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  1. Tinsel Show

From the album Traces

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I grew up in The Bonnybridge Triangle in central Scotland, a global hot spot for UFO sightings in the 1980s. The towers and chimneys of the BP petrochemical plant on the River Forth at Grangemouth dominate the skyline. Through a child’s eyes its lights and weird multi-coloured flames seemed magical. As an adult it still represents a thrall to a certain kind of magic. The song’s title is pinched from Robert Burns’ mighty poem “A Man’s A Man”. Pablo Neruda’s “Standard Oil Co.” makes a fleeting appearance too.

Lyrics

TINSEL SHOW

In the East the fires are burning
Spires of stone and steel
Smoke stack engine turning
Wheel upon wheel

From a window, such a wonder
Galaxies have come to land
She sees stars and spells and spangles
Sparklers in her hand

And the eyes of ages watch our tinsel show
While hireling wages steal our dreams from our souls

In the East the fires are burning
Spires of steel and stone
Smoke stack engine turning
Wheel upon wheel

From her window, such a wonder
Flying saucers on the shore
She sees disco lights and diamonds
Bold Orion’s sword

And the eyes of ages watch our tinsel show
While hireling wages steal our dreams from our souls

Minarets of industry
and spinnerets of alchemy
Belfry towers for bells to ring in
Colonnades of chemistry
and cavalcades of conjury
Choir stalls for hearts to sing in

In the East the fires are burning