In the Mean Time

by The Hepburns

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1.
01:27
And so here we are, so here we are Sat in a puddle in the abattoir And so here we are, so here we are Sat in a puddle in the abattoir With all the wealth that never trickled down It just accrued in stagnant pools Stinking out Fleet and Threadneedle Street And all the public schools And so here we are, so here we are Floating along with the Chancellor And so here we are, so here we are Floating along with the Chancellor Sneering at the queue at the soup kitchen With an unholy stench at his heels On his way to the City And a lifetime of free meals And when he's gone, and when he’s gone They'll name something after him And when he's gone, and when he’s gone They'll name something after him A museum or a library Or maybe a star But if there were any justice It would be an abattoir
2.
03:27
Golden rays broke through the trees A shower of coins upon the green The green water that flowed Joyfully you splashed around An angel tethered to the ground By the sunshine hallowed Like the buzz of a million bees Somewhere beyond the trees Suddenly the grey skies loomed The gilded present was entombed The glory passing into memory Slipping around in the mud The air laced with the smell of blood So follow me, follow, down to the hollow… Like the buzz of a million bees Somewhere beyond the trees Watching you swim in the stream I suddenly became aware of the sound Of the sound of a machine Like the buzzing of a million bees Somewhere beyond the trees Beyond the vaulted canopy of green Like the buzz of a million bees Somewhere beyond the trees
3.
The municipal grey Of an empty hallway The glow of the strip lighting Pleading into the pay phone He knows his chance of love is gone Stranded in the mean time A nineteen-eighties boarding pass A tea break in a language class Capped-sleeve t-shirt, forgotten hurt The high-pitched keening Of a dial-up modem We’re all stranded in the mean time
4.
We drove up in convoy Me, Mark, Darren, Smevs, and Shag Mark brought some of his CDs In a carrier bag It was a beautiful day We sang along to a film soundtrack But we were delayed outside Oxford In a ten-mile tail-back We were delayed outside Oxford In a ten-mile tail-back Due to the traffic jam We were ten minutes late But in the grander scheme of things What’s a ten-minute wait? The Egg and Wish were there, Milt, Boon, Skells, and Chief But I thought I’d talk about the music Instead of our grief I thought I’d talk about the music Instead of our grief ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ Instead of a hymn Peter Ustinov was there I said ‘Look, it’s him’ It was a beautiful day We sang along to a film soundtrack Songs to sing you on your way And songs to bring you back Songs to sing you on your way And songs to bring you back
5.
She’s a colossus, it can’t be denied At least a summer long and a winter wide Steel hawsers for hair and floodlights for eyes She begs inclusion by virtue of size I advise caution, no human contortions Could ever assume such gigantic proportions Each one of her fists a time zone at least Her head’s in the west, her feet are in the east The hair upon her skin a forest petrified The blood that flows within the Mersey or the Clyde I advise caution, no human contortions Could ever assume such gigantic proportions When critiquing rational thinking, Kant had her in mind One hand on Pacific Standard, One on Greenwich Mean Time She’s a colossus
6.
02:35
In official documents or In billets-doux To exonerate myself When I was in a stew Or contrariwise, Those times that I confessed You look much better When you’re undressed For the record In order to conceal myself Or in order to be. They say it Isn’t me that’s using you, It’s you that’s using me I suppose you could exist Without talking at all Like going on holidays And sending back a postcard that said ‘Porthcawl’ For the record
7.
02:53
I can be your cornerman If any man can, I can be your cornerman Sneaking in the back door with those boxing magazines With my butterfly stitches and my pot of Vaseline Yeah, I can be your cornerman When there’s a situation, there’s a situation When there’s nowhere to hide, when there’s nowhere to run Drop me an email, or send me a text No need to panic, no need to be vexed Yeah, I can be your cornerman There’s no ‘I’ in ‘cornerman’ But there’s a ‘we’ in ‘welcome’ If you’ve been given the boot or humiliated greatly If you’re being overlooked for some Johnny-comelately If your day-to-day existence is becoming a drag Then pack up all your troubles in this old kit bag Yeah, I can be your cornerman There’s no ‘I’ in ‘cornerman’ But there’s a ‘we’ in ‘welcome’
8.
In my dream the suntan cream Has stained your paperback Your hair is hennaed and Your fingernails are painted black In my dream you lose your page As the sea breeze rolls in Smelling of patchouli oil And reading Anaïs Nin The seaweed dried up in the heat The water warming in rock pools The sand so hot it burns your feet The sand so hot it never cools Your Walkman infiltrates the air Sounds like ‘River Euphrates’ Your Raybans reflect my stare, yeah Dream of the late eighties Muscle men are kicking sand Pieces of raw meat Are sizzling on the burger stand The honeycomb is bittersweet Hiding yourself from the sun Is your idea of summertime fun Deathly pallor and hair of jet Cocteau Twins on a compilation cassette Looking at my phone I said: ‘Have you seen what the date is? What’s happening? I guess this must be some kind of hiatus...’ You didn’t have to say a word You just stared at my phone Then returned to your paperback You returned to your time zone
9.
The day is dawning In the dormitory town The suburbs are yawning As the sunlight filters down From the clouds above the park and ride Heading in their droves Heading to the city From the crescents and the groves Suburb-o-tron Sitting on the shuttle The countryside flies by I can see you squinting Out the corner of your eye Here’s a pound to a penny That you don’t remember me But we went to school together Back in the seventies Suburb-o-tron Sitting in the lap of luxury But you can’t even spare a thought for me You take the wife and kids abroad Surround yourself with pretty things That I can’t afford Your sense of entitlement And my lack of self-worth Are just an accident An accident of birth Pardon the intrusion Please forgive my lack of tact But I’m tired of waiting tables Which, against me, have been stacked Suburb-o-tron You get the impression Something is wrong I see you reach for The emergency alarm A cloud is passing Over the sun It’s okay. I just want a tête-à-tête A little one-to-one Suburb-o-tron You call it ‘Benefits Britain’ But as far as I can see It’s the likes of you that benefit And not the likes of me No better off than we were before Generations after generations Heading for the abattoir Suburb-o-tron
10.
That night I skated helplessly across the dirty snow Hurtling down the wrong side of the road,I thought about you And as a demon juggernaut came thundering towards me With all the angels how I pleaded wordlessly I crawled like a baby, cursing in the deadly slush I blushed like a teenager, nursing a schoolboy crush And as a demon juggernaut came thundering towards me With all the angels how I pleaded wordlessly My heart was beating in my chest, heading east but facing west I wasn’t ready to of worldly apparel myself divest Satan’s offspring, Sin and Death, were there at the roadside And Cerberus was barking as the gates swung open wide I beheld Hell’s occupants, though substance they had none Chaos was the driver with Darkness riding shotgun Lucifer leaned over and he opened up the door Between his world and language, between his world and the law And in the shadows behind him I swear that I saw Mammon Updating his Facebook status on his mobile phone My heart was beating in my chest, heading east but facing west I wasn’t ready to of worldly apparel myself divest I got a good look at Death’s face as I sped off towards your place I know we’ll meet again someday but I’m grateful for the delay Each line of your story is embroidered on your skin You’re like a map of all the people and the places you have been
11.
04:12
It’s not the way you talk It’s not the way you move It’s not the way you walk It’s not the way you groove It’s not the way you smoke your cigarette Well if it was, well maybe I could Just forgive and forget I don’t know what it is That gets me about you It’s not because you’re different Although I despise that too I really think things would be better if You just went back where you came from I really think we need some changes So we can keep things the same It’s not my pettiness That’s making me look small It’s not my prejudice It’s not that way at all It’s not the way you smoke your cigarette But from the writing on the packaging Those cigarettes were smuggled in, I bet I don’t know what it is That gets me about you It’s not because you’re different Although I despise that too
12.
It was just an idea with which I had toyed What if my social diary were completely destroyed My chauffeur and my stylist were made unemployed? Squinting into the sunlight as if into a void Nobody to accommodate, nobody to offend Maybe a perfect stranger I would fleetingly befriend We’d talk about the weather upon a westbound train We’d talk about the weather and then never meet again You said be careful what you wish for Another pearl of wisdom from your pearl of wisdom store Maybe next summer I’ll beat a path to your door A topsy-turvy Oliver, I don’t want any more
13.
03:06
I must admit I had a craving For a can of Dunn’s River Nurishment It was late and I was feeling hungry So I thought I’d try the newsagent This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years I thought to myself This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years Then I spied the top shelf The other shelves were choc-a-bloc with stock, With ‘Woman’s Weekly’ and ‘Men’s Health’ But there was not a single dirty magazine Upon the top shelf I paid the man and thanked him For his can of Dunn’s River Nurishment It was quite expensive, but considering the circumstances I believe it was money well spent This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years I thought to myself This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years Then I spied the top shelf Despite the fact that all the dirty books were gone There was a sign for all to see: ‘If you want to read a magazine for free Then join the library’ It is not my purpose to upbraid The dirty mackintosh brigade The legions of the damned Their airing cupboards crammed With the material no longer here displayed Or to cock a snook at the mild rebuke To the freeloaders ghostly The reprimand to the spectral hand Reaching out for books that you can’t see
14.
02:40
Saturday morning Got a cup of tea and The Cold Six Thousand Sitting on a new sun lounger It’s my new Valencia Valencia the Second I stared at the blue sky and the blue sky beckoned Oh Valencia Saturday morning Got a cup of Darjeeling and Blood’s a Rover Sitting on a blue sun lounger It’s the new Valencia A jet floated silently from east to west Headed from Heathrow to LAX The silence belying the bright orange din Of those supersonic engines I let my mind wander I’m lounging in Wales But dreaming of the wide blue yonder
15.
03:02
If you should ever return from your lengthy sojourn Come back to this place With every second of your seven-year sabbatical Written in lines upon your face If you ever come back Looking older and thinner, like an old legspinner Like a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’, an ‘Absolute Beginner’ Looking older and thinner, like an old legspinner With your duty free in one hand and your suitcase in the other If you ever come back If you should ever return from your lengthy sojourn Come back to this place With your luggage tag and your duty free bag Smelling of Departures and in disgrace If you ever come back Like some refugee from Ancient Greece With your exemplary approach to the crease Maybe we can begin to get out of the hole we’re in
16.
02:10
A weather-beaten Nova Its red had faded pink Its best years were behind it Like a sportsman turned to drink Was there some beauty In its stricken bodywork? Or was it just plain mediocre To Henry James, a Stoker? To Norman Stanley Fletcher Was it just Godber, the nerk? A weather-beaten Nova Coming over the hill Nothing much to look at No V8 Ford, no Coupe de Ville Was there some beauty In its stricken bodywork? Or was it just plain mediocre To Johan Cruyff, a van der Kerkhof? To Norman Stanley Fletcher Was it just Godber, the nerk? A weather-beaten Nova You’ll miss it if you blink Nothing much to look at But that jalopy made me think… How would you get the parts for it? Maybe, nightly, he bathes Beneath the angle grinder’s glow Twixt socket sets and lathes Smelling of Swarfega, no cares, him, to beleaguer Don’t spare the horses!

about

What it all comes down to is anger. The new Hepburns album is also given to joy, humour, and deep reverence for life’s in-between moments—but its heart is full of rage. Against the prejudice which fostered Brexit and Trump, yes; against the plutocrats pulling the strings, yes; but above all against the fact that, mean as these times are, one day we will have to leave it all behind.

IN THE MEAN TIME features our original drummer, Les Mun. Les last appeared on our 1988 debut THE MAGIC OF THE HEPBURNS on Cherry Red. It is our 6th album released through Radio Khartoum of Berkeley, California. It is dedicated to the late Pat Grover, our ex-drummer, who played on 4 of our Radio Khartoum albums.

We write songs at a tangent to real events, always with a view to creating something beautiful and emotionally evocative. This time around the recordings are anchored by brass arrangements galore and a 1960s Italian-made Contessa semi-acoustic guitar that belonged to our late drummer, Pat Grover.

Musical references include late-’60s to early-’70s easy listening (Alan Hawkshaw, Bert Kaempfert), TV and film themes (Ronnie Hazlehurst, Roy Budd) as interpreted by a late-’80s British guitar-pop band, and Jonathan Richman’s ‘Roadrunner’ and ‘Egyptian Reggae’.

credits

released April 6, 2018

Matt Jones: guitar and vocals
Mike Thomas: bass
Les Mun: drums
Cris Haines: brass
Sue Reece: keyboards and flute

Written by Matt Jones
Recorded by the Hepburns in Llanfynydd, Wales
Mixed and mastered by Anthony Rochester in Hobart, Tasmania
Design: Bügelfrei

Mr. Jones’s songs are published by The Subjunctive Mood (ASCAP)

Dedicated to Pat Grover

Radio Khartoum KHZ118

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The Hepburns Wales, UK

The Hepburns are a Welsh indie band from Llanelli, South-West Wales. They have recorded ten albums, two EPs, one single, and three BBC sessions and have been signed to Berkeley-based label Radio Khartoum since 1999. They toured the United States and Scandinavia in 2007. 'There’s No Such Thing as The Hepburns', their tenth studio album, is due for release on 29 January 2017. ... more

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