Posted by: Natalie | February 3, 2011

Lyrical Inspiration

My planned afternoon changed a little in that I made an impromptu diversion to Leamington Spa to see the lovely Cie for lunch and nattering. That in itself was a welcome and lovely break from the old routine and helped the ache beneath the eyes feel a little lighter.

As I joined the M40 the radio reception on my now aerial-less car, finally cut out. I had an unhappy few miles of static followed by silence after finally agreeing that the noise of the engine was preferable. I have never had silence in my car, never. It is one of the reasons I love driving so much, being able to turn the volume up loud and bark away at whatever tune happens to be playing. I always prefer the radio to cds as I never know what I will get next, and the beauty of listening to ‘older’ stations means I am often delighted by songs I have not bellowed for a long time. So this was painful.

I was not looking forward to the drive home filled with more engine stutter and intimidating lorry rumbles, but then it hit me – there was a CD left in the player, the only one in the car! I couldn’t remember what it was and worried that it was something of Steve’s that would disappoint. But no, blaring out of the speaker system came the lyrical genius of Arctic Monkeys.

I am definitely a lyric listener. Some people listen to music for the creation of sound, for the ensemble and living beast within the instruments. I am not musically inclined, my ‘sausage fingers’ dampening my piano confidence at grade 4, so I listen for the words. It is the lyrics for me that feed the soul and the imagination, as a teenager wondering just how some unknown stranger managed to recite all my emotions so succinctly. Being slightly less emotional as an adult, I enjoy listening to clever, witty lyrics or lines that make you think, laugh out loud or break your heart repeatedly. Obviously if you can couple this with a little ditty that makes me jump around the car seat, all the better – which is just what this band do.

The album in question was the 2006 debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, which won the band critical acclaim and countless awards and nominations. Obviously analysis and critical comment of their work is a little over due, but it is now that it really counts to me. Alex Turner’s poetic license led to some truly remarkable songs which, although mainly relating to the clubbing life of younger Northerners, inspired me more than ever today.

He is a story teller of the modern age, creating characters and scenes so vividly in such a seemingly short amount of time. But from these first person narratives I found myself a little clarity; this album is unusual in that it does tell real stories with an honesty and truth not often found in contemporary music. Turner is true to himself, true to his origins and cultural reference points. There is no pretence. Even his wonderfully northern language variations and colloquialisms dance among the witty one-liners, unafraid of those who may not quite understand. Turner’s writing sings like no other band I know at this moment, but above all it is him in words, in music, in sound. This is what I need to return to.

I think I lost my way with my own writing – some time back in fact. I think I was trying to be this budding author, destined for a glorious and glowing career, living on a hill side, writing at a desk that looked upon moors and fields and beauty. I got so swept up in the dream that I forgot to be realistic – I tried to write as if I was already this person; I tried to write as someone else. I need to clean the eyes and head and return to reality, to return to me and write from the heart again. I have stories in me which I am passionate about but I got so hung up with structure and form that I lost that spark. I have stories and I have some skill, I think, even if it is rough – but it is ready and willing. I WANT to tell my tales and I am going to tell them for ME. I may not have the genius of Alex Turner and his Monkeys but I can follow their lead. I can find my own passion and experiences and loves once more and truly tell a tale worth telling.

Looks like the jaunt to Le Spa was even more fulfilling than expected.

Now, this is very arguably not the most intelligent of Turner’s lyrics, but it is my favourite, mainly because it describes me perfectly! I am an argumentative Mardy Bum who regularly has a face which could shoot darts. Feel for Steve, he has to deal with it! The proof that Love’s not only blind but deaf. I have also included YouTube clips for this and another remarkable song, Fake Tales of San Francisco.

Mardy Bum (Borrowed from


Arctic Monkeys Debut Album, "Whatever People Say . . ."

Now then Mardy Bum
I’ve seen your frown
And it’s like looking down the barrel of a gun
And it goes off
And out come all these words
Oh there’s a very pleasant side to you
A side I much prefer

It’s one that laughs and jokes around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s reet hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

Well now then Mardy Bum
Oh I’m in trouble again, aren’t I
I thought as much
Cause you turned over there
Pulling that silent disappointment face
The one that I can’t bear

Can’t we laugh and joke around

Mr Turner

Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s reet hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

Yeah I’m sorry I was late
But I missed the train
And then the traffic was a state
And I can’t be arsed to carry on in this debate
That reoccurs, oh when you say I don’t care
But of course I do, yeah I clearly do!

So laugh and joke around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Still it’s reet hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on



  1. I could not agree more! Love the Arctic Monkeys! Their first album is undoubtedly the best, but the second album Favourite Worse Nightmare is also brilliant. Love the song Do Me A Favour… How he conveys the emotion of a break-up in so few words is amazing, (as is the drumming)! Good luck finding your inspiration. I shall certainly have another listen tomorrow! PS: If it’s any consolation I’m a bit of a Mardy Bum too! x

    • I am mourning this morning – my car radio was stolen last night, with the CD still in it!!! Gutted is not the word!


  2. I am gutted for you! Was it the same wotsits that stole your car aerial the other day? Mind you, I liked the piece that you wrote today… v. atmospheric. Perhaps inspiration has come, but in a way that you did not expect! x

    • I like to think it might be the same crims, just because I find the systematic theft funny! Otherwise its just depressing to think of how many horrible, petty people there are out there. It turned into a very productive day actually, being able to stay at home to ‘sort the car’ instead of working the morning meant that I got a running start to my writing day. I edited and re-wrote around 6000 words today and absolutely loved it! I was on a complete roll and only stopped when my brain short circuited this evening. So it really does go to show that inspiration strikes from the most unlikely sources . . . I wonder what terrible start I can have tomorrow?! Best take that back quick before the world ends!


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