40. Kleenex and wine

Dragging myself towards the end of 50/90: 14 days and 10 songs to go! Once upon a time, before April, I would’ve said that’s impossible, but now it’s like, sure whevs. One today, two tomorrow, 8 in the next fortnight, totally doable 😛 I’ve got a lurgy so I decided to write a song about it. Classic clichéd 4 chord progression.

Kleenex and wine

When I’ve got the sniffles
When I’ve got the flu
When I’m full of neon phlegm
What I need is honey lemon tea
What I need is you

When I’ve got some scurvy
When my teeth are loose
When my gums are oozing
What I need is vitamin C
What I need is you

In sickness and in health
You promise you’ll be mine
Now I’m cashing in my chips
So pass the Kleenex and wine

When I’ve got a touch of malaria
When I’m febrile and confused
When I’m sweating bullets
What I need are antibiotics
What I need is you

When I’ve got appendicitis
When I’m about to spew
When I’m rolling about in pain
What I need is urgent surgery
What I need is you


When I’ve got osteoporosis
When my bones are screwed
When a sneeze can break my back
What I need are bisphosphonates
What I need is you

When I’ve got some renal failure
When I’m peeing red
When I’m heading to dialysis
What I need is your kidney
What I need is you



39. I don’t know

Piano song for once, I’ve been uke-heavy lately. Musical ideas still are flowing, lyrical ideas, not so much. These are kinda lacklustre. The subject comes from a chat with my friends last night. As medics we often have to make decisions in the face of uncertainty and limited information. Sometimes you second guess yourself, but in the end you have to make the call and stand by it. You make mistakes and learn from them. Anyway, this is a version of that.

I don’t know

I don’t know where I’ll go
Where I will stay
I don’t know if this road
Will lead me astray
The only thing I know is this
Wherever it bends I will follow
Wherever it ends I will reach
The journey itself
Has the answers I seek

I don’t know what I’ll see
What lies in wait
I don’t know where I’ll be
If the road will be straight
The only thing I know is this
Whatever lurks I will beat it
Whatever trials loom I will face
If trouble comes
I know I can meet it

All you can do is believe
Have faith in your will and your wits
All you can do is trust
Your iron and your grit

I don’t know if I’m wrong
Or if I’m right
I don’t know if all along
I’ve been wandering blind
The only thing I know is this
Whatever comes I’ll try my best
Whatever happens I’ll be honest
Do what I can
Let go of the rest

I won’t know what to do
Not every time
I won’t know if I’m true
If I’m walking the line
The only thing I know is this
Although I might be uncertain
Although I might be unsure
While facing doubt
I still am determined


Verse 1 repeat

38. Beware

Another day of procrastination and a last minute two song job. This one is inspired by the storytelling and chromatic eeriness of Nature boy.


“Beware the witch,
Beware of gypsies”
She smiled as she led me in
Thick in the air
Hung her perfume
And incense glowed
In the shadows of the room

She took my hand
Looked in my eyes
She traced a line with her nail
“This is your life
This is your fate
For silver coins
We will tell you what awaits”

I paid the price
And from the dark
Rose a thin, veiled figure
Spoke in my ear
Her head bent close
I stifled a gasp
As she faded into the smoke

I cannot speak
The whisper I heard
But on my skin
Is writ a single word:

37. Fly like a kite

This melody came so easily I’m 60% sure it’s stolen 😛 But I’m pretty sure, whatever the source is, it wasn’t originally played on baritone ukulele + recorder spit stick (you know, the rod that comes with a recorder that you use to clean it? that thing). The prompt for this song came from Mincho, cheers!

Fly like a kite

Fly like a kite, fly upwards
Fly like a kite, dance in the sky
Fly like a kite to freedom
Fly to the furthest heights

You were always eccentric
You were too much for this town
You were dazzle and pink
In this place of grey and brown

They called you hateful names
You laughed right into their faces
I watched from far away
Always thought you were so brave


You promised you’d finish school
As soon as the final bell rang
You said “goodbye, good riddance”
Walked on out with a bang

I see your name in headlines
Your laughter on the front page
They pretend that they know you
When they see you strutting the stage

Chorus x2


36. Gone too soon

Had all day to write a song. Didn’t, left it to the last minute. Came up with this sentimentality.

Gone too soon

Nestled in stone
Where she sleeps all alone
In the cold and the still of the grave
The cloth on her bones
Oh so lovingly sewn
By two hands that once held her face

Gone too soon, my darling
Before your time, my dove
My joy, my wonder, my love

Once she was bright
With her eyes full of light
As she shimmered on entering a room
Now bones bare and white
And her eyes without sight
In the stark and the silent gloom


She started to fade
As the sun turns to shade
Despite all the best care in the land
Her family prayed
They said, don’t be afraid
And they kissed her trembling hand


Vocal bridge


35. One last chance

I wanted to write a keyboard song and it did start there, but I dunno, it moved over to the uke and there it stayed. Like Vietnamese, piano is my first language but not my most fluent. This song is about bargaining: an addict with rehab, a dying person with god, a criminal with their keeper, one or all of these things.

And yes, this video is recorded in my pantry. It’s late at night ok 😛

One last chance

One last cry to the wild
And then just one last howl in the lightning and rain
One last dance in the tempest
And I’ll come, quiet and sane

One last dive in the river
And then just one last swim in the cool moonlit night
One last jump from the cliff edge
And I won’t even put up a fight

I’ll hand myself in
Meek and contrite
Confess to my sins
Turn off the lights
I won’t resist
Just give me this
One last chance to be free

One more climb up a mountain
And then just one more camp in the storm and the snow
One more roam of the forest
Then you can lead me by the nose

One more song before sunset
And then just one more breath of the sharp winter air
One more kiss at the window
And I’ll bow out, fair and square


One last drink of the nectar
And then just one last taste of the fire and spice
One last bite of the apple
And I’ll come, just as you like

One last launch of the rocket
And then just one last flight into far outer space
One last waltz among comets
Then you can tie me to this place



34. No matter what

It’s more and more of a struggle as the final month of 50/90 comes on. I think I have higher expectations of myself, and I’ve found a style that I want to write in, which is a bit more limiting than the freewheeling “wheeeeee” of creation that was the beginning. Will have to try to get back to some experimental weirdness, which I do enjoy and sometimes yields interesting stuff. Anyway, this is an unromantic love song 😛

No matter what

No matter what, you’re mine
Even when you don’t remember my birthday
No matter what, you’re mine
Together, til we’re grey

No matter what, I’m yours
Even when I don’t take out the bin
No matter what, I’m yours
We’re joined skin to skin

No matter if we clash
No matter if we fight
Together, we’ll get through it
No matter what comes
No matter what rains down
Together, we can do it
No matter what

No matter what, you’re mine
Even when you don’t make the bed
No matter what, you’re mine
Like a needle needs a thread

No matter what, I’m yours
Even when I eat cake and leave you none
No matter what, I’m yours
It’s way too late to run


No matter what, you’re mine
Even when you make mistakes and fall
No matter what, you’re mine
Our names are carved on the wall

No matter what, I’m yours
Even when I’m grumpy and I’m cold
No matter what, I’m yours
Together we’ll grow old


33. Grey, the colour of today

It’s a three song day! I’m busy this weekend so I’m cramming as much as possible into today. Sorry about the deluge. To be honest, this is not my actual childhood, mine was more nerdy, suburban and indoors 😛 But certainly the grey today is real.

Grey, the colour of today

Green is the colour of your eyes
The colour of the fields
Where we ran as children

Blue is the colour of your dress
The colour of the sky
That heard our summer song

Grey, the colour of today
The colour of my age
The colour that has drained away

Brown is the colour of your feet
The colour of the dog
That licked our hands all wet

Red is the colour of the house
The colour of the rock
That we climbed in sneakers


Black is the colour of your hat
The colour of the night
That we watched for shooting stars

White is the colour of your eggs
The colour of the clouds
That we drew in crayons


Whistle solo



32. Cello groove

This is sort of cheating, in my own eyes. To me the difference between this year’s songwriting and the preceding 30 years is lyrics – I’ve noodled and improvised my whole life, but never really sat down and made complete songs. And here I’ve basically just recorded an improv. But hey, we’re heading into the pointy end of 50/90 and I’m counting anything, anything vaguely song-shaped as a song now 😀 This is a cello rhythm and bass groove with completely improvised vocal scat over the top. First take, which is why it’s sort of distorted. The cello is recorded with a pickup and therefore sounds like ass, but it’s too noisy to record via mic at the mo.

31. Shimmering hope

Not the most original of images, or indeed melody – spot the melodic fragment that I borrowed from Notre Dame de Paris 😀 Planes in the background, joys of living under the flight path.

Shimmering hope

A rainbow’s born of tears in the sky
A summer’s born of winter’s tears running dry
Sun from the rain
Joy from the pain
The morning from the night

When the world’s got you beat
At the end of your rope
On the other side shines
A shimmering hope

A tree is born of death and rebirth
A flower’s born of flesh and bones in the earth
Dark into light
Loss into life
A blessing from a curse


An oak that’s weathered fierce, wild storms
With branches that are shaken, battered and torn
Still it remains
Firm under strain
And peace comes at the dawn


Your strength is born of scars that have healed
As fire forges iron and tempers steel
Diamond from coal
A fragment made whole
Your beauty is revealed