Making Beautiful Music - A Life Story

Images of a Californian summer, play out in a shop window over the road
opposite a travel agent, plying us with pictures of a turquoise carribean sea
We hide from the wind, in a concrete underpass
in any English city, on a normal October afternoon

With one guitar, a flute and a makeshift set of drums
accompanied by a voice as heavenly as the spring
we're making beautiful music, beneath the leaden sky


Forward to November, in another city, much like the last
Huddled in a subway, watching the incessent drips of rain
facing towards an advert, wishing us in their debt
promising untold riches, to those who'd sign to them their lives

Half our drums were damaged, by a local belching drunk
But a little bit of forutne aquired us some more
and we're making beautiful music, beneath the A14


Now we're in December, this time somewhere in the west
More concrete is all which greets us, this type old and cracked
Walkways roped off for "safety", but really to keep our like out
Finding a dryish ledge we huddle beneath, attracting unwanted stares

Soaked through with rain, the guitar has only five strings
Doing our best regardless, serenading the christmas shoppers
we're making beautiful music, beneath the Yuletide tree


January brings the new year, and hearalds our arrival in yet another town
hunting out a shelter is always difficult, when the puddles are of ice
Feeling ever so blessed for each small mercy, we find a dry pleace to rest
in the lee of a billboard, promoting luxury homes

Winter takes its toll, our flautist is dead from the cold
The cemetary wont let us in, to pay our last respects
so we're making beautiful music, beneath an ancient yew


February find us in Wales, signposts being bilingual the only difference to see
No lack of snow or rain, and no lack of gloomy concrete in which we have to hide
shops windows show only fluffy yellow chicks, and overpriced chocolate eggs
what use is this when you struggle to survive?

A marvellous young saxophonist, has joined our homeless band
but nothing can replace our Jenny on the flute, both sister and friend
in her memory we're making beautiful music, beneath Dylan Thomas bridge


As we find ourselves in March, the frosts begin to lift from the grey slab streets
Towering high above us and as far the eye can see, for shelter there is little
but a better concrete jungle we have yet to find, a planners gold award
for how to crush the spirit of all who pass through here.

A hostel we have found, but our story ends not there
our instruments were confiscated from us, but why we do not know
we're not making beautiful music, for that would be a crime


April staggers here, and again we have moved, to concrete pastures new
Our instruments were sold when our hostel was shut, to pay off their debts
Without our music we cannot even eat, and so our band is no more
Jeremey our drummer is now behind bars, for stealing a loaf of bread

Alice the saxophonist we have lost, I fear she has been raped
René our vocalist, for being French he was beaten so hard, he'll never sing again
I'm not making beautiful music, beneath these lonesome stars


May and I'm in the army, and live in a concrete barracks, upon the Salisbury Plain
My injuries are healed, and I work for my living, in the royal infantry
My Major knows I can play, and has got me in the band
It isn't the guitar I love, but it's still the music that drives my soul

In many events do I perform, a star of the army I'm proud tell
A private in the 9th Lincolnshire regiment, with trombone in my hand
I'm making beautiful music, beneath the Queen Mum's gaze


Skip forward now, to October once again, months back I did troop the colour
now I'm in the gulf, to fight for a Mr Bush and a Mr Blair against a Mr Hussein,
Tomorrow we will make our attack, upon his city walls


Private George Young was killed in action on Ocotber 19th 2002.

Chris McKenna

8/10/02 10:25am - 12:40pm
Written in study at home.
Presumably partly inspired by watching
a news conference by George W. Bush
about Iraq.

Edited 19/10/02 (coincidentally) l9:50pm
(epilogue significantly shortened)

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Copyright © Chris Mckenna 2003.

Published here 28/04/2003