Follow The Gleam

by The Boo-Hooray Theory

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about

Follow The Gleam.

These words come from a line in Empty Chair, and ended up as the title of the whole album, fighting off all the other contenders by virtue of being the least bad one. Then, having googled the phrase, I found to my slight dismay that it featured prominently in a Tennyson poem, and had gone on to become a revivalist hymn, all long before I ever had the idea. I must have come across it and then forgotten about it.

Still, it fits the content of a lot of the songs quite well because they deal with obsessions. Empty Chair’s protagonist is suffused with a debilitating nostalgia that finally unseats his reason. She Was Here tracks someone pursuing a lost love intemperately. Search Party is about a stubbornness that isolates you from all attempts at rescue. And It’s My Country As Well homes in on a chance encounter between the Empty Chair tramp and someone at an earlier stage of anomie. Swans Flying touches on a life blighted by loss, while Home Lies Onwards says that enchantment can never be recaptured but might return of its own accord if you walk away from it. Look Me In The Eye is about someone who wants the truth, however bitter or destructive. All these types are following gleams in their different ways, for better or worse.

credits

released 22 January 2013

Produced by Ian Lawson and Ben Heneghan
Recorded by Andrew Lawson at Fieldgate Studio
www.fieldgatestudios.com
Mixed by Ian Lawson, Ben Heneghan and Andrew Lawson
Mastered by Donal Whelan at Hafod Mastering

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about

The Boo-Hooray Theory Cardiff, UK

The Boo-Hoory Theory is led by composers Ben Heneghan and Ian Lawson. The band records and performs original Heneghan & Lawson songs with a 'classic' 11-piece, line up.

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Track Name: Empty Chair
1. Empty Chair

Maybe I could, maybe I should
pick up the phone again,
it’s time that I went home again.
Frost in the air, streets bleak and bare,
the days are growing cold,
winter’s here and I feel old.

At home they’ll be singing,
the bells will be ringing,
and everybody’s there.
This time I’ll be with them,
and join in the rhythm,
and kill the ghost who haunts the empty chair.

Day after day, time flows away.
Here comes the first grey hair:
no wonder people stop and stare.
Life has moved on, time I was gone.
The train begins its quest,
I’ll chase the east wind to the west.

At home they’ll be singing, etc.


It's a beautiful theory,
a wonderful dream.
I believe I can
search the darkened hillside,
and follow the gleam.
But there's nothing but
wind through the mad cracked glass
and broken-down beam.

Saw your photograph in Clancy’s window;
everyone’s been trying to track you down.

I heard on the news,
they want me back, they want me to prove
I can kill the ghost who haunts the empty chair.

It's no longer a theory,
it's no longer a dream:
this time I can search the darkened hillside
and follow the gleam.
This time I can
smash through the mad cracked glass
and broken-down beam.

I heard on the news,
they want me back, they want me to prove
I can kill the ghost who haunts the empty chair.

At home they’ll be singing, etc.
Track Name: Swans Flying
2. Swans Flying

Another day spent by the window.
Watch the weather turning sideways through the year.
I always know before the leaves do,
‘cos the sky’s all written-on with swans,
and there’s air beneath your shoes.

Swans flying in a straight line,
high above this house of mine.
I don’t look, I just have to turn to you,
and your face says you’re leaving.
Little pattern in a big white sky,
those wings that tumble slowly by,
those clouds...
I can read the signs
(swans flying in a straight line).

This screen has never seemed so empty.
Shoes flutter down at last, now they’re so empty too.
You should go barefoot for the journey,
and dance across the autumn sky,
with the north wind at your tail.

Swans flying in a straight line, etc.

I know that change is a part of life,
it’s a sign of life, but it hurts
on the day that it comes true.
No lights will shine from these window panes
till the wind and rain have destroyed
every trace of me and you.

And when the years have changed their meanings,
and what we shared is overgrown by separate lives,
sometimes when I’m between two buildings
I’ll accidentally see the sky,
and I remember those
swans flying in a straight line, etc.

I know that change is a part of life,
it’s a sign of life, but it hurt
on the day that it came true.
Maybe one day we will meet again
in the wind and rain,
but who knows if it’s me
and if it’s you?

Swans flying in a straight line, etc.
Track Name: Sacred Cow
3. Sacred Cow

I was walking along,
surveying the trees,
just singing this song,
just chewing the breeze,
and suddenly it happened,
I don’t know when,
but I put my foot in it again.

‘Cos you never know where
a question will lead:
one hand in the air
can cause a stampede.
And suddenly it happens:
you don’t know how,
but you crashed into a sacred cow.

Ooh - well she represents a
force of circumstance,
she’s a bovine censor -
you should see her dance.

There’s a number of things
blow up in your face,
like questions of sex,
and questions of race.
You only have to mention
a single word,
and there’ll be trouble in the herd.

Ooh - well she represents a
force of circumstance,
she’s a bovine censor -
you should see her
dancing in herds and legions,
sacred Friesians.

That’s the end of my tale.
The moral is clear:
just watch what you say,
or the cow will appear.
Avoid the burning issue,
withhold your views,
and you won’t have to clean your shoes.

Ooh - well, she etc.
Track Name: Look Me In The Eye
4. Look Me In The Eye

You often like to laugh,
but there’s no sparkle in your eyes
I know that you might smile,
but all the while you’re telling lies.
And all the time we’re talking
I can’t help but wonder why
you never seem to look me in the eye.

And even when we kiss,
you always seem to look away,
as if there’s something that you can’t quite
bring yourself to say.
Your eyes might fill with tears,
but your cheeks are always dry.
You never seem to look me in the eye.

Look me in the eye,
please don’t try and hide.
I would like to try to share
what’s there inside.
Won’t you tell me why
you never look me in the eye?

For nights on end you toss and turn
and cry out in your sleep.
When I ask you why,
you always say that it will keep.
But later in the darkness,
you can’t suppress a silent sigh.
I wish that you would look me in the eye.

Look me in the eye, etc.

And when you say you love me
and you’d hate for us to part,
it’s always hard to tell if there’s
emotion in your heart.
And even if it means that in the end
we’ll say goodbye,
I wish that you would look me in the eye.
Track Name: She was Here
5. She Was Here

Stand alone at midnight
up on the crowded deck.
See the lights of Calais;
the hairs rise on my neck.
Somewhere darkness hides her,
the girl who holds my heart.
Love, don’t fail me on her trail,
but who knows where to start?

She was here,
I’m only hours behind her.
She was here,
but I was too late to find her.

Everywhere I wander,
the story’s just the same:
packed her bags and left here,
the day before I came.
Why does she still haunt me?
Why do I still stay?
In my dreams she always seems
to turn her face away.

She was here etc.

I’m the fool who told her
I didn’t want to know.
(I didn’t want her love.)
Now if I could hold her,
I’d never let her go.

On the day I saw her,
I tried to touch her hand.
Now at last I’d tell her
and make her understand.
She waits on the corner.
She turns round when I call.
In her eyes there’s no surprise:
it wasn’t her at all.

She was here etc.
Track Name: Single Day
6. Single Day

It’s the sort of night when sunset lasts forever,
when a mask of silence settles like a glove,
when a midnight train throws echoes to the river:
You remember how it feels to fall in love.

When the sky still bears the trace of daylight’s fingers,
and you think the birds will sing the whole night through,
on the riverbanks the ghost of noon still lingers:
I don’t regret a single day I spent with you.

The summer’s splendour only lasts a moment
before the winter chills the dew,
so on this night let’s put our arms around each other:
I don’t regret a single day I spent with you.

I can hear the horses stamping in the darkness,
‘cos the daybreak is about to join the view.
Can they carry me away without you waking?
I don’t regret a single day I spent with you.

The summer’s splendour etc.
Track Name: Search Party
7. Search Party

I remember, I saw a bee on a pavement.
He couldn’t fly away,
he was stuck on some old patch of sunlight,
where the sugar held his feet.

And I remember, when the rain started falling,
he was there for weeks,
till the water swept away his body,
in a wreath of fallen leaves.

Then all the trees waved their arms,
shaking their yellow hands away
to fill the air with fires and alarms,
telling the wintertime
everything’s prepared now.

In a corner, far away from the bright lights,
seven mists perform some old dance upon the
steel-framed window,
to tempt the brave to face the cold,

where all the trees show their bones,
a freezing basket for the moon
to shine upon the breath of mobile phones,
telling the wintertime
everything’s prepared now.

I think I would rather be
like that old summer bee,
stupid, stuck, and dead,
with the leaves around my head.
Don’t care if winter comes,
I’ll be hanging by my thumbs.
Let the search parties know
they can turn back home.

Now there's almost darkness at noon,
the years are rushing past my head,
I step into the tide at full moon,
into the wintertime:
everything's prepared now.

I think I was made to be
like that old summer bee,
stupid, stuck, and dead,
etc.
Track Name: Chill Wind
8. Chill Wind

Cold grey morning, can't stand straight.
New day dawning: it's early, it's so late.

Been nice talking, so much to say.
Can't stop yawning, see you later in the day.

Gonna be another scorcher,
I can feel it in my bones.

Chill wind blows nothing but good,
it sends the world through your hands.
You fly like a leaf in the woods,
and no-one knows where you land,
no-one knows where you land.
It's an ancient proverb
on an ancient factory wall.

Mid-day sunshine, whole world's here.
Your arm waving – you were seventeen that year.

Keep my memories in the corner,
till the day that I wake up.

Chill wind blows nothing but good, etc.
It's on every billboard, it's the next big thing,
it's a download from the past.

Years go by, and then one morning,
a message tied to a balloon:

Chill wind blows nothing but good, etc.
You could live for ever, if the day was cold,
if you let the past take hold.
Track Name: Home Lies Onwards
9. Home Lies Onwards

Certain things fill me with sorrow
for a past I never had.
Wish I’d messed around in school,
used the time to play the fool:
maybe then I wouldn’t feel so bad.

Like a film you saw in childhood
might have really touched your heart,
then one day out of the blue,
just a breath comes back to you,
but losing it tears you apart.

Don’t know what’s missing,
but it isn’t in the past.
I’ll never find it
if I try to make this moment last.
The only shelter
is to leave and not turn back again:
home lies onwards through the rain.

And I really think that sometimes,
like when a gale rips through the trees,
a certain feeling seems to start
the beating wings beneath your heart:
it almost brings you to your knees.

Don’t know what’s missing, etc.

And there’s no crisis in my life,
no sudden joys, no sudden depths of pain.
And my future is a map rolled out so plain:
just some foothills, and the endless rain.

Don’t know what’s missing, etc.
Track Name: The Tax Advantages Of A Slow, Lingering Death
10. The Tax Advantages Of A Slow, Lingering Death

I was fighting for air,
I was fighting for breath,
and beginning to stare at a lingering death.
My pulse had been weakened
by several attacks.
I saw my accountant – he said to relax.

He said:
"Your life may be blue, your life may be brief,
but from the tax point of view,
you'll get some relief.
I'm so glad that you called me,
I'm so glad that I came.
You're dying – there's no end
To what you can claim!"

The tax advantages of a slow, lingering death:
what starts as contagious
could be advantageous.
Cut out that depression,
and think: tax concession!
Keep cool, don't you worry, relax:
A slow lingering death is so healthy for tax.

I know that it hurts, I know that it's sore,
but believe me, recovery
will hurt so much more.
So don't call a doctor, you know it's too late,
and you will be taxed at a fantastic rate.

The tax advantages etc.

My flesh starts to crawl, I'm beginning to itch,
but after it all, I know I'll be rich.
I'm going to heaven:
when I pass through that gate,
I'll know I was taxed at a fantastic rate.

The tax advantages etc.
Track Name: Helen Lane
11. Helen Lane

Helen Lane, don’t you know that you’re driving me insane?
Your memory linger on,
all over my brain.
You were strong, and your power is
growing all day long.
If Helen Lane gets into you biology,
you can’t go wrong.

Now you’ve gone, there’s a part of
your life still carries on.
Let’s take a look beneath that
perspex covering:
that’s Helen Lane.

Ooh - we scraped some cells off her.
Ooh - and nothing could stop them growing.
Ooh - she lived in America.
Aah - now she’s an international star.

Helen Lane, you’re a smear on a
petri dish, it’s true.
But when people say lebensraum,
they’re thinking of you.
Suddenly, you’ve become
twice the size you used to be,
and you’re the only girl in my laboratory.

It’s plain to see
her culture knows no bounds,
her culture knows no bounds,
her culture knows no bounds,
her culture knows no bounds,
her culture knows no bounds,
her culture knows no bounds.

Ooh, yeah - she lived in America.
Ooh, yeah - now she’s an international star.

Helen Lane, you’re a metaphor
after my own heart.
If Helen Lane gets into your biology,
gets into your laboratory,
gets into your mythology,
you run and hide.

I sow rhythms almost everywhere,
in the ground and in the frozen air.
You can run and you can try to hide,
still this seed will find a way inside.
Every day is like another day,
helpless victims try to tun away.
Nothing yet discovered can contain
all the cells that come from Helen Lane.
Track Name: It's My Country As Well
12. It’s My Country As Well

He looked like an exile, adrift from bar to bar,
stumbling a sad mile,
he’s lost without his guiding star.
His eyes sang his history,
a tale that no-one grieves,
a file full of mystery
written on storm-blown leaves.

He stared at the corner,
where all the shadows lurk.
He seemed full of secrets,
a Father Christmas out of work.
I wanted to tell him, the vagrant or the saint,
that I was no different,
I suffered from the same complaint.

Well, I’ll buy you a drink
if you’ll tell me your sorrows,
‘cos it’s not your tomorrows
that I want to hear tell,
but the tales of your homeland,
every word, no digression:
here’s my confession,
it’s my country as well.

I waited for ages for him to come again.
I lived all the pages
that go to make the book of pain,
a life without meaning, adrift from day to day,
and where is that sorrow to drive my sorrow
clean away?

Well, I’ll buy you a drink etc.