Here's a bit of an explanation about the songs you're hearing:
Fairly self-explanatory, this one. Harks back to a very different time in my life, where I would let certain synapses (and certain vices) get the better of me on a regular, sometimes daily, basis, leading to a lot of time spent in bed wondering what the fucking point was/is. There's a line in the second verse - 'Superpower happy hour' that I used to get a lot - when you think you can change the world, for about an hour, followed by the crushing realisation that I am ultimately dust, ash, worm food; a man with a fork in a world of soup.
However, the outcome of this was I realised that some of the things I was doing could directly influence how I felt about other things, in both a positive and negative way. Harnessing the positive isn't always easy, or even what you necessarily want to do, but always achieves the best results.
At that time there were a great many hours spent idling in a world that I thought I owned but I didn't. A world I could escape to but never actually live in. This song is partly about the television and how bollocks it can be, of course, but more about escaping to that other world, which can feel good at the time but is ultimately futile. You have to find a way to want to live in the world you inhabit, and once you find that way, you realise that this contentment doesn't have to be a one-way ticket to being boring or conforming.
(I also really like the idea of 'TV Guide', a little telly spirit guide that buzzes around helping you out and telling you what's going on. A bit like Ariel in The Tempest, but looks a bit like Dusty Bin, at least in my mind's eye.)
An insipid drug dealer hanging round on street corners. The first one's free but then you have to pay... Insomnia serves to ruin your day by giving you a free extra night you never wanted in the first place. I've got my head around it a bit more now but many were the times I used to get up on a morning having actually had zero sleep the night before, due to an inability to shut off my brain. Various prescribed and unprescribed pills and potions and techniques never helped, so I'd go days without actually sleeping. Some weird and seriously psychedelic shit starts happening when you've been awake for 60 hours, let me tell you.
(The solution, for me at least? Earplugs. Otherwise, if in a garden 300 yards away there is a mouse moving a pebble, it will wake me up.)
Another one celebrating that seesaw between normality - whatever the fuck that is - and weird - whatever the fuck that is. Enjoy the normal while embracing the weird. Each taps into the other and both can be equally fun!
Stupid song about how - as human beings - we're supposed to live up to these dreams of mythical cartoon characters, who don't always sound that great anyway. Our faults and our differences make us what we are, and the idea of following one particular set of constraints over another seems outdated. Be the best you that YOU can be, not for anyone else, but for YOU and for those actually around YOU, rather than some bloke with a beard or a statue or a dragon or something.
EVERY DAY I THANK THE WORLD I CUT YOU OFF
This is about several people but also about the miserable black dog that follows you round from time to time. Some people/dogs just don't know when to fuck off. Self-awareness is not always easy (says the bloke sitting here writing aggrandising explanations to his own songs) but try it sometime.
WELCOME TO MY SHANGRI-LA
Wallowing in your own misery is like wallowing in your own mediocrity - exploiting the worst in yourself for your own apparent benefit - and for the detriment of everyone else around you. It can be a difficult habit to get out of, but that's all it is (or rather, all it has to be): a habit.
For some people, it becomes a world to inhabit (like in Television), and the idea of this being Valhalla or 'Shangri-La' made me laugh.
(Inspired by The Kinks' amazing song 'Shangri-La')
THE GOLDEN LONELY
For so many people, money is the biggest source of inspiration and drive. Consequently, those people don't know how to operate when that money disappears. Money is such a rubbish (and unfortunately) necessary concept, and some folk take it to the nth degree, above and beyond everything else they could ever have in their lives. Those people are missing out on some really great stuff. The fact that you're here makes me think you probably know this already.
VULTURE OF THE CULTURE
Written about a couple of people I know who got sucked into the world of record companies. Now, I don't think that record companies are necessarily the root of all evil that some purport them to be. There's good people out there doing good things, helping with the creative process, and once you get to a certain level, it's difficult to make a good fist of it by yourself. However, some get so drawn into the myth that they never quite see the irony of a failed musician telling a successful one what they should be doing.
These people are not businessmen and women: they are parasites, feeding from the talent and energy of others, driving corporate need into art, and I fucking hate them.
The idea of a record being a performance is interesting to me, especially as I grow up and start to take it all a bit more seriously (in both a good and a bad way). It snapshots a second in time, for you and for us, and what YOU bring to it is just as important as what we did. This song is about the realisation that the outdated concept of 'the rock and roll dream' is now a myth, and in fact its demise is no bad thing whatsoever. It removes corporate ties from the art and frees it up to be as it was intended to be. Music and art is so subjective, the point of doing it should just be to BE.
(I thought it was a funny title for a song, too.)
I MISS YOU
I feel like for now I might have come out of the other side of all this relatively unscathed, which is a bonus, and feel that sharing my experiences (and those of people I've been close to) might be of use to others. This might make me sound like a wanker, so feel free to call me that if you think that music and art can't help other people who occasionally need a release (and enjoy the tiny box you position yourself in).
However, there are times when a weird and twisted part of me misses that constant cavalcade of emotion... that maelstrom of Feelings that at times could drop me into an apparently bottomless pit, and at other times lift me to the moon and back with joy.
I still feel as if the precipice is never very far away, it's a place I am used to having in my world now, as much as I often can resent it. It's part of what makes us who we are, and the occasional lapse can sometimes be counteracted with the knowledge that, indeed, it's all in your mind.
The ability to get up off the floor when you've been dumped down there, by yourself or by someone else, is a uniquely human trait which shows huge strength and courage in the face of adversity, and you should never, ever forget that.
WE'RE GOING TO THE FUTURE
Ultimately... Everything Will Be Okay.