Misplaced Childhood

as performed by Hisham Muhammad



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Lyrics

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Side A

1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
2. Kayleigh
3. Lavender
4. Bitter Suite
   (i) Brief Encounter
   (ii) Lost Weekend
   (iii) Blue Angel
   (iv) Misplaced Rendezvous
   (v) Windswept Thumb
5. Heart of Lothian
   (i) Wide Boy
   (ii) Curtain Call

Misplaced Childhood, side 1


Misplaced Childhood, side 2

Side B

1. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
2. Lords Of The Backstage
3. Blind Curve
   (i) Vocal Under A Bloodlight
   (ii) Passing Strangers
   (iii) Mylo
   (iv) Perimeter Walk
   (v) Threshold
4. Childhoods End?
5. White Feather



About this project

It was a crazy thing to do but, anyway...

I recorded Marillion's Misplaced Childhood on a single guitar and vocals.

Everything was recorded live (guitar and vocals performed together), captured with a single, tiny microphone -- it's actually an unplugged electric guitar. Yes, the sound quality is awful, but it has a strange quality of capturing the dynamics of the ambience.

It was a sort of Dogma 95 approach to recording: everything is raw and you listen as it happened (even the fade out in the last track). There are no edits or fixes, apart from cutting the silence around the edges of songs so that they flow in sequence like they do on the album. As basically it was all recorded through one long night, there are lots of playing and singing mistakes, but bear with me -- I learned to play most of these songs at the time I recorded them, so in most cases what you hear is actually the first time I played the song from start to finish. The idea was not to record something as perfect as possible. My intention was to record what you would hear if you were here in front of me and I played you this music. I hope the honesty of this approach was respectful to the original.

I recorded Kayleigh on Friday, June 1st 2007, but it didn't feel right without the surrounding context, so I struggled with the idea for some days and then ended up doing all the rest of the first side the next Tuesday night, June 5th. Recording side 1 was a project in itself, so I never viewed it as a "first half" of something I'd have to finish later, but amazingly a few people did ask me to record the second side. The plan was to do side 2 all on one night as well, but it was impossible. "Waterhole" to "Mylo" were recorded on a Thursday night (July 5th) and the prospects of attempting "Perimeter Walk" so late and tired were daunting. So I did it the next day, along with "Threshold", until I ran out of time. I wanted to finish it Saturday afternoon, but recording "Childhoods End?" was so exhausting that I left it to record "White Feather" on Monday night only (July 9th).

Special thanks to Rafael, for listening, the encouragement and the advice. I recorded two takes of Lavender and couldn't pick which one I would include, so I trusted his judgement. His comment when he heard the other take rang so true: "you lost yourself there... it sounds like you didn't want it to end."

Misplaced Childhood is one of those albums that hit you on a personal level -- at least it does for me. The experience of learning, performing and recording it was cathartic. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to take this forward. I hope you enjoy this; please be sure to let me know what you think, all feedback is greatly appreciated.

-- Hisham Muhammad, July 2007


Pseudo Silk Kimono

Huddled in the safety of a pseudo silk kimono
Wearing bracelets of smoke, naked of understanding
Nicotine smears, long, long dried tears, invisible tears
Safe in my own words, learning from my own words
Cruel joke, cruel joke

Huddled in the safety of a pseudo silk kimono
A morning mare rides, in the starless shutters of my eyes
The spirit of a misplaced childhood is rising to speak his mind
To this orphan of heartbreak, disillusioned and scarred
A refugee, refugee.

Kayleigh

Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall
Do you remember dawn escapes from moon washed college hall
s Do you remember the cherry blossom in the market square
Do you remember I thought it was confetti in our hair
By the way didn't I break your heart?
Please excuse me, I never meant to break your heart
So sorry, I never meant to break your heart
But you broke mine

Kayleigh is it too late to say I'm sorry?
And Kayleigh could we get it together again?
I just can't go on pretending that it came to a natural end
Kayleigh, oh I never thought I'd miss you
And Kayleigh I thought that we'd always be friends
We said our love would last forever
So how did it come to this bitter end?

Do you remember barefoot on the lawn with shooting stars
Do you remember loving on the floor in Belsize Park
Do you remember dancing in stilettos in the snow
Do you remember you never understood I had to go
By the way, didn't I break your heart
Please excuse me, I never meant to break your heart
So sorry, I never meant to break your heart
But you broke mine

Kayleigh I just wanna say I'm sorry
But Kayleigh I'm too scared to pick up the phone
To hear you've found another lover to patch up our broken home
Kayleigh I'm still trying to write that love song
Kayleigh it's more important to me now you're gone
Maybe it will prove that we were right
Or it will prove that I was wrong

Lavender

I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark
When I heard the sprinklers whisper
Shimmer in the haze of summer lawns
Then I heard the children singing
They were running through the rainbows
They were singing a song for you
Well it seemed to be a song for you
The one I wanted to write for you, for you

Lavenders blue, dilly dilly, lavenders green
When I am King, dilly dilly, you will be Queen
A penny for your thoughts my dear
A penny for your thoughts my dear
I.O.U. for your love, IOU for your love

Lavenders green, dilly dilly, lavenders blue
When you love me, dilly dilly, I will love you
A penny for your thoughts my dear
A penny for your thoughts my dear
IOU for your love, IOU for your love

For your love

Bitter Suite

I. Brief Encounter

A spider wanders aimlessly within the warmth of a shadow
Not the regal creature of border caves
But the poor, misguided, directionless familiar
Of some obscure Scottish poet

The mist crawls from the canal
Like some primordial phantom of romance
To curl, under a cascade of neon pollen
While I sit tied to the phone like an expectant father
Your carnation will rot in a vase.

II. Lost Weekend

A train sleeps in a siding
The driver guzzles another can of lager
To wash away the memories of a Friday night down at the club

She was a wallflower at sixteen
She'll be a wallflower at thirty four
Her mother called her beautiful
Her daddy said, "A whore".

III. Blue Angel

The sky was Bible black in Lyon
When I met the Magdalene
She was paralysed in a streetlight
She refused to give her name

And a ring of violet bruises
They were pinned upon her arm.
Two hundred francs for sanctuary and she led me by the hand
To a room of dancing shadows where all the heartache disappears
And from glowing tongues of candles I heard her whisper in my ear
"J'entend ton coeur"
I can hear your heart

IV. Misplaced Rendezvous

It's getting late, for scribbling and scratching on the paper
Something's gonna give under this pressure
And the cracks are already beginning to show
It's too late
The weekend career girl never boarded the plane
They said this could never happen again
So wrong, so wrong

This time it seems to be another misplaced rendezvous
This time, it's looking like another misplaced rendezvous
With you
The parallel of you, you

V. Windswept Thumb

On the outskirts of nowhere
On the ring road to somewhere
On the verge of indecision
I'll always take the roundabout way
Waiting on the rain
For I was born with a habit, from a sign
The habit of a windswept thumb
And the sign of the rain
It's started raining

Heart of Lothian

I. Wide Boy

Wide boys, wide boys, wide boys, born with hearts of Lothian
Wide boys, we were wide boys, born with hearts of Lothian
Wide boys, we were wide boys, these hearts of Lothian

It's six o'clock in the tower blocks
Stalagmites of culture shock
And the trippers of the light fantastic, bow down, hoe-down
Spray their pheromones on this perfume uniform

And anarchy smiles in the Royal Mile
And they're waiting on the slyboys, flyboys, wideboys
Rooting, tooting cowboys
Lucky little ladies at the watering holes
They'll score the Friday night goals

I was born with a heart of Lothian
I was born with a heart of Lothian
With a heart of Lothian

I was born with a heart of Lothian, with a heart of Lothian.

II. Curtain Call

And the man from the magazine, wants another shot of you all curled up
'Cos you look like an actor in a movie shot.
But you're feeling like a wino in a parking lot
How did I get in here anyway?
Do we really need a playback of the show?
'Cos the wideboys want to head for the watering holes

Let's go

And the man in the mirror has sad eyes

Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)

When the taxis gather in mock Solemnity
Funeral hearses court the death of virginity
Was it paradise lost or paradise found?
Did we gain respect or were we holding ground?
You had found true love, or so you believed
And the wideboys tattooed your hearts upon their sleeves

So when you think it's time to go
When you think it's time to go
Don't be surprised, the heroes never show

And the patter merchants selling false impressions
Tipping eyes at the waitress with American expressions
Tie angels to the bar with sweet Martini's and their charms
They're lying on every word and every arm
They're turning down their noses to the best lines
And the cheap wines

And the wideboys
They wear their lovebites for their crimes

Lords of the Backstage

A love song with no validity
Pretend you never meant that much to me
Numb, a Valium child, bored by meaningless collisions
A lonely stretch of headlight, diamonds trapped in black ice
A mirror cracked among the white lines

I just wanted you to be the first one
I just wanted you to be the first one
Ashes are burning, burning
Ashes are burning, burning

A lifestyle with no simplicities
But I'm not asking for your sympathy
Talk, we never could talk, distanced by all that was between us
A lord of the backstage, a creature of language
I'm so far out and I'm too far in

I just wanted you to be the first one
I just wanted you to be the first one
Bridges are burning, burning
Bridges are burning, burning

Blind Curve

I. Vocal Under A Bloodlight

Last night you said I was cold, untouchable
A lonely piece of action from another town
I just want to be free, I'm happy to be lonely
Can't you stay away?
Just leave me alone with my thoughts
Just a runaway, just a runaway
I'm saving myself

II. Passing Strangers

Strung out below a necklace of carnival lights
Cold moan, held on the crest of the night
I'm too tired to fight.

So now we're passing strangers, at single tables
Still trying to get over
Still trying to write love songs for passing strangers
All those passing strangers
And the twinkling lies, all those twinkling lies
Sparkle with the wet ink on the paper

III. Mylo

Oh I remember Toronto when Mylo went down
And we sat and cried on the phone
I never felt so alone
He was the first of our own

Some of us go down in a blaze of obscurity
Some of us go down in a haze of publicity
The price of infamy, the edge of insanity

Another Holiday Inn, another temporary home
And an interviewer threatened me with a microphone
'Talk to me, won't you tell me your stories."

So I talked about conscience and I talked about pain
And he looked out the window and it started to rain
I thought maybe I've already gone crazy
So I reached for a bottle and he reached for the door
And I picked up the sleeping pills crushed on the floor
Inviting me to a casual obscenity.

IV. Perimeter Walk

It would be incredible if we could
Retrace all the times that we lived here
All the collisions
Wasted, I've never been so wasted
I've never been this far out before

Perimeter walk
There's a presence here
I feel could have been ancient,
I could have been mystical

There's a presence
A child, my child
My childhood, a misplaced childhood
Give it back to me, give it back to me
A childhood, that childhood
Oh please give it back to me.

V. Threshold

I saw a war widow in a launderette
Washing the memories from her husband's clothes
She had medals pinned to a threadbare greatcoat
A lump in her throat with cemetery eyes

I see convoys curb crawling West German Autobahns
Trying to pick up a war
They're going to even the score
Oh... I can't take any more
I see black flags on factories
Soup ladies poised on the lips of the poor
I see children with vacant stares, destined for rape in the alleyways
Does anybody care, I can't take any more!
Should we say goodbye?

I see priests, politicians?
Heroes in black plastic body-bags under nations' flags
I see children pleading with outstretched hands
Drenched in napalm, this is no Vietnam

I can't take any more, should we say goodbye
How can we justify?
They call us civilised!

Childhoods End?

And it was morning
And I found myself mourning,
For a childhood that I thought had disappeared
I looked out the window
And I saw a magpie in the rainbow, the rain had gone
I'm not alone, I turned to the mirror
I saw you, the child, that once loved

The child before they broke his heart
Our heart, the heart that I believed was lost

Hey you, surprised? More than surprised
To find the answers to the questions
Were always in your own eyes

Do you realize that you could have gone back to her?
But that would only be retraced in all the problems that you ever knew
So untrue
For she's got to carry on with her life
And you've got to carry on with yours

So I see it's me, I can do anything
And I'm still the child
'Cos the only thing misplaced was direction
And I found direction
There is no childhood's end
You are my childhood friend, lead me on

Hey you, you've survived. Now you've arrived
To be reborn in the shadow of the magpie

Now you realise, that you've got to get out of here
You've found the leading light of destiny, burning in the ashes of your memory
You want to change the world
You'd resigned yourself to die a broken rebel
But that was looking backward
Now you've found the light

You, the child that once loved
The child before they broke his heart
Our heart, the heart that I believed was lost

So it's me I see, I can do anything.
I'm still the child
'Cos the only thing misplaced was direction
And I found direction
There is no childhood's end
I am your childhood friend, lead me on

White Feather

When I hit the streets back in '81
Found a heart in the gutter and a poet's crown
I felt barbed wire kisses and icicle tears
Where have I been for all these years?

I saw political intrigue, political lies
Gonna wipe those smiles of self-satisfaction from their eyes

I will wear your white feather
I will carry your white flag
I will swear I have no nation
But I'm proud to own my heart
I will wear your white feather
I will carry your white flag
I will swear I have no nation
But I'm proud to own my heart
My heart, this is my heart

We don't need no uniforms, we have no disguise
Divided we stand, together we'll rise

We will wear your white feather
We will carry your white flag
We will swear we have no nations
But we're proud to own our hearts
We will wear your white feather
We will carry your white flag
We will swear we have no nations
But we're proud to own our hearts
These are our hearts
...


All music written by Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas and Mosley. All lyrics written by Fish.
Lyrics reprinted without permission, but hoping that Fish and the guys from Marillion won't mind. :)