural fear When I saw you with that jumper on It all became so clear I can see through time If you really want to know I can tell you I'm A living legend Never before have I let these powers be known Not any more, I can't save the world alone I think I'm a living legend And I know just what it's like To be so cool people think you're not And when I try to make you see me there Swinging on a swivel chair You turn away You don't know what to say to a living legend I know to you this sounds like such an awful line But I've been racking my brain Tell me, sandwich lady Will you be my Lois Lane? What's it going to be? I can really see a future for Lois and me Was that a no I heard you mumble? Oh. I thought that's what you said I'll have my usual ploughmans then Can I owe you a couple of quid? I'll pay you back next week Cheers. Thanks. Never before have I let these powers be known Not any more, I can't save the world alone I know I'm a living legend And I've got just what it takes So never underestimate Everything I can do - what would it take For goodness' sake? I see through time Why can't you see that I'm a living legend? I've got this funny feeling I'm a living legend
10.
What did she think she was going to achieve when she launched that plate at your head? And now that you think of it why did you ever believe a word she said? If she's just as bad as the others why is it you set yourself up for the fall? Maybe you're secretly craving disaster and that's to blame for it all Hey! Give me a break There must be an easier way The answer to everything is right in front of your eyes So pick it up and brush it off and don't look so surprised The good looking man with the seven step plan to success is selling you lies The answer to everything is right in front of your eyes It can't be that easy cos something goes wrong with everything that you do It isn't ironic it's absolute crap and it always happens to you Why do you waste all your energy trying to figure out who you can blame? Maybe your deepest and darkest desire is to sit around and complain Hey! Give me a break I'll tell you the easier way The answer to everything is right in front of your eyes So pick it up and brush it off and don't look so surprised The good looking man with the seven step plan to success is selling you lies The answer to everything is right in front of your eyes
11.
Half Hearted 03:45
Wasn't this the swing we found in nineteen eighty-nine When you were five and I was six? Do you remember the time when we both ran back to my house With rope burns on our hands And the world seemed so big? It does feel great to be back here again with you But I wasn't expecting this I guess there's a satisfying circularity That makes this seem inevitable But I'm gonna have to admit I'm half-hearted over you You made me feel things that I never really wanted to I know you're pretty cool but I haven't really thought this through I'm half-hearted over you Don't you think our friends might wonder why we're going back? I'm not so sure myself Will everyone say we've run out of alternatives That we've settled for second best? Can we not find anybody else? I'm half-hearted over you You made me feel things that I never really wanted to I know you're pretty cool but I haven't really thought this through I'm half-hearted over you We've been friends for so long now that I Find it hard to know where to draw the line If we're the same Can you tell me what's changed this time? I'm half-hearted over you You made me feel things that I never really wanted to I know you're pretty cool but I haven't really thought this through I'm half-hearted over you
12.
You're no one if you're not on Twitter And if you aren't there already you've missed it If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged You might as well not have existed In the old days it was all about achievements Collecting all your trophies in a shrine Then everybody came across the internet And suddenly you had to be online A home page was all you really needed To seem like a success but not a geek As long as you updated semi-annually And checked your email once or twice a week You're no one if you're not on Twitter And if you aren't there already you've missed it If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged You might as well not have existed Technology was moving rather quickly And the next thing you needed was a blog With intimate and detailed press releases And now and then a photo of your dog More recently the students brought us Facebook And everybody has a hundred friends The parties in the photos look amazing They're not so great but everyone pretends You're no one if you're not on Twitter And if you aren't there already you've missed it If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged You might as well not have existed Now you need to publish every movement And every single thought to cross your mind I'm told the Twitterverse is full of rubbish But most of us are actually quite refined We validate each other's insecurities And brag about the gadgets that we've bought We laugh out loud at every hint of jolliness And try to self-promote without being caught You're no one if you're not on Twitter And if you aren't there already you've missed it If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged You might as well not have existed

about

It's amazing how many songs I find lying around on random hard drives when I take the time to look. When I put out This Is Not An Album last year, I chose all my favourite songs and left others to languish in digital obscurity. Listening back, there are some absolute gems. I left them off because they were too funny, too silly, too melancholy or too unpolished. But that's what makes them interesting.

This collection of songs represents the Troubadork years (officially 2008-09). I've written some liner notes for each track, which you can read by clicking on the song title. If you're an easily distracted visual learner like me you might want to read while you're listening.

Press play, and leave them on in the background while you go and check your email, refresh Twitter or create some sort of monster Excel spreadsheet. If you like what you hear, you can download the whole lot (just click the download button). You can have them for free if you like, but if they make you smile and you want to help me make more you can give me actual money for the download. I won't be offended if you just want to offer a couple of quid. I'm always happy to get the email that says someone just bought some music.

credits

released February 7, 2010

Cover photo: 'Musical Chairs' by Garrett Coakley, taken at the first Oxford Literary Death Match (www.flickr.com/photos/garrettc/4079753011/)

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Ben Walker Oxford, UK

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