The Jellyfish Doodles

The new album by Chris Carry

"All our pictures have a life, a life that happened in the past. What if we could see our future in our photographs..."

 

Introduction to the Jellyfish Doodles

Hi and welcome to the only page that matters in respect of The Jellyfish Doodles.

So, why The Jellyfish Doodles? Did you ever find yourself scribbling on your notepad when you're on the phone? You know, maybe one of those ones where you realise you don't need to be on it, or maybe you're listening intently however you've picked up a pen and that blank note book page is right beside you and you start to draw a shape, or maybe it's not even a shape, just something. Then you pick up a different colour pen, and you trace over the edges of your scribble. Maybe adding a touch of occasional highlighter, a soupçon of pencil or even a dash of Sharpie? 

Anyways, this is how the Jellyfish Doodles started. Over many phone calls I'd add a tiny bit of filigree into the design of the amorphous shape that was beginning to slowly conquer the once blank page. At some point in the proceedings I'd filled out the notebook (with notes, not doodles) however it seemed a bit wasteful to just consign the doodles therein to the bin. So I took a picture. This has become the cover artwork for this album. It also pulls together a mix of songs, that could, in their origins, also be considered as 'doodles'. When I went back and looked at a decade plus of the songs that I hadn't finished, or maybe had completed the music but hadn't written any lyrics, I knuckled down and reacquainted myself with these old friends, many of whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. 

However the creative process doesn't tend to stand still. It so often stands up and swearingly declares "I'm still here!". As I worked my way through the older tracks I wrote new ones too. I had intended to put out all the older material together and then focus on writing a new record. But I compromised slightly on my artistic intentions, So, having gathered 20 or so finished songs I picked the final list that demonstrated a bit of variety or a challenge. There's probably none more challenging than the title track. In it's draft form it was called 'Steely Chris' because for some reason (and in retrospect. not even a logical reason) I was thinking about Steely Dan when I wrote and played it. It then became 'Spike Goes To The City'. However because it is a composite real doodle, I gave it the honour of being the title track. That is me on the piano. I can't even play the piano. I channelled Mike Garson's manic contribution to Bowies 'Aladdin Sane' track on that song over many takes. Ok, yes, I can play a few chords on the piano just not with two hands at the same time. So don't ever ask me to play ya a tune!

As always, I play and croon mostly everything on the songs, with the exception of the track 'Blast' which was all built from samples and all the drums, which I program and arrange via Logic Pro X. The technical stuff around mixing, producing etc really wears me down but it's all a labour of love. There's a saying that no mix of a song is ever finished, merely abandoned. It's so true.

Dedicated as always to Amanda, my kids Ben, Amy, Katie and Alex, my parents, my sisters and my friends who offer greatly received good intentions, encouragement and feedback.  

Welcome to my new album. Let me introduce you to the tracks....

King Of The Irish Goodbye (C.Carry ©2022)

I'd lived the best part of 50+ years and had never heard of this expression. However one evening while watching a US tv show (not even an Irish one) a character used these words in the course of the sketch. I looked it up. What? That's me? So, I set about writing the story of my socially adverse life. 

I don't like parties. I don't like gatherings. I don't like schmoozing or situations that require schmoozing. I'm just not comfortable with social activities. Its how I am. Trust me, I've tried to be different, and that's usually a disaster. If you invite me to something, don't count any birds of the chicken variety. If I can think of a way of not being there, I'll do it. You just can't take any offence. Social anxiety, and panic attacks, are a real thing (hello?) and it is a truly awful feeling when you'd like to be able to stay in a room of people instead of wanting to run at high speed in the opposite direction. If I'm there, trust me, I may think the world of you and your intentions, but I really don't want to be there. I am dying inside. Really! :). Also after many decades of aural abuse from very loud music, my hearing is shot. When there is ambient noise, like at a social gathering, I can't hear a damn thing that anyone says. You'll notice I'll be smiling a lot and nodding my stupid head. But if you ask me a question, I'm screwed. Then you'll maybe see me sneaking out a side door. 

Now, 1:1s, or one to a few, is not a problem. I genuinely like people (ok, I couldn't eat a whole one), and I am a happy engager at that level. But put me in a room with a lot of people and the panic sinks in. "But" I hear you say "you're an awful liar wee man, you've been to hundreds of concerts? What gives?". I can't explain it. Once I'm in the venue and the lights go down, I'll manage. But, pre-show, and hopefullyno-one requires my feedback on any state of affairs, I'm not in a good place. 

 

Lyrics

I walk in, and point my finger at you, maybe raise an eyebrow too, nod my head and smile

I say 'hello, how ya doing, hey it's been awhile' point to deaf ears and make a sign to dial

I'll call you when I can

I've come straight through the front door, grabbed a cocktail sausage or two

I've headed straight out the backdoor, is your imagination playing tricks with you?

Chorus

I'm king of the Irish goodbye, king of the Irish goodbye

 

You can't see, the battle raging inside of me, I'm fighting social anxieties, and they always win

I got here soon as I wanted to, thats the reason I'm so late, You look at your watch and it's nearly ten

Well, you told me seven thirty for eight

Chorus 

 

Later on, there's that thing you want to say to me, you look around forlornly

Where the hell has he gone?

It's not you, gee I think you're really swell, i's all about ME

It's my genetic makeup, the anti-social butterfly you can't see

Chorus

 

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions

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Patterns In The Sky (C.Carry ©2022)

I'd written the music for this track a couple years ago. Like an errant child I decided to bring it back into the bosom off my musical family and gave it a name. The line about a "million prizes" is a nod to Iggy Pop. The "Venus and Mars'' is a nod to McCartney.

Where does a song come from? Who knows. My words tend to come to me while I'm standing at the microphone. They're often unplanned, and just arrive before I've even sent out the invitations. 

 

Lyrics

Standing all alone in the dead of night, a million prizes in my eyes, in my eyes

I see my broken soul lift and rise, through my eyes, through my eyes

 

Bridge

As I pass through the stars, Jupiter Neptune, Venus and Mars

There's more stars, yet more stars

Behind me a glowing mist, trailing, fading as it pushes me through more stars, yet more stars

 

Chorus

Patterns in the sky, way up high, so high, if I could just grow wings and fly, fly away, fly away

Patterns in the sky, deep in my  minds eye, if I could just grow wings and fly, I'd fly away, fly away

 

As the horizon fades, there is no sound, just the light in my eyes, my eyes

Floating here deep in space the emptiness of my face and my eyes and across my eyes

 

Bridge

Chorus

 

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions

Stabbing Motion (C.Carry©2022)

There's no doubt I was channelling Lou Reed when I wrote this. It started off with just two notes on the guitar and I build up a melody around that. Oddly enough, when you play the same two notes on a piano it sounds like the intro to 'Rikki (Don't Lose That Number)' by Steely Dan. I'd never have known if hadn't been showing Andy Lawlor the chords one evening. However, it's origin was just a two note doodle. Someone else said it reminded them of Nick Cave? Wouldn't know, I've never listened to his music, and at a guess, he's probably never listened to mine either. 

It's a sombre little makey up song, again, the original words came out fully formed and there's barely six lines in my notebook, with minor edits made for meter/scanning adjustment. 

 

Lyrics

She made a stabbing motion, right across her skin, she made a stabbing motion, right across her skin

She said "...Baby? You don't know where I've been? She said "Baby, you don't you know where I've been"

 

She made a stabbing motion, to cut the pain within, she made a stabbing motion, to cut the pain within

But it didn't work, it didn't remove the sin, no, it didn't work, it didn't remove the sin

 

She made a stabbing motion, right across her heart, she made a stabbing motion, right across her heart

She'd been trying so hard not fall apart, She'd been trying so hard not fall apart, 

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions

Andy's Shed (C.Carry ©2022)

A little song that took it's first steps when I went into my room one evening to turn off the light before hitting the sack. I walked in, I saw my guitar, picked it up and 4 chords later, 'Andy' became a song. The melody was instant (it can happen so easily sometimes like this, other times it takes ages of random doodling) and I went to bed laughing at my own ability to pick a song out of the air (modestly of course). It's just SUCH a joy, and a humble wonder, when a song pops out so easily. 

As my head hit the pillow I could already hear the 'bonkers chorus section'' taking shape in my noggin. I couldn't wait to wake up and finish it the following day, thankfully a Saturday, which I duly did. Theres about 14 vocal tracks on the bonkers section bit and they include lots of oooh ahhh, bom bom bom's, and even a few la la la's. 

The song is a tribute to the great Andy Partridge, a member of arguably one of the greatest pop bands of all time, XTC. Its not uncommon for XTC fans to compare their beloved idols to The Beatles. They are THAT good. Some of the finest music ever put on magnetic tape or in a digital file has come from this band. I've heard Andy and Colin Moulding (who's written some of their very finest songs) compared to John and Paul (much like Difford and Tillbrook were lauded as the new Lennon & McCartney back in Squeeze's heyday).  It's a lazy stereotype really, John and Paul remain their legendary selves on any Mount Rushmore of genius songwriters, Andy and Colin (and Dave) are on their own cliff face, imperious and magnificent in their countenance. Yeah. The sum of the parts. 

Andy has a garden shed where he records his music. One of my friends Peter Fitzpatrick (a.k.a the excellent Circuit 3) has been there and has YouTube video to prove it ;). It's nice to think of your musical heroes simply ambling from the kitchen with a mug of coffee or tea in hand, down the garden path to the shed to put a few tunes together. 

The references in the song are all connected to Swindon, home town of the fab 3 (XT3?).  I made some minor edits to the names of a local Indian restaurant and to a walkway synonymous locally as a reference in support of the LGBT community. And fair play. If you haven't seen Swindons 'Magic Roundabout; you should google it. The "big horse on the hill" is a reference to the chalky ''Uffington Horse'' near Swindon in Wiltshire, which is graphically present on the cover of XTC's 'English Settlement' album. To confirm, I've never actually been to Swindon and I'm really not stalking Andy Partridge (or Colin, nor Dave). Yet. 

In a turn of events at the end of the song, remembering that Andy had called the police one night to disperse a rowdy group of over enthusiastic fans (I stand to  be corrected if this isn't true) I name check the other XTC legendary members - Colin Moulding and the multi talented Dave Gregory. I also name check Terry Chambers as he was part of MY XTC connection and when I became a fan.

When I posted this song I had a comment along the lines of (adopting a trainspotter voice) "I think you'll find you've neglected to include Barry Andrews who was the original keyboard player from 1976 to 1981 in your song" (or words, and dates, to that effect). Yay, Barry Andrews! Maybe in the live version. I put up a purposely shonky video on YouTube for this song. One great wit on an XTC Facebook fan page suggested I needed psychiatric help. It's all just a bit of fun. Hmm? I wonder if he was the Barry Andrews fan?

 

Lyrics

We got the big boat and drove for hours, argued about stopping for flowers

What would he bring if he came to ours (looking for Andy)

Found the big horse on the hill, took some pictures, time stood still

Being there was such a thrill, looking for Andy

 

Chorus

Let's go down to Andy's shed, listen to the magic in his head

Play guitars, break some bread

Down at Andy's Shed

 

We got there around quarter to three, we didn't know where he would be

It started to rain on her and me, (  Andy)  

Is that aneighbour? Said 'scuse me, do you where Mr P can be found

Conspiratorially, he whispered, pointing, thats Andys Shed

 

<<Bonkers Choir>> 

 

Drove on down to Swindon town, had a bite in the Jewel and Crown

The magic roundabout got me down, where was Andy?

Went along the Rainbow Way, t's great to see they respect their gay

We'll come back another day, to try and find Andy's Shed

 

Chorus

Lets go down to Andy's shed listen to the magic in his head 

Play guitars break some bread, down at Andy's shed

Lets go down to Andy's shed, if he turns up we'll play dead

We didn't think that far ahead, hiding at Andy's shed

 

Lets go down to Andy's shed, we know he likes Talking Heads

Does he use a pen or a pencil lead

We'll find out at Andy's shed

Lets go down to Andy's shed, does he sleep in a feather bed

Maybe with a nice bedspread?

We'll find out at Andy's

Lets go down to Andy's shed, we can compare our bald heads

I'd like to do it before I'm dead, go down to Andy's shed

Lets go down to Andy's shed, do a cover of "She Said, She Said'

Talk about a 'Revolution In The Head'

Down at Andy's shed

 

Down at, down at Andy's shed

Hope he lets us in, and doesn't ring the police

Hm. I never thought of that, hey, there's a change of plan

Where does Colin Moulding live? Or Dave Gregory?

Terry Chambers!

 

(...and Barry Andrews, very much in spirit...)

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions 

 

Vivien Called (C.Carry ©2022)

This song was originally called 'Crashing' ((when it was an instrumental) then it became 'Oblivion Called' ( a concept about the Earth calling, wanting it's life back from us humans) and then it migrated to a makey up relationship song called 'Vivienne Called' (amended to Vivien Leigh's spelling of her name). There's a video on YouTube somewhere for this one. The feedback on this track has been really good, and I'm very happy that folks seem to like it. I don't know any Vivien's (although I worked with one a decade and a half ago) so it's not about anyone, or any situation, its just a song. I see from my notes it was written and recorded on the 12th and 19th of February (2022). Chorus came first, then the verses. 

 

Lyrics

 Vivien was just dream, she came to me in my sleep

Then one day I looked around and she was walking up to me

I couldn't believe it, who would have thought how  his was happening to me

Vivien became my whole world, everything I wanted it to be 

 

Chorus

Vivien called on my phone, she left a message, she doesn't want to see me no more

So I press self destruct, it's what I do when these things have happened before

Vivien called to say goodbye, she says she's sorry, but we shouldn't see each other no more

Falling apart,  I watch those pieces lying broken, scattered on the floor

 

Vivien became my confident, my filter to the world, bit by bit

I dropped my defences, and she opened up the mystery

Every breath, every thought, every second of her that I'd see

Then one day, she disappeared, somewhere deep inside of me 

 

Chorus

 

Vivien was, just a dream, she disappeared in my sleep, 

Then one day, she walked away, I never saw her face again

Vivien was my whole world, everything I wanted it to be

I can't believe it, I never thought this would ever happen to me

 

Chorus

Oh my god, what have I done

 

©2022 Alex's Room Productions

Human Shaped Problem (C.Carry ©2022)

A song for which I had the music competed a couple of years ago. I had the title but it seemed like a lot of hard work to write a lyric to match the melody so I parked it. I do that occasionally. If I find I have to work at something it goes in the 'long finger file' sometimes into the 'longer finger file'. I still have a couple dozen instrumental tracks like this. However, in this instance I went back to it. The reference to "that crazy dog he ran rings around the table" is very definitely a reference to our new puppy, Ziggy, who is like a miniature ballistic missile when he gets a case of the 'zoomies' and he runs around like ricochet at high speed. However, it's just a sideways look at a couple in the story. 

 

Lyrics

The hands on the clock, mocked the silent conditions

There was a sigh, a shrug, that hung with contrition

Two broken passengers, who were stuck at the station

Awkwardly sharing time, in this awkward situation

 

Chorus

What we're looking at is just a human shaped problem, for you and me

 

They sat at the table and cradled their coffee's

She noticed a cobweb and pointed so he'd see

A look in the eyes that went from one to the other

After all this time what was left here to discover

Chorus

 

That crazy dog ran rings around the table

They tried hard not to laugh but they weren't able

A hand etched out to touch the other lover

It was unspoken but they knew they'd recover

 

Chorus

 

©2022 Alex's Room Productions

Babies (C.Carry ©2022)

Now for the comic relief. I wrote this years ago (the same time that I wrote a song called 'I Don't Want To See You Anymore', so that puts it circa 2012-ish). It's just a fun little track that I wanted to give a home to. I dare ya not to whistle. I know where you live. 

 

Lyrics

They'e small and they're round, they don't do a whole lot, babies

Take up all your time, get you covered in snot, babies

They can't even drive, can't even stand up

Got a big plastic spoon and a sippy cup

Stay in bed all day and they never get up, babies

 They're looking at you but they can''t see

They look more like a monkey sittin' on your knee

Sometimes I wish that I could be a baby

 

They don't have to walk they get carried around babies

It's so unfair, 'cos they''re so near the ground babies 

Their buggy's a convertible with four wheel drive

They're so dumb, can't even count up to five

Don't have to go to work to survive, babies

They're looking at you with a goofy grin

They're biding their time, they're just taking you in

Laying out their poop for you to step in, babies

 

 <<whistlers of the world unite and take over>>

 Holy christ, hey, what's that smell

I think it's coming from the demon from hell

Spawn of the devil  well you never can tell with babies

 

I wish to heck they'd go get a job, babies

Crying so much that your head starts to throb, babies

They've got no hair they're balder than me

So pathetic can't stand up to pee

Incontinent and windy, oh, that's just me, not babies

You'd better treat them right 'cos one day

They're making the choices where they'll put you way

The day is coming and they'll make you pay, babies

 

Babies 

Always crying babies

Pukey little babies

Evil little babies

Stinky little babies

Goofy little babies

Triple chinned babies

 

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions 

Blast (C.Carry ©2022)

This is over nearly as quickly as it begins. It's a fuel injected, or fully charged for you eCar drivers,  instrumental track that should be played really loud. Call it a palette cleanser for what would be, if this was a vinyl record, the second side of the album. I just realised that when I started the notes at the top of the page I originally mentioned I played everything on this album, however now that I'm at this song in the sequence of track notes, I can openly confirm I didn't play a thing on this track ( I subsequently went back up the page and readjusted the opening section, to align the veracity of my statement!). Verbose? Who? Moi

What I DID do was find all the samples and arrange / sequence them to make the track. There's a bit of skill involved I guess, and lots of 'musicians' who can't actually play an instrument,  make their music this way. There's a nod to the great Donna Summer/ Giorgio Moroder partnership in here.

Anyways, this is a bit of a headbanger (I make no apologies) and it originated when I had an idea to create a 'dance' album, but it didn't get past 3 or 4 tracks. More doodles. Maybe one day the others will escape to wreak havoc on the dance floor.  

 ©2022 Alex's Room Productions

Monkey Aviator Spaceman Dead Man In A Car (C.Carry ©2022)

Ok if anyone knows what this is about please feel free to tell me. I had the whole music track sitting in the 'vault' for a couple of years. When I found it again (like in many instances I didn't remember playing it, recording it etc) I decided that I'd add it in its instrumental form on the Doodles project. Then one day...

So, I have the track playing in my headphones and out of the blue I start mumbling, in free association, random words as they came into my head. I popped on the mic and standing there most of the words spilled out in one go (from my big book of lyrics it was noted this was on the 22nd May '21).  There was a bit of polish on the lyrics after the fact (10th June 2021) finding room and meter for the words, but originally, it nearly all came out within an hour or so.

If you overthink it, you could argue about the progression from a monkey to pilot to spaceman and then the irony of being killed in car crash. But thats IF you overthink it, and if you do, that's all on you my friend. But who knows, maybe the monkeys were driving the cars? Or the spaceships? 

And, yip, another home made shonky video available for this one if you care to look for it on Youtube. 

 

Lyrics

 

Monkey Aviator Spaceman Dead Man In A Car

 

You're floating in the water you know you've gone too far

You're drowning you're not waving and you can't see the shore

You say a prayer to heaven just like you've done before

You look up through the water and can't resist no more

 

MASDMIAC

 

Look at the clouds, look at the sky, look at the sun, look in my eyes

 

You see the stars as they expose and you wonder why?

Then a life that wasn't yours, just passed before your eyes

You think of all the things you've missed, a thousand golden lies

Will this be how it ends? You laugh at the surprise

 

Look at the clouds, look at the sky, look at the sun, look in my eyes

 

Now you're flying freely and you look down at the ground

You see a million city lights you hear a million city sounds

You see yourself through history , a story without bounds

You taste the pain upon your lips, then your forehead frowns

 

MASDMIAC 

 

Look at the clouds, look at the sky, look at the sun, look in my eyes

 

©2022 Alex's Room Productions 

The Jelly Fish Doodles (Spike Goes Into The City) (C.Carry © 2022)

 

I mention in my opening notes that this track which was written on a keyboard controller (i.e. it's a keyboard you plug into your computer which you play like a piano but can then take on the musical appearance of any instrument) is a strange one, even for me. I originally called it 'Steely' because it either reminded me a little of Steely Dan's jazzier moments or I was trying to channel Donald Fagen, who's albums, outside of the Dan, I just love so much. If anyone ever reads this, and based on me saying "go listen to 'Kamikiriad', and they do, it makes my life journey all the more complete. I'll never put you wrong on great music dear reader. 'Snowbound, let's sleep in today....'

The saxophones and horn sections, give this song a wheezy, almost sleazy but bright and breezy demeanour. Alliteration is alive and well and living in my laptop. It invokes city life and more likely the darker side of city life. I pictured old jetty's and wharfs, in the early hours of the morning, standing beside the East River in New York and you gaze across that wondrous skyline from Brooklyn. The wind is chilly, you pull up your collar, you smile, and decide the city is yours. Here's lookin' at you kid (ignore the obvious point of reference distance between New York and Casablanca please).

Spike is compelled to go to the city, taking a gamble on a precarious high wire, echoed in the frantic piano playing. I'll never play piano like this again. I couldn't play it now even if I tried. I have tried. Ah, I got close enough but nowhere near what's on this version. The playing was SO in the moment, so deep in a groove, that for a musician of my limitations, it's unrepeatable. Magicks in a bottle. 

  ©2022 Alex's Room Productions