Things you can expect from me as a friend

Things you can expect from me as a friend:

Bad taste in songs
Poor excuses not to drink
Stern refusal not to club;
Last minute cancellations
with an illegitimate excuse

At least you’ll get delicious food

Blank stares in conversations
Vague answers about my mood
Late mornings, early nights
No celebrity goss
No sing songs to pop songs

But never any fights.

A lack of prompt texts back
Terribly woven fables of why I can’t go out
Closed off answers
(never deep)
Bad jokes and disappointment

I suppose you’ll be amused.

Talks of things that bore you,
(politics and more)
then no talk at all
No interest in clothes
The humming of songs you’ve never heard of
A vocabulary
My free time spent studying

But also a free tutor, I suppose

An unreliability,
emotional stability
in-jokes galore
Thoughtful presents
Things you won’t appreciate at all

Maybe one day I’ll fine someone who I won’t bore.

Grey (on the edge)

He was born right in the doorway,
and he never quite dared to step foot outside.
He could never take that leap,
His toes never touched the ground,
tested the water.

Yays and Nays were identically vague,
and his actions were pointless,
his inactions the same.

He saw the world through a sepia toned veil,
too scared of the colours,
and things they portrayed.

He was fickle, my friend
Never made a decision, my friend
And his mind never settled.

He lived on the edge,
in a sad kind of way,
On the edge of a fence,
Where he swayed and he stayed
And the only conclusion to which he ever came,
was that people they irked him,
and hurt him.
And he never wanted love in any kind of way.

He lived a sad life, my friend.
Never involved,
Only shallowly skimming the surface of what he could see.
He never dared to breathe in deeply,
Let in,
Or out.
And no one could quite figure out why.

They say he was born that way.
On the cusp of every threshold,
Doorway and fence he would ever come to meet.
They said he’d never be a jumper,
or a fighter,
Or a carer of anything other than what he would have for tea.

And he didn’t disagree.

A sad kind of life my friend must lead.

For You, or Me

Let there not be too much for you,
or me,
For my lungs are small,
and I don’t have the breath,
to speak.

But I am not meek,
just wary of my feet,
and where they stand,
For the ground may be hollow,
or made of sand

And I would not know for you,
or me,
tend not to listen to the rumbling
of the earth.

For I am weak,
and made of glass,
and the smallest bit of motion,
would find me left out by the ocean

In a million different pieces,
to be put back together,
and that would not be easy
for you,
or me

Know not enough about the complexities,
the inner workings of my being,
so my thoughts would be disjointed,
and my joints they would be awkward

So I find it’d be best for you,
and me,
to speak with care and caution erred

For just as I am fragile,
as a broken bit of glass,
so are all these people,
walking down in the sand.



(Written as a song, I don’t have recording capabilities, so this will have to do)

Empathy and Global Connection

There aren’t these separations,

That we are not on these separate islands shouting across to somebody else and trying to hear what they’re saying and misunderstanding them.

You know, you use the word yourself; empathy.

This thing’s flowing underneath, we’re parts of a single continent; it meets underneath the water.

And with that grows such delight

Gerald Heard

The Meaning Behind Typhoon’s White Lighter

It’s no secret that I love Typhoon; I love their size, their sound, their words, their references. I love how they all work together like a cohesive, chaotic storm and the fact that they so brilliantly use brass and string. I love how interconnected and intellectual their lyrics are. I love everything about them.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of Typhoon’s third musical triumph and I think I’ve finally listened to it enough to be able to put into words the story/concept/tale of White Lighter and what it’s all about.

Unlike Hunger and Thirst (whose conclusion marks the start of the following album) and A New Kind of House (which left the listener wondering if Morton managed to “pay [his] debts” and “start anew” [Firewood] like he declared he would), White Lighter has a sense of completion in terms of its story.

The whole album is, by their own admission, more or less a chronological tale of front-man Kyle Morton’s life and starts “in the beginning” [Artificial Light], the very beginning; as in, start of the universe beginning, in Artificial Light.

The song is a prelude of sorts to the album, even giving it it’s title as Morton declares that some mystical “artificial light” that “everyone [has been] bow[ing] their heads towards” since the dawn of time has resulted in people viewing the world in so many different ways and resulting in so many different actions and thoughts.

He claims (or at least, I believe him to claim) that the world’s different “lovers…fighters” and various other world views stem from seeing the world differently; that people’s artificial lights (purpose, religion, reason, worldview) are all unique. Morton’s artificial light, he specifies, is the titular White Lighter in that he feels cursed to die young.

For those of you unfamiliar with the White Lighter myth, four musicians (Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimmi Hendrix) were all left handed, all died at 27 and all had in their pockets at the time of death, a Bic white lighter. When you realise that 27 is the same age as Morton was when he wrote the album, and consider his life story (which I’ll get to in a moment) you can begin to see the link that he’s made and begin to see why he believes he has an “expiration date” [Prosthetic Love].

Now, before moving onto Morton’s more personal story I wish to talk about life in general and the idea of morality which Morton toys with in the album. Just like he carefully thinks through (or appears to think through) every single thing in his life and the universe, he doesn’t stray from exploring the idea of evil in our world. He notes how there are so many “scares” and bad things “on the front page” of every newspaper we read; wars, “ice age[s]” and how, through our consumeristic society, it is more or less caused by us. He states that we now live in a world where we’re terrified for the lives of our children, because of the “world that we’ve willed them”.

And, now here’s the kicker, it’s become such commonplace, we’ve just accepted that this is the way the world is now and it’s become trivial “dinner party conversation” [Young Fathers].


Following Young Fathers, Morton’s Fork and Possible Deaths (the depressing part of the album) deal with the notion of mortality as Kyle realises that he’s not going to “live forever” [Morton’s Fork]; that death isn’t just ‘possible’ but inevitable.

He realises that, be it “cancer” or an “accident” [Possible Death], we are all “shit out of luck” [Reed Road] in our destinies and we will all suffer the same fate; just like the dilemma of Morton’s Fork (two choices which inevitably lead to the same disastrous outcome. I’d like to praise Morton here for his double use of the phrase) Morton realises that no choice he makes in life will ever prevent the inevitable; that just like the stars he stares out at in Possible Deaths, he is already dead.

Depressing and morbid? Certainly. Perhaps it was written about a time in Morton’s life where he did not have a positive outlook; I don’t know, I’m not him and I can only speculate, just like I will speculate that both songs, although essentially depressing, have a hint of happiness.

They contain a glimpse of the perfect contentment found at the close of the album as Morton claims that we have to try and “catch” and savour “the time that we have left” [Possible Death] and, with an uplifting chorus of his peers, he declares that although he may be alone, everyone is “in this” trial “together” [Morton’s Fork].


From here, the album becomes less ambiguous and metaphorical, and more specific as Morton tells, with beautiful imagery, of his contraction of Lyme disease through “a bug” that “bit [his] leg” [The Lake] meaning that he didn’t “get bigger” his body didn’t “grow up to be [him]self” [Artifical Light] or at least not the self he envisioned as a child and not the self that people told him he would be.

So now, as a result, he “pin[es] for the things [he] could have been” and keeps “starting over” [Hunger and Thirst] in the hopes of being something better, or different, or, perhaps, something closer to the person he dreamed as a child. But, alas, his results are trivial, and he becomes too much like his cynical character from Dreams of Cannibalism; unwilling and slow to change. Repeating the same mistakes, pining for the same things,  and building “the same damn house” [Dreams of Cannibalism] rather than building A New Kind of House and moving on (moving forward) with his life.

More aftermath and fallout from Morton’s illness is touched on in The Lake. It tells how he cursed at the universe that his friends got the girls

“…my closest friend the one that I confided to/ I wanted her, but she wanted you…”

This notion also likely also demonstrates how bitter he was to the people around him who got to be all of the things, and enjoy all the things that he had so hoped to do. But instead he was cursed to be stuck “sick in bed”.

It tells how he resented and “disowned [his] own family” and friends, how he felt “ashamed” for not feeling “good enough”, and how he prayed to “be anyone else”.

The album then moves on as he moved on, to more or less the present in a rather joyful sounding Hunger and Thirst where he finally accepts what he cannot change, stops “pining” and finally moves into A New Kind Of House.

Whether it’s because of the “inspiration” gained from his Young Father, the endless love he received from his family who never “lov[ed] him like the way [they’d] love[ed] anyone else” or just a gradually gained knowledge, he finally declares that he no longer cares to be the things that he’d originally aimed for.

He no longer reflects the sentiment that he will be “Caesar or nothing” (an old quote, touched on by Kierkegaard who Morton frequently references, in which a man “because he did not get to be Caesar, now cannot bear to be himself” (The Sickness Unto Death p. 19), and thus sees himself as nothing). Instead he accepts that the “lives [he’s] let go” still “live” with him [Hunger and Thirst] in that they’ve helped make him who his.

He chooses to be “happy” [Caesar], in spite of everything.

Now in Common Sentiments, Morton, called by a “white ghost from [his] past” and eerie voices in his “dial tone”, takes a brief look back at when he was younger, ill, “passing out cold” and wondering when he will finally be better.

He uses this gift of retrospect to remind himself to stop waiting for a “spell” to make him better and instead commit to  “make [him]self” better so he can “bear the fair or foul weather” that life brings; so he can take all life throws at him. He’s commited to “be[ing]” good” despite the fact that his “body be broken”. He’s committed to moving forward with his life, a sentiment (if you’ll pardon the pun) partially seen in Artificial Light, but also seen conclusively in Post Script (yet another Kierkegaard reference).

Post Script concludes the album by taking a look into Morton’s future, as he grows old and his face “harden[s]” with time alongside the love of his life, whom Morton loves “unconditionally” [Post Script]. The woman is described poetically in Artificial Light where he realises that, like life, he cannot hold onto her forever and that trying to do so would be like trying to take a “photograph of a sunset” and fully capture its beauty. He does not, however, let this sentiment effect his love for her. His response, in fact, is quite the opposite, readily declaring that he wants to go through life with her; he wants to buy a house, “grow a garden” and do all of those cute coupley things with her.

In short, he is finally content and happy or, as this is us looking into the future, he finally believes he will be content and happy and he firmly declares that he’s going to “finish what [he] started” in life and that “growing up” was, all in all “more appealing” than he originally thought in his tragic childhood.

This notion of love, acceptance of his life, Morton’s sense of comforting contentment in addition to the captivatingly beautiful three minute string piece, provides the listener with a comforting sense of conclusion and an anticipatory sense of excitement as we wait patiently for the next chapter in Typhoon’s cynical book.

And we didn’t have to wait long either, with the whole album being ever so eloquently epilogued with Reed Road; a track which Morton claimed was just not ready to be placed on the album.

In all the live recordings I’ve found of the song (the only recordings there are), Reed Road is segued into from an epic version of Caesar and neatly summarises, like any good epilogue should, and parallels the whole White Lighter album as, “like a film strip” we “go for a ride” through Morton’s life.

We see reflections in that the notion of mortality is touched upon once again in Reed Road, with Morton declaring that we were all “born in a hospital bed” and we will all “return to the hospital bed”.

We see reflections in the chorus of Morton’s peers claiming that they love him more than (or in spite of)  his illness and, if they can help it, they won’t let him fade away just like they never “lov[ed] him like the way [they’d] love[ed] anyone else” in The Lake.

We see reflections in the “school that taught [him] to talk when [he] had nothing to say”  [Reed Road] and its similarity to the naivety he had when he was a child, just “learn[ing] to talk” [Caesar] and claiming he wants to be Caesar.

We see reflections in how taking the time to “see where [he’s] from”, just like in Common Sentiments, a light has been turned on to “all the lies [he’s] told” [Reed Road] and the truths he’s buried (see The Lake) has allowed him to changed his perspective.

We see reflections in how his “friends[,] lovers” and the “people [he] hates” [Reed Road] all came together to help form him into the man he his, much like the characters, “foes and lovers” in Morton’s cynical book from Dreams of Cannibalism who all became identical and contributed to our hero’s supposed lack of change.

I say supposed because, come the end of Reed Road, just like at the end of the album, it is clear that Morton has chosen to change. Clear as he realises that all “six billion moths” (perhaps representative of the people in the world) are flying towards “a fire in the forest”, an artificial light, if you will. Here, those “moths are all gonna die”, the trivial “things that they like” impaling and destroying them.

Morton, on the other hand, chooses a different path and decides to walk “away from the fire”, towards “the ocean”, deciding to accept redemption from God’s (I’m assuming, I am unaware of Morton’s religious views) or else some ambiguous person’s “offer to no longer be tortured”.

Or, at least, that is my interpretation.

A Little Religious Reassurance

I’m not one to particularly believe in signs but today, something ordinarily remarkable happened.

I’ve been struggling with my faith recently: losing trust that in such an unjust, confusing world (not my usual view of life) that God works.

Today especially, I felt lost in it all. It almost, as much as I don’t want to say it, felt lost to me.

Until, catching the train home, I spotted a guy I know (not very well) from work hopped onto my vey crowded carriage, right next to me.

I said hi, we chatted briefly before he mentioned that he was a Christian.

I thought nothing of it, until we talked more, still quite secularly and i realised something felt right.

It was like God was assuring me of my path and of something greater.

This hasn’t magically restored my faith or anything, I still need to think and learn and a whole bunch of other stuff, but it’s given me this sense of peace. This sense of God saying ‘hey, I know you’re a little lost, here’s something to push you in a good direction. Here’s some reassurance’

So, thank you God and thank you Jake for this little gift, I pray you continue to push me and teach me on this journey

Growing Down

Can’t we just be children again?
Can’t we be innocent?
And free from the debris of countless fights,
And battles never quite won,
That we fought both with and against each other.

Can’t we dance in the grass again?
Never quite caring what the other world thought,
With the mud in our toes
And our mismatched clothes?
And can we look up at Orion
and once again dream of adventures in the stars?

Can’t we look at each other again?
And I don’t mean just see,
But can we gaze upon one another
without the painful disdain,
the memories,
the emerging conscious thought
that the innocence we lost together,
has led us to this point?

This point of never caring,
Never sharing our thoughts,
or our fears,
and only ever exchanging hateful words,
and resentful odes titled
“This Isn’t How It Used To Be”
and “I Blame You Too”

The answer is no.
We will never be children again,
not together.
And the only time we will look at eachother,
And the only time we will dance in the grass,
Is on the day where painfully waltzing,
with mud in our toes
as if nothing matters,
in a field not too far from where we grew up in,
You look into my eyes,
With a sense of morbid nostalgia
And say something I would never have the strength to say:
“I think it’s time we grew up”

And you’ll walk away and I’ll say to myself
“Now I can be a child again.”

Music Spot|Keaton Henson

Artist of the Week: Keaton Henson.

For Lovers Of: Damien Rice, The Antlers, Jeff Buckley, James Vincent McMorrow, City and Color.

Listen to When: your lover has left you and/or you wish to wallow in you sorrows

My Favourite Tracks: Safe Travels, You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are, To Your Health, Old Lovers in Dressing Rooms

A Little Bit Of Background on Henson:

He was born in England and has since suffered severe social anxiety.

Thus, he rarely performs live, but I believe that this insecurity is what makes his work so unique.

He is a poet, an artist, a musician and an old soul really.


I’ve written briefly on Keaton Henson before, but only about his classical work. Today, I’m here to share with you his other works.

Musically, it is not complex or flashy. Just a calming electric guitar, sometimes some strings, occasionally a piano and Henson’s haunting and heartbreaking vocals.

The content matter of his work is almost entirely to do with a broken relationship and a lover who has moved on when he has not; the consistency of the themes provides a wonderful connection from to song to song.

Lyrically, his work is creative (as it should be for a poet). One of my favourites, for example:

“And the one thing that keeps me from falling for you,
Is I’m truly alone and I like it.”

-Lying to You


If you must speak, speak every word as if it were unique…
If you must work, work to leave some part of you on this earth”



It’s emotional as well; Heart breaking, tear jerking at some points in  manner which reminds me of the early works of the Antlers (Uprooted, In The Attic and Hospice) only because the emotion is so pure and raw.

This, coupled with the sparse musicality of it all makes it feel like it’s like it’s just you and Henson whispering his innermost fears and thoughts in his head to you.

It’s intimate.

It’s wonderfully self indulgent

You feel blessed for having been given this gift. And you feel immense sadness for the man.


There are a few other things I’d like to note before closing off this piece.

One, the number of wonderful projects that have been sparked from Henson’s works.

Two, Keaton’s website. It is one of the most creative, interactive websites I’ve ever seen.

Three, his song Beekeeper on the latest episode of Rectify; one of the most captivating shows on TV at the moment

So, if you have the time, need a new artist to listen to or fall in love with, give Keaton Henson a listen.


A Lyrical Dreamer