SFF Song of the Week: Philip Palmer

This has been a high adrenalin week, by my standards (I speak as a professional writer – we really DON’T don’t have very exciting lives.)  Firstly – this is a long boring story, but to me it’s fascinating – my computer crashed. Which meant I had to buy a new one.  (It’s an Acer All-in-One and it is SO cool. It’s a computer, a telly, a DVD player, and a teleportation device rolled into one.)  As an unexpected consequence I am now able to access the songs on my ITunes, which were trapped on an external hard drive which my previous computer (very VERY old with no functioning USB slots) was unable to play.

Cutting to the chase: I can now play all the songs on my ITunes again, after a period of several months using my 14 year old daughter’s ITunes’ library (way cooler than mine – no Free! No Santana! No Eagles! No – stop, I’m embarrassing myself here.) (Deep Purple! Black Sabbath! Cher!)

The other exciting thing is that I lost my lucky gym towel. But now I’ve found it again!

Okay, that second thing was totally off the scale, in terms of notinterestingness, even for me. I fear I’ve lost my audience here.

Anyway, the reason for this rambling nonsense is that while running in the park this morning, my IPod played a song which used to be one of my all time favourites – Things I’ve Seen by Spooks. It’s a haunting and wonderful song with extraordinary lyrics. This song was one of my inspirations when I wrote Debatable Space. The chorus goes:

You won’t believe the things I’ve seen
Far beyond your wildest dreams
I’ve seen chaos and order reign supreme
I’ve seen the beauty of the universe
so peaceful and serene
in seconds turn to violence and screams

I adore these lines, and to be honest assumed a science fictional meaning to them, which in fact I don’t think is truly there. Never fear! I’m including this song as an SFF Song of the Week anyway ‘cos it’s, ahem, my website.  And this song is closely interwoven with the history of Debatable Space, which at one time was called Far Beyond. , until I was told not to be so stupid. And in fact, in my “final” draft of the book, there’s a scene in the Pirates Hall when Flanagan actually sings the Spooks song – though at the last minute, we couldn’t get the rights so I had to substitute an original lyric instead.

You know, this truly is a pathetic intro, by the very high standards set by other authors and bloggers on this site. I offer no insights into the band, or its musical history, nor do I analyse the many levels of meaning of the words. I just happen to love it.

So here it is:

“Things I’ve Seen”

[Chorus:]
You won’t believe the things I’ve seen
Far beyond your wildest dreams
I’ve seen chaos and order reign supreme
I’ve seen the beauty of the universe
so peaceful and serene
in seconds turn to violence and screams

I’ve seen true genius, too often to lose the meaningless
appreciation of this mediocre nation
I’ve heard the mind is repetition,
of empty words without tradition
Turned original verbs into submission
I smelled this malignerance addiction,
but I guess I wouldn’t be right
if I said the blunt was like a baby pipe
There ain’t gon’ be no revolution tonight
Half of my warriors as high as a kite
Lost and they lost all they fight
And I’ve tasted, the bitter tragedy of lives wasted
And men who glimpsed the darkness inside, but never faced it
And it’s a shame that most of y’all are followin sheep
Wallowin deeper than the darkness, you’re fallin asleep

[Chorus:]
You won’t believe the things I’ve seen
Far beyond your wildest dreams
I’ve seen chaos and order reign supreme
I’ve seen the beauty of the universe
so peaceful and serene
in seconds turn to violence and screams

I’ve seen and experienced things
that’ll push the average to the edge and swan dive to death
I’m two guys, multiplied by ninety-three guys
Evenly balanced seein evil equally in each eye now
Maybe I’m the most thorough worker on the job to you
or maybe I’m the one, who was plottin to rob you
The fear of this beatdown, the women on no cash to floss
makes most of y’all hustle ya ass off
From nothin to two mill’, in five years I’ll live to see it
vanish in six months, with no tears believe it
I’ll rock, twenty-eight years before the Feds can lay a trace
See they plan is to erase me, just to replace me

Life! Your heart is one with your brain
Emotional or reason, now which one do you obey?
Life! Somebody callin you insane
When overwhelmed and blessed, burst in tears of happiness

Yo, yo, I’ve seen relationships that’s so sick
Life long friendships so cha-o-tic
Thug cat bangin this chick but won’t kiss
Drinkin her spit, when coppin a fix for dope bliss
I got a knife and a bat, to bust your brain, put a knife in your back
“Once in the Life” I was trifle like that
like my man Troy, who lost his days
shootin dice on worldly ways
and ended up in a early grave
Because once in a lifetime is rough
Twice in a lifetime you combat the ghost of mistrust
Mentally cuffed, thrust by a cop thinkin he tough
You bust, Amadou Diallo is us, and what
now I’m on my knees, beggin’ “God, please!
Save me from the fires of hell!
Let water water soul prevail” – cos I can’t take no more
Who’s that knockin, at, my door?
Is that you, Pete from Cobb’s Creek, who died in my sleep?
We was playin for fun, now it’s keeps
Like my man Mark I beat to death wrapped in a carpet
and left in the garbage, now that’s cold-hearted
Ask Book he saw it, “Yo black I ain’t seen (shit)
Kids in the 6, they flip for nonsense”
Poke an icepick, smokin that (shit) since preschool fool
and packin a tool, (fuck you) Mom Dukes it’s cool

[Chorus:]
You won’t believe the things I’ve seen
Far beyond your wildest dreams
I’ve seen chaos and order reign supreme
I’ve seen the beauty of the universe
so peaceful and serene
in seconds turn to violence and screams

Life! Your heart is one with your brain
Emotional or reason, now which one do you obey?
Life! Somebody callin you insane
When overwhelmed and blessed, burst in tears of happiness

Sharing and Bookmarking:

If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it or spreading the word via your favourite social media channel:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • Posterous
  • Google Bookmarks
  • RSS

Keyword-Matched Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, you might find these others interesting:

  1. SFF Song of the Week: Philip Palmer
  2. SFF Song of the Week: Ken MacLeod
  3. SFF Song of the Week: Mike Cobley
  4. SFF Song of the Week: Reblog
  5. SFF Song of the Week: Stuart Angell McGregor